Why I Hate “The Last of Us” (Now With More Hate!)

 

[NOTE: Full review is on its way. This was a reaction to the initial E3 trailer and hype.]

NOW WITH MORE HATE!

[Added a second part.]

You’ve probably heard of The Last of Us by now, which means you’ve probably shrugged and said yeah, cool I guess.  It’s the gory post-apocalyptic PS3 exclusive developed by Naughty Dog, makers of the Uncharted series.  It’s already won a bunch of awards, including “Best of Show”, “Best Original Game”, “Best Console Game”, and “Best Action/Adventure Game” at this year’s E3.  There’s no doubt that it will be a highly polished, carefully crafted, and feature unparalleled voice acting and CINEMATIC CINEMATIC CINEMATIC.

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Part IV (MGS2: A Complete Breakdown)

PART IPART IIPART IIIPART IV PART VPART VI – PART VII 

The VR Theory

In order to encourage, challenge and even trick players into thinking about the deeper meaning of his games, Kojima designed the whole plot to collapse on itself.  Would players still miss the point?  (Of course they would.)

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Part III (MGS2: A Complete Breakdown)

PART IPART IIPART III PART IVPART VPART VI – PART VII

{NOTE: Clips are best watched in Full Screen mode.}

Part three is a careful study of Metal Gear’s creator, Hideo Kojima.  More specifically, it’s a study of his motivations for betraying player expectations with Metal Gear Solid 2.  As confusing as it may seem, there is a logical explanation for it all.  (Here’s Part 1 and Part 2)

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I hate Diablo III, so here’s some more hate

Diablo III Lord of Greed

Ars Technica has posted a piece on how Diablo III is a sloppy, unfinished game, being obviously “broken” in terms of gameplay balance.  Blizzard is lazily developing the game after they’ve taken people’s money by patching, treating it more like an ongoing beta than a final product.

Blizzard‘s defense is easily predicted (after all, it’s the same excuse for why StarCraft 2 was, and continues to be, so frustratingly imbalanced) which is that their games are so complex that multiplayer develops its own “meta game”, wherein players are blamed for not finding the proper response to apparent imbalances.  After acknowledging the prudence of tweaking things after release, and the history of patching in older games, writer Orland says:

But the ubiquity of the post-release patch has led too many developers to be pretty lax about prerelease balancing, secure in the knowledge that they’ll be able to fix any problems that pop up at a later date.

The “meta game” excuse is tried and true, because it has a deep history with the original StarCraft.  Players (mostly in South Korea) defied Blizzard’s expectations by constantly evolving the strategies of the game in creative new ways, finding solutions through innovative gameplay rather than relying on a patch.

As for my comments about Blizzard being dominated by Activision, I know that Activision doesn’t own Blizzard (they’re both subsidiaries of Vivendi) and that Blizzard is supposedly free to do whatever they want.  It’s a gray area however, because it’s also a fact that Bobby Kotick is the CEO of Activision-Blizzard as a whole, meaning that his greedy, profit-driven, anti-creative, short-sighted and hugely destructive mentality towards game development was chosen to set the vision for the merged company.  His status and his well-known vision automatically sets the tone for everybody below him, including Mike Morhaime, who is the CEO of the Blizzard half of the company.

By saying that Blizzard Entertainment is independent and free to develop as they see fit they have ensured plausible deniability, but don’t the games speak for themselves?  They are uncreative, unfinished, lacking content, and dominated by DRM shackles.  Battle.net 2.0 was, and still is, a downright embarrassment.  Let’s not be naïve.

ALSO CHECK OUT:  Video Games in the Master Plan

Part II (MGS2: A Complete Breakdown)

PART IPART IIPART IIIPART IVPART VPART VI – PART VII

{NOTE: Clips are best watched in Full Screen mode.}

So, the game was controversial because it pulled the rug out from under players’ feet, and because it denied them the trademark experience they were expecting; but what about the game’s actual story?  In part two we analyze the plot in order to find out whether its as convoluted as its critics have said.

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Nicholas Carr on the permanence of digital

Nicholas Carr and Hideo KojimaI found this interesting.  Fans of Metal Gear Solid 2 know that the game comments on the permanence of digital information, portraying traditional culture as fragile and transient, and digital culture as a swelling “flood” of eternally accessible garbage.  Physical records conform to the idea of evolution and natural selection, he suggests.  But yesterday, respected technology prophet and bestselling author Nicholas Carr flipped this idea on its head by suggesting that it’s actually old, physical culture that remains accessible, and digital information that becomes swept away in a stream of technological change…

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