Scare o' the Day!
The Last of Us
I love video games. I really do. But I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm a terrible video game player. In fact, my buddy Ting once said, "Nobody loves video games more than Gib... and nobody's worse at them!"
He was right.
Although I've been playing games since the era of the Atari 2600, I've only ever beaten four of them: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Halo, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Silent Hill 2. This gen, I almost beat Uncharted 2, but I couldn't defeat the Russian bad guy at the very end of the game. I knew exactly what to do, but I still wasn't able to kill that immortal freak.
It was due to my lack of video game skills, and a slowly deteriorating attention span, that I skipped several of the top titles released this year.
I also deliberately ignored much of the news, reviews, and promotional materials surrounding the release of Naughty Dog's PlayStation 3 swansong, The Last of Us. Based on Naughty Dog's track record with the Uncharted series, I was certain that The Last of Us would be Game of the Year material. But, I didn't want an overload of information about it in case I decided to purchase the game. I wanted to go into it spoiler free.
As it turns out, I never did end picking up The Last of Us.
Fortunately for me though, my 21 year old cousin Drake got a copy of the game for Christmas. Drake is a pretty awesome gamer, and something of a machine when it comes to completing them. I got to spend about fifteen hours sitting in his room watching him beat the game, and although I was afraid at times that I might stroke out from deep vein thrombosis after sitting on Drake's desk chair for hours nonstop, I have to say that The Last of Us is easily one of the most satisfying emotional experiences related to a video game that I have ever experienced.
Smart, intense, dark, terrifying, rage inducing, sorrowful, hopeful, loving, caring, and ultimately righteous, Joel and Ellie's relationship in The Last of Us has to be considered one of the greatest video game achievements of all time.
One observation about the post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us. Every human survivor remaining in that world could receive a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The threat of assault, loss, and certain death is non-stop at all times in The Last of Us, and that kind of intense emotional strain would permanently alter survivors' brain chemistries. Naughty Dog did a great job showing what that kind of emotional toll would take on a survivor. Joel is a living example of a man plagued with hyper-vigilance and emotional detachment/avoidance. One can only imagine the kind of horrors he re-experiences, either from dreams, intrusive thoughts, or flashbacks.
If you have a PlayStation 3, you should really own The Last of Us.
The Last of Us - VGA 2011 Trailer
Running Time: 2 min: 39 sec