Finding Something to Fight For
The next entry in Horror Game Icon is an experience that found a balance between good horror solid and an unforgettable story. The Last of Us was reminder of what a good horror game needs to be at a time when so many had abandoned their roots. The end result is a groundbreaking experience that is hailed as one of the best games for the PlayStation 3.
The Last of Us is a horror survival that tapped not just into ones fear of the world but also the person they are becoming. At the same time it tried to remind players that their is always hope during the darkest of time. Horror Game Icon 2020 will now look back at what made The Last of Us one of the best narrative experiences.
I’m Scared of Ending Up Alone
Starting in 2013, an outbreak of a mutant Cordyceps fungus (which mutates the host and makes them aggressive) emerges. It begins to spread across the nation, causing an outbreak. Joel attempts to escape with his daughter, Sarah, only for her to be killed. 20 years after the collapse of civilization, the survivors try to live on within the quarantine zones or out in the wasteland.
Joel has become a smuggler and is hired to escort Ellie to a resistance camp outside the quarantine zone. It’s discovered that Ellie is immune to the fungus and that her blood may hold the cure. Together they must venture across the ravaged country and battle both the infected and militias. During the journey; Joel and Ellie build a bond that is akin to that of a father and daughter.
It Can’t be For Nothing
From a narrative perspective, The Last of Us is a masterpiece in story telling. This was made possible by using the backdrop of a horror survival to tell an emotionally-driven story. A story that focuses on the bond between a father and daughter searching for hope during the apocalypse. Helping to bring this story to life is the performance of Troy Barker and Ashley Johnson in the main roles.
From a horror perspective, one has to admire how it brought a new sense of life to the genre. At first glance, it has all the played out tropes of a zombie game. Once you actually play through the nightmare, the horror elements come from all fronts. The horror is not just in the presence of the infected but also the desperation of everyone encountered.
The game also brought something that has been long absent in genre at the time, the actual concept of horror survival. The gameplay is a return to the roots of the genre when players had to actually struggle to survive. This was opposed to the classics at the time that abandoned the concept for a more action setting. The Last of Us instead drew influence from classics that have defined the genre.
It’s The Normal People That Scare Me
The Last of Us was highly praised by critics and gamers for redefining the genre while returning it to its roots. The original was nominated for and awarded numerous accolades, including Game of the Year. Today it’s highly ranked among critics for having one of the best stories in gaming (along side Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Spec Ops: The Line). The influence on narrative story lived on through the numerous games that followed during the Eight-Generation era.
A remastered version was released for the PlayStation 4 and it was a major improvement on an already perfect game. Fans would have to wait seven years to continue the story of Ellie in The Last of Us Pt. II. A wait that was worth it given the praise it has received from fans and critics.
The Last of Us legacy will always be how it redefined story telling while staying true to the concept of horror survival. It has all the elements that define a horror survival but it all gets lost in the narrative. In the end, it’s a story that wants the player to have a sense of hope regardless of how bad it gets.
Did you ever play The Last of Us and what are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comment section.
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