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 Post subject: Monkeys and Giraffes - aka why I don't like The Last of Us
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:59 pm 
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Over the last few episodes of Hot KoCode, The Last of Us and its success has been brought up many times and with it, my apparent disdain for it and its recognition. Recently at the GDC Awards, Last of Us took home Best Game Design which to me sounds just as appropriate as giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama.

So I decided to bring my blog back up from the grave and make a really long post about this. It'd be great to hear your thoughts not only on the post but also the game itself - I feel that there hasn't been enough discussion about this particular offspring of Naughty Dog's that isn't just "omg lol its so good and i like it and its beutiful", so it'd be interesting to see what y'all think. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Monkeys and Giraffes - aka why I don't like The Last of
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:17 pm 
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Let me preface this by saying that I have yet to play The Last of Us, so I'm speaking entirely in general terms here.

I'm not sure I understand the beef with the gameplay, not in relation with the overall package. You call it "boring and repetitive". If this was Call of Duty, I could understand that since there's nothing BUT the gameplay to hold your attention ('cause LOL STORY). In essentially the same breath, though, you talk about how compelling and interesting the story is. If the gameplay is at least serviceable (read: not broken), why doesn't that serve as a vehicle for the story? Why aren't the great story and amazing visuals enough to overcome "meh" game mechanics?

Also, I wonder why you felt it necessary to distill the experience to those three things, considering that you can do that with any AAA game (and usually come out with fewer things):

Assassin's Creed - Jump on buildings and murder dudes
Grand Theft Auto - Run around and murder dudes
Batman: Arkham - Beat up dudes because Batman is not a killer

I have yet to play a GTA game that I really enjoy, but I love the Assassin's Creed and Batman: Arkham franchises, despite the fact that their core elements are pretty simple. It probably helps that I'm a big fan of stealth gameplay, too, but both of those worlds are incredibly fascinating to me. Personally, I think it's okay if the team that did Origins wasn't as great with the rhythm-based brawling as Rocksteady was with the first two games; as long as the story is anywhere near as compelling as the previous ones, I'm fine with working a little harder to beat the shit out of Black Mask's goons, because I'm the goddamn Batman.

I'm not saying you went into The Last of Us just wanting it to be bad or anything of the sort, but maybe, instead of dissecting the game the way you did in your review, you could evaluate it on the overall package? I dunno. I might just be talking out of my ass here.

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 Post subject: Re: Monkeys and Giraffes - aka why I don't like The Last of
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:28 pm 
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Holy crap I'm late on this.

Thanks for reading Smokey! Really do appreciate it :D

Smokey wrote:
I'm not sure I understand the beef with the gameplay, not in relation with the overall package. You call it "boring and repetitive". If this was Call of Duty, I could understand that since there's nothing BUT the gameplay to hold your attention ('cause LOL STORY). In essentially the same breath, though, you talk about how compelling and interesting the story is. If the gameplay is at least serviceable (read: not broken), why doesn't that serve as a vehicle for the story? Why aren't the great story and amazing visuals enough to overcome "meh" game mechanics?


Gameplay holding your attention as opposed to the story is extremely valid in my book, and that's actually why I mentioned Call of Duty in the post—in the first few iterations of that game, gameplay was actually a first-class citizen and noticeably so. This might just be me but story overcoming 'meh' mechanics does not sound like a videogame to me. I guess that was my main beef with the gameplay—it was not consistent with the story it was carrying, and that's a necessary relationship IMO.

Smokey wrote:
Also, I wonder why you felt it necessary to distill the experience to those three things, considering that you can do that with any AAA game


IMO the games you mentioned at least try to hide the fact that they can be distilled. The Last of Us made no such effort. I guess my point is it felt a little claustrophobic; I'm sure you'll agree that games like Assassin's Creed and the Arkham series had some variety in their worlds despite there being no tangible variety in gameplay (although I also can't really speak for myself since I haven't really played them extensively). I literally cannot point out more than 3 visually distinct areas in The Last of Us that stood out, and the vast majority of the stuff I remember going through is sewers and ladders.

It felt like the sole purpose of the gameplay was to provide some sort of gap between the cutscenes. I don't really get that often with other games.

Smokey wrote:
I'm not saying you went into The Last of Us just wanting it to be bad or anything of the sort, but maybe, instead of dissecting the game the way you did in your review, you could evaluate it on the overall package? I dunno. I might just be talking out of my ass here.


I guess my broader point is the fact that The Last of Us never really was able to demonstrate the presence of an overall package with me. And again—that's probably just me. The story was pretty good, but the world surrounding it felt incomplete and obscure. There was no particular effort in outlining a struggle outside that of Joel and Ellie's other than a few text snippets found here and there in some random houses. Gameplay was entirely separate from playing a part in the story other than the questionable inclusion of some quicktime events. I agree that this is not very different from a lot of other very decent games out there; but for me, The Last of Us seems to be the scraping of that barrel. Perhaps it was indeed because I was expecting something a little different out of it from the beginning.

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