Open minded

I re­cently com­pleted The Last Of Us Re­mas­tered, hav­ing had it for over a year but never get­ting round to it. Al­though I do not think it was a mas­ter­piece like many crit­ics and play­ers pro­claimed, I still thought it was a very good game. How­ever, I will not claim it is over­rated (that word is very much overused) just be­cause I did not enjoy it as much as oth­ers. It is sim­ply a mat­ter of dif­fer­ent tastes. What I would like to do is com­pare The Last Of Us’s story with one of my favourite games of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, The El­der Scrolls V: Skyrim.

The Last Of Us tells the very deep and per­sonal story of a man (who has suf­fered greatly) ac­com­pa­ny­ing a girl (who has also suf­fered greatly) across the US for a spe­cific pur­pose (I am try­ing to avoid spoil­ers here). Along the way they meet very be­liev­able and in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters, their re­la­tion­ship and bond grows, and they have to work to­gether to sur­vive. Skyrim, on the other hand, is a typ­i­cal fan­tasy story about stop­ping an evil dragon hell-bent on de­stroy­ing the world.

How­ever, for all the emo­tional strings The Last Of Us pulls, I feel my­self far more drawn to the world and story of Skyrim. How so? Skyrim has an over­ar­ch­ing nar­ra­tive that is far more mem­o­rable. Skyrim creates this liv­ing, breath­ing world where your ac­tions shape and af­fect it. It has reams of lore to pore over, and sid­e­quests that give the story a sense of greater pur­pose. Al­most ev­ery char­ac­ter, build­ing and so on has a story to tell and gives the world a sense of won­der.

Fur­ther­more, you cre­ate your own char­ac­ter, and all th­ese el­e­ments com­bine to make you feel as you are in the world it­self: you are the Dragonborn, and you are liv­ing the game. The Last Of Us made me feel I was play­ing as Joel rather than be­ing Joel, there­fore I wasn’t nearly as emo­tion­ally in­vested as in Skyrim.

Th­ese are just two ex­am­ples. There is noth­ing wrong with lin­ear­ity, but what I think games like Skyrim prove is that what you lose in nar­ra­tive is more than made up for in im­mer­sion. This is a key as­pect of why I love games. A game as fo­cused and as tight as The Last Of Us does not im­merse me to the same level as a Skyrim or Dragon Age, and this is why I will re­mem­ber th­ese games far more fondly. Fran­cis Jackson Well, each to their own. There’s noth­ing so im­mer­sion-break­ing in The Last Of Us as that guy in Dragonreach who, af­ter 300 hours, is still ad­vis­ing that we go and check out the mage’s col­lege over in Win­ter­hold. We have. We’re its arch­mage. Give it a rest.

Star qual­ity

As I sit here in ex­cite­ment for the forth­com­ing Star Wars movie, I am al­ready en­joy­ing the vol­ley of mer­chan­dise, trail­ers and, more im­por­tantly, Bat­tle­front. I played both be­tas, thought the game looked and played amaz­ing, and it left me dy­ing to get my hands on the full version of the game. How­ever, look­ing on­line at the nasty world that is the In­ter­net, I found more and more neg­a­tive com­ments on the game, mostly by peo­ple who hadn’t played it.

I ig­nored them, nat­u­rally. I con­tin­ued to wait in an­tic­i­pa­tion for the game that would reignite my child­hood ad­dic­tion to that galaxy far, far away. Apart from the usual novella-length YouTube com­ments about why I per­son­ally shouldn’t pre­order games, the sense that Star Wars was really com­ing back was pal­pa­ble, and when the day of release fi­nally came, I stayed up un­til mid­night to play the game the sec­ond it went on­line.

I was thrilled. The game looked ex­cel­lent, sounded even bet­ter, and I was hooked in­stantly – as any true Star Wars fan should

“For all the emo­tional strings The Last Of Us pulls, I feel my­self far more drawn to Skyrim”

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