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The Last of Us Day#2: Am I Delirious?

So Day#2 of Last of Us after a LONG delay due to work, but my feelings are the same. The game is just not that good yet. It’s certainly pretty in the models and the settings, but the main thing is that I don’t feel like I’m playing a game. The characters just do things and I have no control over it. It’s not just that I don’t get to decide how it goes; I often don’t even get to PERFORM the action. That couple with that fact that I currently find the characters repellent and the plot obvious. Things get a little better as the core dynamic of the two main characters (Joel and Ellie) is established, but even that holds no surprises for me yet, because the main story is just so self-evident to me I feel like I’m going through the motions. I seem to be making good time in this game, but I need it get MUCH better for it to live up to the hype. Spoilers within.

Yes, I know my last post was in AUGUST. So so bad. Alright, back into the game. If I remember correctly, I was  about to kill a bunch of people, I think.  OMG it’s loading again. WTF this is like a minute load for a game I’VE ALREADY PLAYED. I know it’s pretty, but REALLY? I come back into the warehouse where I need to fight my way past a bunch of guys to get to Robert, the guy who betrayed us. I try to sneak through the warehouse, but I’ve forgotten the controls and get killed as a try to learn. The second time, I stealth kill two of them and then it’s a firefight. I do slightly better this time through the fight although a normal human would be dead from multiple gun wounds. Once the thugs in the main room are down, we find Robert after opening two doors and cut to a CS of us standing on either side of a door to an office talking to him as he shoots at us. When he runs out of bullets, he throws the gun at us and flees. I have control as we chase him, but I’m pretty sure I can’t lose since I still don’t remember the controls and fuck it up a ton but still manage to catch the guy. We corner him in a dead-ended alley. In CS, Tess stops him from running with a pipe to the leg and then Joel CS twists his arm. They ask him about the guns and after the briefest round of torture (kick to the face and broken arm) he reveals that he sold them to the Fireflies. He tries to buy time about discussing options, but they don’t listen, and when he says they should take on the Fireflies together to get them back, Tess shoots him in the head. Look, I know this Robert is a bad guy, but man do I have no empathy for my character or this girl AT ALL. At this point, they are just merciless mass murderers in a ruined world.  I have no idea why I should care about them.  In case you were wondering, this is not a good place to be with a narrative.

CS, Tess says they need to go get the guns and Joel asks how.  Tess says they need to talk to the Fireflies and conveniently one reveals herself from the shadows. It’s someone named Marlene, and she’s shot in the side. She asks about Robert and they reveal he’s dead. Marlene says she needed him and that they will have to earn the guns back if they want them. She says that they have to smuggle something out of the city to get the weapons back.  Joel asks how they know she has them and she says she’ll show them to him. She also confirms the military is destroying the Fireflies.  She hears a voice in the background and says they have to run. I get control back and walk away with them. I enter another round of following-a-character-through-alleys. You know, it wasn’t that interesting in Assassin’s Creed, and it’s not that interesting here. We end up on a rooftop where we see an explosion in the distance which Marlene confirms is her people getting hammered.  We continue moving to see soldiers guarding a door we need to go through a long way off. We start sneaking between cover points towards the door and end up going up a flight of stairs. We come up on an area swarming with guards. The Firefly says she’ll take the first one while we go around, and this way we stealth kill a few of them as we weave in and out of a long building. But then we get revealed and have to kill everyone. That happens fairly quickly. I guess they had hostages that they shot because there are three dead people here that we didn’t shoot. Marlene stands near the bodies and when I hit triangle near her, she tells me she knew them and one of them was a good man. Joel says they have to move so we do, walking through the door and across street to where Marlene says the guns are.

We enter a door, and a red-haired girl appears with a knife and threatens them. Marlene calls her Ellie and tells her to back down.  Marlene says that she can’t go with Ellie after all, revealing to Joel and Tess that Ellie is the thing being smuggled. Marlene says there are fireflies waiting for Ellie at the capital building. Tess says that’s far and reminds Marlene that they haven’t seen the weapons yet. Joel agrees and doesn’t want to do the job.  Marlene says that she’ll take Tess to the weapons if Joel waits with Ellie. Marlene apparently knew Joel’s brother, and there’s something about him being in a militia with Marlene in the past.  Tess gets Joel to agree and Joel tells Ellie to come along and Tess and Marlene leave. I get control back, but exactly what am I supposed to be doing? We exit the building we were in and we see dead Fireflies. Ellie asks about them and Joel says we have to get off the street. Ah, thank you for telling me what I’m supposed to be doing Joel!  I have to do a little searching, but I find a tunnel. I enter another area where I have to wheel a cart to climb up something. I do so but Ellie doesn’t come up after me, and I then lose two minutes figuring out why she’s not following me up. The answer: I didn’t move far enough up the ladder to trigger her to follow – FUCK YOU GAME. As we climb,  Joel asks Ellie about why she’s hanging out with the leader of the Fireflies. Ellie says that Marlene is her friend and that she’s not just going to reveal why she’s being smuggled. Joel thinks she’s 12 but she says she’s 14. Joel tells her that he doesn’t have to give a shit about who she is, and she says that’s great. I wonder how long it’s going to take for them to become heartbreakingly attached?  We walk through an apartment building and enter a room.  Joel CS lays down and Ellie asks what she’s supposed to do. Joel says she’ll figure it out. Ellie (who is a very good model by the way) walks past him and says his watch is broken.

We cut to Joel waking up in the middle of the night. Ellie’s looking out the window at the “outside” in the rain. She says that it can’t be any worse outside. Joel asks what the Fireflies want with her when Tess arrives and says she saw the guns and that they should do this.  We cut to us outside the building and I have control. I triangle to talk to Tess (wow is that empowering — why does this game give me control over anything?) and she says they weren’t the first choice to smuggle Ellie out — Marlene wanted to do it herself. Wait, wait. Is this just Children of Men again? Is this girl the cure for the infection or something? God, I hope not. That would be disappointing. Anyway, Joel hopes there will be someone left to pay them when they get back. Tess pushes aside a bookshelf and we move. As we exit the room, Joel says the Fireflies are waiting at the dropoff. Tess says it should take a few hours to get to the capital. We crawl through a tunnel and get to a ladder. I have to climb up to scout. Joel CS peeks out of a trapdoor to an area outside, sees a bunch of troops leaving, and then tells them to come up. Ellie is impressed that she is actually outside. We walk in the rain through a muddy path and then have to go up a hill.  We walk up through an empty truck and as we reach the top of the truck, I’m suddenly ambushed by a guard and watch helplessly as Joel gets a rifle to the face. We cut to a CS of them put on their knees. Tess tries to bribe the guard, but he tells them to shut up. One guard starts to call in the capture as other scans them for disease with some hand scanner. Tess and Joel are clean, but when they scan Ellie, she stabs him. In CS (WTF!!!!), Tess and Joel kill the other two. Wait, I’m sorry. Isn’t this a GAME?!? Do I even get to FAKE killing the guards to get us out of this? Why is this not a movie? Oops, important plot point — let’s make sure that pesky PLAYER doesn’t fuck it up! FUCK YOU WHATEVER NOT GAME THING LAST OF US IS.

Ellie is shocked by the violence and gasps in horror. Tess CS looks at the scanner which reveals Ellie is infected. Tess thinks Marlene set them up, but Ellie says she was bit three weeks ago and hasn’t turned. Ellie questions why Marlene would set them up. Tess says everyone turns in two days, but Ellie shows us the healing bite and insists it’s real. Joel doesn’t believe it, but a car is coming and Joel says to run. And welcome to Children of Men everybody! We just need Tess to die tragically and then we’re ready to go! I get control back and we dodge around some trucks avoiding lights so as to not be spotted by guards. Again, is there any way I can I fail here? Still, the look of the chase scene is nice and the lights cutting through the dark are cool. But I have no idea where I’m supposed to go and there are times that I just lose the other characters completely. I sneak around an area with guards until we all come into a room. I’m supposed to make a distraction to throw off the soldiers.  I try to throw a brick to make a noise, but I hit a guard because of the horrible auto-aim you get when you throw things and that starts a firefight.  I just give and run to an exit. I get shot like five times by rifles, but I make it into a hole and the team rejoins me safe and sound with no guards following us. So stupid. We run through a tunnel and then we get back outside. Then we have to weave through shadows so that guards on an overpass above us that we can’t see don’t see us. That’s kind of neat. We finally make it into a final room where we find equipment including parts to upgrade guns which I do. Again I have no idea where to go. I get lost and retract my steps accidentally and suddenly there are no guards in that previously tense part. Seriously, what do people like about this game?  I finally find a new tunnel, and we climb through a sewer and exit through a gate. In CS, the three of them exit the tunnel. As they enter the safety of this new area, Tess asks what the Fireflies were supposed to do with Ellie. Ellie says Marlene said they were supposed to take her to doctors to find a cure. Tess wants to believe it although Joel acts like he heard this before. Joel mentions how bad it is out there, and Tess says she gets it and walks on, clearly determined to continue the mission.

I get control and Tess says if they cut through downtown, they can get the capital building by sunrise. Joel says he hopes that’s true. It’s a nice setting here with police barricades and waterlogged highways. As we walk, I stay near Ellie and Tess runs way ahead. Nonetheless, a conversation is going on between Tess and Ellie the whole time. They are so ridiculously far apart it’s laughable. Ellie is asking about what happened in this area, and Tess says they bombed the quarantine zones. We hear a shriek and Tess says it’s pretty far away. When Ellie asks if they’re safe, Tess says for now. We run through a pretty office building, and as we enter, we see corpse of guard that’s fresh. Tess takes that as a bad sign. I find a bunch of stuff and we see a weird corpse. Tess says it’s a clicker — a late stage infection where the victim loses their sight and clicks to echolocate. We search the room, and then exit by kicking down a door. When I do (and I want to point out that I had no choice — I had to kick the door down), a clicker jumps me and it’s a qte square-button-mash until Tess shoots it and kills it.  I don’t do ANYTHING in this fucking game. We run around and find another room with a clicker.  Tess CS throws a bottle to distract it, and then we move ahead safely for a time. When the clicker starts moving again,  I throw brick to distract it and we find the ledge we need to  leave the room. We jump on to the ledge but I step off by accident and the clicker gets me. Sigh. It would have been nice to know where the edge was. I get past it the second time, and then we run further through the building and climb around some stairs. The way is soon blocked on the stairs, so we have to go out on a window washer ledge. We crawl along the edge and enter a new room with a bunch of stalkers and a clicker roaming around a huge set of rooms. I screw up stealth the first time and when the infected charge me, I shoot things about a hundred fucking times and they don’t die. I die, and when I’m respawn,  none of my allies are near me. WTF. I keep dying in this scene because for some unknown reason stealth killing isn’t working. FUCK YOU GAME. And after about five deaths, the game fucking freezes. Nothing but rage now. GOODNIGHT.

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