The Last of Us was one of the best games ever made. With its sequel set to be released on June 19th, 2020, it is worth looking back at what made it so great,
To put it simply, The Last of Us was a different and fantastic story of a post-apocalyptic world where Joel and Ellie try to survive. The game bends the rules of moral decision making, combined with outstanding music, and gameplay that makes you feel like you under pressure at all times. Here are three things worth looking back at:
Complexity of the Story
The Last of Us bent all of the rules of morality in its story. From killing without mercy to torturing for information, the game does it all. While you are playing as “the good guy,” there are times where it doesn’t feel like it. However, it can all be washed down as “survival of the fittest.” And yet, it leaves a nasty taste of unfairness all around.
But the biggest and most complex moment is the ending, where Joel rescues Ellie from the Fireflies and then lies to her about the events that transpired.
The ending of the game can be looked at as selfish from Joel. Denying Ellie, the chance to do what she had always wanted, put her gift of immunity to good use. Instead, Joel made the decision to take her out and keep her by his side.
However, this was not just about Ellie but about humanity. Ellie was the salvation for humankind. The only known immune survivor to the Cordyceps pandemic taken and hidden from the world. Joel chose his affection for Ellie rather than the possibility to save mankind. And he will have to carry on his shoulders that the state of the world will never change because of his choice.
But, on the other hand, his decision is that of what any parent would make. His choice is understandable since he lost his daughter many years back. But at that moment, he had the opportunity to save Ellie, rather than just watch her die.
Regardless of whichever way you decide to look at it, it is hard not to be stuck in the middle of both choices. However, this decision will play a significant role in The Last of Us Part II and how Joel and Ellie will interact with each other.
Oh man, the majestic music. Gustavo Santaolalla, the composer for the music of The Last of Us, did an astronomical job with the simplicity of his music. While most video games focus on very loud and saturated compositions, Santaolalla did the complete opposite.
From the very beginning of The Last of Us, the music hits very dim, grim, and simple notes of very specific instruments. Despite being simple, and even singular at times, it blends perfectly with the tone of the game. Each track is indicating different emotions or events taking place in the game. Thus, making the experience much more immersive for the player.
The low notes that indicate conflict. The disharmonized tunes represent the unbalanced state of the world. The mellow solo Ronrogo, which lets players take in the moment at its fullest. All of these factors make the music as much part of the game as the action, clickers, and dialogs. Without Santaolalla’s fantastically unconventional music, the game would have had a different impact.
Out of all the games that make you think twice before entering a dangerous area, The Last of Us is the best at it. Between the dark theme of the game, the sound of clickers in dark rooms, the short spaces, and the lack of resources, the game can make anyone jump out of their seat.
Almost never does a player feel like they have enough room to maneuver to kill? Almost all the game’s encounters with infected or people are in closed quarters. Meaning you either maximize your movements or stealth all the way through. With every encounter, your heart is racing as you are trying to get past a dangerous area.
But just in case you thought that wasn’t frustrating enough, you also rely on almost no resources. Throughout the game, you must deeply search for any item that might be useful for crafting. These items will often be the difference between life and death. In this game, every bullet and arrow count, which makes the experience far more intense than any other game out there.
Of course, we can’t forget about the dark buildings with several floors and the sound of clickers and runners rushing towards you. These scenes are truly terrifying as you are trying to keep calm and detect where the infected are coming from. But deep down, all you want to do is run away from the chaos.
Lastly, is the fight with David. If there is ever a moment where you have to keep nerves of steel, it is this one. All of your practice throughout the game boils down to this fight scene. The sneaking around the tables, trying not to step on glass. Trying to figure out where David is so you can get to him before gets to you. No weapons to rely on, only a knife. Checking every angle constantly to make sure he can’t see you. This scene alone keeps you at the edge of your seat, making it one of the best boss fights in gaming history.
Looking back, The Last of Us was surely a game to remember. With the sequel set to come out on June 19th, we can expect all of this and a lot more. And if the Last of Us exceeded expectations back in 2013, we can expect The Last of Us Part II to break all limitations for many years to come.