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The Last of Us Day#4: Runaround

Day#4 of Last of Us is just more of what I’ve come to expect from the game. The relationships between the characters are good, but the plot is just so derivative of every other zombie story that I keep wanting to write walker instead of infected. And there are just fundamental problems with the gameplay that I can’t ignore. I have a lot of respect for Uncharted 2 for what it did for interactive cinema, but this game is just taking this way too far with pointless interactivity, loss of agency to cut scenes, and a pure lack of information about what to do in a given scene. I actually can’t imagine how this game is going to improve, but there’s just so much GOTY hype I want to see if there’s going to be at some major twist to redeem this. Spoilers within.

I start back up in the bar with Bill and Ellie. I some gather equipment including a bow and a training manual that makes shivs last longer (great!). Having stocked up, I leave and the three of us walk through buildings to head to what Bill calls his armory. Wait, didn’t we just stock up? Why do we need to go to the armory? On the way, Bill asks what I’m delivering that needs a car, and then figures out it’s the girl. Ellie keeps snarking him, and Bill keeps asking about Tess realizing it’s weird she’s not here and assuming that there is “trouble in paradise.” We walk outside and Bill explains (in a dick-ish way, when Ellie presses him) that none of the cars in this part of the town have good batteries or tires. Suddenly, the infected charge from up the street and I get overwhelmed and die. I die like four more times before we randomly beat this encounter by hiding behind the cars all around us and backing up constantly, and for the first time it’s occurring to be that there may be some DDA here helping me. Bill opens a gate across the street as Joel mentions how unsafe it is here. Bill mentions that the infected are at least predictable and it’s people that scare him and that Joel should understand that. Ellie asks what that means but no one answers. With the gate locked behind us, we go up stairs and Bill directs us to the cellar of a large house. We cut to a CS in the cellar of us looking around at the equipment. Ellie says she needs a gun, and Joel replies she doesn’t. Bill comments that this is the worst mission he can imagine. Joel says Tess was the one that chose this mission. Bill mentions that he once had a partner he had to look after, and then realized that he needed to be alone. Bill yells at Ellie for touching things, and then he gives me a shotgun. I also get a nail bomb that supposed to be deadly and dangerous (L1 + R1 to throw, or R1 to place).

Bill mentions that a military convoy is sitting on the other side of town, having crashed while conducting a search. The area was too infected for Bill to go to alone, but that just means that the vehicle should have an intact battery. I follow Bill upstairs into a church and out a window. We pass by a pile of dead infected. Ellie ughs, and Joel says she doesn’t need to look at that. Bill mentions as we approach a new gate that past this gate is new territory for him, and true to that statement, just as we get past it, we hear clickers above. I go up some steps to see them and then a bottle I throw wrongly kills me. When I respawn, I decide to try one of these molotovs I’ve been carrying and wow does that work. The clickers just walk into the fire and kill themselves. Good to know. I move past flaming corpses, then kill about four more clickers in a few different spots with gunshots and clubs. We get to a locked gate that Bill opens to see alleys with three infected hanging around, but it’s a bunch of easy stealth kills.  We exit this alley through a hole in a fence and we’re out in a suburban lawn with a small house up a hill. There are clickers and infected all over this place. I try to stealth but I didn’t see one of the infected spot me and I’m quickly overrun. The second time, I sneak up the side of the field to the house, and take the infected down one at a time, leaving the clicker quietly behind. I rummage through the house to find a couple things, and then leave and climb on to a roof outside. We can see more infected around from the rooftop, and I kill clicker and two invaders from up there before we keep moving through this suburban tract of houses. We enter a new house and have to send Ellie through doggie door to open tied door to exit. Outside are two clickers we sneak past in another house. There are more clickers inside there, and I kill one on purpose with shiv and then kill another by accident because I didn’t realize it was a clicker and tried to stealth kill it — waste of a shiv. We climb over a set of boards and through treehouses in another house in what is a very convenient path to where we’re headed. Ellie gets curious about this and asks if Bill has a friend who left these here. Bill says no friend, but he knows who might have left them. Once we cross this set of paths, the school is on the other side of the house.

I help Bill open the garage door and we’re looking at a street filled with cars and loose barricades. There’s a bunch of infected roaming through this area and Bill says not to make a sound as we approach. Nonetheless, I then fail to stealth kill one and we end up killing them all noisily anyway. Oh well. We head deeper in the street and I start sneaking around a bus, but I don’t see any enemies until they jump me and I die. This takes me a couple of times, because despite the fact that Bill keeps warning me there are infected up ahead, I never see anything as I approach the bus and I have no idea how to stealth without them seeing me. The final time I just ignore stealth and retreat into a better position as soon as I hear the first screen, and that time I kill them pretty quickly. Bill very appropriately says that was easier than he thought. We get close to school, but there’s no entrance in the fence around it. A truck has breached the gate and Ellie notices a ladder on top. I boost her up to get it and she lowers the ladder so we can climb up. We go towards the school, but then hear a horde coming. For once, I still have control in this moment. I try a door into the school, but it doesn’t open. We run around the building, and Bill starts opening a window. And now is when we cut to CS! I watch the CS of me climbing inside and Bill shooting off a clicker that has me.

They shut the window as look around. In CS, Bill opens truck while we block the door. Bill is shocked to see that there’s no battery — the hood of the truck is empty. Bill says to run, and we cut to a CS of the three of them shutting double doors to lock the horde out of the school. I get control in the school hallway and start to explore. Unsurprisingly, there are infected inside in a series of hallways, and it’s a stealth puzzle to take out the infected without alerting the clickers that I’m hear, which seems to be the main gameplay mode of the game. I have no problem with this core mechanic except that as you’ve probably noticed, I rarely have any idea where the enemies are or where I’m supposed to go, so I often have to die two or three dies just to get the lay of the land. And true to form, after taking out a couple of infected with stealth kills, I stumble upon a runner I couldn’t see in a new room and his scream gets me killed. I then die a lot trying to make this work, continually searching for a vantage point from which to get a group of infected who walk into a room in front of me and continually being spotted and killed. I call it a night.


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