back to article Out with a bang: The Last of Us lets PS3 exit with head held high

I’ll soon be offering my thoughts and reflections on this year’s E3, but before all that it seemed worth waxing lyrical about new PS3 exclusive The Last of Us, a game that points the way to what the next generation should really be aspiring to do. Gaming’s Citizen Kane moment? Maybe, if Mr Kane was being chased by zombies. …

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  1. Tom 260
    Black Helicopters

    Always assuming

    That the reports of the recent 4.45 system update bricking a number of consoles isn't part of a cunning plan to kill off PS3s in advance of the PS4 launch... Seriously though, might be worth not updating for a few days until the situation clears and/or the update is replaced.

    1. pewpie
      IT Angle

      Re: Always assuming

      Why is there no story covering this? No Sony rewards for covering reality? Keep the promo pieces coming.. won't be long before you get your new PS4 for 'review purposes'...

      1. Tom 260

        Re: Always assuming

        From PS3trophies.org:

        >Sony has pulled the latest PS3 firmware update, following reports that it is causing errors with “a small number” of consoles.

        >"We are aware of reports that the recent PlayStation 3 system software update (version 4.45) has caused the XMB to not display on a small number of PS3 systems,” said Sony in a statement.

        >"We have temporarily taken 4.45 offline and are investigating the cause of the problem. We will announce when the system update is available for download as soon as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience."

        So it would seem it's not the usual handful of consoles on their last legs that just happened to fail at update time anyway... (see various forum threads of 'New Game X' YLOD/RROD'd my console every time a new game comes out)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always assuming

        Because it's a miniscule 5 owners reporting problems amonst a PS3 userbase ofg 80m playstation 3 consoles...

        Thankfully El-Reg seem to have some sense of scale. Shame the BBC don't...

    2. Rob Beard
      Thumb Up

      Re: Always assuming

      Not sure why you got a down vote there, guess it must have been the joke about Sony bricking PS3 consoles before the PS4 launch...

      Anyway, thanks for the heads up on the update... although Googling it I see that the update has already been pulled. I guess I'm lucky that I didn't update last night (I use my PS3 heavily for Netflix and Lovefilm so no doubt would have been prompted to update, as it happens I didn't touch my PS3 last night).

      I wonder what the fix will be for folks who have been caught out by this update?

      Rob

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always assuming

        Go into recovery and reload the firmware. It's well documented how to do this.

        It's really non news. Problem is, the remaining handful of butt hurt Xbox fanboys are making a huge song and dance about this. (I wouldn't put it past them to make this whole problem up as a FUD publicity stunt).

  2. g e

    It is me or

    Does the Last Of Us guy look suspiciously like Nathan Drake from ND's Uncharted?

    1. Scott Green
      Boffin

      Re: It is me or

      He does appear as a voice actor for one of the characters..

    2. Pet Peeve
      Thumb Up

      Re: It is me or

      Huh? Not even a little like Drake. Joel is at least 30 years older, for a start, has heavy facial hair, and a bit of a southern Drawl. In terms of behavior, he could not be more different either.

      Great game. Fortunately I finished it before my PS3 decided to eat itself during a system update. A system restore seems to have worked, but I lost all my game installs.

  3. Scott Green
    Thumb Up

    Best game of the year?

    Got to be honest, despite some minor niggles, The Last of Us is probably the best game I've played in 20+ years of gaming, certainly the most emotionally invoving and demanding, with believable characters you develop a real attachment to, and you're never certain exactly how the game will end. Violence is bloody but realistic, you certainly feel as you are fighting to survive with no vicarious thrill to the killings; you need to approach combat in a totally new way, those Clickers are a f^%£$*g nightmare to deal with, best to avoid combat if at all possible,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best game of the year?

      Truely incredible game, and yet again shows what the PS3 is capable of when not constrained by the limitations of the Xbox 360.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Trollface

        "shows what the PS3 is capable of when not constrained by the limitations of the Xbox 360"

        Yeah, I've always found that my PC games worked a lot better when not constrained by the limits of a console.

        1. Boothy

          @ Pascal Monett

          Yes, especially when you know games are usually developed on a PC based dev kit, then effectively converted to the console format to run.

          When you think that a current mid range PC with a £120 GFX card is around the same as a PS4/XBone, would be interesting to see what a game like this would look like on a current high end PC, assuming the engine has the capability of taking advantage of it of course.

          1. h3

            Re: @ Pascal Monett

            It won't have the capability, to use the Cell properly is nothing like a PC.

            (This is presuming this is close to the best it can do this could be just what happens if you put a moderate amount of effort in).

            There again they could just have used the SDK properly with their own engine that was designed specifically for the cell.

            I would still rather have a tatio type x2 based console with the games on ssd's running the same stuff as is in the arcades in asia. I would pay £150 a game or whatever.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          OK I will spell it out.

          5GB of DVD storage, 90% of which is slower than the PS3's Blu-Ray drive is both access time and data rates.

          Lack of standard HDD across all models in the range.

          Slower GPU when you factor in the cell's additional GPU ability.

          Better dev kit.

          These are what all developers know are the REAL reasons why PS3 games when unchained from the Xbox360 show they are a generation ahead. Microsoft of course will continue to push the myths that none of these are true, but the results speak for themselves. Every PS3 exclusive totally spanks it's counterpart Xbox360 title.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: OK I will spell it out. @ AC 13:24

            What relevance does DVD speed have? All that does is mean the initial install to HDD is sluggish.

            Although rest is valid for the most part.

            But of course the PC is then being chained down by the limitations of both the XBox 360 and the PS3, and has been for years. Even a cheap dual core system with an entry level gaming card at <£100, spanks the capabilities of both consoles.

            The one thing I'm hoping for with the next gen consoles, is that even though they will be outdated compared to a current gaming PC even before launch day, is that as they are effectively 386 machines with a mid range AMD GFX card, finally game engines that are shared across platforms will be updated to use multi core CPUs properly, something that's been rarely utilised in the ported console engines, although is there for PC only engines. Now these PC only engines can be used on the consoles, and the console ones updated.

            1. h3

              Re: OK I will spell it out. @ AC 13:24

              They are not 386 machines in any way shape or form.

              1. Greg J Preece

                Re: OK I will spell it out. @ AC 13:24

                They are not 386 machines in any way shape or form.

                He was talking about the PS4 and Xone - they're both x86 systems.

            2. Jolyon Smith
              FAIL

              Re: OK I will spell it out. @ AC 13:24

              "Even a cheap dual core system with an entry level gaming card at <£100, spanks the capabilities of both consoles"

              Of course, when trying to do a $:bang comparison it really helps the PC whinger's cause to isolate the cost of the GFX card alone as if a PS3 or an XBox don't have complete system architectures of their own. On a more realistic comparison:

              The cheapest "gaming" PC sold by one reasonably priced box shifter here in NZ *starts* at NZ$999, compared to a PS3 system (500GB) available currently for NZ$355. That's almost 3x the price.

              But let's break it down: You are setting aside 100 GBP (about NZ$200) for the GFX card, so that leaves you NZ$155 - around 75 GBP - for your core "gaming" system. After allowing 40-50 GBP for the 500GB HDD, you are left trying to find a case, motherboard, PSU and a decent CPU not to mention RAM and gaming controller (one is included with the 500GB PS3 don't forget) for the princely sum of... 30 QUID.

              If you really think that's plausible then I suggest you call an ambulance and sit very still while you wait for it to arrive, in case you hurt yourself.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: OK I will spell it out. @ AC 13:24

                @ Jolyon Smith

                You seemed to have missed what I was trying to say, I wasn't comparing system costs, I'm well aware a PC, especially a decent gaming rig, costs more, sometime much more. than a console.

                I was simply stating that a budget gaming GFX card was more powerful than the current gen console GFX. And as many game engines are focused on consoles, those engines are effectively only written to take advantage of what is to a PC, a budget gaming card.

                So for some games, the only advantage you sometimes get on a PC is the ability to run in higher resolutions and/or a better frame rate, but not always better quality GFX or effects etc. Therefore the PC version of the game is often being held back by what is basically, an outdated game engine.

                Especially when you take into account the massive changes and enhancements to things like particle and fluid effects, and other things that simply didn't exist in hardware, or were at least much less capable, when the current gen consoles were designed. So some items you see in PC versions of game engines, are simply impossible to do in a current console game.

                Some engines of course are designed to utilise the PC capabilities fully, and on those occasions, games can look astounding.

                Obviously the new gen consoles should allow the consoles to catch up to the PC for a while, and should enable new and updated engines to take better advantage of newer chip set features, that PC users have been seeing for years. So hopefully the new consoles should benefit all gamers, console and PC players alike.

                1. Jolyon Smith
                  Pint

                  Re: OK I will spell it out. @ AC 13:24

                  This is called trying to "have your cake and eat it too".

                  You simply cannot buy a "cheap dual core gaming PC" that will "spank both consoles". A modern spec'd gaming PC might be able to do that, but not a comparably priced PC, certainly not a "cheap" one, where "cheap" really has to be talking about comparable price. Otherwise the comparison is meaningless.

                  Why? Obvious. Of course something that costs 2-3 or 4-5x the price of something else is going to be better. Duh. It's completely pointless to say that a "cheap Ferrari" will "spank a Ford Mondeo". For example.

                  And you also left out the part where you buy your much more expensive PC in the hope of getting all these enhanced effects in the game, but with no guarantee that any one game will take advantage of your particular selection of equipment, because of the variation and constantly shifting/improving state of the hardware out there. It simply isn't cost effective for publishers to spend time tweaking their products to make the most of every possible bit of kit it might run on, and certainly not on the older gear. Dammit, people should just upgrade already.

                  The consoles don't have this problem at all. And ironically, as consoles age, so the games that come out actually get better, even though the hardware hasn't changed. Simply because with a fixed target to aim at, the developers get better and better at extracting the most from that hardware. This is a cycle that has been repeated since the very first PlayStation - look at the first gen games on that console and then look at things like Gran Turismo which came much, much later. The hardware stays the same (and gets cheaper and cheaper) but the games get better and better.

                  Compare and contrast with the PC gaming mentality which is that developers don't need to worry too much about making the most of the hardware because the punters can just upgrade the hardware or downgrade the game settings if their rig isn't up to the job.

                  I know this flies in the face of the "truthy" thinking about how such things work, but it is the reality.

                  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

                    Re: OK I will spell it out. @ AC 13:24

                    This is called trying to "have your cake and eat it too".

                    http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/eatcake.html

                  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

                    "It simply isn't cost effective for publishers to spend time tweaking their products to make the most of every possible bit of kit it might run on"

                    It might be time to update your knowledge of PC programming. Long gone are the days where gaming companies developed for specific "bits of kit".

                    These days, they develop for specific API functions that have been accepted as standard for the industry. For example, these days DirectX is at number 11, and game makers shoot for those capabilities. If your kit is compatible, then the game works. If not, well then yes, you'll have to upgrade if the game maker has not provided a secondary DX 9 path.

                    You are apparently confused by the amount of available hardware and its compatibility with existing games. On my existing hardware, I can play SimCity (the original version), just as I can Battle Field 3, and very many games in between. In fact, it is not my hardware that limits me so much as Windows itself - for some reason I can no longer install Microsoft FreeLancer correctly on my Win7/64 OS.

                    In other words, the opinion you state dates from about 15 years ago and no longer applies today.

        3. Pypes
          Trollface

          @Pascal Monett

          Have they added multiplayer to LINPACK then?

  4. jai

    PS3 exit?

    It's not gone yet!! There's still a bunch of great games due for the 2nd half of the year. Enough that i think i'm going to hold off on getting a PS4 for a while.

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: PS3 exit?

      As is often the way, developers just about work out how the get the most from a system just before it is replaced.. Remember Tekken 3? Or Twilight Princess (on the cube)?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PS3 exit?

        PS3 has another 4 years of life yet. Just because more developed nations are 6 months away from a PS4, don't assume it's the death of the PS3...

        1. Boothy

          Re: PS3 exit?

          Indeed, even original Xbox is likely to be around for a while after the XBone is out.

          XBox 360 was launched in 2005, last XBox game came out in August 2008.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Normal

    Console games always follow a similar pattern: launch games are good because a lot of time and effort has gone into them, and the last handful of games is good because the coders have mastered the system. In between it's not so great as deadlines push quality down while coders are still learning what works well.

  6. Goat Jam
    Unhappy

    It looks pretty good actually.

    It's just a damn pity I can't purchase it for a system with a proper controller better suited to FPS. ie kbd + mouse

    Oh well.

    1. Scott Green
      Thumb Down

      Defo not FPS, is third person and trying to snipe will get you killed very quickly, VERY often

    2. Blank Reg

      If you lack the coordination to use a controller well then there is always easy mode.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Can't you use kbd & mouse on consoles nowdays? I seem to recall a friend talking about his raptor on his console of choice.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Why has Scott Green been downvoted for merely pointing out that this game is not a First-Person Shooter but a Third Person title that doesn't reward out-and-out gun-play in all situations?

      2. BorkedAgain
        Thumb Up

        @Blank Reg

        Well, I thought you were funny... :)

      3. OzBob
        Thumb Up

        Or alternatively

        try a flight sim

      4. Goat Jam
        FAIL

        "If you lack the coordination to use a controller well then there is always easy mode."

        Haha. Some idiot fanboy thinks that playing with an auto-assisted console controller is a sign of coordination.

        'tis but to larf.

        Sonny, I've been playing "computer" games since the late 70's. Don't asssume to try and tell me how to suck eggs.

    3. Michael Habel
      FAIL

      >Implying that you can not use an USB Mouse and, or Keyboard on the PS3.

      P.s. For Bounus points you can also use Bluetooth Mice and, or Keyboards on the PS3 too!!

    4. Goat Jam
      WTF?

      You know, suggesting that I should go out and buy a PS3 with a keyboard and mouse to sit on my desk next to a perfectly functional PC simply so I can play one game because some marketing suit has decided it should be "exclusive" to a particular device is hardly helpful.

      How about we work towards an industry where people have some choice* rather than having corporations attempt to bully and cajole us into purchasing crap that we don't need?

      Can anybody really tell me that they think having "excusive titles" is in the interests of consumers? Maybe Sony could expand on the idea and release movies on discs that will only work on Sony players and Fox could do the same with some other brand? What would it matter if you needed multiple devices sitting underneath your TV depending on which brand of movie you want to watch today? That wouldn't be a problem right?

      You know I really don't understand the loyalty fanboys of all stripes have to their "brands". They are willing to forgo all sorts of rights in order to serve the corporate interests of "their side of the argument".

      Talk about turkeys voting for christmas.

      * Yes, I realise I have a choice not to buy or play that game, which is exactly what I am doing. Deal with it, I have.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Exclusives

        It is exclusive because Sony own the studio, they own a number of top studios.

        Note that the PS4 was developed from their feedback.

        1. Goat Jam
          Holmes

          Re: Exclusives

          I don't care that Sony owns the studio one whit. It is irrelevent. The point is that Sony have a vested interest in creating "exclusive" titles in order to sell consoles to idiots who normally would probably not buy one.

          Under capitalism, that is their right.

          What I don't get is all the useful idiots who go in to bat for them with stupid comments like yours, apparently in support of the idea that people should embrace this consumer hostile policy of creating exclusive titles when those same people would balk at the very idea for any other industry.

          If you are not in the employ of Sony Corp then that behaviour is plain stupid.

          We don't have cars that can only drive on certain brands of roads.

          We don't have music that can be played on only certain brands of players*

          We don't have movies that can be played on only certain brands of players*

          We don't have TV that can only be watched on certain brands of TV's.

          We don't have ovens that can only heat certain brands of food.

          I could go on. You get the idea I'm sure.

          But for the game industry, apparently, we should all just blindly accept this consumer hostile policy of creating "exclusive titles" because . . . . ?

          Oh, that's right, because my brand rocks and the others suck donkey balls. Got it.

          * Yes this has been tried before (ironically mainly by Sony) and it has failed because, quite rightly, consumers would not accept it.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Exclusives

            So lets say that Naughty Dog were given the task of converting to a lower powered console with less disc space?

            How would they fit say 50GB on a DVD, handle a processor with less cores and less power than their target one?

            Very badly.

            Put it this way, Sony owned IPs are written for a computer using a Cell processor using CellOS, low level graphics calls not related to other systems, a certain memory model. So a Window OS using DirectX will be a LOT of work.

            Exclusives are where any console shines

      2. MrPatrick

        I understand your argument...

        ...I really do and agree completely. but if you like the sound of this game see if you can borrow a PS3 from somewhere.

        I agree that exclusivity and corporate lock in is disagreeable but this game, well don't not play this game to make a political point. Save that for Halo and/or Uncharted.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last great game of the generation?

    There's also Dark Souls 2 to come out next year.

    Prepare to die.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Last great game of the generation?

      Wasn't the first Dark Souls the game that allowed human players to control monsters during their online peer's solo campaigns?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Last great game of the generation?

        @Dave 126

        Not quite. You have two states - Hollow and Unhollow. Being Unhollow lets you summon other players for help, but also opens you up to being invaded by other players as themselves, not a monster. There was also a mechanic in the game to spawn tough monsters in other people's worlds, but it wasn't that popular because the spawner didn't get a lot of feedback.

  8. theOtherJT

    Games like this make me sad. I really want to give it a go, but hell if I'm buying a console just for the one game a year that appeals to me enough to play it... and that goes double for a console that's about to be retired. Unavoidable I guess, but still sad.

    1. Mark Allread

      There's also..

      Grand Theft Auto 5, which promises to be utterly epic.

    2. kyza

      How much do you want to spend? You can pick up a PS3 for as little as £120 these days (12gb HDD) and get the games 2nd hand.

      BRD player, media centre and a games console to boot and the console will be supported by new software releases for at least a couple more years

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    .... Questions remain....

    #1. "You stalk your prey silently, invisibly, hugging the edges of the long-defunct cars and concrete barriers that litter the streets in this rotting world.".... How is that different from Hitman or Metal Gear Solid or Left for Dead etc....?

    #2. "Yes, there is action constantly throughout, but encounters are buffered by, well, nothingness really. Just moments of calm used to build suspense and develop narrative and characterisation – two facets of design that are so often discussed by games developers, but are so readily bypassed when the final product hits store shelves." .... Not sure how this game accomplishes this going by your description which sounds like lots of other games. Can game owners offer enlightenment.....?

    #3. "It’s also here that "Listen Mode" comes into its own, in which character Joel sits stock still as his view turns black and white and the silhouettes of hostiles appear through walls. "... This sounds like Instinct mode in Hitman or something similar, how is this better?

    1. Sinical

      Re: .... Questions remain....

      #1. "How is that different from Hitman or Metal Gear Solid or Left for Dead etc....?" Not massively is the answer, but I've played all those games and in TLoU the rather brilliantly written story line, combined with the character animation, environment design and atmosphere all make this feel much more natural and tense than any game I've played before. Incidentally there is no sticky cover in TLoU, so anything in the environment can act as cover.

      #2. " Not sure how this game accomplishes this going by your description which sounds like lots of other games. Can game owners offer enlightenment.....?" It's hard to pin down but just like a good book or a good movie you do get emotionally involved in the characters. I know that sounds a bit pathetic, but you buy in to their situation. Rather than the tension being artificially stimulated by the action it's much more natural because the bits where nothing happens are so brilliantly written and acted. You learn so much about the characters (personality, history etc...) than you realise because you never feel like any of it is exposition - it's all so natural. That's good writing if you ask me.

      #3. "This sounds like Instinct mode in Hitman or something similar, how is this better?" Again it's nothing new in itself, but every facet (the story, graphics, animation, combat, the AI, everything), although nothing new individually, is done to a stunning standard. If you isolate each of these things then you will find comparisons, but I can't think of a game where everything is this good, and because of that they become greater than the sum of their parts.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity its PS3 only, But at least it will play on PS4, correct?

    "The Last of Us, a game that points the way to what the next generation should really be aspiring to do."

    I enjoyed Left for Dead so maybe this will be fun... The reviewer is clearly a fan though, and it would be great to great other people's views.... Like others I'm not buying a PS3 for this game. But I may get the PS4, if for nothing more than an FU to M$ bs....

  11. Minophis
    Happy

    Citizen Kane

    Gaming’s Citizen Kane moment? Maybe, if Mr Kane was being chased by zombies.

    If he was then rosebud could come in handy for a quick getaway.

    I just read the article with the game sat on my desk still unopened. Can't wait to start playing tonight :-)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, look...

    ...another rehashed shoot 'em up.

    1. Scott Green
      FAIL

      Re: Oh, look...

      Oh, look..someone who hasn't bothered to play the game..

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Oh, look...

      Shoot 'em up?

      It doesn't look much like space invaders to me.

  13. h3

    I will try it if I get a chance dunno whether I will like it. (I think lightguns are the only way to play shooting games).

    I hope it does well though because all of the multi platform games I have played recently have been utter garbage.

    I would prefer games to be like art or literature not like hollywood / pop music.

  14. Amorous Cowherder
    Pint

    On a related note. My current 360, which suits me fine for Skyrim and Fallout, will have to do 'cos I'm buggered if I'm paying all those spondoolics for a new Xbox. 360's are going for about £45 a pop on Fleabay ATM, so there's plenty of spares on the market and I fully expect them to get even cheaper come Xbox One release day!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft U-turn in Xbox One games row

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22980973

    Wow. This proves M$ are just bullies.... Scare them back and they just run away tail between legs....

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