Feb 052013

Naughty Dog shared some brand new info and gameplay footage for The Last of Us this week, and this reminded me of something; The Last of Us is going to be awesome. This game is far and away my most anticipated game of the year, and right up there with Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim as one of my most anticipated games of the past few years. The following ten things are just some of the aspects of The Last of Us that have me looking forward to it so much.

10. The Voice Cast


Naughty Dog showed with the Uncharted series that they definitely value hiring a top tier voice cast for their games, and The Last of Us looks to be no different. The cast that has been confirmed thus far consists of both excellent voice actors and established Hollywood actors, and is led by the always outstanding Troy Baker as the main character Joel. If you don’t know who Troy Baker is, you should rectify that, because if you’ve played any games this generation you’ve likely played something with him in it. It’s going to be a great year for Troy Baker, since he is also voicing the main character in Bioshock Infinite.

9. Weapon Crafting


A big difference in The Last of Us compared to the Uncharted games is the survival aspect, this of course being a post apocalyptic setting. Unlike Uncharted, The Last of Us has an inventory and item management system. The player will be able to combine items and weapons to create new effects as well as being able to improve existing weapons, which will also degrade from use. It’s hard to know exactly how this system will be implemented without having played the game, but it certainly has the possibility to be interesting.

8. The Setting


Now, I know there have been an abundance of post apocalyptic games, especially this console generation, but there is just something about The Last of Us that feels unique. Maybe it has to do with the fact that, despite having zombie-like creatures, it doesn’t feel like a zombie game. Most of the footage we’ve seen so far has depicted combat against other humans, and the infected encounters look unique compared to most zombie games. I think the aspect of the setting that appeals most to me is the fact that the game seems to be more about surviving in general, whether that be against the elements, other people, or the infected; instead of simply being a zombie apocalypse.

7. Survival vs. Combat


I enjoy a good combat system as much as anyone, but sometimes I get fed up with games that are just all combat, all the time. That’s the main reason I’ve turned away from the majority of shooters, I am sick of game design that seems afraid of the player getting bored for a single second which results in non-stop combat. Even in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted games, which did feature lengthy non combat sequences of platforming and traversal, the combat sequences seemed to go on forever at times. This is a big reason why The Last of Us really appeals to me. From what we’ve seen of the game thus far, the focus seems to be more on simply surviving rather than killing enemies, which will be a nice change of pace.

6. Motion Capture


With the increased use of motion capture in the past several years, the quality of animations and direction has increased immensely. There is a huge difference in animation quality that is immediately apparent between games that utilize motion capture and those that do not. Just compare things like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and the Uncharted series, which both use motion capture, to games that do not like The Walking Dead and the Mass Effect series; the difference in animation quality is enormous. Even though the latter two games have excellent writing and storytelling, they are really hurt by the lack of motion capture. Naughty Dog goes above and beyond what most studios that use mocap do, recording both the dialogue and motion capture at the same time, almost like a play with silly outfits. I look forward the same high quality motion capture animation that Uncharted featured being implemented in The Last of Us.

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