Monday, September 8

The Last Guy - Impressions

If you read these posts in chronological order then you should know that I was holding off on buying PixelJunk Eden until I had a chance to choose between it and The Last Guy. My limited funds were not limited enough and I succumbed to my delight with both demos. They're very different games, both available via PSN and both most probably overlooked by the AAA game, hype driven gaming sites out there.

Whereas PixelJunk Eden evokes feelings of wonder, of the fresh scent of a garden with new blooms, The Last Guy is instantly familiar.

It's a 2D collecting game similar to many early platformers without all the jumping. Your avatar is described as a Himalayan mutant that can lead "survivors" of the "purple light" cataclysm to safety. Anyone outside when the purple light bathed our planet was turned into a "zombie", basically a vastly more powerful monster with differing powers and behaviours that change the gameplay environment.

The gameplay environment is a secret delight. Aerial photography of many major international cities converted into a top down 2D platform with free roaming zombies and tiny ant like dot representations of survivors that follow The Last Guy as he (she?) leads them to safety, mostly. I love that they squeal, shake and the controller vibrates whenever a "zombie" lurks nearby - particularly when they can see something that my avatar cannot, sometimes even only half the line of followers panic as only they can see what threatens them. There are power-ups like invisibility, time-stop and a teleport to base called Return. You can run quickly, huddle and infravision innately but this consumes Endurance that replenishes over time or with the Endurance or Endurance+ power-ups.

This is the fast food of gaming. Easy to pick up and play, easy to put down. There is certainly something fulfilling about saving people (pixels) in one's home city and I take some perverse delight in choosing not to visit a building and save its inhabitants because a real life friend works there. I suppose this sensation is commonplace for Americans as many games are set in one or more of their cities. Yet, if we believe the hype surrounding GTA IV, it is neither old nor tired.

2 comments:

Little Minstrel said...

You know, I gave this game a glance, but it didn't catch my interest like it has yours. I can see giving PJ Eden more than that, but this one... just... doesn't come close to appealing to me.

There's a demo, yes? Maybe I'll try to look at it a little longer.

nobody said...

LM, basing my impressions of what you might like on your recent blog posts I'm inclined to suggest that this isn't for you. You want the full meal, not a quick snack. This is snack food gaming that I happened to enjoy. My posts are not in any meant to promote the products they discuss, I'm just recording my responses so that I may explore them later if I wish.