Review Check-In

Ellie Gibson answers your questions about The Last Of Us

By John Teti • June 10, 2013

Last week, we asked you for your questions about Naughty Dog’s much-anticipated survival horror game, The Last Of Us. Over the weekend, I picked up a bunch of them with my bare hands and threw them across the Atlantic Ocean at Ellie Gibson, who caught them and made tea out of them. You can view that entire process in the motion picture above this text. The questions include, “How tightly scripted is the game?” “What’s it like to play a game where the main character is named Ellie?” (That last one will be especially exciting for those of you out there named Ellie.) Thanks for your questions! And don’t forget to read Ellie’s full review of The Last Of Us.

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25 Responses to “Ellie Gibson answers your questions about The Last Of Us

  1. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    Has anyone ever told you how lovely it is to listen to the two of you going back and forth? Speaking of which: more podcasts!

  2. Citric says:

    I suppose I can deal with a late game shooting gallery or two, since everyone does that for some reason, no matter how jarring and weird it is in context (Looking at you LA Noire).

    • neodocT says:

      Hey @Citric:disqus, I ended up getting the game through a series of unlikely events, and I feel I might as well follow up on our discussion of how this game deals with the shooty-shooty parts of Uncharted.

      I’m about a third of the way in, and despite mostly following the Uncharted rhythm of linear exploration/combat sections, the combat mechanics are tremendously improved. Fights are very tense, and you often have plenty of choices in how to deal with situations. It is possible to just shoot your way out of some parts, but that wastes a lot of health and ammo (which are very scarce in the early game). My preferred tactic is to sneak by killing only those guys that are in my way.

      There are parts where you have to kill every enemy to proceed, but so far they feel nothing like the shooting gallery in Uncharted. Because you’re so vulnerable, you often have to be at least somewhat stealthy, even if only because you need to maintain supplies for the next encounter.

      There is a lot of trial and error involved, but there’s thankfully no loading to restart once you die. So if combat was your biggest obstacle to the game, I’m pretty confident in saying you’ll enjoy this.  

  3. HobbesMkii says:

    As someone who doesn’t hate stealth but also won’t choose it if any other options exist, I think it has something to do with stealth’s often punishing nature. I don’t recall the first stealth game I ever played, but I do sense that it left an indelible mark of accidentally alerting a guard and failing immediately. And then coming up against that wall again and again.

    I think there’s a very fine sweet spot in stealth mechanics that very few games every really reach. Either they’re wildly punishing or they’re a breeze. The only games I can think of to really thread the needle for me in recent years are the Assassin’s Creed games, and even those sort of sit on the edge of too easy (as do Bethesda’s games).

    So, it’s not that I necessarily prefer combat to stealth, but because combat is so widespread as a mechanic, the experience is relatively equal. At least I know it’ll be a challenge (depending on the difficulty level) that won’t seem unfair or unachievable to me.

    • duwease says:

      I can definitely see where it’s a personal preference, because doing a perfect stealth run generally requires a lot of reloading.  But for me personally, beating a level in a stealth game where I came in like a shadow and surgically took out the target, whose body won’t be discovered until hours after I leave, is *incredibly* satisfying.

      Although I probably shouldn’t be admitting that sort of thing with all of the NSA recording going on..

    • Zack Handlen says:

      Stealth stresses me out because I always feel like I’m leaving something incomplete; it’s like leaving the house in the morning and wondering if I remembered I locked the door, only in this case, “locking the door” is “stabbing that dude in the eye.” (I tried going stealth in Dishonored, and that killed the game for me. Although I did love doing stealth in Deus Ex.)

  4. IntotheNightSky says:

    Wow, plaudits from John Teti and Ellie Gibson, that definitely makes my day.

    And thank you for answering my question.  I do generally enjoy games where I can feel as though I personally am developing a relationship with the characters.  However, that does tend to make the main character nothing more than a vehicle for player escapism, which definitely isn’t going to jive with the goals of many, or even most, storytellers.  Luckily, I tend to love stories with distinct and interesting characters regardless.  I’m really looking forward to playing The Last of Us sometime soon.

    • Well, I think the key to success in games with a personal narrative, which you cannot affect, is that they manage to involve the player regardless of that fact.

  5. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    Man, I really need to put forth a decent question for one of these things, if only to make Teti say “Douchetoevsky” out loud.

  6. neodocT says:

    Hey, you answered my poorly phrased question! In two possible interpretations!

    I should probably think about being more precise in my phrasing from now on, lest I come off as a blowhard. I mean, you guys must have swallowed just about all you’ll take from me! It’s going to be long and hard, but I think we’ll come to be more happy and satisfied in the end.

  7. stakkalee says:

    Hey, can we make this thread a bit of a “Spoiler Space” for the game?  I’d love to know more about the “horrifying moment” Ellie stumbled upon down in the sewers.

    • boardgameguy says:

      as someone without a PS3 and no plans to get one, i too would enjoy getting a spoiler for that. i’m curious how horrific this gets outside of the graphic depictions of violence.

    • neodocT says:

       I’m playing the game, but haven’t seen a horrifying moment in a sewer yet. I have been through a flooded subway station, and am concerned that the moment was in there and I missed it… I can spoil you later, if I find it.

  8. Ellie, you’re a delight.

    • Electric Dragon says:

      I would like to take this opportunity to remark on that little picture of Ellie on the front page. It looks like John managed to figure out where the “remotely deliver 10,000 volt shock” button on Skype is.

  9. Chalkdust says:

    I think the ‘scripted’ question was doubly misinterpreted… weren’t you asking about enemy A.I. versus clever scripted behavior?  Anyway, here’s a relevant excerpt from Destructoid’s review:

    It should also be noted that the artificial intelligence of the Infected
    is remarkable. While not exactly careful, Infected actually know enough
    to not charge at you in a straight line. During one moment, I was
    actually snuck up on by a monster, who turned and ran when I spotted
    him. He came back with a friend, and proceeded to dart from doorway to
    doorway, in an attempt to confuse me. Human enemies aren’t quite that
    tricky, but they do try to outflank you and keep you moving. The Last of Us definitely boasts some of the best A.I. I’ve ever seen, and I’m very cynical when it comes to A.I. boasts.

    • neodocT says:

       They actually answered my question, which was on the restrictive linearity of the game, but I’m really enjoying how many different interpretations have popped up!

  10. OrangeLazarus says:

    I do like stealth and usually choose to try and not kill. But most of the stealth games I have played give you a lot of mobility and ways to avoid enemies (Deus Ex: HR, Metal Gear, Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed). And if you fail to be stealthy, you are generally better equipped than your opponents and can kill or hide from them very easily. I am more worried about the survival elements. Stealth stresses me out but barely surviving every encounter does more. I guess I should have asked how much does the game punish you for not staying hidden.

  11. Ellie Gibson says:

    This just in: I asked The Last of Us scriptwriter Neil Druckmann if the character of Ellie is in fact based on me on Twitter today. He replied: “well… she’s a smartass like you. That’s for sure. :P”

    Make of that what you will. 

  12. Derek Martz says:

    I’d like to see a cable-news style split-screen for these videos, as opposed to the picture-in-picture used currently. Teti’s just as important as the reviewers he’s talking to.