Come one, come all. I am the one they call “Evan,” and my word is immutable.
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.
On a recent podcast we recorded Evan asked me which game I liked better, Bioshock Infinite or The Last of Us. I immediately thought I preferred Bioshock Infinite, but after thinking about the matter further, I realized I have no idea which one I like more. So within this editorial I am inviting you, the reader, to come on a journey with in which I will highlight some points between the two games and hopefully in the end I will have a definitive answer for Evan. Oh and reader beware SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BOTH GAMES!
Uncharted 2 is one of my favorite games this generation. It’s an adventurous shooter with sarcastic characters and bombastic setpiece moments; most of all, it felt like watching a fun summer movie. But Naughty Dog was also critiqued for the ludonarrative dissonance of the series: Nathan Drake will murder vast quantities of people then turn to the camera with a wink and a smile, the way only a likeable action hero can.
The Last of Us throws that entire formula out the window and creates something uniquely different, but not always successful.