This is a blog post about my time with The Last of Us, on the hardest difficulty, and a short rage fuse.
Grounded makes the game hard as hell and me violently angry, its the highest difficulty setting for the Last of Us. It strips away a key mechanic of being able to listen through walls to see where the enemies are, it makes the enemies detection phenomenally acute, and removes the HUD. What does that leave you with? What you can physically hear and see. A big part of that, are the call-outs your partner, whom is Ellie for the majority of the game, uses to distract and notify you of enemies.
I was playing as Ellie, towards the end of the game, I was being hunted down by infected, and had died numerous amounts of times in one specific segment. I had no ammo and no patience. But I had an NPC tagging along, David, this ‘acts’ antagonist. My previous playthroughs of the game gives me this knowledge, so I by majority ignore him. But on the Grounded difficulty, I actually began to trust, and appreciate this guy, his personality, his humor and even his lack of effectiveness in combat were all key parts to me that made me like the guy. It all boiled down to a segment where the ‘Bloater’ infected type was about to tear my jaw off and deglove my face pretty much, and I had no ammo, and needed to run. I turned a corner, faced with a regular infected type, I at that point nearly threw my controller out the window because it was about the 70th time I’ve done this particular level today, but just before I had collided with the flailing enemy, David, the love able doof that he is, shot the infected, stunning it, allowing me to do a lethal take down on the infected. But skip ahead 2 minutes of running around and I died anyway, and had to restart the level.
I started to utilize David a little more, discovering, he was actually useful in the process. To make a long story short, I trusted this guy to be my ‘Joel’ when I was without. After all that hubbub about him being stupid and such, I actually liked the character, he was a cool guy. Until later on he sends hordes of men to capture me and murder Joel, which leads to Ellie almost being carved up into a side dish.
But my point is, with The Last of Us, the mechanics in the game of how the NPCs react to the environment with you, the dialogue they share with you, and the help they give to you in combat, builds a bond, some form of ‘Trust’, a word which I’m sick of using and trying to decipher every day.
So as a far cry, I want to make The Last of Us in the future, and master the aspect of Trust.
I’ll rename it to “A little less of Us” to avoid copyright.