Naughty Dog has released an extended gameplay demonstration of The Last of Us, which was featured at this year’s E3. The video is over fifteen minutes long and shows off some of the different ways the A.I. will react to Joel’s various survival strategies.
Naughty Dog are proven masters of presentation and The Last of Us continues to support that opinion. From the subtle movements of Ellie’s hair, to the dampening of her and Joel’s jeans as they traipse through the flooded city, Naughty Dog know how to make an aesthetically pleasing game. The worry is that The Last of Us will be an aesthetic marvel, but an emotional letdown.
The demo features beautiful environments and the high-calibre animation that Naughty Dog gave us with its Uncharted franchise. Uncharted was an over the top roller-coaster ride, much like one of the many Hollywood action movies that inspired it.
With The Last of Us, Naughty Dog are aiming to tell a story about humanity, grounded in a harsh reality of human suffering. This is a great. The problem is that judging from the released footage, for the most part, players will be completing tasks in a very similar way to that of Uncharted, but with a darker story. This seems counter productive. Naughty Dog clearly want to develop a strong relationship between Joel and Ellie, which is engrossing for the player. However, when the gameplay consists of shotgun blasts to the head, and the silent strangulation of unsuspecting survivors, the intimate relationship and plausibility of Joel and Ellie’s propensity for compassion is massively diminished.
In order to convey an emotional tale, the player’s actions need to be congruent with that vision. The Last of Us doesn’t seem to be achieving this. It is unclear whether players will be able to go through the game without harming a soul, but it seems unlikely. Hopefully there will at least be some peaceful survivors out there and Naughty Dog haven’t created a world where everyone Joel meets merely wants to beat him to death with the nearest blunt object.
The Last of Us, developed by Naughty Dog will be released sometime in 2013, exclusively for the PlayStation 3.