The Last Of Us: It’s the Little Things That Count
The Last Of Us has so far proven to be a fantastic story. I say ‘so far’ because I’ve yet to finish it. It’s not often that I play a modern day game in which I’m almost physically glued to the screen wondering what will happen next. The Last Of Us is a dark, depressing and brutally unforgiving game that holds nothing back, and I can’t recall a game that has ever left me feeling so dirty after performing the act of killing. It’s this brutality, a sense of harsh reality, that results in The Last Of Us being so compelling.
Away from the story, there’s a number of small things that make the game feel truly endearing and slightly disturbing; the notes, graffiti and newspaper clippings dotted around the game’s locations are what truly captures that sense of hopelessness. It’s the little things in the game that truly add up to the overall result, and anyone who is skipping each note they find in the game is truly doing a disservice to the game and to themselves.
As the old saying goes, “the devil is in the detail”, and this is especially true when it comes to The Last of Us. The notes dotted around the game give the player an insight into just how dark the game truly is. The notes contain stories of how people have been affected by the outbreak of the infection and the things these people have done to survive. Some of these stories are incredibly grim and often result in Joel making some kind of comment, but the notes give each environment a kind of context and idea of what has happened in the days, weeks, months or years gone by.
I challenge anybody not to be shocked by at least one of the stories contained within the notes, which also do a decent job of explaining how people’s attitudes changed from civil to a more aggressive ‘survival of the fittest’ ethos. The notes tie in well with the graffiti by chronicling the fall of man during the outbreak. In regards to the graffiti, most of the inner city locations in The Last Of Us tend to be covered in the stuff. These scribblings act as visual representations of life in the wild. Some of the graffiti displays the tribal nature of the game’s human enemies, while other scribblings are slightly more political–and these images bare an eerily similar vibe to pictures beamed across the world in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina’s devastation in New Orleans.
It’s these little things that truly make The Last Of Us an experience rather than just another video game. While the practice of leaving collectables that dish out a game’s lore is nothing new, The Last Of Us could be the best example of it. The game is wonderful, and the story is dark, but things are made so much better by the little things. The devil is truly in the detail.