By now I would imagine you would have seen the first episode of the HBO The Last of Us TV adaptation of the game. When you know that scene is going to come in advance it can be hard to prepare for the emotions that no doubt will tear you up inside and give a sense of grief that you dread and at the same time look forward to. In the moment leading right up to this part my heart was slowly breaking and I became fidgety as I said to my wife “I am not ready for this again.” Where Joel who is played by the amazing Pedro Pascale carrying Sarah through the ravaged city to get to the river due to her ankle injury and (prepare for a spoiler here) get stopped by a army bloke pointing a gun at them both while asking his boss on what to do. While Joel pleading with him not to shoot as they are not infected, my heart literally stopped as he opens fire and while Joel was shot his daughter was and to see the grief, sadness, helplessness watching his daughter die in his arms made me cry inside and to see the scene fade into black. Devastating.
Now back when this game came out in 2013 and saw this for the first time I had felt sadness but I was not a parent back then. In 2023 I have a daughter who is nearly 6 and a son who is nearly 3. Seeing this moment again as a father literally broke me and I would imagine every father who saw this. If she was not asleep I would have gone and held her close to make sure she knew she meant the world to me. Even writing this I feel the raw emotion of that moment asking the question “How can you want to make a parent feel this sense of loss and sadness?” Following this part and looking at what Joel has become 20 years later with no remorse and just throwing a dead child who was infected into a fire really shows how much time can change a person who has been through a sense of loss or a huge emotional life change. It will be very interesting in seeing how this show goes forward in mirroring the game. Granted if you have played both The Last of Us games then it won’t be a surprise.
There are other games that playing again with being a father that just break me down and no doubt other parents too. I am only mentioning a few others but there will be moments in games that pull you into the emotional pit for lots of other reasons.
The next one that ties in the most emotional is Season 1 of the absolutely brilliant Telltale series of The Walking Dead. If you know then you know! You play as Lee Everett escaping a car accident while being escorted to jail for killing someone who his wife cheated on him for at the beginning of the outbreak. Coming across a little girl called Clementine who hid in a treehouse in wait hoping her parents were going to come back. That never happens so Lee takes her with him in search of her parents while meeting other characters along the way. I’ve always loved voice actors and Dave Fennoy who plays Lee struck the perfect tone and emotion with the dialogue and then Melissa Hutchinson who played the sweet Clementine is one of if not the best pairing for these characters. Lee would teach Clementine moral values and closeness of being a parent while as the player we make those difficult decisions for them.
Through 5 episodes seeing character deaths and trauma it all leads to the final episode called “No Time Left” was always going to be a tough one to prepare for. Back in 2012 these episodes were released once every few months and the previous episode ending on the bombshell that Lee was bitten by a walker it wouldn’t be too hard to presume that it won’t end well for Lee. Yup! That does come to pass but getting there is always the most difficult to process as a gamer and as a parent. You get to see even more the close bond Lee and Clementine have while Clem sees her parents as walkers but knowing Lee has not got much time left. He wanted to make sure she was safe and did everything he could to teach her on how to survive. I will never forget how this made me feel even the choices you pick to say to Clem in those final moments. I wasn’t a parent at the time but I cried like a baby as Lee gave her a choice but clearly he wanted to be shot so he didn’t become a Walker. Clementine clearly crying to feeling the grief of having to let go. His final words to Clem “il miss you” to be reciprocated back while the brilliant soundtrack tearing on the heart strings as you chose to either Shoot or leave him there in handcuffs. Still crying while realising the start of the game he was in those handcuffs and ending it the same way. It took me a long time to get over this and the first real game since Gears of War 2 ( we will get to that next) that really shook me. I revisited the whole game series when the collection was released with PS Pro and Xbox One X enhancements and my daughter was only less than a year old and boy when I got the this part again I just trembled, same feelings as before but thought about what would I want if I was in this situation myself. Obviously make sure I didn’t get but by a walker but would I want her to leave me cuffed and turn into a walker or be put out of my misery? A huge credit to the game developers in the creative decisions and giving us the choice on what to do. I think I would rather be put out my misery as long as I knew she was safe and could look after herself.
The final game for me would be Gears of War 2/3. I’m linking both these games together as it serves one characters purpose. Dom losing his Wife Maria in Gears 2 was just heartbreaking, while there wasn’t much reference while playing through the game to Dom actively searching for her when you see her in a prison tomb and see his grief all for show it is one great big swift kick in the crotch. While you play as Marcus as the main character in a band of 4, the others being Baird, Cole Train and Dom there is the passion, teamwork, humour and emotional attachment. You are left playing thinking how would we feel as Dom in that situation and as Marcus who is the leader of the Squad seeing his bestie go through it and how to keep Dom going forward. It isn’t until Gears of War 3 where this pays off for better or ultimately worse when there is a battle and clear that there is no hope unless a sacrifice is made. Yup Dom decides to take a vehicle and smash it into a bomb to blow the whole area up and kill all of the Locust. All with the plan to see his Wife Maria again in the after life. Once Marcus realises he doesn’t want to lose his friend and the game playing the instrumental of “Mad World” while Dom blows himself up and the rest of the squad hurry to avoid the blast is one of pure genius. Yes we feel grief but also I think a sense of relief that Dom can now be at piece albeit now we feel what Marcus is feeling losing his best friend.
These are just a few examples of games that hit hard, games that make us feel in scenarios where we have invested in the characters and feel the grief as the developers have wanted us to feel. Make no mistake they can hit you in ways you may have experienced yourself or can relate to but never feel alone in it, talk openly and honestly with family, friends and the community.
Guest Blogger: @BeardedGreen1/Beard's Blog
Left 4 Dead made its mark in amongst gaming fans, casual players and critics alike. Left 4 Dead 2 released 10 years ago on the Xbox 360 and PC and since then the game held up pretty well. Left 4 Dead held its appeal and value… until now.
Last week Saber Interactive launched World War Z on to the PS4, Xbox One and PC. World War Z has been heavily compared to the Left 4 Dead series on the Xbox 360. I’ve been live streaming World War Z on the PS4 and I am hooked.
What is World War Z (Game)?
World War Z shares similarities to Left 4 Dead. The campaign cane be played both online and off-line. If you choose to fight the undead offline; you will be in a squad with 3 other AI characters and then online with actual humans (friends or randoms).
There are 5 initial difficulty settings (or rather skulls). Put simply the higher the skull count the higher the difficulty! I started off on two out of five (normal) difficulty. Playing through the campaign online is much easier than offline. I found the offline AI to be slow and clunky so I would highly recommend playing online. If you’re an unfortunate soul who has no friends then rest assure that there are plenty of other players to be randomly team up with.
There are currently four countries to meander through when it comes to slaying the zombies: USA (New York), Israel (Jerusalem) Russia (Moscow) and Japan (Tokyo). There are three levels to each city except for Tokyo which has two. Each country offers players the same in that there are literally hundreds of thousands of zombies to kill at anyone time. You can expect the undead to to rather quick though, same as they were in the World War Z movie. Saber Interactive obtained the movie license which is pretty neat! The frightening movie scenes in which the zombies climb up one another to penetrate walls is also in the game! You can expect tense moments, high adrenaline and an absolute load of laughs!
If campaign is not your thing then you may enjoy jumping in to multiplayer! World War Z serves up game modes such as Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and more. Teams of four players are pit against each other but it does not end there. This is not a Call of Duty game! Expect waves of angry zombie hordes to flow through every multiplayer game! This adds a lot of tension and a lot of reward. Experience Points can be gained by killing zombies. In turn these can be spent to boost your weapons and your class levels. We’ll talk more about that later.
It all started with an explosion in a jail. Now I’m not talking about an Alcatraz style jail breakout. No! This is Red Dead Redemption 2. Rockstar released a brand new insight in to the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 which is set to launch on the PS4 and Xbox One (sorry PC fans) on October 26th 2018. Set in 1899 during the rise of the Modern World; the life of outlaws is dying. Making way for a brand new experience in the hands of Arthur Morgan. Red Dead Redemption 2 promises a “living world” that is “deeper and more interactive and detailed than ever”. Rockstar showcased some new details of Red Dead Redemption 2 that makes us pray October 26th will come fast! Both the shooting and fighting mechanics have been redesigned to give us players a sense of immersion. Primitive actions such as hunting seem like a standard activity within Red Dead Redemption 2. Camps can be created, interact with many characters, bond with your horse, choose your path and watch the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 unfold. Don’t be fooled though. Red Dead 2 will make us work for our share of the venison. Hunting and killing wildlife will enable us to sell and trade for worthy goods. All of this set across gorgeous new backdrops of forests, desert, mountains, towns and more Red Dead Redemption 2 could potentially be a Game of the Year contender.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has been available for pre-order for a while now. With the new Red Dead 2 trailer dropping I predict even more pre-orders. In fact at the end of this trailer the narrator stated that the second gameplay trailer would include a look at missions in Red Dead Redemption 2. Don’t just take my work for. Check out the NEW Red Dead 2 Trailer here:
We have not seen the last of the Console Wars. The Xbox One Vs PS4, PS4 Vs PS4 Slim, The Xbox One S Vs PS4 Pro and let’s face it we could go on right?! A lot of people out there continue to moan about how unfair it is to compare the Xbox One S with the PS4 Pro due to the overwhelming power of the PS4 Pro over the Xbox One S. Okay so the PS4 Pro is missing a 4K Blu-ray player whereas the Xbox One S contains one but of course they are going to be compared. They are the latest video game consoles from each major camp and the Console War is very much alive just as it was in the 90s when we argued over the Sega Mega Drive Vs. Super Nintendo. Perhaps we should be saying the the PS4 Pro is only comparable to the Xbox Scorpio should we? For me I believe this to be a rather redundant statement considering the Scorpio is not out yet and we do not truly know how it will perform. Trusted Reviews rounded up the Scorpio’s graphical ability pretty nicely here and when it is finally released to the public then it would seem fair to start barking about making comparisons between the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio. Until then it seems completely uneducated to make a true comparison between a console on paper and the PS4 Pro:
In simple terms, the graphics core will be more than capable of going toe-to-toe with today’s top-end graphics card – comparison, the brand-new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 has 6.5TFLOPs of performance. By the time Scorpio launches, it’ll be equivalent of a mid-range PC in 2017, which is how most consoles tend to launch.
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