RSS

Tag Archives: the last of us

Top 10 Games of this Generation: PS3

The PS3 had one hell of a lifespan. Starting off slow, it eventually picked up steam around 2009, and each year subsequently delivered game after game that was just terrific. From the brilliance of Naughty Dog to other PS3 classics like Ratchet and Clank, Sony crafted some fantastic titles that are a joy to play, brimming with beautiful graphics and awesome gameplay. That said, here are my top 10 PS3 games of all time.

10. Flower

Flower is gorgeous. Normally I’m not one to participate in the “video games as art” debate, as I think it’s petty and a pointless justification, but Flower is something else. Using the Dualshock controller to guide petals of flower through obstacles and explore the beautiful world has a peaceful quality to it that is unexplainable. Moreso than the critically acclaimed Journey, also made by thatgamecompany, Flower is a beautiful experience overflowing with atmosphere.

Flower_screen01

Flower is a gorgeous work of art

9. LA Noire

One of two Rockstar titles on this list, LA Noire has had players divided. Many loved the crime elements, but criticized the storytelling and the open world. I, however, loved what LA Noire was trying to do. You play as Detective Cole Phelps in the LAPD in the 1940s, solving various cases ranging from homicide to arson, as an overarching story of a serial killer develops. Sure, the open world isn’t too inspiring, but the block-by-block recreation of Los Angeles was gorgeous. The different gameplay elements from shooting to interrogating kept you busy and engaged long enough to hold your attention, and then you went onto something else. It tells a great story of love and mystery, and it’s a great reason to harshly interrogate a 10-year old child.

8. Portal 2

Valve’s Portal franchise brought us a sequel to the game in 2011, bringing with it an unforgettable cast of characters and challenging yet rewarding puzzle solving. You play as Chell, a test subject who must escape Aperture Laboratories and stop Glados with the help of Wheatley. The simply two portal gameplay was more refined here, thanks to new elements like gels and tractor beams. The game is full of humor and excellent dialogue, and although it’s a short game, it’s well worth the ride.

Portal_2_coop_jan_22_3

Portal 2 features challenging, yet rewarding puzzles

7. Batman: Arkham City

The Arkham franchise is one of my favorites from this generation, and Arkham City was the best of the bunch. The Dark Knight is back and he must stop the Joker and many other villains in the city-turned-prison. Gotham is a gorgeous city, full of crime and set in the harsh winter, and it’s a blast just to glide around and take in the sights. Featuring one of the best combat systems mixing timed combos and a hint of stealth, Arkham City is the refinement of a perfect franchise, and I hope to see more in the future.

6. Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time

The PS3 is somewhat lacking when it comes to family friendly fare. Besides Little Big Planet, the other heavy hitter for Sony’s younger audiences is Ratchet and Clank. A Crack in Time, released in 2009, is one of the best single player games on the PS3. Mixing awesome gunplay with tough puzzles, and an engaging story with beautiful environments, A Crack in Time earns its spot as we move into the top 5.

5. Grand Theft Auto IV

Rockstar’s critically acclaimed open world franchise hit the PS3 in 2008, in the form of GTA IV. While GTA V has been hogging the spotlight lately, it was GTA IV that told us the remarkable tale of Niko Bellic, as he tries to make it in Liberty City. With a story that features darker elements and unforgettable characters, and an open world that is both lively and brimming with content, GTA IV overtakes GTA V as the premiere open world game.

gtaiv2

GTA IV has one of the most detailed open worlds to date

4. inFamous 2

Sucker Punch, best known for the work on Sly Cooper, had their work cut out for them making inFamous 2, and boy, did they deliver. Cole McGrath is an outstanding protagonist, he’s both complex and endearing. His super powers were even more refined in the sequel, set in the New Orleans-inspired city of New Marais, with new fire and ice powers depending on the route you take. With an unforgettable ending where you choose the outcome, inFamous 2 is a great feat of storytelling.

3. The Last of Us

Speaking of great feats of storytelling, we’re coming into the top 3. I had a hard time placing these games in the order I eventually chose, as they are all perfect 10s in my book. The Last of Us, one of the PS3’s newest games, is an astonishing game. Telling a post-apocalyptic story, it tells the tale of Joel, who must escort Ellie across the country in order to stop a virus from spreading. The story is beautiful, and Joel and Ellie’s relationship will be remembered for years to come. But The Last of Us is more than just an accomplishment in storytelling, it also features tense gameplay, as you must do whatever it takes to survive. With solid gunplay and a neat crafting system, The Last of Us’s gameplay surpasses that of other third-person survival games. Naughty Dog has made themselves a masterpiece, but there’s only a few games that can outdo them.

2. Heavy Rain

Conflicting gamers for nearly three years now, Quantic Dream’s interactive movie is, by convention’s rules, not as much a game as it is a movie. Heavy Rain features four protagonists, all under the backdrop of a serial killer who kidnaps children known as the Origami Killer. The game is spread over four people’s lives and interactions in the dark dreary city. This allows for intricate and complex storytelling. Even more, the game is very choiced base. Some of the main characters may die before you even reach the ending, which there are many of. Gameplay consists of quick button prompts and controller shakes, giving you a sense of tension and fear as you try your best to survive. Heavy Rain tells an emotional tale without getting too manipulative, and it will be remembered forever for changing the way we look at games.

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted may as well be Sony’s main mascot by this point. All three games are masterpieces, but the second game kicked up the heat and features many jaw dropping unforgettable moments. Made by Naughty Dog, Uncharted 2 once again features Nathan Drake, esteemed treasure hunter. With other memorable characters like Sully and Elena watching his back, Nate gets caught up in a race around the world, chasing clues and artifacts as a more modern Indiana Jones. Visually, the game pushed the hardware to the max. Cutscenes are gorgeous and the environments you come across are wonderfully detailed, whether that be a secret temple or a mountain village. You’ll shoot, you’ll climb, and you’ll solve puzzles in the excellent action-adventure franchise that will be remembered as the PS3’s juggernaut.

77601

Uncharted 2 has many unforgettable, jaw-dropping moments.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Other

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Second Thoughts: The Last of Us Multiplayer

The Last of Us shocked everyone by delivering an impressive, narrative-driven action game. Naughty Dog took it to the next level by including a fantastic multiplayer mode. This wasn’t necessary, and the game would still get a 10/10 regardless, but Naughty Dog squeezed it in there. Many people thought it would be like Tomb Raider’s multiplayer: unnecessary filler after to make up for the lack of single-player content. Boy were we wrong. The Last of Us totes the best multiplayer mode of any console game I’ve played.

Crafting is included in the multiplayer, allowing creation of items such as smoke bombs and molotov cocktails.

Crafting is included in the multiplayer, allowing creation of items such as smoke bombs and molotov cocktails.

By channeling the feel of the single player into multiplayer, Naughty Dog has created a tense, thoughtful environment. You plan out your moves before executing them, because resources are valuable and supplies limited. The teamwork is unbelievable here, with teams sticking together and backing each other up. Everyone starts with limited ammo, so no one is overpowered at the start of a match. I’ve run out of ammo multiple times, and had to resort to crafting, and this is why the multiplayer succeeds. A microphone is almost essential here, as teams can communicate, plan out their attacks, and watch each other’s backs. Because the multiplayer’s gameplay is so similar to single-player, The Last of Us’s two game modes are made even more fun.

Before I dive into the two game modes, let’s talk about the clan system. Upon signing onto multiplayer for the first time, you are given the choice to join two factions, the fireflies or the hunters. This choice doesn’t affect much, as each faction is given the same gear and outfits, but it lets you identify with a group and gives you a reason to play through it again. I say that because the multiplayer is structured very uniquely, with an overarching metagame adding a sense of urgency and heightening the overall intensity and feel. You start with a few survivors in your clan. They have names, and you can even import your friends list from Facebook. As you play through multiplayer matches, you gain parts which convert into food for your survivors. As your clan population goes up, so does the amount of food needed each day, making it harder as you progress. The overall goal is to survive twelve weeks, and if you don’t perform well enough in matches, things could get deadly. It adds a new feel to the multiplayer genre, making each match feel important. On top of this, there are random events such as disease outbreaks which lower your population if you don’t complete a goal in time (say, get 10 kills in three matches). It keeps you on your toes and keeps things interesting.

The first game mode is called Supply Raid. This is your classic team deathmatch, yet each team

Multiplayer maps are well designed to fit the gameplay style.

Multiplayer maps are well designed to fit the gameplay style.

depletes a pool of twenty lives. The first team to lose all twenty lives loses the match. In teams of four, it keeps things interesting, because you can see who used most of those lives and see who is responsible for your team’s loss.

The second, and far more interesting game mode, is called Survivors. This is classic elimination. Each player has one life. You die, and you’re left spectating. It’s best of seven, so if your team loses the first few rounds, they can definitely come back, and this makes for some fun and tense moments.

A progression system is even included. As you earn parts per match, you unlock new weapons, perks, and outfits. The weapons aren’t too interesting, but they get the job done. For your loadout, you are allowed 10 loadout points. Weapons, secondary weapons, perks, and unlockable weapons use up these points, so you must make important decisions regarding what you want to include in your loadout. Perks range from increasing explosive radii to allowing you to heal and gift items to teammates. There are different levels to each perk, too, and they get more interesting as you go up. Unlockable weapons allow you to purchase weapons during matches using your earned parts, and these range from flamethrowers to machetes, putting a spin on the regular assault rifles and pistols. On top of that, you can also purchase armor during matches to give you extra support. It never feels cheap, which is nice. The players who do best in matches get access to the best stuff. Character customization is also included, allowing you to add hats, goggles, and more to your player, which are unlocked as you progress.

The Last of Us is already a masterpiece, a 10/10 in my book. But the multiplayer is in a class of its own. Rather than run-and-gun, Call of Duty multiplayer gameplay, The Last of Us’s multiplayer is calculated and smart, forcing players to make brash decisions concerning their clan and their loadouts.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Other

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Last of Us Review

I finished The Last of Us last night, and I’m still reeling from the ending and the overall experience as a whole. This is a game that every gamer should play once in their lifetime. Games like these don’t come along very often, but when they do, they are something special. The Last of Us is PS3’s best game, and one of the best games I have ever played. It tells an emotional tale of two survivors and they bond they form, all while asking questions about morality and violence in a plague-stricken world.

The Last of Us starts 20 years after an apocalypse scenario and a plague that turns humans into zombie-like infected creatures. Quite the premise for what is to come. We meet Joel and Tess, two survivors living in a quarantined zone in Boston. Through a turn of events, in exchange for weapons and gear, Joel must sneak a young girl named Ellie out of the city and into the hands of the Fireflies, a resistant group. Ellie is immune to the plague, and she may hold the secret to creating a vaccine. Thus begins Joel and Ellie’s trek across the continental United States, as they encounter old friends and familiar faces.

The strength of The Last of Us doesn’t lie in the game’s premise, but rather its characters. This tale has been spun before, in different variations on a similar theme; apocalypses are nothing new to the medium. But its the characters who drive the story here. Joel is a hardened survivor. He has a dark past that he keeps to himself, and he is reluctant to take Ellie on this journey. Ellie, on the other hand, has been born into this world. She doesn’t know what life was like before this infection, and through Joel she pieces together what life was like back then. It’s an interesting dynamic between the two main characters that isn’t seen in many modern games today. The ending is fantastic, and I didn’t want to put it down once I got 3/4 through the game. From then on, it’s a thrill ride, both physically and emotionally, and the ending is perfect.

The Last of Us's world is beautifully detailed.

The Last of Us’s world is beautifully detailed.

Naughty Dog is an expert at their craft in terms of storytelling. The creators of the other PS3 smash hit series, Uncharted, they know how to tell a tale. The world is filled with broken-down buildings and fallen trees and dead bodies, and everything you see in The Last of Us tells a tale. You may see a broken down toy store, or an abandoned train station. In these many locations you visit along your journey you come across artifacts which help you piece together what happened in these locations. The attention to detail here is astonishing, Pixar-level astonishing. You may notice something different your third time through the game, whether be it through an item you missed or an interaction that just now makes sense. Point is, The Last of Us is beautifully detailed and you’ll want to play it again to see things the second time.

The Last of Us totes a gameplay engine similar to that found in Uncharted. Through heavy use of cover and stealth, you battle your way through waves of enemies and in this case, infected. Different here is that Uncharted was a more run-and-gun, killing machine kind of game, and Nathan Drake didn’t think twice about what he was doing. The Last of Us is drastically different. Stealth is much more of a focus here, so is conservation of resources. If you don’t have enough pistol ammo to take out a guy, you better rely on stealth to take him out so he doesn’t alert his allies. You may even want to avoid enemy confrontation altogether because you don’t have proper equipment. This makes the game into a great strategy lesson, as you wonder if you can finish the job with your resources. Luckily, you aren’t left to your wits alone. Joel is given a Listening Mode, which allows him to focus his hearing and see enemy silhouettes through walls. This helps a lot, and you can turn it off completely if you like. Since enemies react on sound, you can throw bottles or bricks to distract them, then run to safety, and the Listening Mode gives you additional help with locating enemies.

Crafting is a big part of The Last of Us. On your journey, you’ll come across all kinds of collectible equipment such as bandages and knives and alcohol, and you can craft in the craft menu to create things such as moltov cocktails, smoke bombs, or med kits. All of this happens in realtime, also, so you’re constantly trying to hide so you can craft a med kit and heal before you’re torn apart by the infected. It creates a suspenseful tone, and adds even more strategy to the game. You can also find gears and workbenches to upgrade your weapons, such as adding a scope to your hunting rifle or increasing your clip capacity. Joel also has upgrades of his own, and you can upgrade his healing speed, listening mode distance, and his overall health.┬áThe Last of Us is violent. Very violent. Joel and Ellie are survivors, and they learn to kill, but as a player, I’m here being grossed out by these kills. Joel will bash an enemy’s head into the wall or stomp on his face, but this all adds to the experience and it makes sense given the scenario.

Stealth is important, and very tense.

Stealth is important, and very tense.

All of this would add up to a 10/10 in my book, but Naughty Dog takes it a step further with multiplayer. Unlike Tomb Raider, another single-player experience, The Last of Us’s multiplayer is astonishing. It’s one of the best online multiplayer modes I’ve ever played. You choose to either side with the Fireflies or the hunters, and from there you start building your clan of survivors. There are two game types. Supply Raid has you and your team play deathmatch against the other team, and you all have a shared pool of lives, 20 to be exact. Whichever team’s pool is depleted first, loses. Survivors is more interesting. No respawns, and you must try and eliminate the whole enemy team. The game’s single player gameplay translates perfectly over to multiplayer. Crafting is still here, and it works perfectly. Listening mode is helpful, as well. But as a whole, given the quiet tone of the game itself, it makes you and others want to be quiet too and plan out their tactics, and this allows for some excellent teamwork and strategy. It’s a beautiful thing. As a metagame, after each match your points convert into food for your clan, and if you don’t perform well in a match, you may not have enough food to feed your clan. The goal is to survive 12 weeks, and it’s a very interesting concept which works quite well.

Visually, The Last of Us is stellar. Like I said earlier, the attention to detail is phenomenal, and the graphics set the tone for the tale. Pre-rendered cutscenes are also beautifully executed and shot, and allows for some great character expression in their faces and body language. Sound is also a big part of The Last of Us. The infected make loud noises, you avoid making a sound, and it helps to immerse you in the experience. When there is music, it’s beautiful, and very fitting.

The Last of Us is one of the best video games I’ve ever played. It tells a beautiful and emotional tale, featuring one of the best duos in gaming history. The gameplay is excellent and very strategic, and it has one of the best multiplayer modes ever. You owe it to yourself to give The Last of Us your time.

Overall: 10/10

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Game Reviews

 

Tags: , ,