Starting up The Last of Us

Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us

Anyone with an internet connection must find it impossible to ignore the existence of The Last of Us. Every major game blog seems to run a bi-weekly gush of the Naughty Dog game, and images of the character Ellie seem as ubiquitous online as hair gel in a project management meeting.

So during a fit of “I’M WASTING MY LIFE BY NOT PLAYING ENOUGH GAMES” I ordered a copy of The Last of Us for my PlayStation 3. I played an hour or so with the Welshman then had to go out for some reason, and when I came back I’d missed some of the story so I put the game on the backburner to revisit when I could pay decent attention to it.

Because that’s one of the oft-heralded features of The Last of Us: the storyline. Apparently, it’s good. So good that a colleague who’d finished it wouldn’t tell me much about it because it’d give away too many spoilers, and she wanted me to experience it properly myself.

When I had a few hours free earlier this week I began the game again. (Easy mode. You have to start somewhere.) I’d never played a third-person game on the PS3 so it took me a while to get the hang of the controls; I’m used to using a mouse and ESDF on a PC, and I find the PS3 Dualshock’s thumbstick-thingos hard to master. Just a slight movement would send my view off to the side and two seconds later, a monsterdude¬†would be chomping on my neck. Slowing down the sensitivity helped a lot, and suddenly I was taking out soldiers with two shots instead of twenty.

Occasionally I’d forget which controls did what (e.g. pick stuff up, vault, climb ladders) so I’d be mashing away at a button, my character grasping foolishly at a wall, while the other characters looked on. I could see the scorn in their eyes.

I made it to just outside the city walls when I saved the game and put the controls down. For anyone who’s played it before: yeah, yeah, saving wasn’t necessary. I forgot it auto-saved, and thus I’ve filled up the memory with five saved increments of the same game. Genius.

More gameplay is scheduled for the weekend. I’ll report back soon.

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