Thursday, July 25, 2013

Slowing turning

The Last of Us is slowly drifting away from what made it different. All of last night was spent running around, killing hunters. The importance of stealth was minimized and even when I took out a bad guy or two there were more coming around the bend. It is still better than 95% of the other games I have played this year but I do wish it would have stuck with the player being weak instead of the usual empowerment via leveling up. Even the little girl, the epitome of disempowerment, spent an entire encounter sniping people from a balcony.

I will say that even though they NPCs try to pull their weight in combat they very rarely end up with the killing blow. Clickers take one point blank shotgun blast to kill, but only if Joel is the one to do it. I watched Bill shoot the same clicker three time and it still did not die. Other logical leaps that are bugging me: why do the infected who can see choose to ignore your flashlight? Why do hunters who I see holding a gun and shooting at me not drop ammo when I kill them? Why, when fighting spore flinging bloaters, does Joel not put on his gas mask to avoid damage?

And why, in spite of these problems, is this game still so god damned good?

The answer is that all of these exceptions are intentionally made in service of the narrative. Why do these things happen? Because the plot requires it, now shut up and go back to enjoying the game. This only works if the game has something to day, and while the 'man is still the worst thing around even during the zombie apocalypse' moral is a bit played out it works here because even Joel is scum. There are no good guys here, only slightly less bad guys, all doing what they need to do to survive.

To turn a phrase, this is not survival horror, it is the horror of surviving.

No comments:

Post a Comment