I have a weird taste when it comes to sauces accompanying junk food (for reasons unknown to me) and also horror in general, mainly because I love the movie horror genre, but dislike the videogame horror genre. The problem with this videogame genre is that most horror titles seem to focus more on getting you overpowered by enemies or simply shove gore and cheap frights down your throat which ends up feeling cheesy and bland.
When I first heard the news that Naughty Dog decided to move away from Uncharted and work on a new horror title, I couldn’t help but wonder if their experience with the Uncharted franchise would somehow bring back to life the horror franchise. But without letting the love for Naughty Dog obscure my expectations, I installed the demo and immersed my self in yet another post-apocalyptic world. The first thing that hit me harder than that time a guy threw a 5 Kg Tuna at my face, was the sheer beauty of the game’s visuals.
The lighting, the textures, the physics, the weather, everything is spectacular. The way the rain’s pattern changes due to the wind left me amazed and completely pantsless. The attention to detail is ridiculous and brings out the realism of the situation you are in. For instance; I accessed an abandoned office building and came across a cubicle with post-it notes still stuck to the walls, drawings of the person’s children, and also a frame with a family picture. I simply could picture the infection spreading and everyone fleeing for their lives, leaving everything behind. It’s these little things that help you play around with your imagination and immerse yourself in the world of the game you are playing.
The sound of the game is fantastic, the surround effects are extremely well made and the SFX are spot on, which creates a deeper and more immersive experience which at the end of the day creates a scarier environment to play in. The enemy designs are fantastic, and the AI is simply great. Each and every encounter with the infected is tense, and manages to make you stop to think before making any kind of move in the game. The controls are stiff, and ammunition is limited, which apart from adding to the realism of it all, makes it an intense experience to be part of.
The characters in the game, apart from having amazing realistic looks, are not the macho ‘one man against an army’ type, they are weak characters which can be over powered by two or three enemies, and have to strive to survive and have to rely on their judgement rather than brute force. The RPG elements in the game are very well implemented, with a decent inventory system which allows you to play around with the salvage you find along your journey to create weapons.
I played through the demo wishing it would never end, but unfortunately it did end, I was left there longing to know more about what happened and how the characters ended up there. The Last of Us simply left me in awe, my jaw remained open throughout the entire demo, and I simply couldn’t have enough. I think Naughty Dog will be bringing the Survival Horror genre to the next level, combining a great narrative, immersive and realistic gameplay mechanics, impressive visuals, and true horror and tension.
If I had to rate this demo I would give it 80 Oreos.
Written By Matthew C