Note: Craig has already contributed two scripts to Playthroughline and last week he pleasantly surprised me by coming out of left field with one on The Last of Us. You may have noted that I only tackle PC games, so this addition marks Playthroughline going multi-platform! My humble thanks to Craig for widening my horizon for me.
After a while of reading and writing parody scripts, you get used to one central concept: there are flaws and there are flaws. Which is to say, almost any piece of media can be picked apart to reveal plot holes, stupid character behaviour, unlikely coincidences and so forth. Maybe even extensively. But for every flaw, the question must be asked: does it matter? Sure it's a flaw, but is it a flaw that actually makes the experience any worse?
What I'm trying to say is that The Last of Us may actually be perfect.
Does it borrow extensively from existing post-apocalyptic dramas? Hell yes. Are there moments of contrived plotting? Of course there are. Do the characters always behave intelligently? No they don't. Did any of these things hinder my enjoyment of the game or blunt its emotional impact even slightly? Not for one second.
Because at heart, none of these things have any bearing on the elements of this game that make it what it is. It looks fantastic, it sounds fantastic, the story and characters are compelling, the acting is great, the dialogue is amazingly well -written, the controls are fluid and intuitive, the blend of combat and stealth is pulled off better than anything since Arkham Asylum, and the heavily-scripted action set pieces are integrated with unprecedented seamlessness.
Heck, is there anything I can even say about this game at this stage? It's been out for over a year and you either already know all this or you're sick of people yammering on about it. So when I say "perfect," I don't mean there's literally no way in which it can be criticised. I don't think the world has ever seen, or will ever see, any game or film or book or play or anything which doesn't have some flaws. But there will always be works where, well, who the hell cares.