Idiot Savant Online

John Lichman's third attempt at a personal blog and online savanting idiotic.

Waiting for the Dead of the World

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If nothing says “post-apocalypse” better than an undead monkey’s uncle, then dagnabbit there’s something there to this whole zombies metaphor. Especially when it comes to the explosion of the theme in gaming over the last decade, from the sandbox comic-horror of the Dead Rising franchise to the survival-horror that evolved into Bruckheimer-horror of Resident Evil.

And then came the teaser for Dead Island:

So, why is The Last of Us so gosh-darn different?

The partnership element is something that outbreak/end-of-world genre always toys with–from psychic dogs to sentient computers. It takes the RPG “party” concept and pares it down further from the first-person “squad” element that Left 4 Dead/Left 4 Dead 2 championed.

Game Informer released a “What We Know So Far” that has some interesting plot points (tl;dr it’s The Happening meets too many stoned nights with Nature) that boil down to a symbiotic relationship when dealing with an end.

There’s no father-daughter relationship to explore, but something that tackles The Road if there were worse things than wandering cannibals lurking through the cities. No clue about the actual play style, but the shift over the years from run-‘n-gun to survival horror to straight-up survival has been weird to watch for games. In fact, the appeal for something more than going from Point A to Point B and juggling multiple scenarios is something that the Dead Rising franchise handles incredibly well to a frustrating degree. Imagine if Groundhog’s Day revolved around a zombie outbreak and treated zombie fighting with the Bill Murray deadpan and you’d have the core gameplay behind Rising. It tries to be serious (global conspiracy! military! killer post office employees!) but works best when embracing the insanity of a world with zombies–the sequel comes years later and a pay-per-view event, “Terror is Reality,” is basically American Gladiators with zombies as opponents. It still relies heavily on humor and goofball antics to keep players immersed. Us could–and I hope does–change this line-up.

An adult horror story, in the realm of Dead Space, could make for an awesome game. Especially if it kept the option to continue playing if your partner dies and how difficult that world becomes when you’re alone with plant-zombies.


Written by john lichman

December 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm

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