Zero Punctuation: The Last of Us

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The Last of Us

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews The Last of Us.

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Maybe that's why Ellie never gives you her knife.
And at least the lack of self preservation makes sense this time: they are literally vegetables!

So this one is a bit less... off the charts, shall we say?

YES! Thank you Yahtzee! God I hated the main characters, I wanted them to die more then anyone else in the game!

Maybe I've been playing a fair too many games as of late, but when I'm being shot at, shooting back seems a hell of a lot less like murder than simply surviving. Hell, they even bring it up in the game; it's either this entire group of bandits or me, and knowing there are still full cities thriving, even under military rule, I have nothing against getting rid of a few murderous cocks. Killing a raider that murders, rapes, and steals everything in sight is no more of a murder than me killing those zombies, and yet we have nothing against mowing them down.

I've mentioned this before on other forums, but I think the friendly AI "safety" is determined by difficulty. I played it on normal and found that, yeah, enemies would never notice Ellie or my other allies, but my friends that played it on hard said he opposite, that enemies would not only notice, but sometimes the friendly AI would jump out and fire, breaking stealth, if they felt it was necessary.

As for the ending: I personally liked it. I was going over this with a friend, and I realized that anything else would've made me not care. Considering what I personally found the story to be (not a "We have to save the world, but at what cost", but more "What would you give to actually live as oppose to simply survive") I understand that some people were angry or thought that Joel was being a dick, but I think part of the appeal in The Last of Us is realizing that, to a certain extent, you have to be a dick, otherwise you're used and killed. It's also keeping in character I think, because the more we learn about Joel, the more we realize just how much evil shit he's actually done, and this just sort of feels like we got a glimpse as to the type of stuff he used to do.

Me: "Naughty Dog, why are you making another zombie apocalypse game? Zombie apocalypses are so generically overplayed we've got a wildly popular AMC series based on them."

Naughty Dog: "... Fuck you, got mine."

Me: "Not regretting not owning a PS3 right now."

So you have to watch out for that everything-proof shield?

The only part I agree with is the problem with the enemies all ignoring Ellie. In stealth situations having her happily run around and Clickers not even noticing was a little jarring.

The smoke bomb part I agree that they are useless, but not because they are not necessary, it's just that they don't seem to work properly. The enemy never stopped firing at me when I threw them either when it was at their feet or at mine.

The rest of it I couldn't agree with less. It seemed like complaining for the sake of it and/or deliberately missing the point.

canadamus_prime:
So you have to watch out for that everything-proof shield?

Your attacks will roll of them like water off a... Drake's back :P

I am worried about all this murder business when I will probably inevitably handover 19.99USD+tax for this game. I haven't played the Uncharted series, and I have a feeling if I did I would not want to give this game a shot. But it looks like it might be a nowadays rarefied half decent game with its quasi fresh take on zombie game play and potential for attractive everything's gone flowers environs.

Anyway. Yahtzee's review summoned up on old memory of when this game was first being carted out for the public. The publishers promised that murder would not be a necessary element of the game. Did this promise pan out? Or is this game another one of those creepy serial killer simulators or what?

EDITED: Oh well. Taking Yahtzee's full review at face value this one looks like a pass. I think only sociopaths are allowed in the video game industry anymore. You'd probably have to be one to rise up in its ranks I suppose anyway.

Legion:

The rest of it I couldn't agree with less. It seemed like complaining for the sake of it and/or deliberately missing the point.

New to Zero Punctuation? That tends to be Yahtzee's thing... taking the piss out of games even if they are generally good. Though normally he also mentions that the game did have it's upsides if he ended up enjoying it, so his lack of anything along those lines kind of surprises me considering all the acclaim the game is getting.

Legion:
The smoke bomb part I agree that they are useless, but not because they are not necessary, it's just that they don't seem to work properly. The enemy never stopped firing at me when I threw them either when it was at their feet or at mine.

They become pretty damn useful in Survivor though. Don't have a shit worth of ammo? Just throw a smoke bomb into a group of enemies and go to town with a melee weapon.

OT: It's sad how wrong you are, Yahtzee. I'll cry for your lost soul.

Excellent review, not quite as funny as the last one, but I enjoyed the actual analysis and the success in finding the humour in the game mechanics. One of Yahtzee's strengths.

THanks!

Yahtzee, there's a fuckton of enemies in the game you can just sneak by entirely, you know.

But yeah, some of them have to die. So what exactly are Joel and Ellie supposed to do instead of killing them, roll over and die? They only ever did it to protect their fucking lives. I completely fail to grasp how you can apply that logic to that particular world, or hell, most video games where you kill enemies (90% of all games).

Seriously. I think I heard at least one other person say this shit, but I don't get it. What did they do that was so intolerable in that dog-eat-dog world that it was a shame they "got away with it"? The ending is perfectly fine.

Lvl 64 Klutz:

Legion:

The rest of it I couldn't agree with less. It seemed like complaining for the sake of it and/or deliberately missing the point.

New to Zero Punctuation? That tends to be Yahtzee's thing... taking the piss out of games even if they are generally good.

Normally he seems to try and be humorous about it while being comically over the top, with this it just seems to be a mild rant. Usually even if I disagree with him I can find the humour in it, in this case it felt like somebody just complaining, like in a "Why does everybody love The Last of Us?" thread.

I was with Yahtzee on his umbrage against Uncharted, but I get the feeling that he's somewhat anti Naughty Dog at this point. I'd definitely agree that the plot is safe and cliché, so much so that you can pretty much infer almost everything that happens when someone tells you the concept of the game, but it was the characters which took the spotlight -- and they were pretty refreshing.

I felt that a lot of the gameplay was pretty fluffy too, but it was frantic, scrappy and brutal at the best of times, especially against the infected. I ultimately didn't feel unsatisfied with it, but I'm having a hard time getting myself to play through the entire thing again. Though it's never like the combat in Uncharted which, as you said, you completely forget about as soon as you're done playing it. Kinda disappointing, I thought Yahtzee would really dig this, but all he seemed to talk about was how much he doesn't like Uncharted and how you can see its DNA in The Last of Us without talking about any of the really great things about it.

This really does come over as a very, very simplistic analysis of the whole game. Poor and actually quite disappointing review overall. The point of the ending seems to have completely sailed over Yahtzee's head, assuming that because it's a Naughty Dog game there's no depth or nuance to it beyond the superficial.

The motorboat joke was pretty unpleasant as well.

This struck me as a fairly lazy review for what is an interesting game. It's pretty easy to complain that zombies are a fad and that the gameplay was generic (which I don't really agree with). A lot of his complaints were also increidbly weak - the stealth pace was pretty good and his comments about the story smacked of someone that didn't really engage with it. It struck me that he didn't play it very sensibly as well - I got instakilled about twice in the game and the reason Ellie couldn't go and hide in the bin during a fight is that the smartest tactic was usually to kill one person and sneak through which would make her hiding at the beginning of the level a pain.

Really what irritated me is that the game employed so many elements that he has championed in his reviews and in Extra Punctuation and he dismissed it for some fairly cheap and uninteresting digs.

klaynexas3:
Maybe I've been playing a fair too many games as of late, but when I'm being shot at, shooting back seems a hell of a lot less like murder than simply surviving. Hell, they even bring it up in the game; it's either this entire group of bandits or me, and knowing there are still full cities thriving, even under military rule, I have nothing against getting rid of a few murderous cocks. Killing a raider that murders, rapes, and steals everything in sight is no more of a murder than me killing those zombies, and yet we have nothing against mowing them down.

Games should not be casual about introducing anthropomorphic monsters. That alienates a huge part of the human population that shares a capacity for empathy. Take like the first map of Demon's Souls. I felt sick to my stomach playing that. If you have such monsters they have to be A) undead (already dead) B) wraiths (never alive to begin with) or C) somehow mind controlled. In other words, not acting on their own volition (and they need to act sluggishly. The less human like the better.)

If you are ambushed or invaded, you are struggling to survive. But if you are the aggressor you are a murderer. Either way, killing from a distance, even arm+sword length is a lot less creepy than knifing. Slitting throats and these kinds of things will make a lot of people vomit. I can't watch that in a movie. I have to cover my eyes.

TurkeyProphet:
This struck me as a fairly lazy review for what is an interesting game. It's pretty easy to complain that zombies are a fad and that the gameplay was generic (which I don't really agree with). A lot of his complaints were also increidbly weak - the stealth pace was pretty good and his comments about the story smacked of someone that didn't really engage with it. It struck me that he didn't play it very sensibly as well - I got instakilled about twice in the game and the reason Ellie couldn't go and hide in the bin during a fight is that the smartest tactic was usually to kill one person and sneak through which would make her hiding at the beginning of the level a pain.

Really what irritated me is that the game employed so many elements that he has championed in his reviews and in Extra Punctuation and he dismissed it for some fairly cheap and uninteresting digs.

I think the plant zombies is a fresh idea. It's really weird that its never been done before. I think Yahtzee would've praised it if they were called "zombies" in game. But it sounds like the game keeps saying "infected" over and over instead of just using the natural word for zombie. You know Zombie.

I normally get consistent chuckles out of Yahtzee's humor, even when it's crass. But that 'motorboat' joke hit me badly. Jokes about underage characters and sexual acts just aren't funny.

The sad thing is, I may very well be the only one who thinks so.

11 / 13 = .84, not .99... math police at your service!

Mick P.:
I am worried about all this murder business when I will probably inevitably handover 19.99USD+tax for this game. I haven't played the Uncharted series, and I have a feeling if I did I would not want to give this game a shot. But it looks like it might be a nowadays rarefied half decent game with its quasi fresh take on zombie game play and potential for attractive everything's gone flowers environs.

Anyway. Yahtzee's review summoned up on old memory of when this game was first being carted out for the public. The publishers promised that murder would not be a necessary element of the game. Did this promise pan out? Or is this game another one of those creepy serial killer simulators or what?

EDITED: Oh well. Taking Yahtzee's full review at face value this one looks like a pass. I think only sociopaths are allowed in the video game industry anymore. You'd probably have to be one to rise up in its ranks I suppose anyway.

Murder isn't particularly necessary for most of the game - although you will have to kill a few zombies and a few men. In fact the killing feels so dirty that I regularly tried to kill no one just because I felt bad doing it. Which is weird for a game because usually I'd happily bazooka people in the face. When you do kill though it feels necessary in a grim way.

DVS BSTrD:

canadamus_prime:
So you have to watch out for that everything-proof shield?

Your attacks will roll of them like water off a... Drake's back :P

Oh that just gave me a disturbing mental image. X(

FargoDog:
This really does come over as a very, very simplistic analysis of the whole game. Poor and actually quite disappointing review overall. The point of the ending seems to have completely sailed over Yahtzee's head.

Especially since it's kinda similar to Spec Ops: The Line (except way better), which he really liked. That too was a game that had way more going on then just its familiar setting.

So basically, Ellie's plot armour removes any sense of immersion? I feel that immersion would be especially important in a story driven game.

Despite owning a ps3 I have not played the game yet because I don't generally buy games that cost 50 bucks.

From what I've seen it does look like the video game equivalent of Oscar bait, which I guess doesn't have to be a bad thing, but it also has you gunning down entire armies of bandits so it's still trying to be a mainstream game.

Wait, if Ellie is of bugger-all use in gameplay and essentially invisible to zombies then why is she even there?

So the devs could stick a female character on the front cover to score an easy win with the "moar female protagonists!" parade?

I do like the hell out of this game, and I also like how Yahtzee is super critical. He did bring up good points, but here are the two things I disagree with:

I found smoke bombs super helpful, in harder difficulties you have to conserve ammo and enemies can drain your health almost completely with a good power weapon shot. An example is at the very end when you have to get through a hallway full of fireflies all with rifles, I through smoke bombs and was able to take them out tactically because they can't see you nor can they usually shoot you. Also it usually makes enemies think you are at the smoke while you sneak around behind them or avoid them altogether.

Mick P.:

I think the plant zombies is a fresh idea. It's really weird that its never been done before. I think Yahtzee would've praised it if they were called "zombies" in game. But it sounds like the game keeps saying "infected" over and over instead of just using the natural word for zombie.

Zombies have too much lore behind them and they are fundamentally a ridiculous concept which I think anyone trying to create a sense of realism would be best avoiding. The thing is - they weren't the living dead and a pivotal part of the plot is that there could be a cure for the infection. How can you cure death? We know they are basically zombies - the writers know they are zombies. We don't need to call them zombies though because it's just silly for a world to acknowledge the idea of a mythical creature like that.

This game is 10/10 therefore this review is wrong and I will waste internetz space whining about it. /sarcasm

Should have brought the popcorn for this

Legion:

Lvl 64 Klutz:

Legion:

The rest of it I couldn't agree with less. It seemed like complaining for the sake of it and/or deliberately missing the point.

New to Zero Punctuation? That tends to be Yahtzee's thing... taking the piss out of games even if they are generally good.

Normally he seems to try and be humorous about it while being comically over the top, with this it just seems to be a mild rant. Usually even if I disagree with him I can find the humour in it, in this case it felt like somebody just complaining, like in a "Why does everybody love The Last of Us?" thread.

Yahtzee is just frustrated because he is cursed with the ability to imagine better games. Or that he has to keep reviewing awful games as a career. He literally has the worst job I can possibly imagine for myself. I would rather do anything than have to play these games for a living, much less say anything about them in public. I'd rather be in prison.

If you disagree with him, you just have low standards. He is right on the mark.

TurkeyProphet:

Mick P.:

I think the plant zombies is a fresh idea. It's really weird that its never been done before. I think Yahtzee would've praised it if they were called "zombies" in game. But it sounds like the game keeps saying "infected" over and over instead of just using the natural word for zombie.

Zombies have too much lore behind them and they are fundamentally a ridiculous concept which I think anyone trying to create a sense of realism would be best avoiding. The thing is - they weren't the living undead and a pivotal part of the plot is that there could be a cure for the infection. How can you cure death? We know they are basically zombies - the writers know they are zombies. We don't need to call them zombies though because it's just silly for a world to acknowledge the idea of a mythical creature like that.

No no. Zombie is a word. It's not a mythological creature. If you have something that acts like a zombie its a zombie. Even if its your dog who found a beer on the ground. Its hokey writing to call these things anything but zombies. Maybe to doctors first on the scene they are "infected" but realism, if you are a survivor, two days later, these things are zombies. It's unrealistic to call them anything else.

Yahtzee, thank you for this review. As someone who grew up on pulp SF and then spent his teens reading fanzine fanfic, I got worn out on the nihilist theme, particularly in an apocalyptic context, over ten years ago and have yet to recover. Your dislike of the ending fills me with warmth because now I know there's someone else out there who saw the ending and didn't scream "CITIZEN KANE OF GAMING I LOVE YOU!", and indeed had similar misgivings as I did.

It's nice to know I'm not alone.

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