Why I'm About To Stop Playing The Last Of Us

Confession: The Last Of Us isn't the best game I have ever played, but it comes goddamn close. For that reason, I'm about to stop playing the game altogether. Here's why. Spoilers ahead...

Ellie and Joel have really been through it so far. We outsmarted the military to get out of the Quarantine Zone, evaded the Hunters, barely escaped the winter cabins and made our way through underground hell to get to the Fireflies, not to mention all the goddamn Clickers and Runners we've dealt with. I haven't picked up the controller since we were rescued by the Fireflies, and I think that's for the best.

By all reports, I'm nearing the end of potentially the best game I will ever play, and I know that it's all building to something really traumatic. So far, the game has kicked me square in the feelings several times, but I think what's coming is really going to throw me for a loop.

The last thing I want is to end up how I was after I finished Half-Life 2. That game had a cliffhanger-ending following the best gameplay and story I have ever enjoyed. Nothing was tied up neatly in a bow by Valve, and I was left in a gaming vacuum. You could argue I still am thanks to the lack of Half-Life 3 in our lives. Sequels aside, Half-Life 2 was the best game I have ever played, and finishing it was crushing. It was like my friends had moved away.

I tried upping the difficulty and diving back into City 17 for another run, but I knew all the nooks, crannies and secrets. I knew what was going to happen and where to expect it. I knew how to pass tough boss fights and where the conversations were going. It wasn't the same.

The magic was fleeting, and that's exactly what I'm approaching with The Last Of Us: a brilliant game with an emotional ending that's going to leave me without another brilliant game to fill the hole.

Once I finish it, that's that. Replaying it won't feel the same and playing something else won't be as good. To save myself from the heartbreak of not having it anymore, I'm seriously considering not finishing the game. I want to just put down the controller and pretend Ellie and Joel live happily ever after.

Maybe he teaches her to swim, she listens to him sing and play guitar. They maybe visit Joel's brother who has finally secured the hydro-electric plant from bandits. Perhaps they even make themselves useful amongst the Fireflies in overthrowing the military? Who knows? That's the beauty of avoidance: I can imagine any ending I want for my two favourite characters.

For me, the game has already reached its emotional climax with the sight of a herd of giraffes. I stood on that rooftop for what felt like an hour and just watched them graze their through the remnants of a baseball field. It was a moment to step back and reflect on where we had been and where we had to go. A beautiful moment of clarity in a world full of storm clouds. It was perfect.

It's not big, mature or clever to just flat-out avoid the ending of a story: quite the opposite, but couple the emptiness of no The Last Of Us with some weird stuff going on in my personal life right now, and I'm left wondering if I can take being rattled that hard. I know that when it's over I'll have to wait for another brilliant game to come along to fill the hole The Last Of Us and Half-Life 2 left in my life, and that's a long winter I'm not yet ready for.

To finish The Last Of Us, or not to finish?

MORE Joel Is The Last Of Us

You creep behind cover, you place the cursor on the head of the faceless enemy, you hold L1 and pull the trigger. The body ragdolls and falls dead. You've seen this animation before — more times than you dare to count. You are comfortable here. But this may be the last time you pull the trigger like that. The last time you kill a man. It might be.


Comments

    Finish it.
    Trust me, it's worth it.

      I literally finished it about 10 minutes ago and came back to read this because i remembered seeing it last week...

      I have to say... I'm pretty bummed by it... Yes its harsh.. but he should have let her die for the cure..

      Now we just all know that next year we are going to get The Last of Us 2.. where Ellie finds out and goes back for the fireflies with Joel on her tail.. that's what I think anyway..

    Spoiler alert Luke: The game gets tied up pretty well. Finish it damn it! ;)

    a cliffhanger-ending following the best gameplay and story I have ever enjoyed

    See, the ending is not particularly traumatic, it's just very interesting. I can't say any more than that but the things you are fearing about the ending are not really an issue. It doesn't pull a Red Dead Redemption.

    Finish the game! That's like not watching the end of your favourite movie just because you've liked it so much. Really great ending too.

      Sometimes the ending can negatively impact the rest of the experience, though. I'm not saying The Lost of Us does, but it's not unheard of. For example, I re-watched "Source Code" recently.

      I really, really wish they'd cut the movie off just before the very end. Just at the point where the screen locks up and there's that distorted kind of scream... bam... straight to credits. The ambiguity would have been so much better than the real ending.

      I totally get the fear of something you love coming to an end :-)

        I hate it when a great story is ruined by a shithouse ending. So when it happens, I just pretend in my head that it ends the way I think it should. Hey, if they can mess with the continuity with comics all the time, I can make my own little reality in my brain be however I want it to be.

    Finish it. I don't want to spoil anything, but... I think you'll be glad you did. It doesn't end how I think you expect it to.

    I had the same feelings as I neared the ending. Trust me though, finish it. It's worth it.

    FINISH HIM!

    I mean IT. The game. It is completely worth doing, you will want to see the ending.

    You are RIGHT near the end. Just finish it already! It's NOTHING like the ending of Half-Life 2.

    If you're worried about filling the void, just hold off and finish it the day GTA V comes out. A few hours of mayhem and you'll be asking "the last of who now?"

    I don't get how Luke can't possibly have blue gaming balls for not finishing this.

    I'll save you the trouble, Ellie sacrifices herself for humanity, the end. there I just ruined any imaginary scenarios you conjured up. may aswel finish it now.

    I sort of get the feeling. I didn't finish ME3 for the longest time for similar-ish reasons. When I heard that the ending was downright horrible, I stopped. I was enjoying the game so much that I didn't want it spoiled by the ending. For me, the ending is as important as the journey. With TLoU though, I can say that the ending was tied up ok though as with anything, it's subjective. I guess it's still a cliffhanger but it still ties up most loose ends.

    Ah. The best moment in the game for me was actually in the first 15 minutes.
    I thought that was the girl from the game. Absolutely no idea they would do that with who I assumed was a main character. Good psychological twist.
    As for the ending, it was as I expected really.
    Okay ... I didn't expect towering even-toed ungulates (see masking the spoiler)

      hahaha oh man, that must've been a shock for you then! I thought the begining bit was way more predictable than the end. But in both instances, the genius was in how well done it was, not necessarily that it was a super crazy twist or anything.

    Finish so we can stop getting articles about the same game over and over and over....

    Over-saturation!!!!

    Finish it, then look past the hype & realise it's not all that special.
    Don't get me wrong it's a great game but has some major problems.

      Totally agree. Tried new game plus and got bored after an hour. I said this was game of the year for me, but not after playing it for the second time.

        How appropriate that there are still people out there who have never played the last of us so resort to one sentence insults. It has major problems yet your not smart enough to mention these major problems? Maybe it's not the hype. Maybe your a hipster. What kind of masocist dislikes a game yet plays new game plus? No ones about the quality. That is irrelevant.

        Last edited 10/11/13 3:00 am

      How appropriate that there are still trolls out there who have never played the last of us so resort to one sentence insults. It has major problems yet your too ignorant to mention these major problems? Maybe it's not the hype. The games quality has nothing to do with this article so go away cause no one cares. Your ideas aren't the only ones that matter so quit spewing the BS to others.

      Last edited 10/11/13 2:55 am

    Are we all forgetting it's just a game?

      Wash your mouth out!

    If you are not going to finish a game because it is so good you don't want it to finish, do you walk out early from good films too? Do you stop eating an awesome meal because you don't want it to end? Do you stop having sex before you blow because it feels so good?

      +1

      This is the worst of the current deluge of articles about an excellent game. It's a kind of idiotic view point. What reasonable people do is:
      * finish watching the movie, go again, enjoy it and discover new things you didn't notice first time around
      * order the same meal again but super sized
      * paint the walls white

        Exactly. All these crazy articals are making me not want to play The last of us anymore.

        As soon as I starting reading this I thought the same thing, what a stupid argument to make. I felt I little more stupid after reading it, maybe stupid does rub off.

    There is no cliffhanger.

    Secondly, there's a poster tucked away in a room very close to where you are that says:

    Run your [sic]nearly there. Don't quit now!!

    Heed the poster.

    The game does not become worse by finishing it. "What if" is nowhere near as fun as reality.

    Last edited 11/07/13 3:50 pm

    Yeah good luck with that mate. Just stop playing now. I dare ya. I double dare ya!

    I think I lasted 3 days after finishing it before new game +. Actually, nope, didn't last a day because I completed a few chapters on easy, and I ended up doing them on survivor (just to see if it was possible, it is!) so I could do my new game + on hard.

    It was worth it. The gloss is kinda wearing off now, but going on 3 weeks and have played the game every day. That's rare for me.

    I never finished HL-2 because I'm just so shit at it. I really wanted to finish it for the story, but then I continued to live my life. I've been meaning to go back to it, but I'd want to start from the begining, so it seems like a bit of an ordeal.

    Not sure if the article is serious. Really silly if it is.
    It's a video game written by some dude in his office at Naughty Dog. It's an experience. Why not just enjoy it? step away from reality and become part of the world for a while.
    Everything comes to an end eventually. You'll be dead one day.

    Finish it before someone tells you theending. It'll be way more painful that way, like you never really knew them at all. Also no one seems to be mentioning the replay value of not playingwithlistening mode. A whole lot harder and more rewarding

    I see the logic; Kill yourself, that way you'll stay young forever!

    I know what he means. Joel had to lose a daughter figure once. We have to do it twice. Once with Sarah and once when we stop playing the game with Ellie.

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