The Last of Us Game Play Demo E3

One of the biggest games I’m looking forward to playing this year is definitely The Last Of Us.  Since the announcement trailer that was released last year nothing new has really been released except for a few screen shots and another video that made an appearance on the net.  At E3 however, Naughty Dog was kind enough to allow everyone to view the game play demo at E3 and too be quiet frank, it looks stunning.

Besides the graphics looking top notch especially the urban jungle setting, what really adds depth to this game is the emphasis on survival.  Going back to the old PS1 survival horrors like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, it seems like med packs and ammo will be scarce to come by.  When watching the video, you will see three boxes at the top left corner of the screen which are your slots for med packs.  Only three though.  Joel has a health bar as well which isn’t as gracious as most other games out there.  That health seems to drop quickly if you don’t approach a situation with caution.  In one instance another survivor hits Joel through the face with a lead pipe and you see quiet a substantial amount of health decrease.  Joel also has a limited inventory in which he can keep items.  For example you see Joel taking out a molotov cocktail, hiding behind some cover and then (BOOM!)  a guy goes up in flames.  The melee combat is exciting to watch and probably even better when you play it.

Ellie, your AI companion is a breath of fresh air.  When Joel runs out of bullets, Ellie happily chucks a brick at his opponent causing him to fall off balance then Joel reacts with lighting speed dashing towards his enemy and then bashing his head a few good times against a counter top before falling unconscious.  Ellie seems like she has brains.  She doesn’t walk in front of you, in fact, she almost always hides behind cover when enemies approach and helps out when she can.  The perfect AI companion.

Towards the end of the demo Joel gets into another scrap but this guy is tough, huge and looks crazy.  Ellie assists by stabbing crazy guy in the back.  Crazy guy gets rid of Ellie but now he’s distracted.  Joel kicks him off, hits him with the shot gun and takes aim right at this guys face.  Joel pulls the trigger as the crazy guy begs for his life and face goes everywhere.

OK, that last part is quiet dramatic I must admit and a few people were horribly offended by this display.  For me personally I wasn’t offended.  I thought, what has happened to this character that he is able to do the the things that he does.  During the course of the Demo you  even hear Ellie questioning Joel in his methods.

Naughty Dog has created a realistic, dark, gritty game based in a world without rules and without mercy.  I for one am looking forward to exploring this rich and dynamic story.


The Last of Us

The Last of Us is the newest IP created by critically acclaimed studio Naughty Dog, Inc.  Set in a post-apocalyptic world, (similar to I am Legend) survivors Joel and Ellie must stick together in order to survive.  Ok, this sounds like a typical Resident Evil type shtick but being a Naughty Dog game, things aren’t always what they seem.  Instead of following the over the top action such as their award winning game Uncharted or blood-fest mayhem like most zombie based games this survival-horror piece of art is opting for a new direction. “It’s a love story.  Not a romantic love story, a love story between these two characters”, says Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog.

BBC’s Planet Earth series showed an episode a few years back about a fungus called Cordyceps.  This fungus had the ability to infect the body of an Amazonian bullet ant and started taking over this poor ant’s mind, sending the insect into the open.  Eventually the ant dies and the fungus uses the corpse as fertile ground in order to grow new spores.  This is the main idea for the game.  What would happen if this fungus, which is totally real, could infect humans and transform them into a zombie-fied, plant, looking hybrid of a man?

Well, Joel and Ellie are going to find out real soon.  What sets this game apart though is that the narrative is from the characters point of view.  The emotional struggle of being put in this kind of position and making difficult decisions.  Not only will Joel and Ellie have to defend themselves against cordyceps zombies but also against other survivors who are trying to cope in the world as well.

From the trailer you see Ellie gathering up bullets from a guy that Joel kicked the crap out of so I think it’s safe to assume that there will be limited resources through out the game.  Also from the trailer you see Joel firing a shot at plant-man but he looks kind of hesitant when he pulls the trigger.  Me personally, I like that.  Playing a reluctant killer who probably was just an average Joe before the whole world went to hell.  Must be tough on him because he knew what the world was like before all this.  Ellie on the other hand was born into this chaos so she knows nothing about the old world.

Naughty Dog insists on raising the bar yet again though.  Always exploring new options and genres they definitely know how to diversify their creativity.  Moving away from the cartoon-ish styles of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, to a gritty adventure like Uncharted and now to a seriously dark setting like The Last of Us.  I have the utmost confidence in this company.  How many game developers can confidently say that just when their company logo appears on the screen, before any real reveal, a room full of people and critics alike will applaud with excitement and that is exactly what happened when they released the trailer at the Spike Videogame Awards, last year.  That’s power that you cannot buy, that’s earned.

Release  Date:           End 2012-Beginning 2013


Platform:                    Playstation 3


Uncharted Drakes Fortune

Everybody knows that I am a huge fan of the Assassins Creed franchise and I never even considered that there might be another game that would be just as awesome but luckily i came across another absolutely fantastic game called Uncharted.

Ok, so a few of you I know are saying “Um dude, this review is like five years to late.” and I am aware of that but  I only recently bought myself a PS3 console and haven’t had a chance to broaden my horizons in the PS3 gaming world.

This game is more of a character driven story with a decent plot to go with it.  It’s like playing a movie.   It’s very cinematic, humorous, catchy and you are able to identify with the characters on an emotional level.  The games birth comes from the Naughty Dog team who developed the Crash Bandicoot series way back in the day on the PS1.  Naughty Dog along with Sony created Jak and Daxter for the PS2 and then obviously Uncharted for the PS3.  The latest addition from the successful company is called The Last of Us which is currently still in development.

The main protagonist is Nathan Drake (come on, that is such a cool name) who is a modern day treasure hunter who always find himself in impossible situations.  Funnily enough Nathan Drake is voiced by Nolan North who also does the voice for Desmond Miles in the  Assassins Creed series.

In the first game Nathan Drake, a supposed ancestor of the famous explorer Francis Drake, journeys to the Amazon in a search to find the lost treasure of El Dorado.  The game combines a 3rd person perspective, mixed with some platforming, melee combat and awesome gun fights.  While i was playing it, I kept thinking of  movies like National Treasure, The Mummy and Sahara because it incorporates adventure at its best.

But then, there’s Uncharted 2:  Among Thieves


Uncharted 2:  Among ThievesI am trying to think of words in which to best describe this game and the only words I can use are “Hollywood Blockbuster Extravaganza!”  This was an amazing, spectacular, movie-rific (not an actual word), fantastic, awesome gaming experience.

Uncharted 2 stretched for the stars and they totally got there.  The whole game was a major improvement from the first incorporating cinematic sequences during the game play.

E.G (You’re in a building shooting the crap out of some soldiers.  All of a sudden you hear a helicopter outside the building.  You hear the missiles eject from the Helicopter and a massive explosion rocks the building and the entire wall gets blown out while you are still shooting at bad guys.  The building is rocking dangerously and as you perform your mighty melee combat more missiles rock the building, but this time the building is collapsing.  While this building is going down you are still in control of Drake and can still shoot bad guys.  As the building goes down a neighboring building gets closer and closer.  Just before the destroyed building crashes to the ground Nathan and his Allie  jump to the new building breaking through a frame of glass in a typical slow motion Hollywood feat.)

Now tell me, that’s not cool.  The best thing about it is that the entire game is like that.  It all flows into each other.  They use the same game engine for the movie sequences as they do for the gaming sequences.  This helps them to maintain the illusion of a character driven action-adventure game that could possibly have come from a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

The main plot of Uncharted 2 is about an Artifact that is found in one of Marco Polo’s lost ships and leads Nathan to the lost city of Shangri-La  in search of the Cintamani Stone.  Hunted by mercenaries, Nathan needs to uncover history’s darkest secret before it’s too late.

Naughty Dog drastically improved from the first game using the PS3 at nearly its full potential.  They must be one of the few gaming companies that researched the PS3 hardware and tried to max it out and if you play this game you will definitely see it.  The graphics are way better, the dialogue between characters are quick and funny and will offer you the full satisfaction of a truly original gaming experience.

And then there’s  Uncharted 3:  Drake’s Deception

Uncharted 3

Uncharted 3 was also a fantastic game to play.  It had exactly the same elements that Uncharted 2 had but with a slight tweak to the melee, and gun fighting combat system allowing you to melee fight multiple enemies at once and allow you to throw grenades back at enemies .  During some melee combat depending on what environment you are in like say a bar, you will be punching this guy and then grab a bottle off the bar counter and smash it over his head.  They also prolonged the combat so you get to experience a lot more fist fighting than just the normal shoot anything that moves scenario which to me was a very welcoming change.

Uncharted 3 is about Nathan in a quest for the lost Atlantis of the Sands, a city that had immeasurable wealth and was wiped out by the hands of god due to the city’s arrogance.

Now, like Uncharted 2 the game had many big cinematic experiences.  They didn’t stray far from the same formulae that they used on Uncharted 2 but they did use a more artistic approach in the story and level designs. They improved the graphics and game play a bit more by adding a realistic approach to the characters.  In one level for instance Nathan is chasing after this guy in Yemen and as you’re running through alleyways and tight spaces you will see Nathan propelling himself against the wall or using the walls to balance himself and that was most noticeable.  In another example, Nathan is wondering through the desert and he’s completely exhausted so when you stop moving him he collapses to the ground and when you move him again he has to pick himself up, force him to move.  That is such a small thing to add but I really enjoyed it because it felt real.

The most memorable moment in this game for me is when Nathan winds up with modern day pirates.  He has to escape from this graveyard of destroyed ships and get back on this cruiser.  That level was, (excuse my language), FUCKING EPIC.  When I looked out to the ocean from the ship I thought “Fuck me, that’s an ocean.”  Naughty Dog out did them-selves with this level because everything that had to be designed and animated on this level came out beautifully and I actually thought I was going to whimper because I don’t think a lot of people understand how much work and effort actually got put in to pulling that offLike an actual ship on the ocean, that ship is bobbing up and down, left and right and you can see Nathan balancing as he’s walking or even standing still.  Another fun fact about this level is that the waves are being created by a real time ocean simulator which means…. it’s a fucking ocean, which also means the entire level is moving.  It’s not just the waves and the ship that moves at a certain time, THE ENTIRE LEVEL IS MOVING.  But not only does this level move, at a certain point in the sequence the whole level rotates which means you now have a ship that has been rotated a full ninety degrees and the whole damn level is still playable.  So yes, while you’re running on the ship, the level rotates and suddenly you’re running on the side of the ship or on the ceiling.  (That is beyond awesome!)

The other thing I do enjoy about the Uncharted series is that unlike Assassins Creed you don’t have to play the first game in order to figure out what’s going in the second or even the third game and that is also a breathe of fresh air.  It’s a whole new adventure with the same cast and if any of you guys own a PS3 and haven’t played it yet, do yourself a favor and get these games.  You won’t regret it.