• What The Last of Us Will Play Like

    The Last of Us
    , is slowly coming into focus.
    Naughty Dog has been slowly giving details about their new IP, the majority coming via the latest issue of Game Informer. Finally, we are treated to some very vague details on how the game will actually play.

    Listen, I’m not going to make predictions about this game just yet.
    But, from what they say, it takesUncharted’s core mechanics and pushes them in different directions. So, you start with your third-person cover mechanics. From there, they take the enemy AI and make the baddies fight like more “realistic opponents.” That’s good news because every cover-based shooter’s enemy AI seems to devolve into whack-a-mole. Take cover, wait, aim for head, shoot. Good riddance.

    They also briefly mention that the enemies are “trying to survive” as well.
    This is another thing that gets me excited. How many times have you seen an enemy soldier, (alien, trooper, zombie …) just run directly into your bullets. It’s high time that games actually made you work for your kills. Violence is too easy nowadays and it makes everything less-rewarding when you feel hand-held throughout the entire game.

    Melee weapons are also getting thrown in the mix.
    What really excites me is the prospect of limited ammo, assuming this is the reason melee weapons are in the game. I want them to be necessary, not optional. In the tradition of early Resident Evil games, survival should take center stage. By withholding supplies and making you scavenge for weapons, the tension will naturally be raised. I want to run out of ammo mid-fight, find something lying and have to use that. I want to feel terror again.

    It should also be mentioned that all of the combat scenarios talked about were specifically related to fighting non-infected humans.
    So, are we to assume that fighting the infected is a completely different ordeal? Hmmm. Seems like this could be the case. They briefly mention stealth and strategy too. This certainly would be a change Uncharted. As much as I love him, my main man Nathan only knows one volume: 11. Maybe a bit more forethought could go a long way.

    Here is where things get interesting.
    Your health won’t just come back magically after a short rest; you’re going to need to heal yourself. Oh, sweet heavens, you have heard my cries! I have come to really dislike regenerating health for several reasons. It ruins immersion and it makes games too easy. Some of my fondest memories of shooters come from before the inception of this standard. Running around with 1HP left in Half Life, finding a shield in Perfect Dark, watching the DOOM man’s face become more wounded as a fight slogged on. When health is a precious commodity, it is much more valuable, making each of your actions more calculated. Here’s hoping they don’t put health packs every 5 feet.

    Naughty Dog went on to reiterate how important your friendly AI will be.
    This is something they already do well in the Uncharted series. Never have I screamed at Sully for getting in the way (unlike Lydia fromSkyrim, who I despise and love all at once). So, I have no concern here. Now, the characters with you can distract enemies or even reload your weapon. Very cool.

    So, what do you think?
    I have a profound respect for the pedigree of games Naughty Dog makes and am confident in their capabilities. If this was some other dev, I might be a skeptical, surly old-timer about this. Don’ let me down, guys. I’m genuinely excited for this game and will be keeping you up to date on it as information trickles down. Or, you can hit their site for some more info.