I am one-hundred percent certain that pretty much everyone considers The Last of Us a masterpiece. The Naughty Dog title which was first released for PS3 and eventually remastered for PS4 is still the talk of the town. Many players feel that it’s the pinnacle of gaming — combining action and survival, and packing an emotional punch. There is, however, another reason why I do think it’s an irreplaceable masterpiece.
That’s because The Last of Us means a lot to my wife and our relationship.
The Last of Us — The First of Many Games
When my wife and I started dating, she found out that I owned a treasure trove of games. She didn’t scoff at my fandom because, as I soon learned, she was quite the gamer herself. I knew I lucked out when she mentioned that she had played Ran Online in the past. That was an Asian MMORPG that many folks in the Philippines — such as the two of us — were fond of during the mid-2000s. She often told me of how she played as a Ran Online Shaman and just “stood there” pressing random skill buttons while on the same spot. All the while, her teammates just “lured” mobs to her location while she did AoE heals.
After that, I introduced her to World of Warcraft which she also enjoyed for a short time. Even though I was using a Protection Paladin to tank and I needed a healer, she ended up making a Warlock instead. When she did get bored of WOW, I thought of other games for her to try out. None of them really piqued her interest.
Destiny made her dizzy. Borderlands looked weird. Bioshock made her nauseous. I tried to look for games that lots of players liked — from Assassin’s Creed and Dynasty Warriors to Dishonored and The Witcher. I was at the end of my wits when I tried to get her to check out Final Fantasy XIII. She played RPGs before, surely she’d like it? Nope — she literally fell asleep.
She loves horror movies, and so I sat her down to play Resident Evil, F.E.A.R., Outlast, Amnesia, Soma, and The Evil Within. Still, no dice. I was just about to give up and leave her to her Cooking Mama or whatever freemium mobile game she liked at the time until I saw that The Last of Us Remastered was released for the PS4. I grabbed it and asked her to try it out.
The Last of Us — The First of Many Hours
Saying that The Last of Us meant a lot to her would be an understatement. It also meant a lot to our marriage and relationship. While we were not experiencing some woes like other couples, we were looking for great bonding moments to pass the time. We had different tastes in movies, shows, and music. I love history but she isn’t a fan of it. I enjoy Warhammer and she falls asleep when I try to read some Horus Heresy novels to her. She likes modern R&B songs and I’m more into The Beatles and Queen. We have a healthy and loving relationship but when it came to hobbies we just had too few things in common.
When I did introduce her to The Last of Us she was completely blown away from the start. The opening scenes jarred her due to the panic and chaos that ensued. I should mention that she was pregnant with our baby around that time so the hormones definitely played a factor. That’s probably why when she saw Sarah, Joel’s daughter, run to a soldier only to get shot, that kick to the gut wasn’t just figurative — it was also literal. Sarah’s death was so impactful. It was one of those moments that hooked her right from the beginning because she knew that no one was safe.
When she finally made it out of the settlement when Joel and Ellie met for the first time, I went into our room to rest for a bit. I woke up several hours later and found her battling more infected — her eyes glued to the screen and her face a mask of pure concentration. Gone was the nausea and dizziness she experienced from past games. All of that was replaced by sheer determination to get to the next part.
The Last of Us – Remastered, Replayed, and not Left Behind
Even though there were some difficult moments during her playthrough, I can count on one hand when she asked me to take charge and get her out of those predicaments. She reminded me of myself when I, too, was beelining for an objective or looking to finish a boss fight. She was just so into it that, as a husband, I could not help but feel very happy. She’s finally enjoying an AAA title on a console. And it wasn’t just that, it was also the amount of investment she put into it.
I asked her if she needed help fighting off that crazed lunatic who was trying to stab Ellie in the burning bar. She said no. Later, I found her tearing up during the game’s closing moments. It was over…. not. She started a new game on a higher difficulty. “Babe, what? You just finished it,” I said.
“It’s okay, I was playing on easy mode. I need to experience what the game truly is,” she assured me as she went at it again. In our language, it was: “Okay lang, ang dali dali nga eh, gusto ko yung mas mahirap naman!”
Later on, she also played the Left Behind DLC… twice. All in all, she adventured with Joel, Ellie, and co. five times — three times with the base game, twice for Left Behind. I’ve never seen her become that enraptured with any game. Because of that, I started buying her adventure and story-driven games that I knew she’d enjoy. She’s already finished Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls and is looking to replay them again. She’s also cleared Until Dawn numerous times, replaying until she finally had all characters “alive” in the end. Emphasis on the quotes because Until Dawn fans know what we mean by “alive.”
Waiting for The Last of Us Part II
Today, I consider myself as someone who’s not into single-player adventure games like God of War even though it’s also brilliant. That’s mostly because I know how much I’ll enjoy it once but never touch again. Meanwhile, my wife is also not a fan of it. But for other single-player adventure titles that she likes, well, I’ll definitely pick those up for her. Right now she’s just waiting for The Last of Us Part II.
She often asks me when the next “Lots of Cats” would be released. That’s just a play on words because we also own cats, or the other way around — cats own us. Anyway, knowing how much the first game meant to her, I know she’s definitely going to spend so much time on the next masterpiece. I can only think of one thing that I’m going to do — get a second PS4 for her to play it on so that she doesn’t interfere with my gaming time. I guess that’s one downside of getting your partner so engaged in the games you like — eventually, you’ll be competing for the same system or TV.
I’m a contributor for various sites under the Enthusiast Gaming umbrella: Destructoid, Dailyesports.tv, PlayStation Enthusiast, and Flixist. Games. Movies. Travel. History. Warhammer. Dad jokes. All around nerdy stuff. You name it, I’ll happily chime in.
I don’t have any backed Kickstarter projects to disclose, although I used to be a CM for a local MMO — this was way back in 2006. I also used to be really good in Counter-Strike, and I mean “bunny hop to avoid AK-47 bursts and shotgun AWP you in the face” good. Then I got old.