Boston is the setting for the new tale by Naughty Dog. A small quarantined yet strictly governed and militarised community sits in Boston, yet to be affected. The outside world has succumbed to infection. ZOMBIES! Nay, Fungal is the flavour this time around and it certainly ain’t cheesy. Inspired by real world events (not strictly) that take place in the Ant kingdom. A fungus has jumped species to humans. It sprouts from the eyes, burrows to the brain overcoming the brain’s motor function and lives thus. Lovely.
There’s Joel, a survivalist with a dark past peppered with “connections” and death. Tess, a smuggler “friend” of sorts, who helps with a special package. And Ellie, the package in question, is a young quarantine born and raised girl with more to her than first meets the eye.
Oh, and she’s not based on Ellen Page well at least not now anyway. Since she’s in her own game and everything. Ellen Page! The Game! Or something. It’s supposed to be semi-autobiographical with Willem Dafoe as her Priest/Father/Mentor/Psychologist/Sailing Tutor. Having said that, we’ll no doubt mention it another time, but don’t take that as a fact.
Beyond Two Walls (huh, get it) lies what’s left of Boston since the spread began and the containment procedures that followed. What couldn’t be saved during the early days was bombed out, but that didn’t help, so pocket communities walled themselves off. Those that brave the walls will find a town whose colonial brick blends with modern steel but on natures terms, underneath ivy, grass and bushes. Shop fronts and houses long abandoned waiting to be explored.
It seems to be the sound within the game that is the most important, not only to immerse you into a ‘living’ world, but to be exploited. It’s as much a tool for game play as it is for suspense, revealing what lies ahead as well as keeping you in touch and on edge. Every crunch under foot and splash of rain, the rustle of the wind and creaking of an open door. A dynamic score to get the pulse going is a rare element, silence and sound atmosphere carrying you through the majority of the game, however it will no doubt be poignant when it is used.
Brick to the Face!
The game is all about survival and protection. Using what you can around you to the greatest effect. Weapons can be used in a variety of ways and combat can take place in any number of ways, with a heavy lean on natural ‘Uncharted’ style body movement. Fights essentially come down to a chaos algorithm, that triggers actions based on: how you’re stood in relation to the enemy, in relation to what you’re holding, and in relation to where in the environment you are. The result, heads are getting caved in and brutal but necessary violence is the flavour of the game. Be it stealthy, be it brash, it’s up to you, as long as you get Ellie from A to B.
I’ve liked the look of The Last Of Us for some time. Suspense, survival, sound and stealth. One to watch out for and what looks to be a rather special exclusive.