The Last Of Us 📽 Through the Lens

With the current buzz around TLU (that's short for 'The Last of Us, and will be our acronym throughout the article) because of the new HBO series, seemed as good a time as any to talk bout this transformative game. 🙂

While I'm using 'Part 1' images, we will mostly be talking bout the original game. I will talk a little about the remake but not much.

Because in my opinion, this game's impact was so massive that the remake did not do it justice. 😅

And so❗️ In this edition of Through the Lens ğŸŽž, we'll be taking a look at Naughty Dog's' arguably best game of that generation, the post-apocalyptic, action-stealth hybrid, daughter-raising simulator for 2013: The Last of Us, Roll it! 📽

🔶 UP TOP 🔶

As always, I implore you to give the soundtrack a listen while reading this column. This time more so than others. This is, without a doubt, one of the best gaming soundtracks ever produced. And even if you never play the game, watch the show, or want anything to do with this franchise - you owe it to yourself to give it a listen. ğŸ”»ğŸŽ¶

Composed by the amazingly talented - Mr. Gustavo Santaolalla. Kudos, sir.

I played TLU shortly after its release. And became instantly immersed in the world, characters and story. Let me just say this straight up, I think this game is a masterpiece. A 10/10. While some might dispute that because of some gameplay quirks, I still think that doesn't matter. If you look at nitpicks you'll always find something, hence nothing will ever be a 10/10, so IMHO we have to make some concessions. 💯

So let me break it down why I hold this game in such high regard. 😇

🔶 THEMATIC 🔶

This game oozes through its presentation. You feel like you're a part of this world from the jump. Well, I should say from 'after the intro'. 😅 Speaking of which, let's talk about that intro.

The intro is set the night the world as we know it ends. // did that sentence make sense? we're rolling with it

It's amazingly made, making you play in Sarah's/the daughter's shoes and experience the birth of the apocalypse. The ending is gut-wrenching and instantly sucks you into the world, and more importantly, Joel - as a damaged character you just can't help but sympathize with.

We then skip 20 years and we're in it. Full-blown apocalypse - Joel is a ruthless survivor, killer of men, and pragmatist to the core. Every scene that leads after this intro sets the stage for this world we have suddenly been plopped into. The graffiti on the walls, the vents that transpire around you, the dialogue of the NPCs - everything. It's such a good stage setter that it stands as a prime example of how to introduce someone to a new world. 🤑

And this goes without saying since I've already heaped a ton of praise onto this game, but TLU never loses its thematic throughput. It stays consistent. This is the most important thing IMHO since it means the devs knew what they wanted, and actually managed to pull it off. A rarity to say the least. 😅

🔶 GAMEPLAY 🔶

"The Last of Us gameplay is meh."
Some internet dude, 2013

While if you told me this statement I wouldn't argue with you, I also think it does the game a disservice. For one thing, and this is the biggest criticism you could levi of the game - the controls are just bad. Playable, but frustrating. 😔

Again, I'm talking about the original game here. I haven't played Part 1, yet.

Apart from that, and maybe despite of it, the game's flow is still amazing. The moment-to-moment gameplay is fantastic - merging stealth and action in a way that's super engaging and engrossing. 😍

The other nitpick you could use is the stealth is not all that. And while not as bad as the control setup, I still think it's more than serviceable. And honestly, the fact that it's as good as it is, is amazing.

The game also has an exploration and crafting element. Encouraging the player to pay attention and to look around the environment to then craft weapons, ammo, and health kits from said exploration.

However, and this is a big, however, the most impressive thing the gameplay did was being... 🥁🥁🥁

🔶 IMMERSIVE 🔶

This. THIS! This is why this game is held in such high regard. For the time it was released there was nothing as immersive as TLU. NOTHING. It set a benchmark that immersive/story-driven games would try to emulate for years to come. In this sense, the game transformed the industry, setting a new standard along the way. 💯

I'll just list the many trend-setting things:

ğŸ’Ž Interactive gameplay where the player and NPCs interact in a way that's dynamic;
ğŸ’Ž An AI companion like no other;
ğŸ’Ž Storytelling through gameplay;

These three things were so profound at the time that games like 2018's God of War or A Plague Tale: Innocence or even the remake of Resident Evil 2 would not exist.

🔶 CHARACTERS AND STORY 🔶

Lastly, we have to touch up on the amazing characters and the story they inhabit. 😤

Joel, as sympathetic as he is, is still an anti-hero. The ending of this game and the choice he makes (which just in case I won't spoil it here) are one of the best endings and conclusions of a story I've witnessed. And I love stories and have consumed a metric ton of them, so that should speak for itself. 😁

Ellie on the other hand is so lovable. The game makes you feel like you're Joel - willing to sacrifice anything and go to any length to protect this girl. Even at the ultimate price. 😭 Ellie's development is also much chef's kiss 👌. Most of it happens during gameplay as well, which only adds to your attachment to her.

Lastly, every element of the game contributes to the overall theme of loss, and survival. Every character you meet, every story you come across, it all plays a part in this tale. And it is a tale. There's a reason why the HBO adaptation is so 1:1 with the game.

There is not a wasted breath of gameplay section. And when you have a package so tightly woven as this one, it makes perfect sense that it was the hit that it ended up becoming. 🙂

🔶 LEGACY 🔶

This one is easy - one of the greatest games of all time? Even if you don't put it in your Top X, you still cannot deny its place in the conversation.

The mark that TLU left on the industry could be felt to this very day. There's a reason why the sequel left fans so divided. Because everyone was attached to this game, perhaps an unhealthy amount. But you only get that from titles that deserve it. And TLU more than deserves it.

I have yet to play the second game so I cannot comment on that. But as fast as the original Last of Us is concerned, it will remain a certified classic. And if you have somehow managed to remain spoiler-free from this game, I beseech you (you like that word? yeee) give it a try. You won't regret it.

BW twirl. png

Thank you for reading, you rock! (and maybe roll) 👏👏👏

Shout-out to the 🍕PIZZA🍕 gang, 🤙 gang. 🤙

That was an easy write-up. I could talk bout this game for hours. I hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing about it. Again, not sure where we go from here, but I seem to be on a Sony trend lately, maybe I could find another Sony game we could talk about. 😁

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Have an amazing start to your weekend! 🙌

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