The Last of Us and Reactionary Comments


I didn’t like Last of Us.

I shouldn’t say that. I was indifferent to Last of Us. That’s better. I found it grandiose in its book-ends, while the center was often stifling to its messaging and reality. You can read my review of Naughty Dog’s latest at Hardcore Shooter.

I suppose I was lucky to avoid vitriol. A few people swooped in to defend the title by giving it a high user rating, and that’s fine. Speak up, make yourself heard. The one comment left as of this writing stated he was enjoying the game and was surprised by the low score. Good on you random internet person, as I am more than willing to discuss the title with reasonable people.

Then, I spot word from freelancer Scott Nichols who, like me, was dissatisfied with Last of Us’ often languished pacing, that his personal blog was hit with, “one of those.” You know what I am referring to, the illogical comments that lambast a writer for speaking honestly. I quote:

“This reviewer obviously has a poor taste in games, including those people that agree with this.

Anyone who thinks this game is any less AT LEAST a 9.5/10 is not a gamer.”

I won’t divulge extended words on the gamer/non-gamer debate, but suffice to say I believe a casual Angry Birds player is just as much a labeled “gamer” as a die-hard Call of Duty, 10th prestige type. So yes, I’m a gamer. So is Scott. Better yet, how about we burn superficial classification all together?

Whom I don’t believe to be a gamer, if we’re sticking with labels, is someone unwilling to enter discussion, and instead blindly defends marketing lines instead of reading words. I would LOVE to discuss Last of Us at length. I respect its creators, I respect the work, but that does not translate into instant magnetism toward the art.

Comments, vicious ones anyway, could make a writer fearful of honesty. I don’t believe those writing such inane, unhelpful comments realize the created environment. We have heard stories of people being relentlessly harassed, even into their personal lives, by others with a grudge. If I’m being an honest outlier, am I risking internet wrath? Should I be dishonest and score it highly, or risk an online expose worse than TMZ by scoring something lauded a 7/10? Has anyone been so fearful of reaction they change their perception? I hope not.

Reviews for Last of Us poured in pre-E3; I played it during the show as I wasn’t in L.A. I knew of the lavish praise and hype, and also Phil Kollar’s controversial words regarding the PlayStation 3 exclusive. A bubbling undercurrent of anger had begun to flow. I felt for Phil; a lot of those comments are quick to brush off; you need thick skin to become a critic – no matter the medium – yet the short-lived historical animosity of internet commentators is enough to break anyone. Out of the major Metacritic players, Kollar’s had one of the more interesting pathways to critique. It didn’t matter: 7.5/10. Paid off by Microsoft. Clearly.

Would you prefer a system that perpetuates critical discourse that is all identical? What then, I ask, is the point? Why shouldn’t critics break down the medium at critical levels where they feel it is appropriate?

Maybe I don’t enjoy Wizard of Oz (safety rope: I do). Certainly, an interesting, well defended critique of perceived failings would carry vested interest. It is possible to seek out near infinite lines about Wizard of Oz’s success, from its child-like wonder to dazzling Technicolor displays. But it’s also a unique person who spy into the film’s inner workings to divulge faults and break down solidified walls – not because of trolling mind you, but honest and open dialogue that create new ways to seek out entertainment. I have seen many dissect the original King Kong as a vision of fury toward slave owners, Kong a stand-in for the oppressed and lashing out at white exploiters. I can’t say I agree with that perception, but I appreciate the thought process and reasoning. Why then is it wrong to say something surface level as Ellie’s pace-breaking lack of swimming skills is detrimental to Last of Us?

That’s where I was with The Last of Us. Opinions are not wrong, rather they make up uniqueness within ourselves. Calling someone a non-gamer because they didn’t attach a rightful number to a review?

That just makes you an asshole.