Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Best The Last of Us Remastered - PlayStation 4

Best The Last of Us Remastered - PlayStation 4




This is one of the most immersing game experiences I've ever had. I actually felt as if I had become Joel, trekking through this deadly, near hopeless world, struggling to survive for just one more day. On occasion, this level of immersion is broken, but for the most part, I truly felt like I had stepped into the shoes of the protagonist. His emotions became mine- the frustration, the elation, the horror, the desperation... and the slow, creeping pall of hopelessness in this dark, damaged earth.

If you are prone to night terrors or depression, do NOT play this game, because it will alternately terrify you and make you despair for the plight of this lost world. However, if you can handle the mature subjects of the tale, you are in for a real treat, and perhaps the greatest game to ever be produced in the genre of survival horror.

Yes, this game is scary, to a level I haven’t felt since the original Silent Hill on PS1. I generally felt powerless in this world and some of the enemies (primarily Clickers and Runners) make my stomach tighten with dread. If you're super hardcore, and you want a REALLY scary experience, I recommend you play on Hard difficulty for your first play-through, because the number of supplies (ammo, med kits, shivs, bombs, etc.) that are available on the Normal difficulty level are far too abundant for players who want a supreme challenge.

On the subject of crafting, this is a component of the game that is easy to learn, and fun to engage in. It further puts you into the mindset of Joel, a man desperate for survival, who has learned to salvage at all available opportunities. Slowly tuning up my weapons was also a lot of fun, though Joel is but a pale imitator compared to his rival protagonists (Nathan Drake, Marcus Fenix, etc.) in other games (but this is a good thing, for it feels realistic, and fits with the tone of the piece). Joel's wobbly aim, perpetual shortage of ammo, and rather sluggish speed make him feel like a real, middle-aged guy who has learned to survive in a dangerous world, not some superhuman who handles everything with grace.

The stealth aspect is also handled brilliantly, and engaging in it is extremely satisfying. This stealth system is a perfect evolution of that which was established in the Metal Gear Solid series (particularly #2), utilizing a great visual cone and audio circumference for your enemies, which must be studied for vulnerabilities and exploited at every possible opportunity. Determining how to approach each new challenge (lots of trial and error will be involved), and how to successfully clear an area of enemies (generally without being detected, as ammo and health are so limited) is really fun. These challenges become "3D puzzles" in a way, as you must use your noggin to break down enemy patterns and AI reactions, with the added tension of knowing that it only takes one slip-up to result in failure - and these enemies really do make you feel the fear.

Visually speaking, this game is remarkable, even by next gen standards. The improved graphics of the Remastered edition are immediately apparent to those who of us who played The Last of Us on PS3. Resolutions are incredibly detailed, but even more effective is the silky smooth frame rate. The attention to detail is simply staggering, and it all comes together to further enhance the emotional impact of this unforgettable experience. Gameplay is always more important than graphics in my book, but it certainly helps convey the emotions of the characters when everything looks this darned good.

The Last of Us is like nothing else. It is, quite frankly, an exhausting experience, one that left my mind reeling with the consequences of my fascinating journey, and the unbreakable bonds I had formed with Ellie and Joel - two fictitious characters who seem unshakably real. I just can’t forget about them, and I can’t forget about what we’ve been through together. It’s not just their story, it’s OUR story. We are family, struggling to survive in a dangerous world. We are the last of us.