So i’m currently working away from home. This leads to lots of spare time in the evenings during the week, but it leaves a horrendous commute down the M25 on a Friday in its wake. This particular journey was pretty naughty with bumper to bumper traffic as far as the eye could see. Fortunately however, it did leave me in the extended company of a very good friend and fellow gamer, and as such the conversation skirted around the usual – current games we’re invested in, TV shows of note, but ultimately as per standard – our all time favourites lists. For me, it couldn’t be anything but The Last Of Us.
For the Xbox and PC exclusive gamers out there, I offer my sincerest apologies – albeit wrapped up in a cosy blanket of smug superiority. Yes, Xbox has Halo, Forza, GoW among other titles but PS4 has the TLOU. If i’m honest, it’s the one game that prompted my move across to PS3, and one of the sturdiest foundation blocks that’s kept me on this side of the fence ever since.
I grew up playing Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and Final Fantasy titles before delving into the serious open world RPG’s of Skyrim, the Fallout series, The Witcher and my current game of choice – Horizon Zero Dawn. So why does a linear platform game like TLOU top my all time list?
It’s really quite simple; the characters growing relationships captured my imagination and refused to let go. The environments were outrageously detailed – set in a recovering post apocalyptic world following an interesting take on the Cordyceps fungal infection leaving a World in ruins just enough that everything was still comparable to reality. The game play was – in my opinion – flawless. The development of Ellie’s AI from the start of the game to later segments was distinctly noticeable, and we watched as Ellie blossomed from Joel’s burden to his useful and pragmatic partner. Finally, the story line was immaculate – layer upon layer of depth, as we watched these spit and sawdust characters struggle to survive; characters which were further developed through gruelling back stories that immediately held us hostage in our own homes, tentatively holding us on the edge of our seat, demanding our full attention until the final credits roll, leaving us muttering near tearful thanks and paying emotional tribute to the producers at Naughty Dog.
However, I must sheepishly admit that although I’m waiting on bated breath for the drop of the next instalment and any inbound rumours for a release date after Naughty Dog’s shared trailer at the 2016 Playstation Experience Conference, that doesn’t mean I’m not very, very nervous about the follow up game as a whole.
TLOU was left on such a beautiful and cryptic ending, but with it now being clear that Naughty Dog intend to expand on the story that they’ve created, could we find that it would have been better to leave this perfect ending as it was? Should this have been a phenomenal sole venture? Naughty Dog could quite easily capitalise on the emotional attachments that we’ve developed over this title, and string us all along for another 3 games, leaving plot and character detail to stagnate.
What I want to see in the next instalment is more soul wrenching character development, and plots that thicken and pulsate in every scene. The real human threat needs to be explored more fully, and a change of scenery would do wonders in keeping the tone fresh. With a world that’s been hit globally by this catastrophic pandemic, why keep the game settled in a few states in the U.S?
All in all my greedy soul hole is definitely hungry for the next instalment. The writer, appreciator and fan in me wants to see how and where we’ll be taken in the hope that lightning can strike twice. The sceptical cynic in me expects to be sat in the front row providing the slow clap to the shameless money train that Naughty Dog could be flogging us third class tickets for.
Let the team know what you think and/or want to see in the upcoming realease in the comments,