“This game series adapts to the choices you make. The story is tailored by how you play.”
Some days ago, I happened upon an article about the making of Final Fantasy VI which was tweeted out by the editor-in-chief of this fine blog, and it was a pretty interesting read. It didn’t explicitly tell me much about the game I didn’t already know from having played it, outside of the fact that it was developed in just one year, but it did set my mind upon a different Squaresoft game from that same year. One overlooked in the shadow of the company’s flagship franchise, and never released for English-speaking audiences (an independent translation has since been available for years, but as to how to find it, I couldn’t possibly speculate).
Now that The Last of Us has been out for a little more than a month, I’ve had numerous opportunities (as I sat around doing nothing) to reflect on what did and didn’t work. I kept swinging around in semi-circles with my chair as I thought back to the major thematic beats and emotionally gut-wrenching dialogue.
I stand by my review of The Last of Us; it is a flawed game. But I constantly find myself thinking about different, highly impactful moments. I run over my review time and again, never questioning my opinion, but wondering if there was a better way to articulate it. I continue to remember the fantastic narrative beats and the rich characters that permeate all throughout The Last of Us, and little by little my rose-colored glasses tint just a shade darker. I gave The Last of Us a positive review, even if some don’t think that’s the case. I really like the game, and it will probably make it into my top ten at the end of the year (but let’s certainly not think about that now), so I’m attempting to explore why I still think The Last of Us is one of the best games this year.
When I was a very young child, I was sharply and steadfastly geared in one direction when it came to games of entertainment, and the direction was decidedly non-athletic. Not that I disliked the feeling of playing sports, exactly — though a bout of yet-undiagnosed anemia left me dizzy and feeling like my head would split open after a hard run or a tennis lesson — but I certainly disliked all the people my age who were keen on that sort of thing. It wasn’t even a matter of personal animus, in most cases, or some resentment over bullying or ostracization. I just didn’t much like most of them, and by extension I didn’t much enjoy the times when I was out running about. And moreover, I had nothing but antipathy for spectator sports, a dilemma in my household as a then-only child, suffering through seemingly endless Giants games, which I found irritating, and 49ers games, which I positively hated (meaning, sadly, that I missed out on any enjoyment of the Joe Montana era).
I’ve been sitting here for a while thinking if I should really, actually write something, because that’s my instinct whenever I’m sent into a sort of dizzying emotional state. Part of it’s because I run a small-scale video game website, and this is decidedly large-scale news. The actual, most important part has to do with me staring at my Twitter feed for the last two hours, alone in my house.
In an effort to catch up in time for its sequel, I’ve been playing a healthy amount of Metro 2033 recently. For those reading who aren’t familiar with the series, it’s set in post-apocalyptic Russia, where the few survivors have flocked to the subway tunnels to escape the destruction and radiation. Most of the game takes place in these tunnels, with some infrequent and ill-advised trips to the surface.