Last Of Us- An In-Depth View

Tom Bissell has written a really interesting article about The Last Of Us, looking at it from a much deeper perspective into the mechanics of the game rather than simply marveling it’s aesthetic brilliance.

On a narrative level, The Last of Us is about survival, but this is not what makes the game such a model of subtlety. Most contemporary video games are about survival, however facilely. What makes The Last of Us subtle is how rigorously its mechanics and rule set express and emphasize the horror and tedium of survival. One of the things you find yourself doing a lot in The Last of Us is finding ladders, which are used to ascend to higher ground. Another thing you find yourself doing a lot is searching for rags and rubbing alcohol to craft med kits. Another thing you do is wander into abandoned houses and rifle through drawers and cupboards in the hopes of finding scissors and masking tape, which you can use to make a shiv. And don’t forget about the planks of wood, which are awesome to bridge gaps between buildings. And hey, look over there! A brick. The point is, The Last of Us makes you search and scrape for depressingly common objects, which you put to depressingly common use. It doesn’t bother to dress up, make “interesting,” or in any way glamorize this aspect of the game, or cater at all to what the majority of its audience will want to do, which is feel powerful and heroic. It’s pretty hard to feel powerful while carrying a ladder. It’s pretty hard to feel heroic while sneaking up on an enemy and savagely beating him to death with a brick. Indeed, the depiction of melee violence in The Last of Us is as upsetting as anything I’ve played. Significantly, this kind of violence is almost always one’s last resort.

There are plenty of guns in The Last of Us, and one critic is already on the record saying there’s too much shooting in the game. I confess this was not my experience. For the vast majority of my playing time, my bullet total was in single digits. I often wished there were a hell of a lot more guns, especially when I was hunkered down behind a wall, hot-eared, my heart hammering away, while I waited to sneak to the next piece of cover, because there were five enemies I could see and I had only three bullets to my name. Many gunfights can be avoided, but whenever gunfights do erupt they play out in frantic, unpredictable ways. You run a lot, and hide a lot, which tend to be no-nos in modern game design, as they’re thought to (and do) disempower the player. This is to say nothing of the rattlesnake cunning of the game’s enemy AI. If you’re in a gunfight and don’t move, you’re flanked in seconds and dead soon after that. When you pull a gun on an unarmed human enemy who happens to be sprinting straight at you, he’ll do something highly unusual for a video-game enemy that happens to be sprinting straight at you, which is sensibly turn around and run. A few human enemies, when you knock them down, will beg for their lives. While this last touch seems a little too self-consciously “gritty” for my taste, The Last of Us mostly stays clear of heavy-handed moralizing about violence. The few times it does succumb to heavy-handed moralizing about violence are, not coincidentally, the least effective moments of creative director Neil Druckmann’s otherwise excellent, sensitive, and understated script.

If you play a lot of video games, you’ll probably be shocked by how stripped of obvious gameisms The Last of Us is. The game never tells you when it saves or when a new chapter begins. The HUD is hieroglyphically austere. Its bestowal of in-game trophies that communicate player accomplishment are as parsimonious as any mainstream game ever made. During the flow of action or exploration there is very little iconic intrusion, by which I mean no glowing “Go here, stupid!” indicators. You wind up getting turned around and disoriented quite a bit, which allowance stands as one of the more audacious pillars of the game’s design. For all its simplicity and mechanically meaningful tedium, however, for all its attempts to ground its mechanics in something that could be described as video-game realism (which is reality shorn of 93 percent of what makes it real), The Last of Us does have its gameisms. Many of them. Eating candy bars, for instance, restores a bit of your health. Enemies don’t spot Ellie when you’re both sneaking around, even if she happens to be squatting at their feet. Many of the game’s guards were apparently trained at the Stare-at-a-Wall Guard Training Academy.

People will inevitably complain about this stuff, but they’re unwise to, given that the removal or alteration of the above gameisms would necessarily result in a vastly more frustrating experience. Norman Mailer once said, “Style is an attack on the nature of reality.” The designers of The Last of Us put an estimable amount of thought into how their chosen medium best attacks the nature of reality. I can’t imagine that anyone making an action game in the next 10 years won’t carefully study what The Last of Ushas, in this respect alone, accomplished.

Check out the full article over on Grantland.

Last Of Us All Of The Cut-Scenes

As you can tell by my last few posts I LOVED playing The Last Of Us! The art is beautiful, the storytelling is amazing, the voice acting is incredible and the gameplay is pretty good. It’s up there in my top 10 all time games list, possibly the top 5 and is a MUST-PLAY for every gamer! It took me about 18hours on Hard mode and I would recommend most gamers play on this, as it wasn’t too hard- there were only 3-4 points in the game where I kept on dieing and having to redo over and over.

If you cannot afford a PS3 or won’t be playing it for some reason then here is a treat for you, you can enjoy the beauty of the game and the amazing storytelling by watching all of the cut-scenes in this movie. I definitely recommend you watch it if you don’t intend to play it as the main thing I thought whilst I was playing the game is that it would make an amazing film/book. I haven’t watched them through in order like this as I’ve seen them all in game and am going to play through it another couple of times anyway, but hopefully the story will come across well.


(If there is a problem with these cut-scenes or the link to this there are another couple of versions on YouTube, this was the first 1080p version I found)

Last Of Us Concept Art



Naughty Dog really do have some crazily talented people, these are some concept art images from their team. Some of these images I would love a super high-res version of to get them printed out and have frames on my wall they are that pretty!

Check out many more images over on Kotaku.

Last Of Us Character Models



Mike Knowland did an incredible job as the Lead Character Artist over at Naughty Dog working on these models for The Last Of Us. The characters look stunning and the Zbrush models look even more amazing! A couple of things that I especially loved in the characters were the clothes, which had tons of detail and the shaders looked spot on, and also the facial hair on Joel.

Check out more of these amazing images over on his Zbrush thread on Zbrush Central.

Journey Timelapse Painting



SpoonfishLee has created a timelapse video for his painting of a character from Journey. I love that game (this has reminded me I should have another play-through!) a this is a really pretty image and an interesting video showing how it was made, as well as allowing people to download the brushes he used.

Check out the original image over on his DeviantART page.

And download the brushes here.

No No Kuni IGN Video Review

Ni No Kuni is THE game I have been going on about for the past couple of years and one that I have had pre-ordered for a year! This IGN video review shows all of the reasons why I can’t wait for this game to come out- 1st February. It looks beautiful and now IGN gave it a 9.4 it has made me even more excited!

A Tour Of LEVEL-5

This is a really interesting tour around some of the LEVEL-5 building- the Ni No Kuni creators. It looks like a really nice set-up, although from the video most of them seem to be working on only one monitor- I couldn’t do that!

Don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers for the game in the video.

Destiny- The Next Big Thing From Bungie




A leaked document has revealed at least some art and the basic story background for the next game from Bungie, the creators of the Halo universe.

The document sent to IGN, and also to Kotaku, says that the game is set on a future Earth where, after a brief colonisation of the stars, humanity has been attacked by aliens and forced back to a single city on our home planet, where we are protected by a large, mysterious spacecraft. Another alien. Only this time it’s a good one.

Players will take the role of what’s basically a space knight, travelling the stars, exploring the worlds and of course fighting the alien menace.

The game is being pitched as a highly social experience, sort of like an MMO, with the universe hoping to appeal to as wide a variety of people.

We received a document earlier this month containing many of the same images visible on IGN, but with a twist; a reader claimed they had found the document on a USB stick left behind in a coffee shop. We refrained from posting them at the time because we weren’t sure how real these images were. Some images seemed like they could be for Bungie’s mysterious game. Others, we’d find, were not. But as we were tracking things down, Bungie confirmed the authenticity of some of the images to IGN.


I’m sure that the final game will be amazing whatever happens and I am excited to see a new universe created by Bungie after what they did with Halo.

You can find out more detailed information from an earlier Kotaku article here.

Unfinished Swan

Giant Sparrow’s debut game Unfinished Swan is amazing. The art-style is amazing and it has a nice story to go with it. If you like games that are a bit different and looks great then check this out- it is a mix of Journey, Epic Mickey and something entirely new. Sadly the game is quite short which makes it quite a premium game for the £10 price- it took me about 5hours to 100% it, with the first story play-through taking just over a couple of hours- but I am happy as I loved every minute of those few hours and will replay and explore the world again. The amount of content feels slightly less than that of Journey, and you do not have the online play to make the replay experience feel different.

DO NOT watch the video below if you are going to buy the video- as it is more fun finding these things out yourself when you play. If you are NOT sure about the game then check out the IGN review below:


Developer interviews:


Check out the Giant Sparrow website here.