I actually expected the lock-in event to be more of... well, an event. As it was, it felt like something that could have happened in the store during the day (if there hadn't been an age restriction). Some people wandered in, queued to try the demo, had a go, and then left. It was fun playing the game, and there was Dominoes, but I had thought there might be a little more. I don't know, maybe a talk about the game? Or something that encouraged more chatting? A joint viewing of a trailer before trying the demo? I'm not sure. Just something a bit more.
The screens were lined up in a row, which felt a little daunting, but on the other hand it was nice to be able to take a peek at what others were doing or to comment on the game to them. I think there had been a mix up with sending the headphones; they hadn't arrived on time, anyway, so unfortunately it was impossible to hear what was happening in the game above the noise of everyone else becoming zombie dinner.
Other than the sound issue, the event was run well, and everyone seemed to have fun. There were drinks and pizza, and very friendly staff on hand to help with anything. The Playstation rep was helpful and nice, and answered all questions about the game enthusiastically, despite probably getting asked the same questions over and over (why am I collecting scissors? which button is left three? Ok, so maybe I was the only one who asked that, but it was my first time on a Playstation).
The Last of Us
But anyway, let’s talk about The Last of Us. Well, I only had a short play, and it’s always hard to tell a lot from a short demo. Added to this was the headphones issue, so it was impossible to actually hear what was happening. I therefore have very little idea of story except what the Playstation rep told me.
However, the game certainly seems intriguing. It’s set in post-apocalyptic USA, in which a fungus that affects insects has mutated to humans. It’s basically a zombie game (I know. Another one. I really don’t know why either), but this time the zombie people turn into kinda plant-like things. Yeah, it’s a bit hard to explain, but it does look really good. Seriously, the graphics are gorgeous.
The player character, Joel, seems like a pretty standard post-apoc hero, but I didn’t see any backstory on him, so it’s possible he has a lot more depth. He walks around the world with a teenage girl, Ellie, who he is protecting, in a very fatherly role by the look of it. In the section I played there was actually another character with us, a woman who I don’t know much about. I thought the interaction between them seemed very interesting and well done (I couldn’t hear, but I could pick up a lot just from the expressions and the looks they gave each other). Although your character is obviously the leader and protector, the woman with you kills a zombie near the beginning of the demo, helps to push doors and furniture, and doesn’t come across as too helpless (of course, it's hard to say whether this carries on). There was one part that I got a bit of a kick out of, which involved the player character hauling with mighty effort on a chest of drawers to move it out of the way of a door. The woman then waltzes through and, entirely on her own, easily pushes what looks like a very heavy photocopy machine to prop open the door.
The way the characters and enemies move also seems very real, even the fact that the player character’s head turns to look around him as you move, rather than staring rigidly ahead. I also liked how the world responded to me, such as half-fallen buildings leaning and creaking as I walked through them. I think this would be a fun world to explore during the game, especially as you can find items to craft with. For example, certain ingredients will give you a makeshift knife, and bottles of alcohol and rags can be used to create Molotov Cocktails. Very useful by the way – much more so than the healing kits. If you’re getting hit, you’re probably gonna die.
This is a survival game, so it’s not a rush-through-and-shoot-things type. You have to creep about a bit, try not to let the blind zombies hear you, and sneak up behind the other zombies to strangle them quietly. You can throw objects to divert the zombies’ attention and sneak past (or lure them all to the same spot and then throw a Molotov Cocktail). You do find guns, but this is definitely the kind of game where ammo is limited. Finding ways to take care of the zombies, or to get past them, seemed fun and challenging, but again, this is hard to say from such a short play. Can the fun elements be enough to counter the same-old-same-old zombieness? I guess, if you love zombies, this is definitely one for you. If you’re a bit sick of them, perhaps wait for the reviews.
All in all, a promising and intriguing game that I’m interested in finding out more about. There didn’t seem to be anything very new about it, but it did seem to handle the slightly clichéd survival stuff (and the ridiculously clichéd zombie stuff) pretty well. I had fun, and what’s more, I had free pizza!
*thumbs up GAME*
*possible thumbs up and interest piqued in The Last of Us*