Eric Beasley - My cousin and I, traveling across Ohio on our way back from a wedding, had a long discussion about The Last of Us. He waxed poetic on the virtues of the game, how much he enjoyed the narrative and how well done the stealth-action was. To a certain extent I agreed. While Naughty Dog’s latest opus was a truly quality experience, providing many gamers with characters that they grew attached to through the tense atmosphere and emotional story, I couldn’t help but see the cracks in the mold. I asked him if the same game with a more mundane story would have carried the same weight with him, and his reply was a hesitant “no.” What he said afterwords echoed my thoughts. The mechanics of the game were too similar to other titles to be enjoyable on their own, and without the emotional ties to the characters, the combat loses tension. However, the uniqueness of the game’s setting coupled with the fresh take on tired tropes leaves the gamer’s palate satisfied.