So I’m fresh of my first play through of Naughty Dog’s quite brilliant The last of us, a game that really has pushed the current generation of gaming to its very limits of graphical quality, character animation and storytelling. I have to admit, a 10 out of 10 from over 30 critic reviews and a 95 overall on Metacritic not only had me desperate to be part of this game, but also looking for a few blemishes on perfection when I started.
Come on, you have to admit when a game is deemed as “perfect” you do go out looking for the odd bit of frame rate dips and glitches, it’s human nature. Like when you find the person who’s just perfectly your type, you’re always thinking “OK, so what’s the catch? Have you got 500 cats at your house or a thirst for human blood… or worse, you really like After Earth and want us to go see it! Eugh.
Well yes, there are a few inconsistencies in the game. The AI sometimes has Ellie or other survivors being clearly visible in enemy lights but not spotted while you’re sneaking by and a clicker got stuck between some stairs and some debris, but other than that I’m really struggling to say it’s not a 10/10 game – but for one niggling thought.
How would this work over here in the UK, specifically where I live?
I’m a Yorkshire lad from the sunny region of Huddersfield, living near Halifax and Bradford. Now this game got me thinking about the whole possibility of an infection spreading and turning the people into crazed lunatics and the world around us into disarray and destruction… Then I thought: how would that be any different than it was now!? I’m deeply serious when I say this, because if this happened “up-north” I’m really not sure if we’d even notice.
Let’s look at the evidence:
The Infected. Hoards of them roam the cities of The Last of Us with Runners being recently infected by a disease that causes growths in the brain. These growths continue to grow over time and turn people into Clickers who completely lose their eyesight and rely on sound and instinct. The infection increases aggression and makes us lose our minds attacking anyone we see.
Now I’m not being nasty or unfair when I say that this pretty much sums up an average Saturday night where I come from. Most people by midnight have lost their sight, minds and all sense of reason with aggression on overload. And personally, I’d rather deal with a Clicker than a drunken middle-aged woman at the local pub who’s decided she wants a kiss. At least the clicker can’t see me if I hide!
The desolate world. So from the start of the game 20years have passed and the word is a ruin of what it had been previously. Cities are rendered beautifully with crumbling, decaying buildings around you. Abandoned cars pack the streets reminiscent of the mad panic people were in at the time of the outbreak with incredible attention to detail. Trucks block paths and make you look for alternate routes to get to where you need to be adding problem solving depth to the gameplay.
But here in Yorkshire most of our old buildings are crumbling away already and that’s just how we like it! Also, trying to get in to work at 8 in the morning often sees many, many HGV’s, tractors and vans blocking off all blummin’ directions on a regular basis! Not only that but some cars around here look worse than the 20 year old wrecks in the game! My dad owns a car that is more rust than paint and when he saw me playing – at a section with a beaten up rusted vehicle that wasn’t working – he genuinely said, “S’not too bad that thing, bet I could get it going wi’ a bit of a push.”
The views. The last of us is truly a beautiful game, towards the end there are some sights that will make you stop playing to get to the next section of story just to look down over the mountains our up a river bank just to marvel at what naughty dog created.
But having said that – and all the things I’ve said about marauding crazy people on Saturday nights much like the infected (we tend to call the Chavs up here) and rust buckets for cars – we do have some amazing views up here that are quite special.
So thank you Naughty Dog for your truly wonderful piece of gaming that really is a fitting send off to your PS3 contributions. Your 20year on, post pandemic world really is something to experience but honestly, here in Yorkshire, I think it would take 20years for people to even notice something had happened.