“The Last of Us Has Ruined Games for Me”

3

The Last of Us has ruined games for me.”

My roommate uttered that as he finished Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, let’s call him Zack. After finishing a brilliant game such as The Last of Us, it’s hard to follow that up with just any game. Now, I have my own quibbles about Uncharted 3 and am pretty very vocal about them; at one point Zack even called me a “backseat gamer”. However, witnessing him watch the ending without a hint of emotion caught me a bit off guard. Uncharted 3 isn’t that bad is it? Then he followed it up with those interesting choice of words, and I was intrigued. Before I go on with this story, I should tell you that he has yet to play Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune nor Uncharted 2: Among Thieves yet. Shocking, I know.

So far, I’ve seen Zack beat The Last of Us, and now Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Before those two, I’ve never really seen him play too many video games. He used to play a lot and actually owns all three current-gen consoles in the house. However, when The Last of Us released, to rave reviews nonetheless, his interest was piqued. So one day, I came home from work with a copy in my hand, and before I knew it he handed me a check and it became his copy.

“Well, is that everything you hoped for?”

During his playthrough of The Last of Us, he was completely absorbed, and it’s not hard to be immediately immersed in it either (especially by how it begins). While he was playing, he would explore every nook and cranny of every room, unnecessarily hoard every item (normal mode pfft), and even increase the volume every time there was a dialogue string. I told him he could adjust the volume of the dialogue in the options and even after doing so, he continued to raise the TV’s volume, especially during the cutscenes. As meticulously as he played the game, it was somewhat understandable. Stealth plays a vital part in The Last of Us and is one reason for its careful pacing. He made sure he received the full experience. By the time the game was over, it was obvious that The Last of Us would be his choice for game of the year.

Even though I’m sure you’re all aware, I have to say it, The Last of Us is a marvelous game. It excels in almost every way: storytelling, gameplay, design, and even the multiplayer (though not the best ever conceived, Nate Wells). It’s well deserving of Zack’s own personal game of the year award. Once his “high” had left him however, he began searching his collection for a substitute to further fuel his addiction; thus he began Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

One of the high moments in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Charting was not as dire as survival.

It’s possible that a player might leave The Last of Us, or any great game for that matter, with higher expectations. Zack fell victim to this phenomenon. Having just beaten Naughty Dog’s more recent title, Zack started Uncharted 3 on the “Hard” difficulty setting thinking he was up to snuff. Little did he know, or perhaps he just forgot, that Uncharted’s pace is much faster compared to The Last of Us. Just by having the ability to quickly swap inventory, use the environment against multiples of enemy AI,and shoot while moving hastens the gameplay immensely. Players are more prone to death with the amount of freedom in character control while at a faster pace compared to The Last of Us, and that’s exactly what Zack did, he died… a lot (185 times).

It wasn’t just the gameplay that was different, but he didn’t feel as involved with the story as he did with The Last of Us. I can’t really blame him here; Uncharted 3’s story isn’t as strong as its previous installments and seemed to focus on a lot of over the top moments. By the time Zack reached the final chapter of the game, he said to me: “I don’t even know the villain’s name.” He came up with a name a few seconds later, but the fact that it wasn’t memorable enough to him to just come up with right away is, surprisingly, not an example of Uncharted 3’s poor storytelling, it’s a testament to how unforgettable The Last of Us really is. How’d I get there from here you ask? Well, that name he came up with for Uncharted 3’s villain: “Marlene”. Marlene is the main antagonist in The Last of Us. The villain in Uncharted 3 is “Marlowe”.

Then I thought about it some more; Uncharted 3 is by no means a bad game. Heck, if Greg Miller of IGN rated it a 10/10,then it has to be pretty good, right? Or at least on the same level of The Last of Us, which also received a 10/10 from IGN. Like so many others, I also left Uncharted 3 rather disappointed. But this wasn’t because another game ruined it for me, it couldn’t be… or so I thought.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - ”Last year’s model”

Remember Uncharted 2: Among Thieves? I played Uncharted 2 endlessly until the day Uncharted 3 released. Every criticism I have about Uncharted 3 actually stems from my experience with second installment. Uncharted 2 had everything, and did it extremely well. Unlike Zack, I wouldn’t go so far as to say Uncharted 2 ”ruined” Uncharted 3 for me though. Uncharted 3 released with many issues, my biggest frustration coming from the botched aiming mechanics. The multiplayer was fun, initially, but was ruined by an abundance of lag and multiple weapon tweaks causing an imbalance in gunplay. I’ve never played a game that has players trade kills due to lag as much as in Uncharted 3. I guess it’s a good thing Zack has yet to touch the multiplayer.

The Last of Us doesn’t bring a lot of new things to the genre but does everything very well, much like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves did at the time. The deeply intimate story with its characters is only augmented by its gameplay: from the close 3rd-person view of Joel to the aid provided by Ellie. At its core, The Last of Us is a game about a relationship, and for Zack, it was a relationship that ended prematurely. Perhaps it was just too soon for Zack to take on another endeavor right after his thrill with the last one… or maybe he should have played Uncharted 2: Among Thieves instead. At some point, we’ve all parked in the wrong garage.

Share.

About Author

()

In RL I love to play sports, watch TV and movies, mess with new tech, critique ads, and talk anything and everything video games! In VGL you can find me (crxss) playing anything from shooters to rpgs (not the rocket launcher variety).

  • Devoun Edwards

    Really good read.

  • jb226

    Such a great article you’ve written here….I took a long hiatus from gaming, I owned a ps2 but never really did much gaming on it outside of the launch window and I figured I’d never have any interest in it again, I got wrapped up in playing music and gaming was too much of a time suck from actually creating something so I quit. The rest of my time was taken up with an addiction, so when I got clean, I had to find more things to take up my time and occupy my mind. I just happened to see a commercial for Uncharted 2, saw an early trailer for God of War 3, and I figured those two games would justify a purchase of a ps3 slim alone. Playing Uncharted 2 for the first time was indescribable…after that long gap not paying attention, it was ironic that video games had progressed and matured to such an amazing extent that they became one of the few things able to keep my attention away from the distractions I was avoiding, I was simply blown away. It’s such a great feeling truly experiencing something special for the first time, and I will be a lifelong purchaser of Naughty Dog games for that simple fact, but like you’ve said in your article and just like the drugs that had become a problem in my life, nothing is as good as your first time, whereas with drugs I was constantly searching for that again, with gaming, I’m fine with that, releases like The Last of Us are magical in a different way, but it really seemed to achieve the unachievable, being a game that was worth so much more than the sum of its parts. I eagerly await their next entry into the gaming landscape, be it another new Uncharted (hopefully, it would be a nice palette cleanser for me personally), or the Last of Us, or something totally new, that new experience is what excites me the most about next gen, being able to be immersed in a different world that much more. Your article has brought back some great memories, and only great authors can accomplish that, kudos.

  • http://twitter.com/teh_tommy teh_tommy

    Interesting read. I can’t recall ever running into a situation like that myself, but it’s always fascinating to see a perspective like that laid out.

banner