Casual Reviews – The Last of Us

For my first review I will ostracize myself from the main community I wish to reach, and in doing so, doom this blog to the purgatory of the internet, being ignored.

Its a great way to start, right?

Environment 

If ever there was a game that set the standard in this category, The Last of Us is it. The story, the visuals, and the sound are astounding and captivating. After playing through the opening, I was immediately invested in Joel’s character. I wanted to know who this girl was and why people were risking their lives and paying for her safety. Character motivations are not only comprehensible (which can be a challenge for some games) but feel completely natural. I never once questioned if Joel would really take the actions the game had him take.

Visually, the game shows what the PS3 was made to do. Wow your balls/ovaries off. The clothes look lived in, the homes look aged, everything is carefully designed to look like the world the story takes place in. The Last of Us finds beauty in the post-apocalyptic world.

Voice acting in The Last of Us fits the characters and the lines are delivered well. This is especially impressive considering one main character is a kid, and from my experiences, the voice acting for children in video games is typically sub par (the young boy at the beginning of Mass Effect 3 for example).

Gameplay 

There is another side to my experience with this game, however. The story and aesthetics of the game kept me numb to the frustration churning in my unconscious psyche. Frustration in the shooting mechanics, stealth that felt so clumsy I stopped trying to understand it, melee that wasn’t reliable.  There were so many options for how to approach a situation, but none of them would actually work. Leveling up didn’t feel as though it was making enough of a difference and slowly, unconsciously, I began to play only with cut scenes in mind. I wanted the quickest path to the next cut scene, because the gameplay itself was not fun. But I still wanted to like the game. I would not admit that there was something I was not enjoying. Especially not something as crucial as the mechanics of the gameplay itself. I was unable to keep this facade. More than halfway through the game I cam across two enemies I could not figure out how to defeat or pass. All I wanted was to make it to the next scene and discover more about the story and get one step closer to completing the game. All I kept getting was my face ripped in half over and over again until I couldn’t suppress my frustration any longer.  I bit my controller. Yes, I literally bit my controller as I let out a suppressed cry of anger. I just wanted the story, and the game was getting in my way.

The Last of Us was not fun. It was not a game. It was a chore that must be completed to enjoy the story.

Replay Value

I’m proud to say I did complete the game. I did finally pass the aforementioned level with none of the satisfaction that usually follows defeating a particularly difficult foe. I did complete the game that, judging by other reviews and awards, may go down in history as the greatest PS3 game ever made. I will never play it again.

I play games to enjoy myself after a long day at work or during my time to relax on weekends. There is nothing about The Last of Us that will bring me back for another play through. That saddens me.  It is a beautiful interesting game that I truly wish I could enjoy playing.  It would as be, many others currently claim, a masterpiece, if only actually playing the game itself was more enjoyable. As it is, I know the story now, and if I ever want a refresher, I will to go to YouTube instead of a PS3 (or PS4 now that the remastered version is out) to get an enjoyable experience from The Last of Us.

Online

N/A (I hated this game so much I got it out of my home as soon as I completed the story.)

Conclusion

The Last of Us had so much potential, so much emotion, so much story, and so much pure digital beauty that I wanted to love it. I wanted to love this game more than any game I had ever tried. I failed. Instead, I loath this game. I can feel my skin crawl when I hear it mentioned or see it in an awards category. But why do I react this way when there are other games that are by far worse in every category I rate? I believe it is because of how much The Last of Us does right, and yet how wrong it gets one of the most crucial aspects of gaming. There was something amazing happening with The Last of Us and it is agonizing that the gameplay is what gets in the way of the enjoyment. I absolutely hate The Last of Us because it was so close to achieving everything about games I love but ignored the one reason I play any games in the first place…fun.

I’m not a hardcore gamer as much as I’d like to think I am. I’m simply not that good, and The Last of Us drove that point home every chance it had. It just wasn’t for me. Returning The Last of Us was like breaking up with that one girl who was perfect, but for some reason I couldn’t get past this one annoying habit she had. All I could say standing in line was, “it’s not you, it’s me.”

 Last of Us

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37 thoughts on “Casual Reviews – The Last of Us

  1. Even though you are right on some points, there are still things I disagree with.

    It is true that the gameplay in The Last Of Us differs from most third person shooters. You have limited ammo and die pretty quickly. But that is where the game shines. The fact that you can’t go in guns blazing, makes it that you have to think about how to kill your enemies. For example the infected. These guys are pretty dangerous but also really predictable. If you throw one molotov into the middle of the room, all the infected will run towards it not knowing what it is and will eventually burn to death. It takes a different approach a lot of the times.

    Also the human AI is something special in the game. Instead of just appearing in front of you waiting for you to shoot them, they will try to flank you, throw molotovs, use snipers and will sneak up on you. You really had to think like a strategist everytime you approached an enemy

    It is true that this is not a game where you can relax in. It takes effort to progress in this game, in which you will be rewarded by the progress of the story. Believe me, I was tensed as hell while playing this game. But that also made me experience the story more intense.

    My only complaints for this game are giving boosts(I fucking hated that shit), swimming(really clunky) and finding pallets. If I would rate this game, it would get a 9.5/10.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Heck yeah, my stressed level was at critical playing this game! Hahaha I think it really ties back to the fact that, as much as I wish I was a hardcore gamer, I’m simply not that good. It was one of those moments where I just had to step back, take a deep breath, and say “it’s not you, it’s me.” This is why I think assigning a number to a game as a rating system is helpful but very flawed. The numerical value does not convey how much respect I have for The Last of Us as the written review.

    And oh the boosts…they did get old. Thanks for the thoughts!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t played this game, but I give you props for not just giving it a 10/10 because everyone else does. I also play games to ENJOY them. For my game reviews I give them a Fun Rating and that’s it. A game can have the best graphics, story, music, but if you just don’t enjoy it, that’s what matters at the end of the day. Props for being different!

    Check out my video game blog: https://chrisspeerswrites.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely with you on the game play aspects of Last of Us. Or lack there of. It was an absolute chore for me to play the game. Everything was mundane and the “stealth” was frustrating. The enemy AI is not intelligent even on hard and the hard mode was made just to make it hard and not challenging. The only good aspect of the game were the presentation and the tech behind it. Story was bland and not engaging. It was packed full of cliches and generic post apocalyptic tropes. This game is mediocre defined.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I like that other people in the world realize that The Last of Us isn’t as great as anyone makes it out to be. I played the game, and only really came across two or three really difficult parts in the game. I agree that the story is pretty good, but I know Last of Us won an award for best soundtrack. I was cracking up at how funny that was because I didn’t even realize it had a soundtrack. That’s how little it impacted me. Also, the game never made me want to play it more or replay it. I agree with you, sevenflorins, that I just wanted to play the game, so the story can unfold in the movie scenes. At one point the game threw a million enemies at me, and I simply ran past everyone of them, then heading up some stairs, dodged some bullets, and dropped to saftey. I avoided a giant fight just so I could beat the game faster. I saved myself a lot of aggrivation with the poor combat system.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cool review. Makes me think on what games where the ones I played endless hours. One particular absolutely came in mind: Metal Gear Peace Walker. The replay value and addiction levels are very high, while the story was the ever cool Metal gear one. Played it on PSP, cutscenes where animated comics- simply great. Once the story was finished, the game became a base building scavenging heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed TLOU, but there are many many games i have enjoyed greater and nothing about it struck to me as 10/10 material. I’m also a big fan of Naughty Dog. I’m glad someone else shares my thoughts partially.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Don’t worry; you’re not the only one who was disappointed in The Last of Us; I myself thought it was a very tedious experience. I’ve gone as far as saying that it could be the most critically-acclaimed bad game of all time (though I wouldn’t say it’s the worst game of all time). It’s very much an example of a game that forgets it’s a game and I think one of the worst things about it is that the gameplay and the narrative choices surrounding it often contradict each other. Indeed, the single fact that it takes place 20 years after the initial outbreak creates a lot of narrative problems.

    While it has a bit of a sacred cow status now, I firmly believe it has an expiration date. That is to say, I would be very surprised if twenty years from now, people still think The Last of Us is a good game. Someone’s going to make a game that will surpass it in every way. It won’t be difficult because all of aspects that The Last of Us is praised for aren’t unique enough for potential detractors to accuse this hypothetical game of being a ripoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I appreciate the honest review based on your personal experience with the game. I feel like there’s not a lot of that these days…usually reviews develop a ‘follow the leader’ type pattern.

    Just because it’s a AAA titles doesn’t mean it’s perfect…don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say all AAA titles are flawed either…

    I don’t own a PS3 so I’ve mostly watched let’s plays, and I’ve seen LPers show the same frustrations you have in this title.

    I think it would have made a much better movie than a game.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. I agree with what speersc said. Kudos for not just giving it 10/10 – without thinking about it, I would have. It is fair enough that some of the game mechanics grated on you, but having played it a few times myself, I would have to disagree with your replay value bit. Somehow, the frustration that made me quit the game in a huff one day, had me returning the next to get past the same parts I’ve been stuck on since it came out. A good read, once again. Well done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, frustration never brings me back to a game usually…although that won’t keep me from trying Bloodborn if it ever comes out on PS+…it was the story/environment that brought me back in this one. TLOU just wasn’t made for me…which is too bad for me because I really liked the story.

      Like

  13. While your review was fine, I think you just needed to play this game at a lower difficulty. I played it on normal, and while it was a challenge I never got that frustrated with it. I thought it was a great game, but it’s definitely a bit overrated and the mp was just ok.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I guess you just kinda suck jk jk But yeah the story was great, I loved how human everyone seemed, and the little quiet moments were just great. What kind of games are you good at?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I dunno what games I could say I’m good at. If a playstyle is fun I take the time to hold my own like the taken king or mass effect or red dead redemption though. I agree those moments were great.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nothing wrong with that dude. Just know that no one game is worth getting extremely angry or breaking a controller over. There is no shame in looking up a tough situation on YouTube, taking a break for a while, or just deleting the game and moving on to something else. Good night Florins!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Completely agree with you 100% on this. I really wanted to enjoy this game because everyone else was, I tried so hard but I have in at the end and let my partner complete it because I couldn’t cope with getting stuck because my character just wasn’t skilled enough, plus I just can’t be stealthy on a game at all haha. I just watched and tried to enjoy the story.
    You really hit the nail on the head with this review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can be stealthy in games but I simply couldn’t do it in this game. I was frustrated because I wanted to be, and the game itself wants you to be, but then the controls and how it actually played was against you. It took any fun away.

      Like

      • I like running in and shooting everything so it wasn’t for me, but if I like a game, I will be stealthy, just really didn’t want to be in this game, I’m gutted I didn’t like it. It was definitely too hard and I’m usually quite a good gamer.
        I was frustrated too, real bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wanted to like it too. I would argue that it isn’t too hard, the problem is it’s mechanics are not great. Because everything else about the game is amazing, people loved it and turned a blind eye. But to me, a game must be fun.

        Liked by 1 person

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  16. Hey Florin,

    Have to agree with you on this review, albeit I would probably be more harsh as the gameplay stopped me from completing the game altogether! I’m fine with limited ammo a la Resident Evil (original of course), I’m fine with being sneaky a la MGS, but I’m not fine with either of those things not being done properly.

    If the ‘sneak mechanics’ were sufficient enough to let the player move around fluidly then I would be fine with ammo being as rare as golden rocking horse shit.

    That being said, I have a terrible concentration span which probably doesn’t help!

    Cheers for your reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

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