The Last of Us (Spoilers)

The Last of Us is certainly a game I have played twice. It is a game that I have taken almost nothing from twice. It’s okay I guess. But it is a film with video game parts between the film parts.

I might be asking a hard task, but can someone explain concretely what makes it great or remarkable? That it has an ounce of restraint in story telling? great then we have a video game that could almost pass for any given modern movie. Except this one is 20 hours.

I respect that its difficulty plateaus.

It has a good enough last shot (which hmmph! cinematic language, not game.)

I know it has something mechanically that I never personally found. Adi and Faithless are proof of that.

It feels like 13 years ago when I played Sands of Time three times trying to figure out why everyone else thought it was amazing. I just don’t see it.


a videogame that almost passes for a movie is not a 1:1 with a movie that almost passes for a movie

1 Like

It has some okay survival horror-y parts when you’re in the dark and need to conserve ammo

That’s about it for me as far as purely interesting mechanical design though. Sometimes I feel like naughty dog is operating on a whole other level and sometimes I feel like they’ve taken the half-life 2 hook of psychologically gratifying linearity to a level that’s borderline exploitative. It’s true that there are few very few games whose writing and acting aren’t embarrassing (though that number is ever so slowly growing) and naughty dog, for their part, are very good at HBO-polished middlebrow.

I like that the guns are a little inaccurate too. And that some of the encounters have so much interesting terrain to move around in (for this reason alone, the various deathmatch modes are better than you’d expect). But the core “traversal” mechanic that comprises like 60% of the downtime in any of their PS3 work is less of a game than virtually anything else out there, and even the stealth bits are generally only okay. snapping dudes’ necks is too trivial.


Some games you like or don’t


Yeah, it’s alright.

Sands of Time tho

1 Like

I wouldn’t say I love the game.

I want to play videogames but don’t have time or focus any more to get any good at them. I enjoy a marginally challenging experience that exercises the old muscles I’ve already built up married to a decent made-for-Netflix drama. It’s like, an old videogamers’ version of watching Jessica Jones.


thread title not set up to be an escalating series of lame puns :confused:

1 Like

Generally speaking I don’t advise ever playing a game twice (or consuming any media twice) to try and understand why the rest of the world seems to think it’s great. Whenever I have tried this I’ve come out irritated and disliking the thing even more. It’s fine to trust your initial judgement and move on. Despite the word “essential” sometimes being used to describe media, that’s actually hyperbole and never the case.

Anyway, the main reason I admire the Last of Us is that the visual polish is astounding. There isn’t a hair, a leaf, or a shadow out of place. It looks like a high-budget movie with a talented cinematographer that also holds up from any angle. The visual quality is also what grounds the storytelling – the character/facial animations allow nuance in the acting to come through, and the beauty of the environments create the life-affirming undertone to their journey.


yeah it’s just really the slickest experience possible re: number of dollars onscreen per minute, and it feels generally nice to play, and it’s paced almost suspiciously thoughtfully, and it has a few beats that are genuine surprises

and that the end of one of these quadruple-a shootman supergames manages to be sincerely unsettling is basically unbelievable


I mean, you say this like it’s not a big deal

I also just really like the atmosphere and level design, and the story progression ties in with the gameplay in a fairly pleasing way. it reminds me of some of the more sentimental moments of silent hill 2, minus the horror/supernatural trappings. there are not many other games that have a sense of genuine emotional progression, and that’s why I love TLOU. I think it is a significant artistic achievement in the medium.

“HBO Middlebrow” is a pretty good summation, but it only covers the production values and acting and scenarios and stuff. I think the writing is actually far above average for that world. and it stands so far far above the writing of any other AAA major studio release, and is equally well executed. and the story ISN’T the same boring, white male power fantasy. it ends up being a fairly clever inversion of that.

watch adi’s “the rootwork building” series on youtube for an excellent thematic breakdown of the plot and mechanics. though I already loved the game when I sat down and watched these, it deepened my love for it. I hope he finishes this series someday


also, as far the 20 hours thing: as felix pointed out, they seem to be aiming for “middle brow prestige television series” with this, and when you break it down into “episodes” its demand on your time is not much different than your average game of thrones or breaking bad or whatever.

yeah I think it’s actually closer to 10-12 in practice which is practically 1:1 with the average prestige television series

i stopped playing after i realized the game was going to make me use guns, be male, and take care of a little girl. that’s so lame. that’s so bad

the dock yard thing in the beginning was cool though, if every minute of the game was an unarmed fight between hungry people like wow… wow…

there aren’t a lot of moments in games where i feel like a piece of shit organically not doing a good job at fighting other pieces of shit, but it’s what i’m constantly looking for. i don’t want to entertain some geek white guy’s idea of a cool game story while i’m looking for those moments

1 Like

you find the arrows before you find the bow


The playable character in the Left Behind DLC is Ellie in its entirety; it looks like you can play only that one without having completed the main game, if you prefer.

Also, the game is very self-aware that it’s about violent male protectordom, and to say the least, it’s not a straightforward celebration of that role. If you simply have no interest in the subject, fine, but if you’re interested and it’s that you have criticisms, you might be surprised to discover that the game agrees with your criticisms.


My absolute favorite moment in the game is a part when Joel is getting ready to do the (by then rote) “stand against the wall to boost Ellie up to the ledge” but she’s spacing out so she doesn’t go through the motions in the normal amount of time.

Joel stands there blankly for a tick, then both Joel and the player (or at least I) both go “wut” at the same moment, then it transitions to one of the in-game conversation vignettes after he calls out to her. And it all feels like such a completely natural transition between a mundane gameplay chunk and piece of storytelling. It’s the kind of thing that could probably start to feel really cheap if it happened too often but I’ll be damned if that didn’t feel like three seconds of “the power of video games”

1 Like

have you played gang beasts?


Taken as a whole, those rote relationship-building environment puzzles are one of the tritest things in TLOU. They’re trivial from a game mechanics point of view and are laughably schematic and repetitive from a narrative point of view. I perceived them as exactly the opposite: an extended argument on why videogame mechanics are not helpful for nuanced movie-style storytelling.

I appreciated that particular moment too in large part because it finally gave them some kind of value and reason to exist, but it doesn’t go more than 10% of the way towards redeeming them, given how often they happen.

1 Like

I don’t get why this is a problem. I never understood the strain of obsession on this forum that gets huffy about videogames occasionally not being Pure Videogames, most noticeably in older threads where certain people treated noninteractive cutscenes as a Formal Sin. Also Idk what a “last shot using game language” would even be

The Last Shot (of Us?!) annoyed me because it’s lifted straight from The Road and it reminded me of how many memorable bits/setpieces in the game were stolen from movies just like every other videogame. (^_^)/