The Last of Us EP17: The Brady Bunch

By Shamus
on Nov 6, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

75 comments


Link (YouTube)

I think I’ll steal some commentary from tomorrow’s episode and bring this up now: How many guys live in Pittsburgh? We must kill 50 or so on our way through. Either we are so unlucky that in this vast city we somehow blunder into the only inhabited buildings, or we’re only seeing a fraction of the inhabitants.

Let’s split the difference and say there’s a only hundred dudesOr were, before we showed up.. If they ganked an entire family every single day, and every family had a week worth of food, these raiders would starve to death in a hurryAssume a “family” is five people, then each car has 35 daily rations, while Raidertown needs 100.. And it’s pretty clear they don’t get nearly a carload of rubes a day. This is the same stupidity we saw in Fallout 3: Raiders cannot outnumber civilians. Ever. Every dude we encounter makes the entire world that much less plausible.

That initial raider attack by six guys was barely tolerable. But this is Planet Sillypants. We’ve got hundreds of guys, spread evenly throughout the buildings, many of them on the second floor. These idiots aren’t going to find any travelers to rob on the second floor of an office building. They’re not doing any useful work. They’re not amusing themselves like a group of perpetually bored men might. No, they’re sprinkled around like DOOM imps and cacodemons – mindless monsters waiting to attack the player.

If the roads are busy with constant traffic with people moving from town to town, then the existence of a hundred raiders in Pittsburgh should be common knowledge. If travel is rare and towns are isolated, then these morons starved to death years ago.

If this section had been limited to the initial ambush and one of the adjoining buildings, then I could give it a pass. But why, in this ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE game, are we shooting at so many human beingsYeah, I know why. “Because it’s a videogame”!? This is preposterous, and we’re only halfway through Pittsburgh.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] Or were, before we showed up.

[2] Assume a “family” is five people, then each car has 35 daily rations, while Raidertown needs 100.

[3] Yeah, I know why. “Because it’s a videogame”!



2020201575 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.

From the Archives:

  1. thebob288 says:

    Just imagine roleplaying a post apocalyptic bandit for a moment. Your on patrol your looking out for dudes to kill and evil to do…you know to survive and stuff and then while your on patrol one day suddenly while walking down the street you feel a mans forehead press against your butt. How would you possibly respond to that?

    • Ambitious Sloth says:

      “Whoa, hey now. We might have a position for someone stealthy like you, but not that position.”

      I mean, as long the only guideline is I could possibly say.

  2. SAeN says:

    Fun fact. That area where Ellie is given the rifle can’t actually be stealthed. They will respawn the bads until you eventually ‘go loud’ and Ellie has a chance to fire a few shots so the following cutscene makes sense.

    • Sacae says:

      That is not a fun fact.

      It’s a sad fact.

      Bad game development.

      Sorry that sounded rude, I just meant the whole element there could have been handled better.

      • Viktor says:

        Well, you need Ellie to shoot someone for storyline development. Unless you want to make 3 versions of every dialogue/cutscene for the rest of the game, Ellie has to shoot someone here. So either you endlessly respawn enemies until she does(unfair), make the enemies here unstealthable(unfair, looks cheatish, can still be broken by skilled players), or you have her shoot someone in a cutscene(looks artificial, players will get pissed off at Joel’s previously perfect stealth run getting screwed). I’d personally go with option 3, but I can see why they did things the way they did.

        • Primogenitor says:

          Or put a generator puzzle here (doesn’t have to be a literal generator, but any sort of barrier that requires you to break stealth to solve). As long as there is a mook on the other side that Joel can’t kill first, I think that would address the problem better than the other three options. Yeah, its still unfair and stupid, but at least it doesn’t break the universe.

      • It’s also not an actual fact. My first run through of it was stealthed. She never fired a round.

        • Thomas says:

          Yeah, during the sequence some guys show up who you weren’t expecting, but they’re also completely stealthable. I guess SAen stealthed the first group and got caught trying to stealth the second and then just assumed the game wouldn’t let them stealth it.

    • Hitch says:

      So the quickest way to play that section is stealth kill 3 of the 4 guys you first see, then stay in Ellie’s kill zone and aggro the forth so she can shoot him and with any luck the area will be clear?

  3. Erin says:

    I think populating the world with an implausibly large collection of hostile forces has more to do with goals of both game design and reinforcing broader narrative themes then some sort of failure to construct a believable post-apocalypse scenario. That ship sailed before the end of the first episode.
    Perhaps a more constructive question might be: does this break from plausibility add more to the game in terms of it’s narrative themes and gameplay goals then it detracts in verisimilitude?

    • Not to mention that a lot of Spoiler Warning complaints along these lines across multiple games have more to do, I think, with the limitations of consoles.

      It’s easier to have raiders murder everyone, since dead bodies don’t eat up as much resources as mobile NPCs do. True, the consoles are supposed to be more powerful, but old habits die hard.

      I will say that they could have a raider encounter where they put forth the idea of robbing you rather than going instantly to a shootout, but that probably doesn’t do more than delay the inevitable in a video game. What player, to whom death means little but “reload,” is going to just surrender their weapons and cash to someone that has stats and can therefore be killed?

      • Thomas says:

        I suspect it’s just cleaner game design than console limitations. They had plenty of NPCs in the first level and there are lots of levels with lots of active NPCs.

        If you’re meant to be shooting some people and not shooting others, how do you make that clear to the player? What do you do when they shoot the wrong person? Doesn’t that remove the justification you have for killing the bad guys? What makes them visually distinct? Aren’t lots of people going to complain about how unrealistic it is that the raiders let all these NPCs go where they could reveal locations etc? There’s also levels in the future with lots of enemy and friendly NPCs

        I think ultimately, what it comes down to is ‘does this make perfect logical sense?’ is a pretty irrelevant question when making any game/film/book. Things need to make enough sense for the story to work and the player to be engrossed with the story. From the reaction TLOU got, we know they managed to hit that balance correctly.

        Spending time fixing holes which may even counteract the purposes of the game isn’t no.1 priority. (Although I do think this level goes on for too long)

        • For the encounter to make “perfect” sense, the NPC A.I. would have to be fixed to match the situation. For example, robbers in Elder Scrolls games often wind up having leveled items worth far, far more than the pittance they’re scripted to extort from you, or they don’t recognize you’re basically a demigod who can one-shot them armed with any piece of vendor trash in your inventory.

      • guy says:

        You don’t have to have living NPCs in the same area as the raiders to make the point. Just have people talk about getting robbed at gunpoint in earlier areas and have the raiders threaten the protagonist prior to the shooting starting.

  4. dp says:

    As Pittsburgh resident who hasn’t played the game, I’m curious: how Pittsburghy is the Last of Us? Presumably more accurate the Fallout 3 DLC?

    • Patrick the 4th wall destroyer says:

      Actually the opening pan-o-rama of the F3 DLC when the player comes out of the tunnel and crosses the bridge is a very accurate skyline of the city when you come out of the Squirrel hill tunnels.

      As for how accurate Last of Us measures up I really can’t say. From what I’ve read so far if you exchanged “cannibals” for “cabbage eating Yinzers” and “Raiders/Pirates” for “disgruntled Iron Workers on Strike” then the game would be spot on.

      Also the screen shots don’t depict nearly enough potholes.

  5. I was watching a show set in Minneapolis recently, and a lot of the establishing shots (overpasses, running paths, stuff like that) was pretty indistinguishable from Atlanta scenery. I think we’ve gotten to the point where there’s just a generic America look (let’s face it, freeway overpasses look mostly the same). On the other hand, there’s a street near here that reminds me so much of FL and so little of anything else around here that it kinda freaks me out. But unless you’ve got desert or ocean or mountain or really obvious landmark one city looks pretty darn similar to another.

    • krellen says:

      I live in Albuquerque. Looming over our city, on the eastern skyline, is a pile of rock a mile high. It is a constant landmark and impossible to miss.

      I was watching for it and did not see a single appearance of our mountains in the entire run of Breaking Bad. It was really weird.

    • “The Wire” was filmed in Baltimore, where the story was set. I recall the mayor came to the producers and asked if they’d consider moving their shoot somewhere else because he was worried the program was giving Baltimore a bit of a black eye. The producers agreed, saying they could relocate to New Jersey or somewhere similar.

      “So it’ll be set in New Jersey?” asked the mayor.
      “No, it’ll just be filmed there. We’ll say it’s still Baltimore.”

      The mayor’s office relented, figuring they might as well get the fees the city charged to film on location.

  6. Sacae says:

    Sooooo pretty much….shorthand for what you said:

    “This is BS”

  7. straymute says:

    I was kinda disappointed ND didn’t play a little more with the idea that many of these people probably wouldn’t be raiders, especially once you get away from the highway and surrounding buildings which are the only areas they actually needed to control.

    Also, I found it kind of interesting that this is one of those games where it could be argued that non-lethal stealth is the least moral option a player can take. Leaving the raiders alone just means they are able to rob and kill more people for the foreseeable future and there is no upside to keeping infected around at all. Unlike a lot of other games the stealth route doesn’t end with these evils being dealt with by some other factor like when the police arrest the people you’ve knocked out in Deus Ex.

    Here Joel walks into a really bad situation and if he doesn’t deal with it in some way it just stays bad. Stealth becomes apathy.

    • Thomas says:

      Which suits Joel :P I think they force you to lethally stealth a lot of these sections though (for example you need Ellie to come down here to lift the gate for you)

  8. gunther says:

    The game does justify it pretty nicely if you collect and read all the notes – Pittsburgh was military-controlled until very recently, when there was a revolt by the public, which saw most of the population of the city get killed, both military and rebels. The survivors have turned to banditry for probably only a few days or weeks, presumably after exhausting supplies.

    It’s a dumb decision for them to make and it’s certainly not sustainable long-term, but it’s not breaking the laws of physics or anything.

    • Tizzy says:

      Yes, but… Nothing in their dialogue suggest that! They all sound jaded, like they’re old hands at this, as evidenced by their sland even (the term “tourist” that is used by everyone). And the tones of he notes is the same. Why would they even feel that cohesive?

  9. Tizzy says:

    For devs who are so obsessed with “balancing” different playstyles through a game, I like this idea: you can carry an arsenal with you, but each additional gun makes you louder, so that it’s up to you to find the sweet spot that works for you between unarmed ghost and death dealer.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Screw cannibalism,they dont even loot the corpse.Why do these raiders shoot people when they arent even stripping them naked.Do you know all the sphincters you could station with a nice shirt like that?

    Dear lord,ellie is a terminator incarnate!What do they teach kids in those schools?

    Wait,did that note just mention a tank?Ok,trucks and jeeps I get,those are relatively easy to maintain if you keep your economy rudimentary,but tanks?

    Dawn wolf part two?Well technically people do get gutted in that one,but its just a dream sequence.But in part one,he does gut her with his teeth.

    • Florian the Mediocre says:

      Well, the note did mention that the tank wasn’t working anymore.
      On the other hand, it sounds like it may have worked when the raiders took over the city, which depending on when that was means that the tank was in working order pretty far into the apocalypse.
      On the third hand maybe it was already broken when the fighting happened – the raiders would have had a hard time against a tank.
      Well, (on the fourth hand,) maybe they used their molotovs or something. I seem to remember that molotov cocktails were originally made for attacking tanks. I don’t know how effective they would be against modern tanks, though.

      • guy says:

        I can see the tank staying in working order prior to the uprising. After all, this was a military quarantine zone. If they wanted to have a tank they could have prepared plenty of spare parts and skilled mechanics when setting the place up.

        The raiders dealing with it would be pretty tricky, though. Molotov cocktails don’t work on Abhrams tanks, apparently. The crew compartment is sealed to protect against chemical weapons and the engine runs hotter than a Molotov burns. Still, it’s not impossible. They might have scrounged up a few anti-tank rockets, built a giant IED and lured the tank over it, made a tank pit trap, or just attacked the place where the tank was stored before it could be crewed.

        • ? says:

          I assume the tank in question is that burned up Bradley they walked past, not Abrams. Not technically a tank but it has tracks and a turret and civilians need far less to call a piece of military equipment a tank.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Actually I think you could maintain a light tank for quite a while if you have access to a good machine shop and a skilled mechanic. Tank is nothing but a large tractor with threads. Well at least older ones were that. A Soviet one made in let’s say 50s or 60s would probably outlive the humanity since most of the people that were threat to it are dead.
      More problematic for tanks is that they are fuel hogs and a simple truck or a buss has more carrying capacity both in personnel and cargo since it doesn’t need to carry all that armor. Also what are you going to use that tank for. As I said without significant alterations to it’s hull it useless for transportation, and if you mean to use it to fight where will you get ammunition for it? And tanks are kind of useless if not supported by infantry and you don’t have that many men.
      So you might be able to use and find use for an older tank or an IFV, on other hand modern MBTs would degrade quckly due to amount of electronics in them.

      • guy says:

        I can see a tank being useful. While it’s going to have all sorts of practicality issues it is basically invincible to zombies. The quarantine zones were stocked by the military, so if they decided one of them needed a tank they’d make sure to stock plenty of ammo and fuel. No need for infantry support against an enemy that can’t damage a tank.

        Also, car electronics can last a reasonably long time even with frequent use. I would expect a tank that comes out of storage a few times a year to deal with the occasional zombie horde to last a pretty long time.

        • ? says:

          The best use for a light tank in scenario like this would be as “mobile” bunker. Just keep it working enough so you can occasionally move it from checkpoint to checkpoint and use it as impenetrable machine gun nest. Also Bradley has transport compartment for 6 soldiers already, so you could conceivably use one for transport without any modifications. And if Army/National Guard wanted to keep few around they could disassemble other vehicles like it for spare parts. If forces deployed to hold Pittsburgh had for example 50 Bradleys( kinda low estimate) at the begging of the outbreak, they could decide that they only need 10 to hold off the infected and mothball the rest.

    • Patrick the 4th wall destroyer says:

      God help us if tanks become commercially available in Pittsburgh. A zombie horde would be preferable than 50k Yinzers in armored vehicles. It would be like throwing a case of Mountain Dew and some cattle prods into a class of 3rd graders and locking the door.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        It would be like throwing a case of Mountain Dew and some cattle prods into a class of 3rd graders and locking the door.

        I am sure Mumbles would support this statement: THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

  11. Gilfareth says:

    From one of the notes Josh picked up at about 17:30:

    ‘I just watched a mob douse Capt. Mastros and the rest of my team in gasoline and burn them alive. The animals were actually celebrating. Some old fucker was complaining it was a waste of gasoline
    (emphasis mine)

    Hmm. Old guy, Pittsburgh resident, complaining about improper usage of materials in the post-apocalypse? Man, glad I don’t know anyone like that!

  12. Excludos says:

    20:22 Light Molotov on fire, then put it back into the backpack. I see nothing wrong with this

  13. merkel says:

    Speaking as some who is originally from Philly, I assume that everyone from Pittsburgh are cannibals. Is this not the case?

  14. I’m still wondering how you guys haven’t commented on the fact that this is set 20 years after the outbreak and yet you still manage to find and fight people who have only recently been infected in areas where there shouldn’t BE any recent infected.

  15. Florian the Mediocre says:

    I don’t know about the in reality the raiders would obviously enslave and rape everyone thing.
    Maybe that’s just me, but I find it hard to believe that they would think of that kind of thing now – they are dying like flies and fully aware of it, and it’s not just Joel, there was also the bit about a woman coming through a short time ago and killing like half a dozen of them before they killed her. Murdering everything that isn’t them seems like the most natural thing for them to do in this situation (after hiding and fleeing).

    Furthermore, I imagine they would find it easier to convince themselves that, while they are doing terrible things, it’s only what is necessary for survival and freedom if they don’t have to look their victims in the eyes too much.

    Plus, I guess the world doesn’t consistently agree with me on this, but it just doesn’t seem intuitive to me that many people, even a bunch of curiously single-gendered evil dudes, would be so unanimously eager to rape someone and/or see women primarily as targets for rape when there is a real chance that she will shoot one of them dead.
    (I mean, it seems like being armed and being able to travel are pretty closely related in a world full of zombies, so it makes some sense that they would see their targets as serious threats and try to kill them as quickly and surprisingly as possible. It makes less sense that they do the whole raider thing at all, of course, especially when they don’t even all have firearms.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      But just leaving her dead in the street?With all those useful clothes(not just as slothing,but as bandages,patching cloth,ass assistance,…)?Thats just wastefully stupid.

      And thats not even mentioning that still nourishing flesh.

      • Florian the Mediocre says:

        True, though you’d have to be very hungry/desperate for improvised white gold to care about that while you know someone is sneaking around with murderous intent and the blood of fifty of your buddies on his shirt.

        I guess they could just take the corpses with them and eat them later, if they have the stomach for it.

      • Thomas says:

        They do strip the clothes and gear of the people they find, (it’s in a note and you can see where they store the stuff in the locker room you first go into). I really don’t know why they didn’t in that cutscene. I guess they must have had some sort of crisis situation they were trying to resolve? (Or the developers didn’t think about it :P)

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So lets talk cannibalism for a bit.

    Based on how similar the organs of humans are to those of a pig,and how our diets are similar,my guess is that pink flesh is about the same taste as that of a pig,or more accurately that of a wild boar.Now if properly prepared,wild boars can be very tasty,so taste really isnt a reason you should stay away from cannibalism.

    The two real reasons not to do it,society and disease,disappear quickly in a zombie apocalypse.Society,if it doesnt crumble completely,will take quite a bit of a step down compared to survival.

    Disease,while on the rise in an apocalypse,will paradoxically increase the safety of cannibalism.The diseases that cannibalism presents,like kuru,require you to eat someone who died from it.And when you are worried that the person has died from zombieism,which affects the brain just like kuru,youd be extra careful to monitor someone prior to their death and not eat them if they exhibited odd behavior.

    What Im saying is:Embrace the soylent green,its DE-licious!

    • Florian the Mediocre says:

      Even if the aversion to cannibalism is purely a societal construct (which is likely, considering that there were/are (not sure which) societies in which cannibalism was/is acceptable in certain situations), that’s some pretty deep conditioning. I don’t think you could unlearn this quickly/without strong external pressure.
      Well, I couldn’t, anyways. But then, I’m an overly squeamish vegetarian, so this might be different for others. (And the raiders probably had enough time and reason.)

      Could you realistically see yourself eating a person’s remains if you were transplanted into a society where it’s considered okay, and had no reason to fear disease, say if a healthy adult fell from a ladder and broke their neck?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “I don’t think you could unlearn this quickly/without strong external pressure.”

        Well apocalypse is a pretty strong external pressure.I mean people have done it before after being stranded(plane crashes and lost at sea),and this is far worse.

        “Could you realistically see yourself eating a person’s remains if you were transplanted into a society where it’s considered okay, and had no reason to fear disease, say if a healthy adult fell from a ladder and broke their neck?”

        Yes.Flesh is flesh.If its healthy,and prepared in a way I like(wild animals often require a bit more preparation than domestic ones),or if Im hungry enough,then definitely.Not sure if Id like it though,since Im not that fond of pork.

    • Patrick the 4th wall destroyer says:

      Someday, if we make a “Best Of Twenty-Sided” type list, I would like to include the opening sentence of this post.

      “So lets talk cannibalism for a bit.”

      If i were to meet Dr. Emmitt Brown in his Delorean, first thing I would do is go grab a random housewife from the 40’s and bring her to modern times so she can read the thread discussing the validity and merits of cannibalism during a zombie apocalypse.

      We sure have come a looong way from the Pac-Man vs Donkey Kong debates.

  17. Blovsk says:

    This whole game just looks completely ridiculous to me. Not played it because I’m a PC gamer, so maybe it feels different to actually play. The interface looks daft and intrusive and seriously cartoony when paired up with the fancy graphics, the combat completely jars with the storyline (*punching* zombies… not just punching zombies but really messy, detailed, scrappy, Arkhamy punching), the in-game universe completely lacks credibility (why are these bandits patrolling the insides of buildings in groups of 1 to 3 separated out guys, why are these bandits there at all), the transitions between cutscene and gameplay seem really marked…

    Even the much-vaunted cinematics seem to have nothing on (for instance) Wolf Among Us’s sensibilities in terms of directing, while the story and characters come off as kind of lightweight pulp so far (cf. The Walking Dead’s earlier adoptive parental relationship in a zombified world). There does seem to be some nice worldbuilding but it doesn’t seem to be anything… y’know… *that* great about it.

    The combat seems like a best-of of all the slightly-smarter-than-COD AAA gameplay trends of the last few years (i.e. half-assed stealth with takedowns and Batman tools, unjustifiable magic Batman vision, the occasional QTE, scrap-based upgrades, melee stuff, a bow, gory death sequences, linear areas with a few secrets & whatever) cf. Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: HR, both of which seem much better at what they do and have more unique selling points mechanically).

    This game just looks unexceptional to me. I’m wondering whether it feels radically different to how it looks but if *this* is all this game is I’m really baffled by the acclaim and the discussion it’s generated. Is it just that by synthesising just about all the trends of games atm and giving them a slightly new lacquer it’s reaching a larger audience? I really don’t get it.

    (I mean, I know it’s riding the whole suddenly everyone’s taking post-apocalyptic zombie shlock really really seriously cultural wave…)

  18. Patrick the 4th wall destroyer says:

    All those people hanging out on the 2nd floor office buildings are probably just waiting for traffic to die down on the Parkway east before heading home. 376 south of the tunnel is a MOFO after 5pm.

    But as long as we are nitpicking the realities of what civilization would be like in a post-apocalyptic world…

    1) People wouldn’t live in large cities. Small tribal communities out in the rural areas would be the rule. You can’t grow crops on asphalt, and animals wouldn’t live in the cities for the same reasons. The cities would provide better shelter, but far less resources.

    2) Large cities would be a death trap. Large buildings aren’t designed to be left unoccupied. For buildings over a certain height, they are even engineered so that they account for differences in air pressure on the highest floors. Very bad things happen to large building exposed to the elements. Fires would start and go unchecked, burning entire sections of the city to the ground within years.

    3) Not even in a zombie apocalypse would somebody be crazy enough to go down Forbes Ave in the middle of the day. Everyone knows to take 28 north past Millvale.

    • Addendum to 1 and kind of 2: Cities WOULD be a great source of resources. For trade, that is. Brick, cut stone, refined metals, artifacts, machine parts, glass, etc. And there’s no reason you couldn’t farm in those nice big parks they have everywhere if you desired to. Cities also tended to arise in places advantageous to trade. I’d wager many cities on the Mississippi wouldn’t completely vacate, unless the zombie apocalypse truly devastated the population to where even boats were too dangerous to risk.

      Farming anywhere could become problematic if irrigation is involved. We’ve got loads of containers, tanks, and other nasty things that would start putting horrid things in our waterways for decades to come after the fall of man.

  19. The Rocketeer says:

    Is Josh the one that makes the credit sequences, and the nicknames of the crewmen?

    Would that be why everyone but Josh is nicknamed after toilet paper this week?

  20. Mpjama2 says:

    I think at some point in the last episode, you hear from one of the raiders you killed 75 dudes. So yeah…

  21. stratigo says:

    I think the implication is that these raiders have only been raiding for a few months. Like they overthrew the government a couple months ago and went “Oh crap, we have no idea how to run a city and all our supplies are being used up”

  22. Starker says:

    A teen romance movie based on Dark Souls might not be as far-fetched as you think: http://i.imgur.com/t4Anb2I.png

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