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March 17th, 2014

Last of Us

Okay, so I know I'm about a 9 months behind the curve here, but I just finished Last of Us yesterday and I want to talk about it. On the upside it's been so long I don't feel like I have to censor myself, and say spoilers or anything. So how did I miss such an amazing game, and keep myself from ruining the ending? Well last year I made the decision to opt out of all console games in favor of playing nothing but PC based games, mostly MMOs. I wouldn't say it was a failed experiment, but I still have some catching up to with the rest of the free world by playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag & Bioshock Infinite. But at least Last of Us can join the complete pile with GTA5 & Arkham Origins.

Not knowing what I missed was easy, but keeping free of spoilers involved a total media black out on all my favorite gaming and pop culture sites for a few months. Until last December when Scotty sat me down and made me play the first five minutes of the game to get me good and hooked. I'm thankful it was at the top of my X-mas wish list and I didn't have to wait much longer.

First off, the game was perfect. No criticisms whatsoever. Save for a few skips & stutters in the cut scenes due to a over packed PS3 hard drive, it was an amazing gaming experience. No my beef is with the ending. Again, nothing wrong at all with Naughty Dog, its with anyone who had a problem with it. Forget any high morality arguments for the greater good you might have (that said I would have done the same); logistically how in the hell is killing one little girl going to save a world that far gone? Never mind how in a future struggling to keep the lights on is it going to mass produce a cure for the remaining population, they have simple issues that need major addressing first. Shipping comes to the front of my mind.

I don't think Fed Ex survived the rage zombie uprising. Marlene wiped out her entire crew just getting across the country, so how are they going to safely transport this cure to the few quarantine zones left? And I assume we have no international communications, so what about other countries? And even if there was one working plane left, and they had a crack commando team flown over, they have not idea what shape things are in over there. Or if the cure would even work on completely different strain of virus that's adaptive such as this.

And what about the countless factions of hunters and corrupt government officials you encountered throughout the game? It seems none of those groups care for the Fireflies either, so do think they are going to be willing stuck with a needle? And if you cured them, do you think civilization would be magically restored? No bottom line is the cure was only ever going to be intended for the Fireflies. Not only that, any group that would butcher a little girl on nothing more than a hunch would lord that flimsy bit of hope over their own people to keep them in line. None of them knows it, but Joel saved them too.

But I guess it comes down to the lie doesn't it? For the people who think it was wrong of Joel to lie to Ellie in the end don't remember how it was to be a kid. Grown-ups lie all the time! The good ones do it to protect their children, until they are old enough to understand the truth for themselves. The fact that she has hope & faith like that at the end of the story proves Joel was right to do it. Marlene was wrong, because even in a horrible world they live in, the next generation will endure as it always has. Maybe the cure will pass on from Ellie to her kids, and spread across the world that way. Whose to say that this is any faster a way of saving mankind?

Whew! Now I feel vindicated, and just in time for the DLC. As for the movie, I'm glad Hollywood has taken an interest. I just hope they leave Ellie and Joel alone. The way I see it they deserved their happy ending. Ellie can spend her life riding her horse and Joel can teach her how to play the guitar. Let the movie exist in the same world and have different meaning. Besides I'm sick of the Ellen Paige comparison; I don't see it. Then again brunette hair and ponytail isn't a signature look for me, so maybe that's what I'm missing. In any event I don't want that hack actress anywhere near this movie. It's bad enough I'm going to have stomach her in the next X-Men movie.

As for a game sequel, I think its very tempting to have the Fireflies try to reclaim Ellie, and the whole truth come out about Marlene. But why not expand the universe instead? Maybe follow a couple having their first kid in the midst of the initial fall out. Having to traverse the world with a very pregnant woman while its crumbling around them. Cut to 20 years later to see where the little family are now. And why not have them encounter a stranger and little girl while on the road? That's how great this game is, lots of possibilities.
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