For the past week, PS3 owners have been left cryptic morsels and curious snippets of an upcoming exclusive concerning worldwide panic and fungus. Over the weekend, we finally got a little look into The Last Of Us, a new look into infection survival, and although marvellously directed, it all felt rather familiar to me. Then, the words Naughty Dog flashed up, and my heart immediately toasted and replicated the very same feeling I’d have if I opened up my food cupboards and found fruit and veg replaced by raw cookie dough. The Uncharted games haven’t managed to topple my ‘Greatest Game EVAR’ fanboy list, but I have tremendous respect for how they’ve plucked the blockbuster charms of the big screen and effortlessly pulled them off in bigger and bolder terms with each instalment. Being rather a fan of any media undead/infection related, I’m very excited and intrigued as to how they’ll tackle a brand new IP. Games focusing on the end of the world in such a fleshy feast fashion have been thick and fast in recent years, and each touch on exceptional moments that truly define the infection based survival concept. It’s one thing to watch the end of the world, but another to be absorbed in it by fighting through it. We don’t have a lot to go on at the moment, but here’s my personal look back on the greatest aspects of these games so far, the reasons why they stand out in both the survival and action genre and how The Last Of Us can and hopefully will encapsulate them all.
Headshots and Backstabs-The Walking Dead/Dead Rising
It may not have arrived yet, but The Walking Dead game is sure to encapsulate that horrid feeling of not knowing who to trust in the same way as the comic books and TV series. It’s a phenomenal testament to the human condition and I wish it was touched upon in more end of the world based pop culture. Hell, with the Uncharted series puts so much emphasis in character performances that I would personally love Robert Kirkland to join the writing team for this. Yes, armies of rabid skin pluckers are something of a frightening sight, but the mind of those who can’t cope with apocalyptic torment and be just as scary, if not even more unsettling. The psychopaths in Dead Rising go somewhat overboard in comedic value, but one guy managed to tug my heart strings as he regaled how he went insane after hearing the screams of his grandchild torn apart. It made me feel rather bad for killing the bloke, even if he did come at me with a lawnmower. Narrative should take priority over fountains of gore and disgust, and with the characters being so prominent in the Uncharted series, I really want to think a lot more with my heart with dilemmas faced in this title.
You’re No Superman-Dead Island
Unless some Romero-esque statement looks you straight in the face and show you WHO IS THE REAL MONSTER, it’s very hard to relate to the beasts you’re up against. One thing you simply can’t comprehend, is the hunger, or the compulsive need to hunt. Dead Island knocked you down a few pegs by draining your physical prowess with every ounce of fightback, down to the point where they could scrape your face and topple you to the ground. Hollywood has a tendency to constantly let the every man rise to near superhuman levels, and even Nathan Drake can take a few hundred bullets for the team. I’ve no problem fighting through hordes of enemies, but I want it to turn by eyebrow into a sweat sponge as I realise that all the enemies are scathing hazards that can do a hell of a lot more than simply dent my health bar. It’s very hard to actually get fully overwhelmed when you’re playing a game, but when it’s you against the world, it should be a very horrid possibility.
A Little Help From My Friends-Left 4 Dead
…erm…ok. I in no way want to fight alongside allies who share the same A.I as anything trying to suck on my brain fluids. Force me into some online survival matches with a legion of pals, however, and I’d be more inclined to work with others than pipe bomb them into oblivion. However, anecdotes of me kicking allies of ledges to save myself waiting for their lazy arses were basically the core of my Left 4 Dead experience. The sequel managed to add some integrity to the characters, screaming quips and taunts as well as fears and woes, but The Last Of Us could really build upon the aspects of a combined terror amongst friends. The trailer teases that this epidemic has lasted for at least over a decade. I want to know about the world that was left behind, and I want to experience the crisis that has left it deserted. This is possibly the wishiest item on the list, and may be remarkably hard to pull off action packed multi-player scenarios alongside a full blown single-player campaign, but I can’t help but feel there’s room for some online ingenuity here.
Lack of Preparation for the End of the World-Forbidden Siren
Perhaps a harder feeling to encapsulate given the impressive roster of action-adventure titles under the Dog’s belt, but the trailer does depict the murder of a couple of presumed thugs just for the recovery of a few measly bullets. I’m all for gunning through waves of the insane, but I also have a strange want for my heart to be lodged in the throat with fear as my fresh flesh vibes are sniffed out. A paranormal crisis struck Hanuda in Forbidden Siren, and you can tell the unlucky few who weren’t turned into horrid machinations weren’t prepared as they entered the game with barely a carrier bag to fight off the immortal beings. Even when you were lucky enough to have a rifle, you’d only have a couple of shots to spare. I don’t mind blasting through the hoards, but there has to be a time where you’re stripped of your defences and realise the gravity of the situation you’re in.
Of course, it might just be easier to shoot this hopeless optimist in the head as he attempts to leap onto a band wagon already overflowing as it bursts through the borders of ‘HyperHypeLand’. However, these titles and even examples of pop culture have shined majorly in different areas highlighting the circumstances and dilemmas of one of the biggest ‘What if…’scenarios of the century, and The Last Of Us has the potential to use all of them. I may come to regret writing all this come next week. The hive of speculation over an infection-based survival sim may suddenly explode with false whimsical ponderings and spit in the faces of those who dare say “It’s a bit like a zomb(insert unwanted flem here)”. I might just be hopeful in speculation because it’s one of the few games that is stepping into familiar territory without the word ‘Dead’ in it. Naughty Dog have proved that they can go above and beyond to do justice to the action adventure genre as a whole, and it raises a wry smile to see what they could do with what’s becoming a rather overcrowded concept. Should the team decide to rewrite the rulebook, bow graciously to those that came before it whilst carving its own path trying to reinvent the formula, I have a lot of faith that they could pull it off.
Dunno how they’d do it, though…
Ellen Page dreaming of half a city folding in on itself to crush an infected population-Inception< /span>
…no…no no no…
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