The Last of Us EP35: The Last of The Last of Us

By Shamus Posted Friday Jan 9, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 168 comments

Link (YouTube)

Apologies to the people of Germany. The end credits music has blocked this video in your country. I realize this must be really irritating, but at least this has put an end to music piracy in your country. So you have that going for you.

And so it ends. Is it weird that our most positive season of Spoiler Warning is about a console exclusive that less than half of us have played? It feels weird to me.

And now I’m playing through it myself. There are a lot of little details you don’t get to see in our play-through, or by watching the cutscenes online. When you’re playing on your own you’re probably going at a slower pace, taking in the sights, and maybe even re-starting from checkpoints if things go sideways. Playing like this, I’m seeing little bits of dialog and little animations. Ellie in particular is good at looking busy without dropping into “blank-faced NPC idle” mode.

Since this is probably the last time we’re going to talk about the game, and since I’m finally getting around to playing it myself, I feel like I should say something about the gameplay. But I really hate to end on a down note. I dunno. It’s up to you. Stop here and bask in the happy ending of seeing a game successfully melting our blackened hearts, or read on and listen to me repeat gripes Josh and Chris covered weeks ago. This is it. Turn back now and leave with happy thoughts. I don’t mind. Thanks for watching.

Really. You don’t need to read the rest. It’s the rants of a whole season, distilled into a single post, written mostly while still angry. That can’t be good. Go in peace, and knowing that we really do love The Last of Us.

The End

Yeah, I knew you couldn’t resist the urge to read a rant. So let’s do this…

I’ll just put all my cards on the table now: This gameplay is just awful. Not just bland, but really, really irritating. I’m angry whenever I’m not in stealth. Everything feels wrong and awkward and fussy. The weapon sway. The long recovery time when you get hit. They way foes can easily juggle you. The sheer difficulty of lining up headshots (which is relatively easy on other games) due to recoil, weapons sway, and rapid enemy movement. It feels like trying to type a text message “STOP PUNCHING ME IN THE ARM” to a guy who keeps punching you in the arm. Only he won’t stop until you send him a message with no typos. The biggest reward of successful combat is that you get to stop doing it and get back to the parts of the game that aren’t horrible. The worse the combat is, the more to try to stick to stealth, which means you’re not really practiced at combat, which makes everything worse, etc.

If you say, “That’s what the designers intended. You’re not supposed to fight everything.” Well… mission accomplished? They made a shooter that is completely miserable to play as a shooter and a stealth game where failure means you have to play a miserable shooter. At this point I’d gladly trade the fire button with a button to quickly re-load the last checkpoint, because this shooting is a worse punishment than a game over screen.

I just ragequit the game a couple of minutes ago. I’m doing a subway sectionJust after we part ways with Tess, back in episode 8 of this play-through. where I’m starving for bullets, fighting waves of soldiers, and they never drop weapons or bullets. That’s just childish horseshit. I’m out of bullets, and I’ve been carefully stealthing my way through large parts of the game, choking dudes out without raising any alarms and meticulously scavenging everything. I should be swimming in bullets, but I’ve actually run empty once. Which means it adjusts bullet drops to punish you for using stealth. (And thereby reward you for blasting through like a moron.) Stealth is time consuming, and the reward for putting in the time and effort to do things right is that when I make a mistake and break stealth, I should have plenty of bullets to solve this problem and get back to stealth funtime.

I have no idea what they’re going for here. I guess they’re bending the fabric of time and space to avoid me having too many bullets, because that would be too empowering. But if they don’t want me to feel empowered, then why am I killing hundreds and hundreds of men?

Earlier lots of people said that having your melee weapons break and bricks shatter is a required part of the gameplay. Now that I’ve tried it myself, I’m just not seeing it. It feels dumb and arbitrary. I guess you’re supposed to enjoy the mad dash to scramble through your bag and get other gear? But in a game this story-heavy, I’d rather have the immersion and convenience rather than the busywork.

I think I should quit now. I’d probably lose my mind completely if I tried to play through Pittsburgh.

Like I’ve been saying all season: This game succeeds where dozens of others have failed miserably. It’s interesting, smart, charming, heartfelt, gorgeous, well-acted, and also etcetera. This game is nearly perfect in every way, except the shooting is intolerable.

Too bad it’s a shooter.



[1] Just after we part ways with Tess, back in episode 8 of this play-through.

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168 thoughts on “The Last of Us EP35: The Last of The Last of Us

  1. Piflik says:

    The most irritating thing of GEMA blocking videos containing music in my wonderful country is, that they block the vidoes on the Artists’ own channels (and only on Youtube)…I can’t even listen to music that I might want to buy, if I had listened to more than a few seconds of a single song I heard somewhere…

    In any case, I’d advise my fellow Germanz to use the TOR Browser. It connects to the TOR Network, which ensures privacy and hides the fact that you are in Germany, so you can watch this video (and others)…

    1. bigben1985 says:

      Actually, Gema doesn’t block anything (or at least only a small percentage). Youtube is doing the blocking themselves, because GEMA wants more ad-revenue of the music videos than the other groups representing the artists. I’m reciting this from memory, so please refer to this article if you’re interested.

      Anyway, the breakdown is that Youtube just blocks all music that GEMA has rights to, even if they would be allowed to show it in Germany.

  2. James says:

    Personally I’m not a huge fan of the game. It seemed full of such promise, and doesn’t quite deliver what is set out to do.

    It’s a game that tries for greatness, but is hamstrung by it’s refusal to stray from the tried-and-tested cover-based stupid-ai manshoots school of game design.

    But at least it tried.

    1. Jokerman says:

      How would you go about fixing that?

      I think a strictly stealth based game would have really worked here on many levels, “Manhunt” style hide and seek type gameplay with 2-8 enemies at once. I think it would be more fun to play and the world would make a lot more sense.

      1. Bitterpark says:

        That would have been great. Maybe then, the game would stand out for its gameplay as well as story. But they probably thought they’d have an easier time selling a cover shooter. And, sadly, they were probably right.

      2. bigben1985 says:

        “How would you go about fixing that?”

        Actually, the “tourist-mode” that was proposed in the comments of some other article on here would solve this. Skip the fighting, get the quips between cutscenes, enjoy the view as well as the puzzles…

    2. I think it’s the problem with trying to tell a linear narrative (even a good one) but being forced to put “gamey bits” between cutscenes.

      I wonder if this story would work better as a movie, since the zombie fights can be kept from wearing out their welcome, and escape from or defeat of said foes could be done in a less man-shoot kind of way.

      The only fix I can think of is to have more mechanics like Telltale Games’ Walking Dead, or find a way to make the narrative branch. Perhaps they should’ve included a way to minimize combat, if the player chose (i.e. you talk to dude X, get enough of resource Y, time your move to coincide with Q, and you manage to get past without murdering everyone in sight).

    3. Bitterpark says:

      I feel like it refuses to stray from safe territory in both gameplay and story. It touches on all these big themes just enough to seem really profound and important (especially by videogame standards), but never quite has the courage to sacrifice it’s mass appeal for properly exploring them.

      I think the ending is the biggest example of that in the story: the plot is supposed to culminate in Joel doing a very bad thing, playing off of his central character flaw and arguably even condemning him as a Not Good Guy. But they don’t have the courage to seal the deal on that and have it unambiguously be what happens. No, they hit the breaks and make Fireflies evil bad guys, giving Joel back the claim to being the Hero in all this, tenuous though it may be. Because they don’t want to offer a challenging motivation, and risk alienating parts of the audience. Character moment or not, wouldn’t want people to feel bad about doing their manshoots!

      The Uncharted series also seems to have that in spades: the games always make sure to paint Nathan Drake as the good guy hero, even though he has no more moral claim to the various ancient treasures than the evil bad mercenaries he massacres by the dozen. That’s why I don’t have faith in Naughty Dog games in general: they play it far too safe.

      Maybe I’m crazy though, cause they seem to be doing just fine.

      1. Taellosse says:

        That’s a really interesting point, and reminds me of that abortive Prince of Persia reboot Ubisoft made in 2008. (spoilers beyond this point)

        The Prince in that game literally sacrifices the world to bring Elika back at the end, recapitulating the mistake her father made in unleashing Ahriman in the first place. I mean, they clearly intended to keep going with the story and didn’t because it didn’t sell that well, but it was interesting that they were willing to have the protagonist do something that was almost unambiguously wrong.

        1. Prof. Sniper says:

          Oh man, I remember that game. I was so angry at the ending, not because of the horrible thing the protagonist did but because they end the game on a stupid cliffhanger. And then they try to sell you the actual ending as DLC! What a dick move!

      2. Isaac says:

        Actually, Nathan does have the moral high ground when he’s facing off against those evil mercenaries: the evil mercs are usually trying to use the Golden MacGuffin for some evil plot (i.e. taking over the world).

        1. Bitterpark says:

          Well yes, cause that’s the only way Nathan can walk away from killing 500 men and still be the ‘hero’. I should clarify: it’s the fact that the games frame him as a hero by making everyone who opposes him cartoonishly evil that ticks me off: ultimately, the man is there to steal ancient artifacts and sell them to shady private collectors, and has absolutely no issue with gunning down anyone who gets in the way of that. The fact that the people that do always seem to be trying to take over the world conveniently allows him to claim the moral high ground. But deep down he knows: if the ‘baddies’ merely wanted to steal and sell the treasure first, he would have massacred them in the exact same way.

    4. Felblood says:

      I think the central problem is that the game wants too much.

      It wants to be set in a world where there are no magic bullets or easy answers, and actions have consequences that can’t always be foreseen. The Fireflies and the FEDRA are both trying to do good, and generally spend more resources fighting each other than helping the people. Even when they secure an area their methods tend to turn out wrong.(FEDRA executes homeless people for being infected. The Fireflies “liberate” a city, only to realize they can’t feed the people, leading to starvation and cannibal raider tribes.)

      It also wants to have a proper narrative climax, about a character making a single decision. Unfortunately, the power of his choice in undermined by the previously established fact that this is a world with no easy answers.

      It wants to have a very dark character turn at the end, but it feels the need to pile caveats on it, likely to keep the game’s appeal broad enough to justify a AAA release. I suspect that they put this game in front of a LOT of focus groups and they all asked for the moral choice at the end to be put into the player’s hands. The writers built the entire game around making you understand why Joel does what he does, by making character motives a central theme. There are a lot of little moments in that final chapter where you tell Joel to do something and he does something slightly different. When that failed to get players detach themselves sufficiently from Joel to let him make his own choices as a character, that’s when I think they started piling on the jerk Firefly soldiers.

      It’s ambition is too great and it’s reach exceeds it’s grasp. You know what? I’m completely cool with that. I would rather get 3 of these failed experiments every year, over the dozens of gray-brown, jingo/dudebro shooters that roll off the assembly line. The game took a lot of chances. they didn’t all pay off, but I’m grateful that someone in AAA development is still trying things.

      The only way video games can continue to grow up is if we are ready to endure some growing pains with them.

      EDIT: I can haz a grammar

  3. Isaac says:

    I think Marlene never asked Ellie because she was afraid that Ellie would refuse. To have made so many sacrifices for this chance and in the end to be stopped by Ellie saying no would’ve been unbearable for her. Hence why they prepped her for surgery without telling her exactly what they were going to do.

    On the shooting, Shamus did you upgrade your weapon sway with the pills or no?

    1. Eruanno says:

      They don’t even have to explain it to her – she’s still passed out from almost drowning. They just pump her full of drugs and off to the surgery we go!

      But yeah, they totally don’t want to accidentally have her say no. That would be suuuuper awkward.

    2. Piflik says:

      The ending implies that Ellie knew what was coming. At least that was what I got from her asking Joel if he told the truth about the Fireflies. Also her sombre behavior before seeing the Giraffes shows, that she felt her time with Joel coming to an end.

      The ending was not spoiled for me, but I still knew beforehand that Ellie would have to die for the cure to happen, and I got it from her…

  4. AceCalhoon says:

    I found the shooting awkward too… Until I realized that the game will actually let you run away from most foes. They don’t go back to their initial state or anything (at least not for a while). They still know you’re out there. But they don’t automatically know your exact position, which lets you sneak around, flank, line up shots, etc.

    I was able to play through most of the game as a stealth game, with it only turning into a shooter occasionally on set pieces (or stealth sections that I got tired/frustrated of).

    Your mileage, and the definition of “stealth” and “shooter” may vary.

    1. Sorites says:

      Part of a satisfying sneak-attack combat system is…you know, sneak attacks that pretty much always hit and pretty much always incapacitate. Otherwise, you’re just breaking stealth and asking to die.

      Last of Us doesn’t have effective sneak attacks. If you miss – and as Shamus said, it’s easy to miss – you’re right back in the brawl. And even if you hit, you don’t do bonus damage for flanking or attacking an unaware target…so you’re right back in the brawl anyway.

      I’d be interested in a game mode like Metro’s Ranger mode, in which every hit is basically an instant kill. Then you could conceivably pick off two or three enemies before they’d zeroed in on you.

      1. Isaac says:

        I imagine that Grounded mode in the Last of Us is similar to Ranger mode in Metro

        1. SpiritBearr says:

          except weapon sway is first person in metro so you have control over if you miss or not.

      2. AceCalhoon says:

        Last of Us *does* have one-shot-kills in the form of shivs. Which I usually had a good supply of (although I was not playing at a high level of difficulty). Plus grenades, bombs, and so on.

        I found scrambling for cover, dropping a booby trap, shiving an outlier, and then opening fire from a flanking position to be very satisfying.

        But again, it may just not be your thing.

      3. Eruanno says:

        But you can sneak attack just like that. Walk up behind a guy who doesn’t see you -> press triangle -> Joel will grab him -> press square and Joel will strangle him for a silent kill. (Or triangle to shove a shiv in his throat which takes less time but you use up a shiv. You can also drag the enemies around if you’re a bit too close to some other enemies.) From a range, the bow is an instant silent kill on unaware enemies, but it’s not always easy to hit with it, so sometimes doing the melee punchout is a better course of action.

      4. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Far Cry 3/4 have the best stealth mechanics I’ve ever seen.

        1) Sneaking up on someone and making the kill is highly rewarding. You don’t alert the other enemies (unless they see you, but if you get a knife throw takedown off you can even get two guys who you wouldn’t be able to otherwise). You get a lot of exp for them. They feel good. You save ammo.

        2) The game has very open environments (The outposts are 100% open), puts lots of tools at your disposal, and doesn’t try to hit you with the arbitrary “You can’t do that!” stick. Beating an entire outpost undetected using only takedowns is challenging, but fun, because it’s less about the need for 100% perfect execution and more about looking at a layout and a bunch of guards and figuring out what path to take through them. You aren’t forced through linear paths and exact sequences of enemy kills/avoidance, or to use X gadget here.

        3) There’s no dumb busywork to pad out the actual gameplay parts. You’ll never be forced to use an a passcode that you found on a guy to open a lock. You don’t need to fiddle with pushing dumpsters around or opening doors with cranks. Climbing up stuff is as quick as it can be made. Animations are kept to a minimum.

        4) Stealth isn’t about being slow or being forced to wait. You might have to wait for a patrol sometimes, but only when it naturally comes from the way you’ve chosen to attack. There’s never any more of it than is required by the set of mechanics that exist in the game (specifically, the AI. See below) Even in stealth you move decently fast, and as long as you’re avoiding an enemy’s field of vision they won’t notice you coming. You’re actually rewarded for being quick, since getting out of potential line of sight is more important that going slow.

        5) They let you know when an enemy is starting to notice you. There’s actually a chance to duck behind something or back off. It gives you much better feedback than “SUDDENLY YOU FAILED, BRO!”, and

        6) The game has great AI. Guard patrols feel natural. Sometimes they stop to bullshit or fool with something. Some will be mostly stationary, but will get up and do stuff every once in a while. The patterns feel natural, not overly mechanical. When they are looking for you, they don’t act like they have any special AI senses.

        7) There’s very little random failure forced onto the player. Every once in a while a guard will turn around while you’re approaching, but usually they give enough ques and follow subtle enough patterns that you can avoid it. Plus, since you can move relatively fast while sneaking, you can control your risk by getting close from behind cover.

        My only complaint is that I wish that you could bind the takedown button to a different button than the melee button so that you don’t alert them by slashing your knife against a post because the takedown prompt suddenly disappeared (Mostly a problem when you aren’t taken them down from a pure “behind them on level ground” angle).

        It’s a shame that neither has a story worth a damn (I’d really like to see Chris’ take on FC4), but as shooters they’re top notch.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          Yeah, stealthing bases in FC3 was probably my most favourite thing to do. Of course it was spoiled by in my opinion a bit unpredictable sight mechanics. Sometimes guards are literary blind to your presence, but sometimes they can sppot you through a gap in a fence from 10m or more. And those spots than alert the base and you are forced to fight reinforcements. But chatarsis of clearing aout the base by ghosting it was the best. As you said majority of the feeling of satisfaction comes from the fact that the game allows you to plan and study the enemy. So if you win by ghosting it’s not because you have twich reflexes but because you chose a correct path.

          1. Scourge says:

            And then there are things like this where people just… show off how much freedom you have when you plan things.


    2. Jokerman says:

      Sadly i only found this out on the last level of the game… i was forced into it through the sheer quantity of enemies the game throws at you.

    3. Thomas says:

      The game has a tutorial on re-entering stealth mode when combat has already been engaged. If you run away from the enemy and duck, it triggers stealth mode again on the enemies.

      It’s what I loved most about the game, I adore shooters where stealthily flanking (during the firefight) is a key part of the game. Enemies spot you, run duck under cover, circle round and choke a guy out, hit someone else with a plank of wood and then run back into cover.

      It’s actually a really gamey system when you examine it, because it drops you back into stealth mode even when you really shouldn’t. But I don’t think it teaches it very well, because I’ve never seen Josh use it during the entire playthrough

  5. Ghost says:

    Your rant is a good example of why I like watching other people play and rarely enjoy playing myself. Mix a little poor hand-eye coordination in and a lot of these games become painfully frustrating. But often they are pretty and enjoyable as long as I don’t have to be the one pushing the buttons in a time limited fashion. I’ll stick to playing my turn based games and watching others play these sort of twitch games.

  6. SmileyFace says:

    This has been a blast, I really love the story of this game, and honestly, janky gameplay is rarely an issue for me, sometimes it makes things more fun because I spend half the game trying to figure out how to make it work well, more challenging than playing through an entire game with the same easy-to-grasp combat.

    As to the story, yeah, the Fireflies’ plan always struck me as bonkers dumb, but I think that made it work better for me – if I’d had a problem with what Joel was doing, it would have created a split between what I was doing and what I wanted to do, and crippled my emotional investment in the last section of the game; it’s not worth having a textbook flawed hero archetype at the cost of the narrative not working.

    I prefer to look at the Fireflies idiocy as an extension of the broader theme of the game – the various factions of humanity that have gone too far in one way or another in their desperation for survival. Maybe Joel’s efforts to save Ellie qualify him for that them too, I don’t know. But I enjoy looking at the Fireflies as intentionally flawed, as well as Joel, with the balance to be decided by whoever’s playing, but with most people ending up on Joel’s side, because otherwise the game doesn’t really work too well.

  7. Bropocalypse says:

    So it succeeded in ways other games have failed, and failed in ways that other games succeeded at?

    Seems like this game would have benefited from gameplay similar to Beyond Good & Evil.

  8. SAeN says:

    I totally disagree with you all with regards to offering the player a choice. I think the ambiguity, and leaving the player to make their own decision on how the ending feels to them would be ruined by offering a choice. It would make the game feel like there is a right and a wrong ending, rather than a morally ambiguous one.

    Also with regards to Chris and Mumbles saying that as a child Ellie shouldn’t have the choice in whether she gets to offer her life, I think it’s pretty clear from her final speech to Joel that Ellie has been dealing with a pretty serious bout of survivors guilt. It’s the whole reason she wants to offer her life. She feels it was unfair for her to be the one that was spared, everyone (besides Joel) has left her and she feels like she is righting some wrong by offering her life.

    I think the entire final scene of the game is Ellie accepting that whilst Joel is lying to her, and she knows, she is able to accept that knowing that she finally has that father/family figure that will stick by her. She’s no longer about to be abandoned, she fought for Joel throughout the whole of winter to get to this point.

    Anyways, I’ve always felt that the strength of that ending is that the gutpunch it delivers you can be interpreted differently depending on the player. That was just my take on the ending and whilst I think it’s a pretty good one I by no means think it is the only interpretation.

    It’s probably the game I played that I have enjoyed the most, and whilst it hasn’t had the effect on my life that Mass Effect did it will stick around in my memory all the same.

    Also I totally love how the game plays but I can see why it is divisive. Definitely too much shoot mans though.

    1. Neil W says:

      Mumbles and Chris are right that Ellie shouldn’t have to make this decision as she’s a minor. Yet it’s the zombie-post-apocalypse; she’s had to do other things children shouldn’t have to do like fight their way through an abandoned mall, carry a full grown man to safety and watch her best firend die of a zombie bite. She’s already having to take on adult roles, yet neither the Fireflies or Joel are going to let her make adult choices.

      Still, Joel’s decision to take the responsibility on himself is forgivable; we don’t have an explicit preference from her, he’s acting in the role of guardian/next-of-kin, and if he doesn’t act they’re going to kill her without ever making that choice.

  9. Eruanno says:

    The shooting is kind of wonky, but I feel like it’s kind of… intentional? I mean, for once you’re not Shooty Von Spacemarine, you’re Suburban Dad From Texas That Has Fired A Gun A Couple Of Times In His Life. You’re not -supposed- to be mowing down mooks like a killing machine. You’re just above an above average angry man at best. Interestingly, Ellie feels like she’s a better shot than Joel when you play as her. Maybe it’s the lower angle? Did Naughty Dog make it intentionally easier because there are a lot of mobs in the section you play as her? I don’t know.

    I’m not sure what difficulty you’re playing on, but I don’t think I ever played TLOU on anything lower than Hard, which is super odd to me because I usually never go above Normal. This game feels like it wants to be played on the edge of surviving, though. Two bullets left in your gun, five guys in the room – oh! A wooden plank and a broken bottle! Sweet! And now that guy is patrolling into that room…

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      You're not -supposed- to be mowing down mooks like a killing machine.

      I know! Wouldn’t it be great if the gameplay agreed? If a stealth or traps run-through was not only possible, but encouraged, and slaughtering hundreds of raiders wasn’t what you were supposed to do?

  10. MrGuy says:

    OK, since it didn’t come up…

    Marlene says “I’ve known her since she was born. I promised her mother I’d look after her.”

    Back the truck up. Wasn’t the whole backstory from the DLC that she was in a military academy? And that she was training to KILL fireflies? And that she was SHOCKED when her best friend ran away to join the fireflies?

    You’re trying to tell me that the queen of the fireflies was “looking after her” while she was being raised pretty much 100% opposite of everything Marlene stands for? How does that make a lick of sense?

    1. SmileyFace says:

      There’s a sort of prequel comic thing about Ellie’s days in the boarding school, meeting Riley and stuff, where she meets Marlene for the first time in her life, and you sort of glean from there that Marlene has been trying to keep Ellie safe from a distance, keeping tabs on her but not actually making contact because there’s probably no place safer for a kid than a post-apocalypse military boarding school, and because if she had Ellie with her or her relationship with Ellie were known, it would put Ellie in danger.

      Of course, this in no way makes her qualified to know what Ellie would want, or to make decisions on her behalf, and isn’t really a thing to be proud of since basically just involved Marlene doing nothing, but it’s an emotional time, and the Fireflies are incompetent morons, so it’s consistent that Marlene would actually say that, wrong as it is.

  11. Daniel England says:

    Watching the gameplay makes me glad I never bought this game, watching the rest of the narrative makes me upset that I never played through this for myself…

    Well, it’s the end of another season, which means I can speculate on what games you guys might play next!
    Well, There’s always the Telltale stuff, I feel like y’all got out what you had to say in TWD, but you could have more stuff to say about The Wolf Among Us.
    Deus Ex: The Fall? Maybe for a one off, it’s kinda crap I hear.
    Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance could be a bit of fun. Not sure if it does much to comment on.
    Assassin’s Creed IV? After II I’m guessing no one’s ready to go back to that franchise.
    Bioshock: Infinite. Another Troy Baker + a companion, with “terrible” gameplay but otherwise compelling/ambitious story with DLC that basically makes up for the rest of the game thing? Yeah, probably not. Maybe Bioshock 2 instead!
    Metro: Last Light would probably be good! Makes some improvements over the original. also has lady nipples which might be an issue with youtube(?)
    Sleeping Dogs could be pretty entertaining, and there’s quite a lot to talk about with it. Yeah, I could see that.
    Euro Truck Sim 2. This is probably the most likely game that will be choosen for a long form critique and commentary, truly no better game has ever been developed.
    You know, Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls or even Indigo Prophecy could be really interesting, probably the best is Indigo Prophecy since that one actually starts with a lot of promise!
    Perhaphs Ni No Kuni, now that they’ve got a Playstation hook up dongle…
    Would they do an entire season on horror? I could see Outlast, Dead Space, or Alien Isolation bein’ a good time.
    LA Noire would allow them to talk about Rockstar and how unnecessary an open world was in that game. But it was pretty good, if a bit long.
    Shadow Warrior could work. A lot of games don’t really work with the SW format, but this would probably do quite nicely.
    Thief reboot would be kind of interesting since I hear it does a lot of bad and some good stuff…
    One of the Batman games could be fun, give Mumbles more time to nerd out <3
    Child of Light, kinda meh…
    South Park… Uh… yeah… that would be interesting, but probably wouldn't produce a lot of… uh… worth while commentary?
    Tex Murphy came out, that is an FMV video game. Could be quite good!
    Wasteland 2 could be too long, but it would give everyone a chance to say "In the original Fallout" some more…
    The SW format is so… odd. I'd never want to choose something that I don't think could provided a basis for worthwhile discussion for its entire run. Anyone care to add to this list (or come up with reasons why a specific game probably wouldn't get the SW treatment?)

    1. guy says:

      I’m thinking maybe they could do Shadow Of Mordor. They’ve just done a game with a great story sabotaged by terrible gameplay, now they can do a game with interesting gameplay and a story that needs no help sabotaging itself.

      1. Jokerman says:

        Apparently Josh despises the “Arkham combat” though… Might make it a tough sell for him.

        1. guy says:

          Maybe if they hire a team of exorcists Shamus could stream this time.

          1. Felblood says:

            Shamus also hated the gameplay, because it’s like playing Arkham in super-easy mode for him, and the game commits the ultimate sin of using a common control scheme and having no difficulty slider.

      2. Daniel England says:

        Yeah, I was thinking about that too. Maybe in a year or two they’ll cover it, but they usually wait until a game is old or at least not in the mainstream anymore. :) Though from what I’ve heard, they could probably have some good discussions concerning the films and books and how they relate to this game :/

        1. Thomas says:

          They’d need to rush through the game. The gameplay is repetitive enough when you’re the one playing it. Watching someone else play a game which is mostly gameplay and trying to talk about it for a season is going to be hard.

          And the story isn’t easy to discuss because one of the problems is there’s not much of it and what story there is is pretty generic. Like your protagonists motivation is completely done by the end of the tutorial.

    2. WILL says:

      AC4 : Black Flag has 100% not dumb story that somehow managed to get me to feel by the end. Spoilers : Everyone of your friends turns on you or dies..

      The game has way too much tailing other people and not enough swashbuckling, however.

      1. Eruanno says:

        I genuinely really enjoyed Edward’s story in AC4. Which makes it even more grinding and annoying that Unity’s story is basically “stuff happens during the French Revolution and Arno happens to be around at the time”. Grrrr…

    3. SmileyFace says:

      I think TWD Season 2 would be fun, given how everyone was saying they hoped they didn’t make a sequel starring Clementine because they didn’t see how it would be different, it’d be interesting to see how they feel about how it turned out (really good in my opinion); but that’s for the future, it would be a terrible idea to do a story-intensive post-zombie-apocalypse game right after TLoU. The Wolf Among Us might be fun, depends on if they think there’s enough to talk about, which I suspect there would be, compare and contrast with TWD on top of the game’s own merits.

      Please god no Bioshock. People like the first game the most out of the series, and that devolved into a bile-fest. The other two would be worse, Infinite in particular makes no goddamn sense. I also doubt they’d play Assassin’s Creed for similar reasons – even though Black Flag is better, it still has repetitive gameplay and plenty of dumb.

      Haven’t played Heavy Rain/Beyond: Two Souls/Indigo Prophecy, but from what I heard, you love it/hate it, but it’s definitely interesting, so I’m sure it would be entertaining.

      Sleeping Dogs might be fun. The story gets cliched and as a sandbox, there’s lots of filler, so the question is would the uniqueness of the game be enough to talk about during those segments. I’m not sure. Same thing with L.A. Noire, although Sleeping Dogs would get praise for its unique elements, while L.A. Noire would probably devolve quickly into everyone hating the protagonist, but that can be fun – problem is that the game is too long to sustain that, it’d be best to quit by around the halfway point.

      I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Dragon Age II. People give it lots of hate, so while I initially enjoyed it I wasn’t sure about that opinion, but I went back to it recently and yeah, I really like it. The most cited reason that Shamus doesn’t want to play Dragon Age is that the Deep Roads are so damn long, and DA:II doesn’t have any long sections like that, so it might be feasible. Dragon Age: Origins would be nice, although it’s apparently frequently vetoed, and would be a problem because of its slow combat. Inquisition is an option, but it can take FOREVER, and it’s mostly just exploration in the wilderness, so there should probably be a gameplan for fast leveling, then moving on to the story bits. It probably won’t happen for a while, not until people’ve had a chance to play it.

      I wonder if Portal 1 or 2 would be an option? Short, plenty to talk about.

      1. Daniel England says:

        Wow yeah, Portal would be fun. Least I think; it could just devolve into everyone trying to direct Josh to solve puzzles… That is, if he hasn’t already solved them in the past. Since they are puzzle games, they work best the first time they are played, so maybe a blind playthrough would be better???

        I’m playing through DA2 right now and I’ve gotta say, I’m kinda liking it more than DA:O if only because each section doesn’t drag on for hours upon hours. Even the deep roads in DA2 only took like an hour! So DA2 would probably be a better option than DA:O.

        1. Jokerman says:

          The amount of enemies… in waves, really started to get to me by the end… Every fight is 3 waves of a ridiculous amount of enemies. Thankfully DAI did away with this.

          1. James says:

            The issue i had was not numbers its that they spawned out of nowhere, in origins they came from natural places.

            Thinking on Portal they could do it as a specials season, or specials in-between the next season

            1. Jokerman says:

              Yea, good point… they would just appear from the skies right in the middle of the zone, not sure how anyone could be tactical with that happening. The DLC for DA2 was actually a lot better for this, they seemed to learn the lesson pretty quick.

              1. IFS says:

                There is also a banter between Varric and Iron Bull in Inquisition that lampshades that tendency, with Bull asking where the villains come from in Varric’s stories, stating that they just seem to pop out of thin air (or something like that) when its time for an action scene.

    4. ChristopherT says:

      I felt during this season it was kind of unfair that some could play the game and some could not, however if the Spoiler Warning crew were willing to do another console game I’d really be interested in a Catherine season. There’s enough going on that game at any point for discussion not to run out.

      As for PC, I’m finding games I’m enjoying to either have a heavy story focus but little to no gameplay (Steins Gate), or a heavy focus on gameplay with little to no story (Dustforce, Legend of Grimrock 2), or RPGs.

    5. Ivan says:

      I always thought it would be interesting to see a co-op game done with multiple cast members playing. The game that comes to mind is Borderlands but I understand that car wrestling would soon cause the LP to devolve into a hopelessly hilarious mess.

      I can imagine that there would be other issues with SW having multiple pilots though so I don’t honestly expect to see it happen. Going back to borderlands though, I guess 2 would be the best pick from the series, but I don’t know if it makes sense to review a co-op game as a single player experience.

      Just looking at my library though I wonder if Styx: Master of Shadows would be a good pick?

      Maybe Portal 2?

      Total War: Shogun 2 might be a good choice as well.

      Just Cause 2?

      Octodad as a one off, or 20 min with? Risk of Rain might be a good one off as well.

    6. V8_Ninja says:

      My best bets would be another Bioshock game (most likely Bioshock Infinite since it’s got a more unique narrative than Bioshock 2). I believe that everybody on the cast has said that they like to focus on linear games that have a strong focus on story. The discussions surrounding both of the other Bioshock games have mostly ended, meaning that they’re also ripe for retrospection.

      1. Eruanno says:

        Bioshock Infinite has the problem of long stretches of the game being Shoot Guy In Face which doesn’t really warrant a lot of interesting conversation, unfortunately… :(

        1. V8_Ninja says:

          Sure, Bioshock Infinite is much more, “Shooty-Shooty Bang-Bang,” than something like Metro 2033, but the attention to detail in the environments is what makes me believe that the Spoiler Warning cast could pull it off without getting too bored.

      2. I don’t want to see the entire Bioshock Infinite (especially since I suspect they exhausted all they had to say about it on that one-off Diecast ep on it), but I’d love to see them tackle the DLC where you go back to Rapture and play as Elizabeth, even as a 20 min of.
        Minerva’s Den (DLC from Bioshock 2) would also be a great 20 min of, and give Shamus loads of excuses to talk about computers.

    7. I wouldn’t mind seeing “Half Life: Black Mesa” taken for a Spoiler Warning spin.

      For a fun one-off, a crack at “SCP: Containment Breach” would be hilarious, especially if Chris was present.

      A “Knights of the Old Republic” retrospective would be interesting, if for no other reason than to provide an excuse to comment on (complain about) the entirety of the Star Wars franchise.

      Other than that, I dunno. Zork?

      1. Ivan says:

        I would like to see KotOR 2… If for no other reason than I didn’t understand wtf was going on the first time I played it and I really have no drive to play it again.

    8. Scourge says:

      I am Alive. A survival game with some good combat actually.

  12. Ilseroth says:

    So I did not play TLoU, and I feel like watching it through Spoiler Warning was a great way to experience it. While I didn’t get the “shock” (though I called the ending as soon as they said she was immune) it was great to see the game and in all honesty the combat looked… dull.

    The fact that there is even an argument between the Spoiler Warning cast regarding the authorial intent is fantastic.

    Shamus’ perspective that the Fireflies are simply too incompetent to be trusted with Ellie and the alternative, that the author is implying that this is going to lead to an actual cure, leads to a great debate.

    This also leads to a different question. Would Joel be willing (capable) to actually accept giving Ellie to a *different* organization that may seem like they actually gave a chance to do what the fireflies could not.

    1. Eruanno says:

      After getting burned by the Fireflies like that and bonding with Ellie over all of those months? Hah. Fat chance.

      1. Richard says:

        If the Fireflies hadn’t been idiots, then I could see him staying with a group and helping them search for a cure.

        That’s how I would have ended the game – with an eye towards a sequel where the group gets overrun and somebody has to protect Ellie.

        That would even work as a sequel hook.

        But after the Fireflies and especially Marlene’s behaviour, absolutely not.
        He can never trust a group ever again, because even the ones who claim that they care about Ellie are happy to kill her on sight.

        1. Eruanno says:

          Yeeeahhh. The Fireflies are… not good at this. Then again, I like that it’s a contained story without any particular cliffhangers. They finish the story, bang boom done.

          And he does trust (uh, kinda) one group towards the end, that’s his brothers’ camp they’re heading to.

  13. WILL says:

    Shamus you should play Uncharted 2, it’s a fun game with fun characters and does the shooter stuff better. It always feels nice to play that game after playing a very grim and realistic shooter.

  14. WILL says:

    As for the next game just let Mumbles have her Batman City season already

    1. Ivan says:

      Josh records while Mumbles plays? That would be interesting.

  15. MrGuy says:

    I can’t help but compare and contrast the way the Fireflies are handled here to the much, much more competent way a similar topic was handled in the criminally underrated film Children of Men. Not sure I can talk about it much without spoiling the film, but IMO the genius of the film was twofold.

    First genius move: they separated the morally somewhat ambiguous rebel group (the Fishes) from the shadowy maybe-too-good-to-be-true hey-actual-scientists! (The Human Project). I’ve always been suspect of “plucky rebels in an abandoned hospital whipping up the cure” idea, which that neatly solves. But more to the point, even when the Fishes turn out to be jealous, self-serving, less-than-perfect people (showing they’re human as opposed to paladin-level nobles), it doesn’t make you turn on the idea of a cure (or, at least, giving the cure to these asshats).

    Second genius move: they ended at the right time. They realized they didn’t NEED a “Ding! You saved the world!” validating moment for the ending to be powerful. At the end of the film, you don’t know if Theo gotten little Dylan to The Human Project at all. You don’t know if they ever found the cure. You know Theo did his best to possibly bring hope back to a hopeless world. And then he died. The moment is brilliant and perfect.

    The way the movie ended gives some way, way better ways they could have ended this game. Imagine this game if it ended in a Great Big Boss Fight, where you and the Fireflies battle together against a wave of zombies, where Joel save’s Ellie’s life and gets bitten. Ellie asks Marlene “We can save him, right? We can make a cure?” and Marlene has to tell her “We can’t make a cure overnight. Joel doesn’t have enough time.” And Joel kills himself. Or maybe I want this game to be The Walking Dead. Another way, way better idea – the fireflies aren’t the ones who can make the cure. There’s a group of scientists they know who’ve broken from the government, but they’re well trained, in a real working facility. They’ll take you and Ellie to them. Rebels within the fireflies don’t trust the scientists – they want to make the cure themselves. “We can do it!” “But the scientists are the best chance!” Shootout, Joel wounded, somehow gets Ellie into a working car pointed in the right direction. She manages to get to the scientist base, and when she asks them to help Joel he’s lying limp in the passenger seat. OK, there’s two easy better ideas.

    1. Thomas says:

      I don’t think those are better ideas, I think those are ideas that just make the story easier on you because you can imagine it’s all happily ever after. It doesn’t make the story better, it just means it doesn’t have to challenge you and you can go away taking nothing more than a vague feeling of satisfaction

      I’d argue that the story was about how someone like Joel (who is a commonly admired story protagonist) doesn’t end up in the good situations people want. When you value yourself that much over everything else then it’s going to end messy and awkward.

      Ending on a high note robs the story of it’s driving arc, even an ambiguous one. I can’t see that as an improvement.

      1. Otters34 says:

        I’d argue quite the opposite. When people in a story start out happy and end unhappy, or start out unhappy and end happy, there is at the least the continued illusion of the story having some kind of driving arc, the illusion of life. However, if people start and end their story in more or less the same place, that removes what little power you get from fiction.

        Joel starting as a bitter, selfish git, learning to love again and yet still ending as a bitter, selfish git is perfectly sensible in the context of that story. It is, after all, a theme here and in other zombie stories that other people are the real threat, and that any kind of morality and civilization is not just fragile but an inevitable loss in a crisis of this magnitude. But it’s not some universal determinant that HAS to happen. Nothing in a story HAS to happen in any way, because it isn’t real.

        And as-is, the story is already taking the easy way out by making the Fireflies moronic thugs. It’s not like the game spent all this time building up Marlene and the rest of her crew as flawed but competent and integritous people. Joelthrisk and Ellysia are basically the only people in the game with moral compasses that lead anywhere but “Me”. His wholesale murder of these people is only marginally wrong, and mostly because his motives are based on how bitter and selfish he is at heart.

        Personally I wouldn’t want a Big Boss Battle because this video game is awful for that sort of thing.

        1. Wolf says:

          I would argue that Joel has an arc. In the end he is not a bitter man without reason to live, because he has Ellie. He has basically “won” no matter how horrible we find the price he had to pay for that.
          He came out of this in a better situation than he had any right to.

          Maybe the events have broken Ellies spirit and his victory will turn out to be a hollow one, but if he is lucky she has just given in to his selfish small worldview.

  16. Ivan says:

    Haven’t played “The Last of Us” but it’s kinda funny that Shamus’s reaction to finally playing the game is the strongest argument I’ve ever heard in favor of removing Lets Plays from You Tube :P

    It does make sense from a “games as movies” mentality. Especially if the game portion is actually holding the movie back.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Actually, it’s the strongest argument I’ve heard why YouTube is the perfect place for them.

      Let’s Plays aren’t movies. They’re TV episodes. And I for one love MST3K.

      1. Ivan says:

        …OH! Right! If they’re not playing the game but still enjoying themselves they might be tricked into buying it!

        1. Tony Kebell says:

          “tricked”. What the fuck are you on about.

          1. I think he’s saying that if the LP gives you the wrong impression about a game, that the story is amazing without really telling you how less-than-great the rest of the game is, you’ll buy it based on the “movie” part of the game.

            I believe an analogy would be that soccer looks like fun, but you didn’t know the players all were required to put rocks in their shoes until after you were no longer a spectator.

  17. AJax says:

    Still haven’t watched the last couple of episodes but I found this post interesting.

    When you say the shooting is awful, I can’t help but disagree. Unlike Naughty Dogs’ Uncharteds, I found the shooting to be very satisfying in terms of animations, hit reactions and recoil.

    There is a certain flow to the combat that sets it apart from other cover-based shooters, that is the cat-and-mouse style gameplay you have to play with the AI. I think the designers don’t want the player to slug it off with tens of mooks at once, this is evident due to the weapon sway and Joel’s knockback animations when getting hit. A lot of the game’s encounter design is centered around flanking, baiting and AI manipulation. I found the game at its best when I was launching surprise attacks, headshotting a guy or two, going back to stealth then force the AI to go my last location they spotted me in which allows me to circle around them and finish them off. I really do think the combat’s is really well crafted for what it strives for.

    Granted, the game’s combat is not perfect by any means. There are certain sections like in the Winter chapter where Ellie has to fend off hundreds of zombies horde-mode style in very cramped combat arenas. It’s awful and goes completely against the game’s core mechanics very clearly. Then there is the AI which can have moments where they are hilariously, incredibly inept and stupid. Way more than intended for your average video game mook.

    1. Atle says:

      I loved these different challenges, like the episode in the winter. Different setups like these is what makes it an enjoyable game with variations. The story was good, but a game needs to be a game as well.

      1. AJax says:

        Are you talking about Left Behind? Because I thought the DLC’s encounter design was structurally sound that played into to the game mechanics’ strengths. The excellent writing and voice acting was the cherry on top to an already solid DLC (That is if we ignored the bandits’ stupidity).

        I was talking about the Winter chapter in the base game, that chapter contained the weakest gameplay scenarios in the game with some notable exceptions like the deer hunting.

        1. Atle says:

          Yes, the Winter chapter “shooting gallery” scene, where you’re stuck inside a small cabin and needs to run from window to window to fend of the fungies. I found that refreshing and fun.

      2. Felblood says:

        Variations are good, but you need to make sure those variations are things that your core engine is actually good at.

  18. MrGuy says:

    Also, say hey and by the way, WHY IS MARLENE HERE?

    Surely, there are more than two Firefly bases in the country. And, really, other than the fact that she was wounded, she had no particular reason to leave Boston. She has no reason to come to Utah in particular. She has no reason to believe Ellie will be coming there (or that Ellie is even alive). She set one meet, and it was near the statehouse in Boston. What, the plan all along was for them to bring her specifically here? The whole time? A plan so dangerous that it had a 75% casualty rate among Marlene’s troop of TRAINED FIGHTERS? This is Boston – it’s CRAWLING with medical facilities. Your plan was Utah the whole time?

    And it JUST HAPPENED that the one trail we followed the whole time (out of potentially dozens of ideas we could have had when we left Boston) happened to lead us to a place where Marlene is? The odds against it stagger me.

    I get the whole “I know her and I know what’s best for her” schtick only works if it comes from Marlene, and not “random Firefly leader in Utah,” but really? Marlene nearly killed herself and killed off her entire band to get here because…why?

    1. Otters34 says:

      She followed the trail of corpses, and survived the trip by eating those corpses. Then she used her Jedi mind teleportation powers to skip to the end of the game, because no way could she finish all those dead cannibal cultists.

      Wait, why? Oh, easy. She has evolved beyond reasons and motives, merely giving the appearance of them to placate her comrades.

  19. Isy says:

    I kinda want to hear the perspective of actual parents on the ending, since that’s a perspective I can’t grasp. I mean, obviously I can extrapolate, and I can observe that Shamus seemed to have a harder time watching Sarah’s death than I did, but I can’t really have the same emotional impact. The whole “Fireflies are a bunch of evil dips” thing is an interesting and valid argument, but at the same time it neatly dodges the whole moral dilemma.

    So I’m curious, and want to ask any parents: Assuming the Fireflies weren’t both ineffective and vicious, would you still be on board with Joel? And on the flip side, would you actually be capable of sending your only child (and to make it fair to Joel, you watched every other one of your children die in front of you) to their death, knowing they were likely only doing it out of survivor’s guilt?

    1. Richard says:

      Except that you can’t consider the Fireflies to be competent.

      Earlier in the game they’re clearly relatively inept or the game would have finished at that University.

      And how can “Instantly kill the golden goose” make sense?

      If Ellie is the first immune they have found, then they need to do every single non-fatal test possible.
      They didn’t – they haven’t even had time to do a single test of a possible cure.

      If Ellie is not the first immune, then the only reason to immediately kill her is because they’ve already got a working cure that requires eating her brain.

      Actually, maybe that was the authorial intent.

      In order to survive the zombie apocalypse you have to become a cannibal.

    2. Atle says:

      I’m an actual father, and in my oppinion it would be very close to impossible to sacrifice your only and last kid. I think that if Joel had lost Ellie, he would have ended his own life as well.

  20. Eruanno says:

    Oh! I just remembered I read somewhere about how Naughty Dog tested the ending. Apparently the focus group responded that they thought it was too grimdark they felt a little bad after playing it. “Perfect” said the lead writer and kept it.

    I seriously recommend watching the TLOU documentary, it’s super interesting.
    It can be found either here or played from the game disc under extras:

    1. Ivan says:

      Wow, they play-tested the end? I didn’t think anyone did that. Did the players do a complete play-through because if they didn’t then that’s a lot of context that they’d be missing.

      1. Eruanno says:

        Hmm. I’m not sure, actually.

  21. Tizzy says:

    Don’t know why Josh wants the Holywood blockbuster-like games to hire writers. Holywood sure doesn’t deem it necessary when dealing with actual movies…

  22. Blovsk says:

    This season seems a lot less positive than The Walking Dead. I’d say the Metro or Deus Ex:HR seasons *felt* more positive as a whole even if they ended a bit less contentedly. Mass Effect 1 probably is. The Half-Life 2 playthrough definitely so.

    I don’t know whether that’s because this season is an almost diametric split of ‘STORY IS GOOD AND INTERESTING TO TALK ABOUT’ and ‘GAMEPLAY IS HORRIBLE AND DAMAGES STORY’ and really, really long stretches of the season were just Complaining About The Mook Zoo.

    On the subject, that UI makes it really hard to feel immersed watching the game, and the gameplay mechanics look like a worse-realised version of the contemporary default shooter (cf. Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: HR, arguably Wolfenstein) with all of the current trendy bit-of-stealth, cover-based-shooting, generic weaponry, perks, QTEs, magic Batman vision. Maybe I’d feel differently if I actually played it.

    Additionally, the release of the extra killing animations as DLC at a dollar a piece kind of massively undermines the idea that the game’s combat is meant to make you feel uncomfortable rather than empowered…

    I suppose previous seasons have made me actually want to play the game (Tomb Raider, Walking Dead). This one, not so much. The theme’s very nice, though.

  23. krellen says:

    That was a pretty amazing ending. That was a pretty amazing story. I am offended that it was wasted on being a video game. More than anything else I have ever seen, I want this to be a movie, an experience for everyone, without all the bullshit gamey parts.

    And I say this having skipped Shamus’s rant. I’m not sure I want to see it right now.

    1. harborpirate says:

      I’m very happy that this is a game, and not (yet) a movie. Games need more challenging works; they need mainstream acceptance that they are not “just for kids”.

      The indie scene has been doing a great job of creating that sort of experience for a while now, but that news generally fails to reach the mainstream because the audience for those games remains relatively small.

      The Last of Us may not be something that I’m personally very interested in playing, but there is no question that it was a home run for video games as an art form. It is a work that could have been a great movie or novel, and that would have perhaps won awards had it been either.

      The thing I find to be a downer is that it isn’t available on more platforms, because so many gamers end up missing out.

  24. Snooze Dog says:

    I don’t think the ending was meant to paint Joel as “wrong”. Murderous, deceitful reprobate, sure, but mowing down the Fireflies was probably the one moment of genuine human interest he shows beyond parenting reflex and treating Ellie as a surrogate daughter to comfort his broken feelings.
    This one decision to save Ellie despite previously allowing her to make her choice is more than just that. It means something beyond what’s automatically expected of a 50-something angry-dad-’em-up. It looks like a perfect distillation of that archetype, but it isn’t, since that archetype exists to placate its intended audiences (boys), while Joel’s doing something outrageously brutal and selfish (which I approve of – fuck the Fireflies and fuck the humens too). Fuck all of ’em. What the fuck does Joel care. Nobody can care about the whole of humanity and he has trouble enough caring about any part of it. So he does what he’s kind of there to do.

    As for Ellie: she’s not a kid. It’s apparently easy to forget but when you’ve been dealing with death and blood and thunder since you were born you grow up pretty fucking sharpish. The game made a clumsy attempt to show this by having her murder a bunch of cannibal cultists – except the scene where she was stalking a deer for food made the point much better.
    I also reckon she’s probably fully aware of what happened between her being put to sleep by the Fireflies and then her waking up with zero Fireflies around. She knows Joel is lying, and having met the guy, can probably imagine the mangled corpses and torched fields he left behind them. Whether or not she accepts that – well, how the fuck should we know. That’s for Ellie to decide, since the author(s) didn’t.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So were the fireflies deliberately written like the one douche to rule them all in order to justify joels actions,or was that a mistake on behalf of the writers?

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Considering that even the logs back up the fact that they are assholes (Marlene’s log where she says that they (her superiors?) want her to kill the smuggler (Joel) imediately), and that the Boston chapter is the rare sort of decent rogue cell.
      It would fit in the world of gray and black.

    2. Otters34 says:

      Everything in the game bends to make sure what you’re doing is at least vaguely justifiable, like most triple-A games. It’s a bit late to be questioning if the other actors are part of part of that.

      Put it this way: of all the violence Joel deals out, which of it is undeserved or not a reaction to outside aggression?

  26. The Snide Sniper says:

    I have to agree with Shamus on this one. When it was revealed that Ellie’s immunity is due to a fungus mutation, it took less than 5 seconds to reach the “have her bite someone” opinion.

    It helps that there are a lot of people she can bite without significant moral conflict, because they are so obviously evil:
    Have her bite a zombie! (The Ol’ Switcheroo)
    Have her bite a raider! (Also the Ol’ Switcheroo in this game…)
    Have her bite a Firefly!

    To quote the Evil Overlord List, “One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.”

    1. Bropocalypse says:

      Sometimes in fiction the writer will feel the need to fall back on someone making a bad decision because they didn’t think of better ideas first. It doesn’t really hold water when an entire organization fails to think of it, though.

      1. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Writing tip: It’s better to figure out what bad decisions a character/organization might make based on their established flaws and derive drama from those than to just hand them out whenever the plot needs them.

        1. Richard says:

          For a good example of this, see Interstellar.

          Dr Mann subverts the mission because he cannot emotionally cope with dying in vain and never seeing home again.

          His later destructive actions are because he panics when he is caught, expecting to be put back into the untenable situation we find him in.

          It's predictable, but not stupid.

      2. Tizzy says:

        The notion that the Fireflies would want to go ahead with the dumbass operation does not surprise me. Humanity’s best and brightest are long gone in the game’s world, and scrubs do not make the guys in the Operationg Room doctors. My guess is that they are clueless hacks. Med school dropouts at best, or, even worse, trained after the Fall…

        But the rush to operate cannot be explained away by this. Even the most clueless would observe first. It just doesn’t work, it’s purely there to make the story unfold the way they wanted. I can see a way around it, but it would be awkward and difficult to pace well. Instead of having Joel be captured, have him deliver Ellie safely and find a reason for him to leave for a few days. Then, he hears about the impending operation and goes back to save Ellie.

        You could even present the operation as the Firflies “doctors” acting out in frustration when nothing else they tried goes anywhere.

      3. Decius says:

        No character who should take five minutes to actually think about their decision should ever make an error that would be prevented by spending five minutes thinking about it.

  27. Andrew says:

    For anyone who’s interested there is an epilogue of sorts to TLOU that tells a great bit of story. Around the middle of last year Naughty Dog put on a live performance of TLOU for a special few people – the live performance included a final scene to the game that was apparently written specifically for this performance as a thank you(?) to those who attended.

    As far as I know the epilogue was not filmed and is not available to be viewed anywhere but the article below describes in detail exactly how it went down – as an avid fan of TLOU myself I found that it was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time and I really wish they had actually included it in the main game. It shows Ellie’s growth from her times in the military camp with Riley to present day; it shows her state of mind in that she clearly never believed Joel about what he did with the Fireflies and it shows a final amazing bit of character development between Ellie and Joel.

    Anyway, I won’t spoil it so anyone who wants to read about it can find it here:

    1. Greg says:

      Thank you for that, that is a beautiful epilogue; although possibly a bit too “happy ending” for some readings of the game.

    2. Eruanno says:

      Oh shit, that’s a wonderful little extra scene. I really wish they had recorded that or something. Or that I’d been there.

  28. GTRichey says:

    What I heard of that first recorder message, it says there’s lots of cordiceps in the cerebrospinal fluid. Is it explicit that they’re doing brain surgery? If so, it is beyond stupid that they’re not doing the vastly safer step of a spinal tap first. They could try and say no one knows how, but then how does someone know how to do brain surgery (or maybe it’s just because if they’re ok with killing her it makes brain surgery easier. Of course then why bother with the proper surgical environment. Yeah I can’t come away from this and think Joel isn’t justified in killing them all, because no way they knew what they were doing.

    1. Dt3r says:

      Even better, in the same message they say that they already managed to culture the cordiceps. There’s no reason to be poking around in her brain anyway. (see my comment below)

    2. hborrgg says:

      Except those don’t really turn up until after Joel’s made his decision. You can try to retroactively justify his decision (we can’t know if they could really make a cure now), but at its core the choice still seems to boil down to “Angry Texan selfishly dooms humanity because he doesn’t trust them durn scientists.”

      Can you really say he was in the right?

  29. Rack says:

    I remember really disliking the combat in this game, but while shivs were rarer than diamonds (i tried to save them as much as I could) ammo was plentiful in that I barely ever used it, melee weapons were vastly more effective. I’m pretty sure a broken bottle would allow an instant kill from stealth too, while it would take dozens of sniper rounds to do the same.

  30. James says:

    I don’t get it, if its mutated inside her and its now just a benign entity why not infect others with it and do a long term study? I mean if your infected and it really has no big negatives why not just infect people with the mutated fungus. Why kill Elli the one you know is immune? Infect her strain of the fungus on another person maybe a prisoner and use them for the harvest keeping you original subject safe. Common I know I have to meet the writer halfway but this right here are shitty scientists who have know Idea what they were doing, love the game did not like this ending were its asshole and incompetence all around.

    And as for Shameus comment on the combat, could not agree more. I stealth kill/knock out 5 guys with shotguns and not one fucking ammo? Are you shitting me? The writers are going for immersion but its just crap like this that takes me out of the world and gets me to ask questions. Stuff like “I killed that government agent but can’t pick up his rifle or ammo”, “why it their a sniper with nigh unlimited ammo in the middle of no-ware”. “HOW ARE ALL THESE BANDITS EATING!”. The gameplay almost creates a story collapse for me every time I try it.

    1. Ivan says:

      There is one other concern as well. Ellie might not actually be immune, the fungus might be playing “the long con” so to speak. It has only been a few years since she was infected. Yes, it looks like she’ll be ok, but this thing has a life-cycle of 20+ years. She may yet turn.

      Maybe she’ll never louse her mind, but maybe she’ll still turn into a clicker or even bloater.

      1. Eruanno says:

        Actually it’s not even a few years. Left Behind happens a few months before the main game and the main game happens over the course of a year, so… maybe a year and a half?

        Anyway, considering she hasn’t felt any effects for that long when most people turn within 48 hours, it’s a pretty safe bet she’s fine.

      2. James says:

        Well if it is playing the long game they can’t get a vaccine from her and would still be better to infect another with her strain and see what happens. Not hard to find people considering 1/4 of the population seem to be bandits that have evolved to sustain themselves on sunlight.

  31. McNutcase says:

    Well, if they do make another game in this setting, it should simply be another game in this setting. Let’s not revisit these characters. The world is big, even after the end. One of the things I found annoying about the Mass Effect series was that you kept running into the same people.

  32. Eric Jensen says:

    I don’t post here that often, but I wanted to express my thoughts on this game. I played through it twice and, while I enjoyed the story, I don’t think it justifies the bland and simple game on display. Please let me give some context for my thinking this, as I don’t mean to stir controversy:

    If Chris is the Biker, then I am Jacket. Games are a different medium than books (I don’t watch so many movies, so I don’t think I am really qualified to compare this and a movie).

    The poor combat and stealth, the reuse of boring puzzles, but it was the AI and level design that tipped the scales for me. AI detection was turned off for Ellie, and while I can understand that it would be terribly frustrating for her to trigger enemy alerts, it is immersion breaking to watch her run infront of zombies. Every time I was becoming immersed in the world, I would see her run infront of a zombie and I would be taken out of the game.

    As for the story, I did enjoy it, but I have to disagree with the disproportionate emphasis and praise given to it over the minute to minute action of the gameplay. The story of this game is why many are calling it an example of “art” in video games, which is a shame to me for two reasons:

    First, frankly there are much stronger and more engaging stories in another medium: books. Maybe my expectations were too high. I played this game late, and while I avoided spoilers, there was much praise given to this story. So much so, that you would think you were going to get Antigone.

    The larger reason, however, is that the praise heaped on this game ignores the strength of the media, and doesn’t really progress our thoughts of the medium. I guess a better way of saying this is: why is this game considered art, while DOTA2 isn’t. I chose DOTA2 because there isn’t any story: it is primarily a multiplier game, and a very strong one. It requires thought, planning, and coordination from the players. It requires predicting enemy movements, and has a simple set up, but there are enough small touches in the mechanics that you have really deep gameplay. I’ve thought more about DOTA and DOTA2, and there have been thousands of times that I was awestruck with how all of its systems come across. I would even say the same of Super Smash Brothers Melee. Watching a pro using shorthops, wave dashing, and clever use of moves to chain a perfect combination from start to KO is awe inspiring. It’s not just a feat of the player, it is a fear of the medium because that medium gave the player these tools to master. In the case of Dota2, I suppose I could say that Dendi is (or was) the Micheal Angelo or Debusy of Dota.

    Anyways, I did enjoy this season more than many others, if only because I maybe learned how different I am than Shamus or Chris in what I want out of a game (perhaps I am wrong, however). I can’t wait to see the next season, and since you all agreed with what I said above, you will be playing Dota2 until you are good enough to compete at the next international.

    In all seriousness, it will probably be Wolfenstein.

  33. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @Shamooses rant:

    U just sux @ c0ns0l,n00b!Lrn @ ply.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Shouldn’t that be Lrn 2 ply?

    2. Csirke says:

      In all seriousness though, how much experience do you have aiming with a controller, Shamus? I’m guessing you are used to aiming with a mouse? (The Arkham games don’t count, there you just have to aim in the general direction of the enemy to hit them.) So couldn’t that be why there’s the “The sheer difficulty of lining up headshots…”?

      I mean, I don’t have any either, I know I’d be terrible at aiming with a controller. But that’s not the games fault.

      1. Shamus says:

        Moderate experience. I mean, I play GTA and Saints Row with a controller. Also Tomb Raider. If that’s not enough experience then I question the current metric of “normal” difficulty.

        1. Csirke says:

          Yeah, that sounds enough. As a PC-only gamer I only recently started using a controller for platformers and third person non-shooting action games (like Darksiders or the Arkham games), so I guess I’d need to go on “easy” :)

  34. Kian says:

    Regarding whether there were other immune people before or not, I found it odd when I watched the game the first time (I watched a cinematic cut on YouTube, I don’t have a PlayStation) that the Fireflies jumped to “cut out her brain” so quickly.

    In the time that it takes Joel to wake up from being knocked out, they got Ellie back to the hospital, Marlene identified her as the immune girl they were waiting for (lucky the soldiers didn’t see the bite and just shot her), they drugged her up, analyzed both her and the fungus strain, determined the fungus was odd, did a bunch of MRI scans, and became certain that if they could cut out her brain they’d be able to make a vaccine?

    You would think that all this would take a bit more time. Had there been no previous cases, there would have been no reason to believe you needed to kill her. And then there would have been no reason to keep her knocked out.

    I admit I didn’t see very clearly why Ellie was out in the first place. She wasn’t under long, so maybe she hit her head? In any case, I would imagine that the doctors’ priority would have been to get her healed up. She’s their only hope, after all. You don’t go performing invasive procedures on someone you fear might be concussed and is unconscious (I imagine, I’m not a doctor).

    And yet, she’s shown to have never woken up while in their “care”. Given the time frame involved, the only conclusion that seems reasonable to me is that there were previous cases, and they messed up before. They believed they needed to cut the brain out since before she arrived, which is why they drugged her as soon as they got their hands on her. No reason to give her a chance to back out.

    Which just highlights their incompetence. They’re not executing a well thought out plan, they’re desperately repeating the same failed procedures, hoping this time they’ll get it right.

  35. Blake says:

    Shamus it looks like you’ve given up on the game at about the same point I did.
    I really really really loved the non-combat parts of the game, but any time zombies or bandits showed up I really really hated it.
    I’m glad you guys did a SW season of this game, I probably wouldn’t have seen most of it otherwise which would be a shame because the things this game did right it did SO right.

    I can’t label the game as one of my favourites of the past year (because I rage quit on the thing), but I absolutely understand why so many people loved it and I look forward to seeing what that team can do in the future.

  36. Dt3r says:

    I understand that biology isn’t really the focus here, so I’m willing to handwave the specifics of how the infection works. But even if you ignore the bad science, the authors are still directly contradicting themselves. The fireflies need to cut Ellie open to get access to the cordiceps to make a vaccine… except during the audio log they explicitly state that they were already able to culture the fungus in samples taken from Ellie.

    Also, they apparently have a functioning MRI machine, which is laughable. I want to know where the hell those idiots are getting a ready supply of liquid helium from. Do they have a helium still out back or something?

  37. Nytzschy says:

    One thing that I haven’t really seen analyzed is the game’s use of torture. Unless I’ve missed some scenes that haven’t shown up on spoiler warning, I observe three big things about it:

    1. It always works
    2. It’s always more or less justified when Joel does it
    3. Joel only does it to Really Bad (or at least unsympathetic) Guys

    Jack Bauer’s legacy lives on in popular culture, it seems.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Actually Joel using torture is part of the story painting him as less than a good guy. It shows that just months ago he used to be one of those murderous raiders.

    2. Spammy says:

      While I think that this point might be muddled since Joel’s torture works and he only does it to cannibals and that Jerkfly, I don’t think that this is really supposed to be heroic, justified torture. The way I see it, the first time Joel tortues those two guys in Winter is meant to show us what kind of person Joel really is. We’ve seen him spot the raider’s tricks in Pittsburg and whatever they did in the 20 year interim didn’t leave Tommy very happy, but that could be all in the past. Joel could just be a cranky old good guy now.

      But then we see that where Ellie is concerned, Joel will now torture someone casually, like it’s nothing. I think that it was done to show that kind of nastiness is not in Joel’s past, that it’s still a part of him even today. Which sets up the ending, where (at least as I see it) we’re supposed to watch Joel be perfectly willing to rob humanity of a chance at a cure just because it would make him feel bad.

  38. hborrgg says:

    Even if the game ends up showing the fireflies as somewhat incompetent and there’s the possibility that they don’t actually know what they are doing. You have to admit that one person sacrificing their life for the chance is still pretty big. That’s the sort of thing most stories will just sort of take and roll with, possible having trumpets blaring in the background and an epic speech.

    So was this game the whole time secretly supposed to be some elaborate critique against utilitarianism?

    1. Greg says:

      Seems doubtful, considering that from the tone of the ending, Joel is doing the “evil” thing by putting his own attachment to Ellie above the chance of a cure for the cordiceps fungus thingy. Complaints about the Fireflies’ incompetence (even those that pretty much destroy any chance that Ellie’s sacrifice would mean something) notwithstanding, Joel doesn’t stop them for that reason, nor for any moral stance against killing the one to save the many; he does it because he can’t stand to lose another kid.

      I happen to completely agree with Shamus that killing Ellie to harvest her brain for a possible cure was just about the stupidest plan ever, such that it doesn’t even merit discussion of the ethical quandaries of the situation, but if we accept that it would have worked somehow, then Joel essentially doomed countless people to die in the future so that he could have something approaching happiness. It also would likely have been clearer that Joel was saving her for selfish reasons if Ellie had been able to consciously choose to sacrifice herself, and Joel “rescued” her anyway.

  39. The Rocketeer says:

    I never commented on this series, because I kept waiting for something to happen that would open my eyes and make me understand, but now that it’s over, I still have no idea what you saw in this game.

    It is, in every particular, aggressively unoriginal and unexceptional. It has nothing new or interesting to say, and says it in the most well-traveled fashion possible. I agree with Chris that this seems like the ultimate example of why telling a story in a game can never truly work this way, but the idea that the characters or story themselves were superb, even by the often-dubious standards of video games? I neither agree with that, nor believe that it could have elevated this particular game to some remarkable worth even if it were true.

    And the idea that this cast or this narrative could have worked on their own, as a film, unencumbered by the inept fumbling of Naughty Dog to make a game out of it, is right out. It’s Protagonist 1-A and Juno going through the motions of every zombie movie ever made. Seeing these dull, cardboard cut-outs mug for the camera over whichever of the numerous cliches is currently driving the pathos of the current arc is like watching a group of people playing through Super Mario World and discussing the lengths one man will go through to hold on to what matters to him and the political and military counter-maneuvering on display.

    It might be that I’ve experience this game in the least charitable light: watching, rather than playing, while a crew of people joke over it. But I don’t believe that alone could have poisoned the well for me to this extent. For one, Shamus seemed most charitable to the game in the beginning after having only watched the cutscenes, and was continually let down by how poorly the game itself carried off the story he was familiar with. And more than once, I’ve been intrigued enough by Spoiler Warning or another LP’s coverage of a game to immediately run out and play it- in particular, with The Walking Dead, which was another zombie game, and one that I’d argue had a LOT less to work with than this game, and managed to do infinitely more with the limitations of the game’s nature and its source material.

    Every time the conversation turned to this game’s multitudinous failures of logic, or setting, or tone, or integration of the story into the game, or the dire lack of self-awareness, the source of these complaints seemed eminently evident to me. But every time there was praise for the characters or nuance, I strained to see through the banal, paint-by-numbers zombie story I was seeing and meet the cast halfway to see this completely different game you were seeing, and I never managed. I’m glad you enjoyed your time with this game, but I’m relieved I never wasted my own time or money on it.

    1. Dev Chand says:

      I’m just going to point out that your analogy for Super Mario World doesn’t work, because Super Mario World never presented itself as a serious story, or a story about a man employing political and military tactics, particularly when the enemies are abstract cartoony beings and not actual soldiers. I know that you think The Last of Us is too safe and too predictable, and the gameplay doesn’t blend well with the narrative, but that is a bad analogy nonetheless. A better analogy would be, say a Mario game where the story talks about how Koopas have been dying out, but Mario faces multitudes of Koopas in every level.

      1. The Rocketeer says:

        It’s hyperbole, Mr. Spock.

      2. Decius says:

        What do all the Goomba eat?

  40. Vect says:

    I think this is the video Josh was talking about on how there was a major difference between the E3 demo and the actual game itself. The guy also did a video critiquing the Left Behind DLC, once again primarily focusing on gameplay (he thinks it adds little to the game aside from showing how the enemy AI is simply not suited for Human Vs. Infected combat and didn’t much care for the Ellie/Riley relationship).

    Also, I guess someone might as well post this:

    Also, speaking of Video Game Actors, Reuben Langdon, the guy who played David’s lackey and the Stunt Coordinator was actually the guy who played Dante of the original Devil May Cry series. Granted, that probably means very little to people here, but it’s worth noting.

    On the whole “Games as Movies” thing, I’m reminded of a game called “Asura’s Wrath” which had a similar idea, only it’s more an action-packed anime series (complete with faux-commercial breaks) than a film. Gameplay is split between simplistic beat-em-up sections, rail shooter sections and QTEs. Nonetheless, I found it fairly enjoyable to watch in an LP, even if the ending was outright made into DLC (The main game ends on a cliffhanger that you need to buy the final episode to resolve).

  41. 4th Dimension says:

    The after the credits scene:
    Ahh another scene of Chriss battling his own sexuality. Don’t worry Chris we will accept you no matter what you are. :)

  42. arron says:

    I think I’d like a multiple choice ending depending on whether you can save Ellie on time or whether you choose to spare Marlene or not, or whether you choose to tell Ellie the truth about happened and the inevitable fallout from those decisions. I think that Ellie might try to shoot Joel if it turns out that everyone died for nothing at Joel’s hands and everyone that she cared about is dead.

    I preferably would prefer an ending where everyone dies pointlessly as the world is probably already heading that a testament to human stupidity. An ending sequence of just the wind and rain falling in dead towns. No-one makes anything or grows anything. Society is basically finished as a viable concern. The 1970s Dawn of the Dead ending.

    My chosen ending is I’d have had Joel go after the Doctors to save Ellie, but if he gets there too late, they’ve already killed her and cut her head off to extract the fungal growth..which he comes into contact with releasing a number of spores. He burns the surgery to destroy the infection and to cremates Ellie’s body.

    He then goes on a rampage against the fireflies but finds out that in compromising the Firefly guard to reach the doctors, the infected have found a way into the building. He gets bitten and escapes as the rest of the Fireflies are destroyed. He thinks about killing himself but finds that the usual symptoms of changing to an infected aren’t happening. He’s become immune by contact with Ellie’s corpse..which he’s destroyed. There is a twist that Marlene has survived the massacre at the hospital and is tracking him and looking for an opportunity to kill Joel, but by observing him survive the bite she realises that Joel is now the only live specimen for a cure. She leaves a message which she hopes will be found by other fireflies to arrange a capture team and then tracks Joel back to his brother’s place which is where the game ends. Any sequel will the revolve around Joel trying to keep his status a secret whilst hiding from those who want the cure, or will sell him out to those who do. It might be good for Joel to travel overseas by boat so we can see how bad the infected are in Europe/Asia. Lots of places they could go with it.

    1. Rolland says:

      Man usually I hate it when people write elaborate alternate endings, but this was pretty amazing.

  43. Arkady says:

    I know we all love gamer stories, but my favourite “critical fails” thing came from a Star Wars D20 game.

    We were happily dealing with rooms full of Stormtrooper, and gladiator battles, but what nearly killed us all was…a ladder. (Thanks, critical fails.) It was only DM fiat, allowing us an extra save to catch the ladder before we plummeted to our deaths that stopped us all plummeting to our splattery deaths.

    1. krellen says:

      A tip to GMs: if failure (critical or not) would ruin the story, don’t make the check in the first place.

      1. It’s Star Wars, a galaxy where apparently safety railings are an affront to every culture. “Prolonged plummet either preceded by or resulting in death” is probably hotkeyed on every coroner’s data entry terminal.

        1. Tizzy says:

          Yes. I’m surprised they even have a ladder in the first place!

          1. This is why we need to be able to upvote comments in here. :)

            I also found it jarring in the second Force Unleashed game that a stormtrooper was able to leap through and smash a huge pane of glass, dropping to his death. He did so from a standing jump about 3 feet from the glass, which means his legs are superhuman, his helmet is a kinetic weapon, or the glass has to be replaced after every stiff breeze.

  44. Mersadeon says:

    Actually, they didn’t block the music. They blocked the entire episode. Well, off to Hola I go…

  45. They’re planning a sequel to TLoU?

    That means there’s a strong possibility that Ellie’s sacrifice and everything did absolutely nothing and the zombie-mushroom apocalypse will still be going on.


    1. silver Harloe says:

      The sacrifice she didn’t make because Joel took her out of the hospital? What? (Plus, it wouldn’t have been Ellie’s sacrifice – she was unconscious and the decision was made for her. It would’ve been her murder, whether it worked or not.)

      1. silver Harloe says:

        hrm. I don’t think I should’ve replied like that. You have to be joking.

    2. Isaac says:

      Not necessarily, they could just set the sequel elsewhere with new, different characters

  46. Tizzy says:

    So, this is the first time we get to see the Fireflies in their natural element, and all I can say is: what a bunch of incompetent jerks!

    How did a trained paramilitary force manage to let Joel reach a working car, without intercepting him? (Also, if the Fireflies base is accessible by road, Ellie needs to find herself a better navigator than Joel…)

    And while we’re on that paramilitary treck: why the hell are the Fireflies walking around in their own base, far away from anyone else as far as we know, in full gear and fully armed?

    Maybe this is a clue that they are not “The Resistance”, the heroes, but indeed a bunch of paranoid jerks. But as far as clues go, it’s a little bit heavy-handed. It’s hard to picture them hanging around at home like this all the time.

    1. Dork angel says:

      I would imagine because every other Firefly base has been wiped out. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you…

  47. Mersadeon says:

    I just noticed – when Joel talks about how he had “a hard time just survivin'” he touches the face of the watch his daughter gave him with his thumb. That is so incredibly subtle.

  48. Rike says:

    Well, thanks to the Last of Us it is clear now, that “games-like-movies” can counter movies in at least one way where movies will lose almost inevitably. It’s volume. This game is huge. Playing “The Last of Us”, after 6-7 hours of gameplay you are getting used to characters; the game can not only show the way they act, but allows you to try it, so you are getting used to the way they act after all this hours.
    I can assume that “The Last of Us” would not be that good as movie (maybe it would be great, but in other things then the game). It’s more movie-videogame-novel.
    Which is great.

    1. As a movie this would need to be a duology or perhaps even a trilogy, each movie being 2 hours’ish (credits including).

      1. Tizzy says:

        You think Peter Jackson might be available? He’s make it 4 films, easily.

  49. I find that end of the ending really good… Her question if one of confirmation rather than one that needs and answer, I’m pretty sure she knew he lied wen he answered there, and that it is because he’d gladly sacrifice the world for her, you kind of see that in her eyes, and mega kudos to the animators there, the eye movements there thew face etc, damn good job.

    Also, am I the only one that suspect that maybe she was not that out of it and pretended to wake up when she did in the car?

    At the end her eyes basically says “I know that’s a lie Joel”.
    But she also knows that’s just Joel’s way (he never could express his emotions properly) of saying she’s now as precious to him as his own daughter was/is and there was no way he was going to let her die.

    I also wonder how much Ellie was told. It’s possible she was told she was the only hope and that she’d die, which would be another way for her to “know”.
    If they had a flashback for her with her and Marlene talking about that just before he answer that question I’d probably shed a single perfect tear when seeing her expression at his answer.

    I’m pretty certain she knows at that moment that he’ll refuse to let her die at any cost.

    Also, Ellie looked at her bite/scar, it looked bigger than before or am I imagining things? (we did not see it that clearly earlier)

    In one of the comments somebody said that Marlene just body snatched Ellie in case Ellie would say no.
    Although I’m wondering if perhaps Ellie knew from the very beginning what her fate would be when reaching her destination. (again a Ellie flashback could have been used to backstory that)

    I may also be reading a tad much into it but her very last eye movements kinda went “Wait, did I just get adopted?!” Which made me smile.

  50. Phantos says:

    Reading that rant brought to mind my feelings on Spec-Ops: The Line.

    “Who stapled this godawful video game to this amazing story?”

    1. Otters34 says:

      Well, at least in the case of The Line that was intentional. The hope of the designers was that making the gunplay rough, awkward and at times outright frustrating would make the theme and tone of the game resonate more. If you could just glide through the shooting with elegant grace, it’d feel jarring when Walker and his team acted like brutes, because that’s not a mindset the gameplay would be supporting.

      Their hopes were perhaps not perfectly well-founded, but at least the mechanical side was a conscious decision and not just an after thought to break up the story or something that took precedent and conflicts with it.

  51. RTBones says:

    Having played the game, a thought strikes me –

    I think the overall game is excellent. If I have any non-story problems with it, it would be the combat. There is just too much of it. More than once on playing the game I found myself saying, ‘Shooting, again?’ or something similar. While I know its a shooter, this game could have been even better than it is if there had been a third of the combat, but what combat there was was MEANINGFUL. I felt like there were far too many times where one of the developers said, ‘hey, we need a shooty section here.’ The last batch of zombies before the Firefly base is a prime example. It doesnt make sense that they are there at all. To me, you should (almost) be able to stealth the entire game.

  52. Galad says:

    Still on episode 26, so I’m just gonna throw this out there, and get the hell out of this spoiler-infested comment place, like Eli and Joel getting away from clickers’ paradise :)

  53. TheUnhidden says:

    About people in Germany not being able to watch the video … i just found out about a nice little URL “hack”.

    All credits go to the people at the Top Hat Sec forums.

    To get around blocks by country, the german GEMA block or the “please log in, because adult content” block, it seems you only need to tweek the URL a little.

    This Episode has the URL “”, well if you replace the “watch?v=” part with “embed/” to “” you’ll get the video sent anyway. Full window. No matter where you live or if you’re logged in.

    Worked well with this video.

  54. Jarenth says:

    Before the break: “Is it weird that our most positive season of Spoiler Warning is about a console exclusive that less than half of us have played?

    After the break: “(now that’s I’ve played it…) This gameplay is just awful.

    I dunno, Shamus, it doesn’t seem all that weird to me.

    1. Dork Angel says:

      This is so far is my favourite game ever. When I finished it, I found it took a couple of weeks for me to even think of playing another game. I think the ending was the right one. It was totally in tone with the rest of the game and made sense in context with what had happened. A standard hollywood happy ending would have felt cheap. The game also did a great job of making you understand the characters. I totally got where Joel was coming from and why he ended up making the decisions he did. Same with Ellie and Marlene. It brought up some really good ethical questions. Regardless of whether the cure would have worked, is it ethical to kill a child (or even an adult) for only the possibility of a cure. If the nazi’s had found a cure for cancer by experimenting on prisoners would it be worth it? At the end of the day, the fungus is just a disease like many others we have today. The only real difference is in the way it spreads and it can still be dealt with via the usual methods of quarantine, etc. If you look at the fights you have and whom they’re against, the worlds problems are more down to the breakdown of civilisation and the fact that most people you meet are assholes than the threat from the fungus zombies. I think this may have been the intent by having the zombies as an occasional obstruction rather than fighting them all the way through. This is not the world of The Walking Dead where you have small pockets of humans surrounded by thousands of walkers. To coin an old phrase, we are the real monsters. I found the gameplay challenging but liked the way you could think you way through a fight rather than go in guns blazing like most shooters. Stealth & distraction was the way to go and it was only when things went south you had to resort to shooting which was frantic, risky and stressful. Regardless of the cannibal story, I loved the change to Ellie where you saw she had picked up on the skills Joel had been using through the game and was no longer the helpless child she was at the start. I really enjoyed watching the play through but although I have said it is my favourite game I don’t think I wish to play it again. I think that is why Seamus didn’t enjoy his actual play-through. Although the gameplay is adequate, it isn’t perfect and the pay-off was discovering more of the story. Once you know the story, all you are really getting is the gameplay and without the story payoff it just can’t carry it on it’s own. As for a movie, I think it would be extremely hard to improve on the story the game told and the actors that portrayed it. I’m unsure if I’d want to watch it, though I probably would just out of curiosity but it would be with a very critical eye. On a separate note there was one episode where they couldn’t understand how the clicker was able to kill Joel. When I played it I didn’t realise they couldn’t actually see but instead picked up only on movement and only when “clicking” (made my play-through a lot slower). When moving they walk for a bit and then stop and do a kind of clicking sonar ping. The way they move their head means they probably cover about a 270 degree arc.When Joel was stalking it he was coming from behind and the side. If you watch, it stopped and did a ping which would have picked up Joel’s movement at the side just as he was planning his insta-kill and their reactions are incredibly fast.

  55. Piaw Na says:

    For what it’s worth, I agree with your review of The Last of Us. It’s a decent story but the gameplay feels like they tried to hard to make it “literature” instead of fun.

  56. Tektotherriggen says:

    Allowing the player to choose whether or not to save Ellie would be a great way to add meaning to the last fight – you’re not fighting for Joel’s choice, you’re fighting for your choice. Like the choice during the final battle of Bastion, which brought me to tears both times I played it.

    The trouble comes if a player chooses to let the operation go ahead. You’d lose a gameplay segment (may not be a bad thing…), and you’d lose the ambiguity of whether Ellie’s sacrifice worked to find the cure or not. It would make it obvious what the “right” and “wrong” choices were.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yes,but this wasnt your story,this was joels story.

  57. Kennys Moustache says:

    Its so extremly stupid to have to kill Ellie in order to gain a serum or vaccine. Its not only railroaded from the very beginning, I rly prayed (to yoda..) in the very first or second ep of Spoiler Warning that they dont do this, it just makes no sense from every scientifical point (except probably the very early 1400?) to cut the supply of mutated fungus, when there were open brain surgeries already 100 years ago… Its like to choping your eye out to study it and then wonder why theres nothing to see anymore.

    And its especially disappointing in the light where they build a up a neat and smart dynamic (between ellie and the surrounding) and then come out with the woodchopper solution. Imagine Penthesileas Pre War speech when suddenly Shepard “We fight or we die” bombs in and awaits everybody to be terrified.

    The sad point, there wouldnt be much effort to have the exact same setting for the fireflies fight but with a much more satisfying reason to get Joel to do it: Let the Fireflies plan to try to stimulate the growth of the fungus in her brain which will hurt her like hell/sedate her permanently etc. They just used the easiest way out (which sadly is common), “She WILL DIE DUDE! DIIIIIIE! HORRIBLY!”.

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