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The Last of Us, New Naughty Dog IP
Crushinator
post Dec 12 2011, 11:11 PM
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Staff from Enslaved are working on this, along with the Naughty Dog crew. Love the concept, and the look is phenomenal. I wonder what the gameplay will actually be like?


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Scan_Man
post Jun 18 2013, 04:51 PM
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So for a change I went media black-out on this game. I totally forgot about seeing that video and posting in this thread (I did a search because I did not want to make a new topic).

I picked up this game with knowing almost nothing, other than you play a dude with a girl tagging along and the game is made by Naughty Dog.

Some background before I talk about the game to get out the way. I am not a fan of the Uncharted. I think they are good games I can say as objectively as possible. but I have issues with the gameplay and how enemies encounters are designed. These games tend to put emphasis on story and scripted events. I tend to not care about story in video games. I am gameplay and mechanics type of gaming, which why I like Dark Souls so much. What I don't like about Uncharted games, I don't like the scripted, of what they call platforming ( a lot of the time you are just pressing forward on the analogue stick to get through a sequence). The monster closet enemies that spawn behind you with infinite grenades that home onto you. These are my issues with it.

I understand why people love Uncharted for their graphics, story, dialogue, characters, and awesome set pieces. Not to forget Uncharted games are decent 3rd person cover shooters. For someone that likes those things, Uncharted packs a ton of entertainment value for a 8-10 hour experience. I tend to think these types of gamers play video games as an alternative to watching movies, reading a book, or watching TV. So I understand the praise for Uncharted, mostly for the second one. Top notch production values and a thrilling ride to the finish. It's just I played these games it's not enough "game" for me.


I finished The Last of Us a day ago, on Hard with Listen Mode turned off ( I will talk about this below). I avoided reading reviews and previews, again total black-out. I must say this game is waaaaaaaaaaay better than the Uncharted games imo, in my top 5 games of this generation (the past 8 years). There is a lot more game here I can sink my teeth in.


The story is gripping and does not get in the way of gameplay too much. It still does have cutscenes that halts gameplay. Then there are sequences were you can do nothing but walk through an area while characters talk. I hate this thing ever since it popped up in Metroid: Other M and then Ninja Gaiden 3 and lastly Metal Gear Rising. This type of thing in gaming need to fucking die! I think Bioshock Infinite handles story better for games, because you can just run through those parts and the sequence/dialogue ends (lends well to multiple playthroughs/speed runs). You can play Infinite at your own pace and you never lose control of the game except when you are flipping a switch.

The plot here and how that contributes to the level design with locations you will visit is pretty damn awesome. It's pretty epic to me because I did not expect for the scope of the game to be so large. I felt immersed, and like I was actually undertaking this journey.

Seriously, if you like top notch story, dialogue, and characters. Though at times a lot of the plot and character motivations are predictable there is still a ton of surprises. The prologue is the best openings I have experienced in a video game by far. Yeah, and I thought Infinite's opening was brilliant.


So since I am a gameplay type of gamer, I am going to talk about that because it seems to be glossed over by media and on message boards with all the high praise of the story and characters. The game is for the most part good, but rough in some areas. The game puts you in very tense situations, where you don't know exactly what coming around the corner. It feels like going through a new area in Dark Souls for the first time actually. The bad is it falls into a pattern of encounter type A, then encounter type B, then ladder/push a box sequence and then repeats. The positive of this is you get a feel for what is coming next, but you don't know how the pieces will be laid out and thus adds to the tension. Add that there are survival elements in the game where you have to conserve ammo, you get some really intense encounters where you only have one bullet in the chamber.


To my surprise this game ended up being a Action-Adventure Survival Horror Stealth game. I don't think stealth has been done with Zombies before in a game of this scope before. Refreshing to have all those elements in a new IP, when games that are supposed to be the industry leader of these genres have decided to become straight up action games, looking you Dead Space and Resident Evil.

I turned off Listen Mode because I found being able to see through walls immersion breaking and unrealistic because of the game's setting. It's just seems like a weird mechanic for more casual gamers. You can peak around corners just fine to spot enemies, but there is always that uncertainty. I think having Listen Mode off added to the tension of the game that I certainly enjoyed.

However the issue is the game just "sometimes" all those things. It's not a bad thing in it's self however there are a few encounters where it's not clear what to do. Do I have to kill all enemies? Do I have to find an exit? Do I have to stealth through? There are times were you just don't know, and the dying over and over to figure out it gets breaks the immersion.

What I disliked about the gameplay is a little bit of what I complained about Dead Space 3, a little of what I don't like about fighting enemies in Uncharted games, and the controls. It's not to the same degree. For instance, there is no monsters closes here. All enemies in the area you will face can be accounted for; I much appreciate this. But enemies will surround you and you will have no where they came from. It's because the Field of View is narrow as hell, and the character moves and turns like a tank. Seriously, turning around and running from things hardly works, it's better just to die and reload the check point most of the time. When you try to run you will either bump into objects or your NPC partners, or there is a dude behind you that grabs you, and half the time one hit kills you, that you had no way of seeing because of the camera. Running from danger to hide is covered in the tutorials, but it's hard to do because getting shot means you stumble, and with the poor Field of View you bump into more things and then die.

It can be very hard to figure out what just happened to you. In this regard the game does not punish failure nor reward you for success (unless you count non-gameplay related of advancing the story). There is one hit kill mechanics in this thing. The most annoying is when you are fighting with melee, and the thing that one hit kills you triggers on melee. But because the camera is all zoomed in for cinematic effect, you can't see surroundings nor does it seem you control much where your punches go. So if this thing suddenly is near you off camera and you are busying fighting for dear life, you get an instant death. It's so fucking stupid and not fun! Oh and the other thing is you can get shot in the head and die in the middle of a throw animation. No invincibility frames here! Its frustrating because instead of homing grenades like in Uncharted, they replaced it with physic enemies and bullets that can hit you from any distance. Bullets that can even go around corners (if you are exposed)! Your melee attacks that miss, so you get beat down, and have no clue what you could do better in combat.

So you deal with these frustrating parts by reloading the check point, and eventually the AI does not do weird shit (like not moving on their patrol path when you need to stealth). When it's going your way the combat is awesome. Like I said it does not reward success because you learn next nothing about the inner workings of the mechanics; how you could do better (this is mostly related to melee combat). If you could stealth through the whole game I would say well "getting spotted is dangerous" so it would be fine in that regard. However, there are forced shoot outs and brawls. Fortunately, most of the encounters, due to encounter and level design do not have these issues. However, there about 3 encounters I can recall that highlights how unrefined the gameplay mechanics truly are.

Lastly, the gunplay is not all that great. I know what they were doing for with the natural bad aim, you some dude without military training and they want you to upgrade to make it work correctly. It just seems odd that his aim will be this bad because he has been shooting a gun and surviving for 20 years. Why does he suck so much? The gunplay just does not come off has as fluid for this reason when you also add in the "tank" like movement. I think the recent Tomb Raider is a great example of a 3rd person action game that does the things The Last of Us does but has far better controls and feels awesome to play with a controller. It does add tension, but it just does not feel fair sometimes when enemies move so fast and there are instant death mechanics.

But yeah, besides those things the game was awesome to play through.

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In short, The Last of Us is a must play. I want more of this game, and look forward to a sequel. I hope the power of the PS4 can fix some of the technical issues with the gameplay and immersion breaking AI. It was a hell of a ride that manage to give me enough great gameplay experience I could be satisfied with. The story was top notch for a game, that I did care what was going to happen next. Definitely game of the year contender for me. While I was more blown away with Bioshock Infinite, in The Last of Us I was far more immersed and invested in the adventure where it actually felt like a year had passed (the game spans a year in time). I like the amount of tension encounters had because of the survival-horror and stealth mechanics. The game really grows on you by the half way point.

While there are moments I feel get in the way of gameplay in my opinion, the game packs enough entertainment value for a 14 hour survival adventure game. For people that love great story and characters you will love every moment of this game. Highly recommend this game. One of the best of this generations for sure.

The graphics are the best I have ever seen on a console, period! Despite the 30 fps and sometimes drop below that, the game looks fucking amazing. It's like the graphics get better and better toward the end. I did not know how Naughty Dog was able to squeeze so much out of the PS3. Geez, it looks better than a lot of PC games.

Seriously buy this game you will love it!


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