Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder: a spoiler-free mini-review of The Last of Us.

The Last of Us is a really great video game about post-pandemic America. It’s also a perfectly written story about being a man —one that makes good on promises that stories like The Walking Dead or the film adaptation of The Road failed to keep.

Audiences have come to accept Hollywood’s reliance on spectacle to obscure its own mediocrity. And because of that, stories this engaging are too hard to come by. We find ourselves in a near-constant state of having to mentally fix stories in order to love them. 

In response, The Last of Us is almost anti-epic. Its apocalyptic themes are really just set dressing for a small, visceral, very human story. The questions it poses are complex and it understands that you’re smart enough to answer them for yourself. And the merciless brutality of the world it depicts confirms every suspicion that the minutia of life in the Western world might be just that.

I don’t have children, and it would be preposterous for me to claim that a PS3 could provide any real sense of what paternity must be like. That said, last night I awoke suddenly from an exhausted sleep, and in a moment so elusive that only its absurdity prevented it passing from my mind, I wanted to check on Ellie.