Naughty Dog’s masterpiece, The Last of Us has been getting a lot of hate recently, despite the game being 8 months old. The strange thing is, the game released to almost universal acclaim across the board and has a Metacritic average of 95, meaning it is one of the highest rated video games of all time. Which made me question, why all the hate? And the conclusion, it must be because The Last of Us is so amazing, that people now think it is cool to hate it. Possibly some spoilers ahead, though I have tried to be as vague as possible.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone will like this game, but most people seem to take issue with the open nature of the ending of the game. Having played the game, I actually don’t think it is as open as others seem to make out. I personally look at The Last of Us as a story about Joel and Ellie, and not necessarily a story about the world that they live in. Granted there are characters involved and opportunities to see the violent nature of that world, but as a story about Joel and Ellie, The Last of Us does a fantastic job in creating an emotional link between the two characters, which explains the choice that is ultimately made at the end.
I’ve heard many gaming journalists say that they didn’t like that Joel “turned out to be the bad guy”, but was he really a bad guy? Would any of us have sacrificed someone we care about on the off-chance that it could save the human race? Perhaps some of us would have, but does it really make Joel the bad guy for deciding to do the opposite? In my opinion, it doesn’t. He did what he thought was best for Ellie, and of course himself, and it felt a hell of a lot more real than the Hollywood ending the critics seem to expect.
Also, let’s be honest here, Sony and Naughty Dog are in this business to make money, so it is in their best interests to leave the game open for a sequel. However, even if the game ended with a perfect ending, there are plenty of things that could be done to create a sequel, and that perfect ending won’t be so perfect any more. Did anyone think Kratos would have had any further issues after becoming the God of War in the first game?
If you haven’t already played The Last of Us, I highly recommend it, and would argue it is one of the best games in recent memory. The Last of Us: Left Behind, a single-player DLC pack should also be coming soon.