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Does The Last Of Us Really Need To Be That Violent? Well...Yes

For the record, I remain a strong advocate of the ESRB and I don't believe anybody under a certain age should be playing The Last Of Us.

Secondly, I do believe there is entirely too much in the way of unnecessary violence in all forms of entertainment in a society that becomes more and more Roman-esque with every passing day.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I'm also an advocate of artists being allowed to create the vision they see in their heads. If violence is a part of a complete and worthwhile vision that actually has a message, then I have no problem with it. For instance, I've compared Naughty Dog's latest to Cormac McCarthy's Pultizer Prize-winning "The Road" for obvious reasons. It's pretty darn similar, really. And although the book is hardly about action, the brief moments of horrific action are indeed visceral and gritty.

And that's because in both cases, the artists in question were attempting to present us with an alternate reality that is cold, cruel and brutal. I still don't think the camera needs to be quite so close when Joel slams someone's head off a car (as I noted in my review), and I also believe there could've been less violence. I almost always think there could be less violence in almost anything I see and hear these days. That's nothing new. And at the same time, I recognize what the developers were trying to do and in order to do it correctly, it has to be brutal.

It's a brutal world. If the core concept of this game is survival - and make no mistake about it, it is - than we have to accept everything that comes with it. Survival in that world would be hard. It would be hard physically and psychologically. There can be no punches pulled and very little in the way of sentiment or compassion; for every extra ounce of heart, there's another chunk of flesh you might lose. And that, of course, is an underlying theme of the game. In order for that to be effective, you can't avoid the nitty-gritty because as a direct result, the experience fails to properly display the creator's full and complete vision.

I realize I'm hedging my bets a little by saying most everything these days is way too violent (and usually for no reason whatsoever). Still, I want to make it plain that art is always about communication. If we are to communicate the story of The Last Of Us, there will be many moments where one will want to look away. Guaranteed all the characters in this dark drama would love to look away, too. But they can't. If they do, they could die. And that's exactly the point.

Related Game(s): The Last Of Us

Tags: the last of us, naughty dog, the last of us violence

6/6/2013 10:54:58 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (21 posts)

Temjin001
Thursday, June 06, 2013 @ 11:26:28 PM
Reply

I'm going to have to pull my PS3 into a bedroom on my computer monitor to power play this one when I have the time. It's rare I get alone time ever anymore and this feels like an alone time experience to me so it's hard to find that window of time.

I agree that violence is just over the top these days. More than necessary. I remember after the original Ninja Gaiden Itagaki commented on the then-new Gears of War and it's level of violence. He mentioned that he wouldn't want to do something like that with Ninja Gaiden. That something really gory would need to make sense in the context of the game play etc. to have it happen. Ironically he followed up with the gore-fest Ninja Gaiden 2 so I suspect it did eventually make sense to him that swords can and do chop limbs off =p

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Temjin001
Thursday, June 06, 2013 @ 11:32:56 PM

come to think of it that PS4 and Vita remote play thing sounds like a very attractive feature to me about now.

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johnld
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 2:35:47 AM

from what i tried, remote play only works with games and such on your hard drive. so for someone like me who would always buy disc copies of games, such feature isnt as appealing. i do wish they include playing disc based games on remote play though.

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Beamboom
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 5:06:04 AM

John, I doubt games played straight from disc will be common next gen - it's quite rare even today. The data transfer rate compared to capacity of the machines will make it too much of a bottleneck. So a drive install is extremely likely mandatory for all larger games.
So even if you buy a physical disc it will install to the hard drive.

That said, I don't understand why it would make a difference when it comes to remote play. Remote play is only mirroring what is happening on the machine, regardless if the machine is reading the data from a hard drive or a disc.

Last edited by Beamboom on 6/7/2013 5:06:46 AM

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sawao_yamanaka
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 7:01:43 AM

@john disc based games works well. Lego batman works fine and so does god of war collection and ico and shadow of the colossus. Your upload speed has to be good to stream it otherwise it will be choppy

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Temjin001
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 10:23:48 AM

Hey does that work with the VIta and PS3 with those games like GoW? Or is it just the PSP and PS3?

Last edited by Temjin001 on 6/7/2013 10:24:09 AM

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sawao_yamanaka
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 11:20:28 AM

With the vita as well. You download the patch for those games and voila, game time on the vita.

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Temjin001
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 2:16:19 PM

Thanks.
I tried it but unfortunately my GoW Collection (disc) doesn't work with remote play. I did remember Bionic Commando Rearmed works. Unfortunately it plays pretty sluggish on my network. Not certain why either because it's close proximity with an N router.

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sawao_yamanaka
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 8:37:38 PM

Really temjin? Is it 1 and 2? Only those two worked, I have tried it recently and the turned on fine. Kind of weird that those two games wouldn't work for you.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 06, 2013 @ 11:27:26 PM
Reply

The game sounds like a real work of art and I think most gamers or fans of any entertainment can tell you that the danger of censorship is that it stops the creative arts in their tracks. I think we have to allow everything in order to hope for the best out of artists. That's how storytelling advances.

Does that allow for games that are violent sheerly for the purpose of being violent, yes but that of course is not the end of the story.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/6/2013 11:33:40 PM

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Looking Glass
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 1:19:07 AM
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Hey Ben.

I know this isn't really on topic but I hope you'll bear with me here.

As of the time of me writing this post The Last of Us has 29 perfect scores.

And Polygon still stands out as the only reviewer to give the game anything below an 8.

And I didn't know this before but it looks like one of the sponsors for Polygon is none other than Microsoft.

This obviously does considerable damage to their credibility with regard to The Last of Us. Do you think you could do what you can to spread the word about this? It seems like something people really should know.

Last edited by Looking Glass on 6/7/2013 1:21:23 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 1:32:16 AM

That's really not something I should be doing.

I would also like to add that I seriously doubt Microsoft told Polygon to give The Last Of Us a low score, although there's no accounting for any bias on the part of the reviewer.

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Looking Glass
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 1:42:31 AM

Fair enough.

But even if Microsoft had no direct hand in that review score the very fact that Microsoft is a sponsor of the site still hurts Polygon's credibility.

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johnld
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 2:39:40 AM

dont think we have to do anything really. pretty much everything they say about xbox one is like them shooting themselves on both feet. their games at E3 would really need to be top of its class or maybe just a ton on halo games to get people to pick up a box.

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Beamboom
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 5:10:15 AM

I'd say *any* review that rates a game significantly off the average is suspicious, no matter what direction. At best what we have is a reviewer who simply have no clue and should not review games, at worst we have to do with a site that have a problem separating journalism and sales.

I still can't get over that one single stellar review of Aliens: Colonial marines. The site were *draped* in Aliens commercials.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/7/2013 5:15:46 AM

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TheAgingHipster
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 8:40:24 AM

In statistics, we have tests to examine whether a data point is significantly deviant from the norm. If so, we usually say those points are official outliers that may be removed from the dataset for reasons of bias or collection error. I've been saying for ages that Metacritic should employ these tests to help eliminate the impact of such practices on the aggregate scores.

And, incidentally, the aforementioned tests suggest that the Polygon review is such an outlier.

Anyway. Yeah. Numbers rant over.

Last edited by TheAgingHipster on 6/7/2013 8:43:17 AM

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Beamboom
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 11:22:22 AM

AgingHipster, I wish I had a metascore site. I'd add those rules for sure. I can't understand why they don't do that.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 2:51:56 AM
Reply

For a game like this yes it is necessary, the point is to display how violence spreads through out a savage world which has gone under.


My problem isn't with the amount of violence in one game in particular, my problem with modern gaming is how every game which is developed to a high standard has to contain violence. Try think of my 'AAA' games this generation which doesn't conform to violence with guns. Grand Turismo.... Little Big Planet... Mario... there really is not much out there. I blame the decline of platformers. The only platformer we have on our console is Ratchet & Clank really and that is just infested with guns. I miss the days of Crash and Spyro which were defined a top tier titles year they didn't constantly resort to shooting everything in sight. The change happened with Ratchet and Clank 1 on the PS2, followed by Jak 2 which copied its gun frenzy style and platforming was lost. It's a shame because Jak & Daxter 1 was such a pure platforming title.

It seems the industry is really trying to remove itself from the image of being just a kids diversion. In doing so everything has just become so dark and serious. If you ever wonder why there is such a 'retro' craze it's mostly likely do to how colourful and bubbly the games used to be. Now most games are just so dark and gritty it is becoming a bit unpleasant. Is realism so essential, I miss the 'fantasy' in JRPG's or the 'colourfulness' in Platformers. But Horror is the biggest proof to where this generation has failed. A genre which can thrive off violence, but has become too action packed it has lost any sense of threat and suspense. Am I really going to be afraid when I have an arsenal in my back-pack - I think not. Heck from what I have seen The Last of Us seems more of a survival horror than most horror titles I have seen this gen.

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PC_Max
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 9:30:56 AM
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These days violence is a sensitive issue, be it in the gaming world and in the REAL world. We have too much of it in any form whether justified or not. As parents we all deep down want to protect those we love from ever having to see it or experience, knowing someday they will and possibly have to.

That said, I have not played LoU, but I probably will end of summer when finishing paying my vacation bills. :).

From a superficial view of LoU its MIGHT connect with what I said above on a certain level. Neccesary or justified violence... but in the gaming world. I agree, in the gaming there is a lot of unnecessary violence in game for the sake of violence. In the case of LoU, since I have not played it and only seen and read whats out there (not all of it) the story would demand it almost. Its a survival game, but maybe not just that. I am one even in movies when I see violence I want to know what the character really feels when they commit it. In LoU my hope is that issue is touched on by the characters and not just superficially to pan it off. I don't htink Naughty Dog is the sort to do that.

Heavy Rain had quite a bit of violence in some form or another in it, some of it self-inflicted. It was necessary because that was what the game was about... choice. We make choices AND how far as human beings are will willing or maybe unwilling to go from necessity.

LoU from what I have seen is definitely a game asking that question whether directly or now. And its not a game for the underage whatever that is these days. Adults and kids are desensitized to violence now I do not know if this game would flinch a 12 year old. They are probably watching "The Walking Dead". But thinking old school as a parent, I would have to make that judgement and definitely for the ESRB to help parents in a final decision.

Violence is never good, but its here, unfortunately. But in a game... it comes down to the story, the message and the situation. And if its done right, makes sense , whether given a choice or whether its just plain survival. Moral choices in games is something I would like to see more off on a personal level, but granted, people just want to have fun and I get that. Its blowing off steam and you know, hopefully, its not real.

Enjoy, mind your little ones are not watching... Keep Playing!

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Looking Glass
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 11:41:56 AM
Reply

Yes it does.

To put it very simply brutal violence is a necessary component of this particular game's premise and theme. It's not there for it's own sake and it's not there to pander to anyone like in other games.

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Jawknee
Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 2:57:17 PM
Reply

At least the game gives you the option to turn the gore off. That's something I think most violent games should have. Options are nice.

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