Last of Us

When my friends heard I was playing “Last of Us“, their common question was: “is it really that good”? It’s probably because this game got so much attention and praises. In fact it was all over game medias. After finishing this game my answer is YES. It’s indeed a wonderful game. Probably the best game we’ll ever have on PS3.

Breathtaking graphic details, zombie and apocalypse theme, top-class action engine (pretty much the same as Uncharted), almost perfectly mixed fighting and stealth scenes, “Last of Us” is equipped with all these above. And these points already make this game no less than any AAA level game. However, what makes “Last of Us” really distinguished is its story and the way it tells a story.

I feel like in SFC and PS era, I was often emotionally moved by games. Because at that time the graphics of a game can’t compare with movies. What gamers do was to watch pixelated characters and scenes and read text lines. It’s more like reading a novel and there is a large space for imagination. But since the PS2 era, games have been more and more cinematic. There were games with 15 minutes or even longer opening movies. Big titles (Final Fantasy) brags about the amount of cut scenes and their successes made this a trend.

Gamers like cutscene movies in games, because a game with 30~60 hour length have a much better chance than a movie to build a complete fantasy world. And these movies brought this world to “live” for gamers who have this world in mind. But cutscene movies are still movies. If games want to compete with movies, it’s not enough to only rely on length. Games still need to have attractive stories and engaging scripts. And games must utilize its advantage: interaction. It’s an art to properly putting interaction parts into story scripts, and it’s the uniqueness of games.

Unfortunately in the XBox 360 and PS3 era, I saw the whole game industry desperately lack of good script writers, especially those who are good at writing scripts for games. Shooting/racing/sports games started to dominate screens and great RPG/ACT/AVG were diminishing. In a word, it’s getting boring, and its “art” level is sliding. 10 years ago I was proud to be a console gamer and frowned upon anyone who thinks games are childish. In the past 2 years I was really disappointed about console games available on the market and beginning to think maybe iPhone would actually take over.

“Last of Us” finally shed me some light of hope. The story is comparable with any popular TV shows. If you’re watching Walking Dead, consider this game as a wonderful short alternative. The fighting pace of this game is controlled very well so you can enjoy it with sweat in hands and don’t get exhausted or bored. The voice performance is brilliant and I simply can’t get enough of the girl’s voice.

If I have to pick one bad from this game, its puzzle solving parts are kind of 1990 and a little too much. Well, maybe they were designed just to let Joe and Ellie enjoy more time together.