A look back before ‘The Last of Us Part II’
By Chandler Walter, Contributor
I don’t think it’s a contentious opinion to state that, in general, video games do not age well.
Sure, you have your classics, the games that you grew up with and will always hold close to your heart—even if a replay of Pokémon Blue means leaving the lights on to illuminate that shadowy screen—that will never “go out of style” so to speak, but newer games that are a few years past their release date tend to feel drab in comparison to their most recent counterparts.
These games sit in the backs of bookshelves, or at the bottom of piles gathering dust and awaiting their eventual fate as a trade-in at the local EB Games. Yet not all of them deserve that end.
The Last of Us is one of those games that, five years later, is still as nail-bitingly, jaw-wrenchingly awesome as it was on first playthrough. That says a lot about the story, mechanics, and overall feel crafted by Naughty Dog.
A lot of the timelessness of The Last of Us comes from its unique play-style. Instead of running as fast as you can, climbing walls, and generally being a parkour expert (looking at you, Uncharted), The Last of Us encourages players to take things slow, think things through, and, for Christ’s sake, keep your head down.
The stealth mechanics don’t need the best graphics to operate at their top level because you’re not filling the screen with constant action. While there is plenty of combat throughout the game, there is also a puzzle-like aspect to it all—counting your bullets, figuring out where everyone is placed, and trying your best to maneuver juuuuust right to get around the baddies.
Where Uncharted’s Nathan Drake has had an obvious upgrade to his movement ability, climb ability, and general arsenal of Super Sick Stunts with each new installment, I doubt that the highly-anticipated The Last of Us Part II will change much about how the environment is traversed by our scrappy young protagonist.
Which weighs into why, at its core, I think that The Last of Us truly holds up. It’s a gritty, kind-of-horror type game that puts you into the shoes of someone who is capable, sure, but also just a regular guy trying to make his way through the nightmare that is a post-apocalyptic America. The game is great because the protagonist isn’t invincible, crafting happens in real time, and the choices you make really do matter, right down to the last bullet—putting the player into the story like no other game I’ve ever played before… VR included.