New console and Face-Munching Fungi
Updated: Jul 17
I bought my first console ever (not including handhelds): the luxurious PS4, and decided that the first game I should play on it had to be The Last of Us Remastered.
When I finally finished playing, I was a damn mess. I already knew it was going to be great, because I originally watched Cry (YouTuber) play the game and it looked absolutely amazing. It's become one of my all-time favorite games since. First off, before we get down to how this game broke me, y'all need to know why it is that I fell in love with it in the first place.
INCOMING SPOILERS AND NERD RAMBLINGS
Amazing graphics: The remastered edition meant the game definitely got an upgrade from the PS3 version.
Just look at that. I'm incredibly picky when it comes to video quality, and this met all my expectations. FPS: great. Texture: great. Added detail: You bet.
People have asked me, "Why did you buy the remastered Last of Us, when you already know what's going to happen?"
Watching and playing the game are two very separate things. While I was initially drawn because Cry was playing it, the beauty behind this masterpiece is what sucked me in. I knew that this was an adventure that I'd have to do on my own. I was determined to save money and get my first console, with this as my game. It just was good timing when the remastered edition came out.
I answered back, "TO SEE EVERY STITCH IN JOEL'S FLANNEL SHIRT."
Relatable and down-to-earth characters: Everyone was separate in how they acted and easily believable when it comes down to comparing it in RL settings.
This gripping scene with Sarah. I KNEW IT WAS COMING AND YET I STILL WASN'T PREPARED. SHE WASN'T THE GIRL ON THE BOX OR THE PROMO COVERS. THAT'S NOT THE SAME LITTLE GIRL.
Visceral. That's one word to describe how incredibly hard it was to watch her die in her father's arms. The voice acting in this game was incredible. All the cutscenes in the beginning too, where you get to see that she's a really nice, thoughtful girl who only wanted to surprise Joel on his birthday. Damn you, Onion Ninjas.
Moving onto the next injured girl, the first time I heard Ellie speak, I laughed real hard. The girl needs a swear jar, but then again, nothing wrong with being candid. She stood out immediately, in how no one should ever underestimate her. She's got the best punny jokes, an accurate aim, and a fully functional bullshit detector. It's not just because she grew up in a post-apocalyptic, viral wasteland that she's so strong, but it's because she made a promise to keep on going no matter what. Now that, is admirable. Ellie spends a majority of the game pissed off and that makes sense. I would be too in a world where anything can kill me.
Damn David and his wily, creepy self. Yet in the entirety of David's character, as Nolan North explains is compelling and as much as I hate him, I find it hard to. The cutscene when she's fighting him while the restaurant is burning away, I almost couldn't breathe let alone do anything to help her. This was such a solidifying moment in Joel and Ellie's relationship, because it pretty much goes full circle in the tragic daughter aspect. I'm crying for days, because in this moment she really became my baby girl too.
Now I can write an essay on Joel and how he's great, deeply flawed, and why I've reserved a special place in my heart for him; but the bottom line is that the basis for his character creation is that he's a dad.
The sole reason he has done some horrible things in his past is because he deeply loves his family and he'd go to the ends of the Earth for his daughter (whether there's a blood relation or not). Joel's an Antihero and I respect him nonetheless. He's someone you can count on so long as your interests are aligned. The mystery behind his murky path is something that fuels his character. I do like seeing how he's trying to be a better person for Ellie, but there are those times when he slips and his dark side shows. Which makes perfect sense for how Joel has really struggled in this world and has been on both sides.
Gritty action sequences: DAMN, JOEL. The weapons you carry in your backpack. Alright, from crafting Molotovs and nail bombs, to upgrading guns and melees, to just fully using your fists to hammer in an infected's face, you get your pick. I loved the variety. Kudos to the designers for the beauty that is El Diablo's scope and armor penetration (took only one shot with the right enhancements to put down your enemy) and the Shorty's closeup firepower when you ran out of bullets in your shotgun. I never did, but it was nice to have the option.
Weapon of choice? Shotgun. Always.
Shout-out to the flamethrower you'll get by the end of the game. Making short work of the runners and clickers (need a little more effort with the bloaters) since the first time I tried it out. Searing fungal flesh and preventing the spread.
But if there was a medal of honor, it'd go to my beloved shivs. Thank you for the many, many saves from those infected and those not. I've never felt safer from clickers than when I had one of you around. (If you haven't played, MAX THE SHIV MASTER SKILL. IT'S INVALUABLE.)
This is the curb-stomping fun that I mentioned in Close Quarters Combat. Joel is a beast when it comes to fending himself and Ellie off from vicious infected and human attacks. He's got great finishers involving his stealth and sonar ear-vision (??), with strangle-holds, head slamming, and deadly KOs. Ah, bliss.
But I do have to mention that this is the first game where I had to do so much crouch fighting. Never thought I'd have to hack at someone's kneecaps or shoot from below so many times in my life. Wasn't bad though, I ended up depending on my ear-vision a lot more than I thought.
Nostalgic music: Now I don't know how Gustavo Santaolalla did it, but the moment the Last of Us theme song comes on, I feel nostalgia. I'm entirely certain that I've never heard this song before the game and yet this makes me want to pick up an acoustic guitar and silently strum on a back porch in a summer night illuminated by fireflies, while the stillness of that summer air, melds with the scent of wet dirt, and grass; in the distance are green hills, and to my side is an oak tree to keep me company.
All from one song. It connects with the image of Joel's hometown and his own guitar so well.
I absolutely loved this game. I never feel like time is wasted talking about it or watching videos of newcomers reacting to it. It was one hell of a journey and I'm beyond ready for the next.