When Naughty Dog debuted its gameplay video for The Last of Us at the SCEA Press Conference during E3 2012, the ceiling of the auditorium became covered in brain matter — for our minds were utterly blown. What was seen for the first time was a glimpse at the next groundbreaking game from the acclaimed studio that highlighted the post-apocalyptic world gamers would soon come to know and love. What many attendees (and those live-streaming from home) didn’t know was the other gameplay demo being shown behind closed doors, unreleased to the public… until now.
The E3 gameplay demo for The Last of Us was highly combat focused and ultra violent, showing how found objects could be fashioned into deadly weapons against other, not-so-friendly survivors, and the myriad of other ways to take competition out. Presented more like a movie, many command prompts were removed and the play-through was seamless enough to feel like one long cutscene. Great for an audience of rabid action fans, but what about those who want to know how it played. Was it as smooth as it all seemed? Well, for “a very select few media members” there was about 8 extra minutes of answers for that very question and at PAX Prime 2012, everyone was treated to each wonderful minute.
Both demos begin relatively the same; Joel and Ellie barely escape from some unknown pursuer and end up in front of a hotel, which they have to traverse to move on. This is where things diverge slightly. In the original demo, the two casually climb up a ladder conveniently placed against a wall to avoid debris blocking their path. In the new demo, it’s shown how Joel and Ellie use teamwork to find objects that help them progress — in this case, a ladder placed high on scaffolding. This slows the pacing down, but gives a more realistic idea of gamers will progress. Command prompts are aplenty, as well. Walking near would-be weapons will prompt a pick up, as will helpful items like bandages, or objects that can be moved. This will aid in giving players a sense of realism through the extensive amounts of interaction with the world around them.
The major difference in the new demo is that it is less about the boom pow of a Hollywood blockbuster, aiming to drawing people in with flashy action, and instead shows how players can choose to avoid conflict or rush right in if that floats their boat. Dynamic stealth and strategy is highlighted in respect to taking down opponents and killing becomes a necessity to progress as opposed to being the core experience. Besides, it’s not always the dangers from other survivors or monsters that gamers will have to worry about, but the unseen ones in the environment itself.
The PS3-exclusive The Last of Us will drop sometime next year.
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