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Old 05-26-2014, 04:35 PM   #10
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Re: Post here when you beat a game. I mean it!

I finished The Last of Us a few days ago. That game is so good. It starts pretty strong, and then keeps getting better throughout its entire run time. Heck, It's still getting better, the more I think about it.

Ellie is one of the most impressive AI companions and all around best characters gaming has to offer. But I still want more, somehow. I wish the game gave you more opportunities to interact with Ellie.

I was fifteen hours into the game before a random enemy finally managed to grab Ellie and I had to rescue her. I didn't even know that could happen. Up until that point I'd assumed that she was entirely self sufficient. I was thrilled to discover that it actually was possible for Ellie to die, because it raised the stakes on all future encounters. I think the game should have put her in danger far more often.

But I don't just want to rescue Ellie. I want to be able to toss ammo her way or maybe give her a high five after an encounter. Something. The game does a lot through scripted scenes, but I as a player want the ability to be expressive as well.

I played Ico recently, and it gives you the ability to hold your AI partners hand, if you want. This simple mechanic opens up all sorts of ways to interact with Yorda. For example, in Ico there were plenty of obstacles that Yorda was capable of climbing over on her own, but the game also gave you the ability to hold her hand and help her along if you wanted to. In contrast, it often felt weird to me in Last of Us when I'd climb onto a six foot tall platform, and then not be able help Ellie at all as she struggled to follow.

I was uncomfortable running while holding Yorda's hand, because it always looked like she was being dragged around faster than she was comfortable with. As a result, unless we were in danger, I spent most of the game trying to walk at her pace instead of running everywhere. The AI in Ico was less advanced than in The Last of Us, but the game gave the player more ways to play along, to be expressive. To pretend the characters were real.

This isn't to say that Yorda is still more impressive than Ellie. Ellie is amazing. I just think there's still plenty of lessons left to learn from Ico.

And I'm taking the time now to reminisce about Ico because I'm pretty sure The Last of Us just bumped it off of my Top Ten list.
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