Left Behind: A Survival Story

jpgGentle readers, a little while ago I promised to review the new The Last of US DLC when it came out. Titled Left Behind, it was released on February 14th, which, among other things, was the same day that Ellen Page came out of the closet. This will become important later. In any case, because of a hateful thing that I call a “job”, I didn’t get to download and install it until today. It took me a couple hours to make my way through, with lots of pausing to gush about various parts. My review can be summed up thusly: it is important, and it is awesome.

My editors are telling me that I have to write more than that, so I’ll start by telling you why it’s awesome. Left Behind opens on a series of flashbacks which you’ll recognize if played the base game, a scene where Joel is gravely injured. Now, in the normal game, Ellie shoots her way out the front door, Ellie and Joel get on a horse, Joel falls off, fade-to-black, wake up in the Colorado wilderness. You start Left Behind playing through the story of how Ellie gets Joel patched up and manages to move him after he passes out. This adventure is interpolated by the story of Ellie and Riley, which you may remember was mentioned at the end of The Last of Us.

left-behind-dlc-release-last-of-us rileyThat story opens with a flashback to Riley, who, not for nothing, is a dead ringer for what you’d imagine a young Marlene to look like. She has reappeared in Ellie’s life after a long absence (about forty-five days) and surprises her by sneaking into her military school bedroom. After a confrontation about Ellie thinking that Riley was dead and Riley having joined the Fireflies, they venture off to rediscover their friendship via mischief in a local mall. Cut back to the mall in Colorado, where Ellie is attempting to collect the necessary supplies to suture Joel’s wound, and must move earth and sky to do so. I’ll get back to plot in a second, but it was at about this point in Left Behind that I noticed that Ellie’s sprint was slower in the snow.

(Fair warning: major spoilers after the jump.)

One More Post About The Last of Us. Muahaha!

original (1)

So I struggled for a long time with what to write about for this post. To be perfectly honest, most of my morning was spent letting my brain be melted by the stealth-bomb gesamtkunstwerk that is Beyoncé’s newest album, which if you haven’t heard, appeared at midnight on Friday the 13th, without being announced or leaked at all. Spooky, but awesome.

Speaking of things that are spooky, yet awesome: The Last of Us. If you don’t know, The Last of Us is a highly rated zombie-survival third-person action/adventure which tells the story of a jaded mid-aged smuggler and a young girl making their way across a United States awash in fungus-zombies and bandits. It is also a game that I am completely obsessed with and have talked about in no fewer than three other posts. I had said something about not doing any more posts about The Last of Us, but I am completely untrustworthy. 2.5 months have passed since I last wrote about it, and so much has happened. Continue reading

Big Damn Heroines

So The Last of Us. Again. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s a survival horror based on the concept of a human-infecting cordyceps fungus. It follows a jaded, aging smuggler (Joel) who lost his daughter in the early stages of the apocalypse, as well as a spunky, foul-mouthed teenage girl (Ellie), who is somehow immune to the infection. They fight their way through the ruins of the United States, killing fungus-infected zombies and bandits as they go. The game has incredible character development, revealing both the characters’ backstories and advancing their relationship together, while simultaneously engaging the player in an immersive and occasionally terrifying gaming experience.

Continue reading

On Old Hats and Orson Welles

You know what was a legitimately amazing game? The Last Of Us. Yes, I’m still on about this. I’m probably going to be on about it for a while. It is one of the best games I’ve ever played, hands-down, and this is as close to gaming’s “Citizen Kane moment” as many people are ever going to agree upon. I’ve heard the argument that this isn’t possible because of the way that we relate to adapting video game technology, and that older games are too frustrating, clunky, and obsolete for generations of newer gamers to play. I don’t buy it.

orsonwellesLet me explain, briefly, what is meant by “Citizen Kane moment.” It’s not a perfect metaphor. The film‘s 1941 release was not met with the great fanfare that our cultural nostalgia would indicate. The film fared poorly at the box office, and won a single Oscar for Best Screenplay. It wasn’t until film theorists and film history buffs looked back on the film in the late fifties and sixties that we decided that the film was a masterwork. Keep in mind that when Kane was released, Welles was a first time film director, a 25 year old theatre director a few years off the shutdown of the Federal Theatre Project. It may have been overtaken by Vertigo, but the idea is that looking backwards we see something truly great and groundbreaking. The metaphor is imperfect because The Last of Us is great right now. Continue reading