The Last of Us Part I, the remake of the juggernaut from Naughty Dog and PlayStation, has just arrived. It is therefore an opportunity to return to what made the success of this The Last of Us at the time.
- Naughty Dog fait du The Walking Dead
- The touching story of Ellie and Joel
- A performance worthy of a movie
- A next-gen game on PS3
Naughty Dog fait du The Walking Dead
In the early 2010s, there was a studio on the rise: Naughty Dog. After having distinguished itself with Crash Bandicoot, the American studio gave us Jak & Daxter and Uncharted, two very popular licenses that have allowed it to build a solid reputation. Even better, games with Nathan Drake proved that Naughty Dog was capable of great things technically speaking. So when the announcement of a post-apocalyptic game with the same level of realism fell, there was something to be intrigued.
Especially since at the time, zombies were also trendy. The Walking Dead began airing in 2010 and quickly became one of the most loved and watched series. On the video game side, we have Resident Evil which continues to bring together many fans. Some therefore naturally expect another game of the genre with Naughty Dog sauce. But nay! In the course of the communication, we realize that The Last of Ussuch is its small name, will have nothing to do with the license of Capcom. Marketed as an action-survival game, it quickly becomes clear that Naughty Dog has traded horror in favor of storytelling and emotion.
With this original choice for the time, the studio scores points and breathes an air of novelty into its project that makes you want to. Naugty Dog bet on the right horse and this is all the more true as the studio knows how to tell stories. And with The Last of Us, he will even establish himself as a master of the genre.
The touching story of Ellie and Joel
When it was released in 2013, the game was critically acclaimed. If some journalists point the finger at a picky AI and limited gameplay mechanics, they all agree to salute the excellence achieved by the title from a narrative point of view. In our testwe then speak of “a breathtaking scenario” and D’ “an atmosphere that sticks to your skin, even when you let go of the pad”. Edge magazine goes even further: “Naughty Dog has delivered one of the most compelling, emotionally driven epic stories of this console generation.”
This narration with small onions, it is notably carried by a brilliantly managed rhythm. For Neil Druckmann, who oversaw the project, the best narrative structures are those that constantly change pace. In The Last of Us, the intense action phases are thus followed by quieter moments, but no less important. In an episode of In Game, we spoke in particular of a particularly skilful scene at this level: the giraffe scene. After a harsh winter, we find a changed Ellie, disturbed, who no longer responds as before to our movements and directions… but who has still managed to keep her child’s soul.
In addition, The Last of Us tackles themes then too little addressed in video games. If the title of Naughty Dog already stands out for its atypical approach to the post-apo, the relationship it highlights is just as important. Po describe it, Neil Druckmann then spoke of a “love story in the father-daughter relationship”. The bond that is created before our eyes between Ellie and Joël is as believable as it is engaging and moving. This is due to the narration of course, but also to the gameplay which pushes us to find a synergy between the two characters, puts us in difficulty when they are separated or even moves us in the face of certain choices that we are forced to make.
But it’s not just Ellie and Joël in The Last of Us. Over the course of our adventure, we discover many characters with different and marked personalities, sometimes tragic destinies and stories that we never knew. so not used to seeing in a AAA. Without going overboard, The Last of Us is not afraid to shake things up a bit. The title has moved more than one player, even those with the most hermetic hearts. Not only does The Last of Us tell us a great story, but it does it well, whether from a narrative or visual point of view.
The narrative and characterization are impressive, and not just “for a game”
Andy Kelly du magazine britannique Computer and Video Games
A performance worthy of a movie
If The Last of Us has marked the spirits so much, it’s also because it was one of the first action games to have such a cinematic dimension. A point which is also held against it by some who consider its gameplay too little present to qualify it as an excellent game. If this is still debated today, it is however undeniable that The Last of Us has a similar realization to that of a film.
Whether it’s the camera shots, the dialogue, or their overall quality, most scenes in Naughty Dog’s game are memorable, starting with its introduction. For many, this is the most significant opening in the history of video games and we understand them. By letting us embody Joel’s young daughter, Sarah, for a few minutes, The Last of Us immerses us in the heart of the matter and takes the opportunity to break our hearts in the process. And then there is the drama in three acts of Henry and his little brother Sam or its conclusion which is filled with a scriptwriting tension worthy of the greatest cliffhanger by grade.
Throughout these scenes, The Last of Us plays with the codes of cinema like no game before it. We sense his cinematographic inspirations, ranging from I’m a legend Passing by The Road, 28 days later or The Sons of Man, to end up The Revolt of the Triffids (not forgetting the series The Walking Dead sure). Note also that the music of The Last of Us was entirely created by a composer accustomed to films, Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla. This gave a quality soundtrack which also deeply marked the spirits and participated in the immersion and emotion of the title. As for the particularly successful rendering of the cutscenes, it is, in particular, allowed thanks to the performances of the actors (including Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson) and motion capture.
The interpretation is not only superb, but the graphical beauty of the game makes the events of The Last of Us overflowing with realism. Everything that happens is instantly more memorable, more powerful, and more poignant because the environment is so believable.
Colin Moriarty d’IGN
A next-gen game on PS3
Motion capture has a very big role to play in the visual rendering of the game, which is also applauded. It must be said that if the technique for making the body language in the game more realistic had already been used for a little while, Naughty Dog has made it its major asset. One of the reasons that led the studio to move in 2010 was precisely to be able to have their own motion capture studio. If you’re interested, Naughty Dog’s Damon Shelton has since given a conference on the use of motion capture for The Last of Us. You can find it below.
Technically, Naughty Dog gave itself to The Last of Us and the rendering is necessarily beautiful. If today, we can find the graphics of The Last of Us aging, for the time, and especially for the PS3, they were surprisingly realistic and particularly successful. In 2013, few games have managed to reach this level, none even dare to say some journalists. With such a rendering, The Last of Us then has what it takes to stand out as a great game and an essential license in the PlayStation ecosystem. And if you add everything else, it naturally becomes a monument.
We could also have talked about the very good multiplayer mode, the no less good DLC that followed or the remastered version that arrived very shortly after. But if these elements have contributed to the success of The Last of Us over time, it is not them that have made the title a monument of the video game world, but those that we have listed above. It is on them that the title of Naughty Dog could count to be remembered as one of the best video games of all time, and still today. A game that you will be able to rediscover with the remake The Last of Us Part I