Tuesday, 6 January 2015

First Impressions: The Last Of Us Remastered

I have heard many, many good things about this game. I was going to get it for the PS3 but when the remastered version came out, I thought I would wait until I got a PS4. So nearly two years late to the party, I got the game. I'm glad I came. From the mind-blowing graphics and animation to the amazing characters and voice acting and finally the heart-wrenching moments which will leave you staring at your TV for a while, just contemplating life. Don't worry no (except for some backround information) spoilers.

The game starts with Joel's (the main character) daughter sleeping on a sofa. It's Joel's birthday. Some conversation happens and Joel's daughter falls asleep and is carried to bed. You play as Sarah (Joel's daughter) for the prologue and are tasked with investigating a something. You start in her room and I took a good five minutes to just walk around it and see all the little details. From the brand names to your reflection in the mirror, it was all perfect.

Due to there being collectibles, I looked around for a bit and then moved on downstairs, looking for Joel. Suddenly, the action intensifies and you have to escape the city. For a little while you don't have to do anything, so I just took in the gorgeous graphics and scenery. It was really amazing. After some more story, you are thrown 20 years into the future and the game starts proper.

Already I was fully immersed with the characters and their lives and couldn't wait to see more. As you are 20 years into the future some things have happened which aren't fully explained straight away so there is a bit of guesswork and filling in the gaps but it is all explained eventually. Really, it is masterful storytelling because this way, the game makes you think and remember what happened before.

Now on to the gameplay. You fight a whole manner of enemies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and you have lots of items at your disposable to dispatch them with. However, this being a survival horror, not at the same time. You can throw bricks or bottles to distract or stun enemies, shoot them or punch them (with your fists, a piece of wood, a brick etc.). My favourite weapon is the brick because of its versatility. Due to the limited ammo available (most of the time I didn't even have a full round of ammo), stealth is a good option. The stealth mechanics are good, with the ability to crouch allowing you to hide in a lot of places. Hiding in plain sight is also a good tactic for some enemies but you will have to find out why by yourself.

Shooting has a nice feel to it, with each breath Joel makes being taken into account. Remember, you are not playing as a trained killer. Looting is helped by the item glowing (I'm playing in hard mode, so no features are disabled) if it is lootable. Crafting is done in real time and you can craft all manner of things, from health packs to Molotov's.

Joel's health actually changes the way you play the game. No regen means that you have to make smart decisions and Joel holds his chest while running if hurt, among other things. This adds another level of realism to the game.

The enemy's AI is great, with them reacting to you realistically and changing their fighting style to fit yours. Your allies however, are not as good, with them running through an enemy's line of sight to get to cover or blocking you from reaching a ladder etc.

I've only played four or so hours but already I am engrossed. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thanks for reading, Satamer

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