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My thoughts on The Last of Us (PS3): Very deserving of the hype!

genre: action, adventure, horror

Ever since this game came out I wanted to play it and to see for myself if it was worth all the hype. Then I read and saw people complaining about how overrated The Last of Us especially since it did not make good on what was promised. Well, I am here to tell you that those people are wrong. 

I seriously don't understand the hatred towards this game. Yes, I can't deny that this game is focused on the narrative and that the gameplay is in function of it. If it is done like here then I am all for it. It does help you immerse in the story plus there are quite some sequences that will have you biting on your nails because of how incredibly tense they are. This is not like Enslaved where there hardly is any real gameplay. No, here you are in control of your action most of the time. Here and there the game takes over and puts you into situations where you have no choice but to shoot and run. Normally I don't like to be forced to play a certain way. However in this case it does help you to keep on your toes and stay concentrated. Plus it makes the monsters (infected) real scary and threatening.

For me this game felt like playing in TV Show The Walking Dead. There are a lot of similarities when it comes to the themes it is dealing with and what people need to do to survive. Most items are rare so every time when you come across a building you search it for things you can use. And each time when you did it you need to be cautious since a clicker or runner could be roaming around. No matter how many times you have had to deal with those infected whenever you get confronted with them they managed to raise the hairs on your back. They are always creepy and menacing. The world that was is no more and the world you live in now is one where every move could bring you closer to death. Naughty Dog has managed to capture a magnificently scary and beautiful world at the same time and does give some food for thought. 

The Last of Us is basically a stealth based game. Seeing how most enemies can kill you very quickly it's the most prudent way of going about. You are aided with enough mechanics to keep it fun and exciting although it takes a little while to get used to them. Be aware though that the controls aren't as tight needed for this type of game. If you can't be bothered by playing it stealthily you also have the option to go guns blazing or fighting your way through. Only then you will limit yourself somewhat on the count of not finding enough ammo to loot. I do admit that sometimes it was very gratifying to just blow enemies to kingdom come. Especially after some of the events you have gone through.

It took me a few hours to get into this game. But when I did I was hooked. I felt compelled to keep playing as much as possible cause the game kept beckoning me. Most of the time this was because of the wonderful fusion of narrative and gameplay. You really care for the characters and you don't want them to get harmed. But at the same time you also witness the characters do horrible things to others since it is a dog eat dog world where you have to do whatever you can to survive. And I personally love the exploration of such themes.

Overall The Last of Us is one hell of a game and that because of it's mechanics does invite you to replay it many times. So that is why I say that this game is very much deserving of the hype. 

Here I will share my thoughts on the ending and will contain spoilers. So you have been warned. 

I have read some comments and reviews that find the ending ambiguous. I guess that the people who find this are either very naive or very optimistic. As someone who tends to be more on the optimistic side I do believe you have to be realistic sometimes. It is good that you hold on to hope and stay positive. But you should also not get too hopeful since it very likely will lead to many disappointments and destruction of the soul. Do you really think that in the whole wide world there really is only one person that can provide the answer to finding a cure? Even if this were true how much closer would this bring people to actually healing the people and it's world? Isn't it important to find out first how all of these infections started in the first place? Was it a case of nature getting back out or was it manufactured by people? If so would these people be so reckless and careless not to have made a cure to keep themselves save? Is it fair to put all the responsibility concerning this cure to a 14 year old and her adoptive father? Both of them have gone through hell and back to get where they were told to go in order to save humanity. But how humane are these people really? When they find out they can't analyze or extract what they needed without killing Ellie they decide to do this without telling her. It is at this point they play god over something of which still has to be established if it will bring them the cure or not. Joel's actions are understandable and just. He rescues the one person he cares about the most. When you live in a world like this it comes down to who you care for and who you can trust. Joel doesn't know these fireflies. And it doesn't really seem these fireflies are that efficient and competent. For all he knows they are dreaming of something that never will be. Ellie deserves better. She deserves a life in which she is cared for and loved and hopefully happy. Was it right for Joel to lie to Ellie? Was it right for him to rescue her and kill all the people standing in his way? In this case it was. He did what most parents do. He looked out for her even if this would mean it would go against her wishes. Despite her life experience you still have to remember that Ellie is a 14 year old and won't understand certain things until she gets older. 

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