The Last of Us EP15: Rutskarn is the Worst Sort of Person

By Shamus
on Oct 31, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

50 comments


Link (YouTube)

I like that we get the dark spooky basement fight here on Halloween.

I kind of feel like this basement section would have been stronger if Ellie’s fate was in doubt. If she made a scared noise and vanished, then we’d feel like we needed to escape and help her. But Chris is right, this does feel very videogame-y. Ellie is taken from you in a cutscene and you’re dropped into a new environment. The game makes it clear that she’s okay. There’s nobody to talk to, so the story and character development stop so you can have a shootout in the basement. (Or if you’re Josh, a zombie punch-up. For whatever reason.)

I can see why this section is here. The hotel was getting old. We needed a shift in gameplay. And it’s bad for the setting to spend too much time shootin’ dudes and not enough time fighting zombies. But this is a really clear example of the oil-and-water properties of story and gameplay. Still, it would have been a little more interesting with a good story hook to pull us along. “Is Ellie okay?” would be an obvious one, but I’m sure you could devise others. We just need something more than “Shoot the zombies so you can get back to where you left off.”

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Footnotes:



20201050 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. SAeN says:

    I always felt that the basement section would have been a hell of a lot better if it wasn’t a keycard hunt. It’s tense enough without needing to force a small annoyance like that on you.

  2. Tizzy says:

    Well that’s a promising title! Can’t wait to watch the video!

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris quoted out of context?That would never happen.

  4. Tizzy says:

    When the game drops you in a completely empty-looking zone and starts handing out ammo and crafting materials like it’s Christmas, you know this can’t go anywhere good.

    Also: no idea how Josh could see any of what he was doing in the last 5 minutes or so.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ok,Shamus has asked,multiple times,what do these people eat.But a more important question is being raised by Josh in these last couple of episodes:What do these people wipe their butts with?

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Rutskarn,dont you mean Josh has just left quarter of the audience SHIVering?Oh,wait,that was you and Shamoose.

  7. guy says:

    Oh man, TF2 and The Eternal Reward. It’s reasonably useful because it vanishes the body and surpresses the death message, so people only catch you if they actually see the stabbing. And yes, once in a payload match I murdered literally the entire enemy team in a frenzy of stabbing.

    • Ivan says:

      My favorite was joining a medic in an uber rush and trying to make it look as plausible as possible so I could keep the Uber Charge on me. Then I stabbed him so he could stop (presumably) raging about how stupid his teammate was.

      • guy says:

        I distinctly recall that getting Ubered colors you in your team colors even if it’s the other team giving it to you.

        And that is the story of how one of my attempts at sneaking around 2fort ended in the most hilariously awesome way ever.

        Then again, I also made it a rule of thumb that one should never believe any method of spychecking except for attacks and them shooting, because all the other clues occasionally get changed in patches.

        • Dirigible says:

          My personal favourite is the Blutzkrieg (Or whatever it’s called) – the Medic Syringe gun that heals you, though it’s only good for seeing spies yourself.

    • guy says:

      Oh yeah, there’s one other circumstance that knife is good for: if you have managed to backstab someone, you can walk right up to an engie repairing his sentry and stab him. Then you’re instantly disguised as him, so the sentry won’t shoot you.

  8. Josh, it’s on fire because you threw fire at it.

    Now I’m left wondering if he knows you can skip the entire thing if you get to the door w/o being spotted. I mean, I know that’s not what’s going to happen. I’m just…y’know, curious.

    And Chris is sooo right. Like, even if you avoid being seen after you start the generator, they NEVER go into passive mode. It’s so forced and artificial. They don’t even bother to explain how they got in there in the first place!

  9. To quote the great poet and philosopher Alan Sherman, “what is half a pair of scissors, but a single sciz?”.

    Singulars and plurals are so different, bless my soul.
    Has it ever occurred to you that the plural of half… is whole?

  10. Raunomies says:

    Did anyone else get Alan Wake flashbacks when Josh was starting the generator?

  11. Thomas says:

    I kept bugging out this section of the game. At one point I appeared to trigger the zombie horde without actually starting the generator

    • Ivan says:

      I’m going to start counting the number of times that Josh drops his brick to pick up a bottle, only to drop said bottle to pick up his brick again.

      So far we’re at 3.

      Edit, That wasn’t supposed to be a response to anyone.

  12. Ivan says:

    You know, I don’t agree with Shamus on this. I think it’s entirely plausible that that water is crystal clear. So long as it hasn’t been disturbed recently all the fine particles will settle out. There’s no telling exactly how that water got there or how long it’s been there. Has it seeped in through a cracked foundation? has it been dripping in through a hole in the roof or down the walls? I have no idea, but without an obvious agitator I don’t think it’s unlikely that the water would be clear.

    Obviously though Josh is an agitator, but so long as he doesn’t kick up the bottom sediments he would be fine. This is exactly how it is with cave diving and visibility is a serious problem but only after someone has kicked up the fine stuff.

    The only part I agree with is on the surface, where there should be a lot of algae growing in the water and mucking things up.

    • hewhosaysfish says:

      “Obviously though Josh is an agitator”

      Very much so.

    • Shirdal says:

      This is one thing I am willing to overlook in this case. If you’re going to have an underwater section, you want players to be able to see what they are doing (unless lower visibility is deliberately designed as part of the gameplay). In addition, the game already pushes the boundaries of belief as it is. Swimming unprotected in disgusting filthy water creates a more visceral reaction that challenges belief compared to, say, Joel moving around a dumpster like a shopping cart.

      If we’re going to have Joel swim in water like that, I’d rather have him swim in clear water that is more conductive to gameplay and less viscerally unbelievable than the filthy alternative.

  13. ET says:

    Shamus, “that kind of pyro” is really the best kind of pyro. Friendly neighborhood pyro, killing all the spies. :)

    Man, now I want to fire up TF2 again, and kill some spies…

  14. Isy says:

    I want to complain about falling in video games, but those people who survived falling out of in-flight airliners make me feel silly for doing it.

  15. newdarkcloud says:

    I have to agree with Chris on this one. This is my least favorite section of the game. I narrowly beat this section every time I do, and I always ending using a lot of Molotovs and Bombs.

  16. Ithilanor says:

    I’m in full agreement with the title of this post without even watching the episode. Why? I played Unrest today. Rutskarn, you magnificent bastard, I read your game!

  17. Ithilanor says:

    About the fight around ~5:00-6:00, I was really liking it for the first few guys – as Campster said, it’s nicely visceral and desperate – but when more and more kept running in the room to their deaths, that kind of ruined it. I can live with Joel managing to fight three guys at once; killing ten or twelve is a little too absurd for my tastes.

    • syal says:

      The visceral nature of the combat helps to draw your attention to the fact that real groups of people would group up before charging into a room with an armed intruder.

  18. Viktor says:

    So Rutskarn and Shamus have only played the second, worse entry in the series and have decided they dislike Dead Rising based on that? Please, guys, try DR1. It’s so much more fun.

    (Also, assume you’ll occasionally hit content you’re underleveled for. The game was designed with New Game+ as a core feature).

    • Wasnt’ DR1’s biggest drawback having a timer on every mission?

      • Viktor says:

        Ehh, I hate timer missions generally, but it worked there. Again, you’re not expected to do everything on one playthrough, so the timer just forced you to prioritize. There’s only a few missions where you actually have to rush, mostly what the timer does is keep you from wasting time.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        It’s more like Shadow of Modor’s timer on the sidequest events, but with the time dependent on gameplay time, not if you’ve advanced the main story missions.

        Which as Viktor said, just forces you to prioritize which missions you wanted to do – actually, now that I think about it, it’s probably a bit closer to Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask time limit, with a bit more leeway on when you can pick up a quest thread in general.

  19. Dt3r says:

    On the subject of higher lethality in Fallout; for one of my playthroughs I used a mod that gave a global damage multiplier of x2 to both you and enemies. It’s interesting how much a small tweak like that can drastically change the feel of a game. It almost felt like playing one of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games.

  20. thatNilus says:

    You can just book it to the door as fast as possible and go through it. It’s not exactly super obvious granted.
    But I also think that since this is on normal you’ve been almost conditioned to just fight everything without much trouble so you just default to that. I played on hard and I did not want to go against all of that so I tried for the door.

    Which incidentally segues nicely into what I wanted to talk about. This is one of my favorite games ever, on hard or above (mostly on hard). So much, I feel, gets lost on the lower difficulties.

    Pros for playing on hard:

    First of all; Enemies are more lethal. You can’t just stand around like a doofus and punch out 20 zombies like it’s nothing, you can’t sit in a doorway shooting your shotty at anyone who enters the frame.
    Chris’ point about the brutality and visceral nature of the combat becomes more applicable because it actually feels like a mad scramble for your very survival. You need to move around to stay alive. If three of them are with you in a room you’re most likely dead. It promotes the stealth element. On hard it feels like you actually are just one guy with the odds against you.
    You just want to avoid direct combat as much as possible because it’s such a drain on your resources.

    Speaking of; Resources are more scarce. The whole idea of overlapping crafting materials actually begins to matter. You can’t just waste ammo all willy nilly. Again lending creedence to the whole feeling of desperation and uneven odds.

    Cons for playing on Hard:

    Josh would die, constantly.

    It’s not that big of a deal but I really think this game is best experienced on hard. On hard it’s a stealth combat hybrid with a real sense of weight behind it all, the brutality and desperation becoming really palpable. On normal it’s a shooter that’s kind of dark. The story is still great on normal, but the game as a whole becomes so much better on hard, to me anyway.
    On hard you’re the man from The Road.
    On normal you’re John McClane from Die Hard.
    It’s not exactly like that but you get my point I hope.

    I do understand why you’re playing on normal and the series is very much enjoyable, I just think it’s a (tiny) bit of a shame for people who are experiencing it for the first time is all.

  21. Peter H. Coffin says:

    Things learned while curious: Scissors is plural-only; directly comparable to “cutters”. The two basic parts are the shear blades or knives. The one with the hole for the screwhead is the upper shear blade and it is the pointy blade if there’s only one, the one with the threading is the lower shear blade and that’s the blunt or clip-tipped one if there is only one.

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