Saturday, 28 December 2013

Ended up as the last of us

So friends,
"Hello, I'm a Cordyceps infected human, I've been
addicted to eating man-flesh for three weeks now"

It all got freaky and very real. The Cordyceps fungus had mutated and started infecting humans, lots of humans. It was just like in those zombie films that we once watched, back when there was television of course. People went crazy, the whole world became one giant insane asylum and everyone became a permanent resident of the horror ward. In this kind of chaos one can do only one thing, panic, panic like you've never panicked before, panic like panicking had just that second been invented for you to use as a device to express how panicked you were feeling. We all panicked and it very quickly went out of fashion.
Exciting things probably happened here, but we were elsewhere

It's been 20 years since the outbreak, and the world is a very different place, very beautifully rendered and detailed, but bleak and desolate as well. The quarantine zones are the only safe places, but they are rife with corruption and danger, people keep trying to smuggle themselves in and out, and street vendors sell barbecued rats to drooling onlookers.
"We gotta cross this town on foot, public transport
here is terrible"

I have a job, a strange one, but a job none the less. I must escort this young woman across the infected country to some research base run by the resistance, in the hope that a cure can be found for this twisted zombie making disease. It's not an easy task, because I've set it on hard, but after a little 'getting to know you' with the controls, it was do-able. Ellie was her name, dear sweet Ellie. She is a pixilated stroke of genius, and it didn't take long for me to warm to her charm and obvious strengths. For a game character she is something quite different from the usual boobs, and she tugged on my heart strings several times throughout the adventure.
Punching mushroom zombies in the face is my job
I am the rugged Joel, hardened by years of living in this post pandemic world, I have seen and done things that are not for the faint of heart. I like punching the fungus heads, you have to smack 'em about a few times before they die, and usually it's best to find a hard object to smash their heads into, that stops them trying to eat you. The first rule of survival is not to let anyone eat you, but should you eventually become zombie chow, it is wise to keep some salt and pepper on your neck so as to be a culinary feast for the mushroom undead.
Go on Ellie, stab this prick in the back with your trusty knife

Ellie is pretty nimble too, she likes to stab things in the back with her trusty penknife. There have been a few occasions where I needed a little assistance stopping a mushroom from chewing on my face, and Ellie steps up nicely. We make a good team, I don't think I would have got through it without her.

The other humans in this mushroom zombie world are more dangerous then the zombies themselves. Other humans are sneaky, and they sneak around laying traps and other sneaky things that can go boom in your face and force you to use up one of your precious medical kits that you fashioned out of some rubbing alcohol and a small hand flannel. To survive, you have to be clever, or at least able to learn and adapt to whatever may be thrown at you. Also, you have to pick up everything that might be useful. I have a backpack full of broken scissors and alcohol and sugar and electrical tape, as well as some notes left by people around the environment, all the things I need to survive.
Hey mushroom face, eat some rock!
I hear the clicking sound in my sleep. Those god forsaken mushroom zombies are scary, real scary. I think the main reason they are scary is that if they manage to get up behind you, they can rip out your throat in a moment.

They look repulsive too, real repulsive. I don't think there is a surgeon in the land that could help one of these poor suckers to look any better. I mean, I've tried to help them. I've bashed them repeatedly into walls, hit them with pipes, cracked them with wooden planks, shot them repeatedly with a shotgun, but they still look ugly. Perhaps my extreme makeover techniques are a little too extreme for the modern mushroom zombie, a lighter touch may be required, but I don't have time for that, I've got to get Ellie to this place far away.
From beautiful woman, to beautiful mushroom face

Ellie and I encountered many other people on our journey. Some became friends, others were clearly enemies from the moment we laid eyes on each other. My heart pounded with each step, each glorious set piece worked so perfectly because of the attention to detail and time spent building up relationships between the characters.

The Last of Us for the PS3 is a masterpiece.
"Please don't eat my face, I only just washed it"

I don't know how else to sum it up. I know lots of people have already written about it and reviewed it, gushing with praise for this modern creative work, but really you need to play it yourself to know if it will work for you or not. It worked for me, it was what I wanted to experience in a game. I've seen it criticised for it's linear plot and lack of choices, but I think the limiting of these things made for an engrossing experience, one in which I had emotional reactions, strong ones, to pixilated characters.  Games don't usually do that, so for a game to come along and do it so expertly it deserves to be applauded. So that's what I'm doing, Of all the games I have played in 2013, The Last of Us was the most engaging, deepest experience and transcendent of both game and storytelling in general, and for that it gets the perfect 10 out of 10.

Peace and infinite love
Mr Jackson
Hey big boy, wanna come play with my shotgun?

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