Over the past month, I completed two video games: The Last of Us and Nier:Automata. I’ll talk about the latter at a later date, but damn, these are some good games.
Main points of this game I’d like to emphasise (TL;DR, basically):
– FREAKING motion sickness. What’s with this game?! I can only play 30 mins at a time before lying in a befuddled state of vertigo in bed (stop making the torchlight swings so violent, goddammit)
– Enjoyed premise, visuals, characters, story, gameplay
– Moral greyness of the ending was excellent!
Contains spoilers, duh.
To be honest, I’m still unconvinced Sarah’s death at the start was worth anything. Yes, it showed us Joel’s reason for being rugged and pragmatic rather than optimistic like Ellie. Valid reason. But death of a close character to our MC when we had all of two minutes to get to know her made me feel nothing at all. I don’t feel Joel’s motivation. I feel bad for him, but none of the tragedy. Maybe the writer should have started with current events and had flashbacks or small snippets that showed Sarah’s outcome instead, and it would have answered out questions of “Why is Joel so unsympathetic?” and “What’s his problem?”
The gameplay is smooth and allows a variety of gaming methods, from those violent bloodthirsty brutes who like to smash a brain in to the sneaky assassins who like to conduct their dirty business without detection to the pacifists who’d rather sneak by without a fight. A variety of weapons make it great fun, too. You can snipe, sneakily shoot an arrow, shotgun their ass, or just club them over the head with a brick (or equivalent).
There aren’t any decisions, morally-grey or otherwise, to make, though. I would have liked maybe multiple endings depending on how I interact with different characters, like whether I killed the guy with the broken mask way at the beginning or if I killed Marlene at the end or lied to Ellie in the very end.
I’m ultimately conflicted about the ending. Not sure what I would have done in Joel’s shoes, whether to give up Ellie to have her brain taken out for a chance of a vaccine for the disease. I sympathised with him and understood his actions. If Ellie had said she wanted it even if she dies, then Joel has to respect that — and I think he would have, too. But the Fireflies never consented her. And didn’t wait to consent her (especially as Marlene was so confident “this was what she would have wanted”) which I feel infringed Ellie’s rights and she used it to guilt trip Joel by making him feel saving her is selfish and not in Ellie’s best interest — but I have a feeling they were scared she would say no. It’s not like a few hours would make a difference in terms of making a vaccine but they proceeded anyway — so what was the rush?
Whether Joel is justified to murder the hundred or so people en route to survive and then to save Ellie is another debate though.
Theoretically, if they manage to reverse engineer a vaccine then, yes, it would save a lot of people, but it’s not guaranteed… it’s better than nothing I guess. But it’s just a vaccine. Not a cure or antidote. The infected are still infected. The Clickers and Runners are still that and still lethal, will still eat your face on sensing you. It just means the humans bitten — but not ripped to shreds — won’t die or turn. But the world outside is still overrun and dangerous, and unsurvivable given how civilisation has basically turned to dust.
Am I thinking too much?
I think they’re doomed regardless of Ellie, and Joel isn’t selfish by saving her instead. Unless by ‘vaccine’ they actually mean a cure, but prevention is not synonymous with a cure.
Gave me some good dystopian setting and conflict fodder, though.
What are your thoughts on the game?