As much as we love The Last of Us, it must be said that Naughty Dog did not reinvent the wheel. It may sound like a criticism, but it’s actually a virtue. And it is that, not redoing something that has been in force for years, there is nothing wrong with it. Californians have been doing this for years with their IPs; They have done great with it, why fool us. But if we are looking for innovation, something to consider diametrically opposed to what is known, an I Am Alive by Ubisoft comes to mind as The Last of Us before The Last of Us.
maybe equate both works it can be an insult to someone, whether they like the work of Darkwoods and Ubisoft Shanghai, or the journey of Joel and Ellie; but both rode the wave of a narrative success that the cinema was eating up: the post-apocalyptic. The cinema with a narration after a catastrophe that shakes the foundations of society was on the rise at that time —in 2012, a year before The Last of Us and the same as the end of the world for the Mayans.
Eli’s Book, I’m Legend, The Road, or a The Walking Dead that by 2010 buried the seed of zombie love from the entire past decade… Any work with a similar approach, even if it seems too similar to the rest, was going to take public attention. The Last of Us benefited from the momentbut that same “moment” sank a somewhat lazier I Am Alive who didn’t see the comparisons coming.
And it is that while Naughty Dog knew how to play short, taking advantage of the technical possibilities of a PS3 that had its days numbered to focus all its power on the narrative charge, Ubisoft relied on a coldly constructed world. Understand me well, and it is that the world of The Last of Us is not love and peace, but there is a bitter contrast between Tranquility and Impending Disaster. It is a cold world with emotions on the surface. For its part, a super-earthquake that destroys Chicago and turns the entire megalopolis into a sepia colored wasteland it turns into something more bland than a pandemic that turns people into “mutants.”
Here I do allow myself one, let’s call it, “veiled criticism” of the work of Neil Druckmann: Joel and Ellie’s story is basic like no other, and manida like all. But why is it (even myself) considered a masterpiece? There is the good work of its creators. The magic of the video game we can call it. I Am Alive and The Last of Us put us in the shoes of an adult man, alone, besieged by the world around him and who, at a certain point, must protect a little girl that they will consider as a daughter; or as his only moral salvation.
They look like cut from the same mold. That said, Naughty Dog doesn’t tremble a muscle in giving each character narrative weight like the strength of two suns. To such an extent that his absence on the screen, or his presence, is striking enough to keep his name throughout the story. For its part, Ubisoft fell for the easiest video game resource: never let the player waste time.
Wasting time is cool. It’s great. And no, it does not imply that a game is bad. It’s not all kill or be killed; do something to see a direct consequence. I Am Alive wanted to be a Survival game raw, even more so than The Last of Us. I go further, what the Californians wanted for The Last of Us Part 2 – making each NPC feel real, with a name and personality – was a terrain visited by Ubisoft 10 years before. But he did it, he repeated it and passed the player a thousand times again until it was done. tasteless.
In I Am Alive, we could aim and threaten an enemy with a weapon that, basically, he doesn’t know if it’s loaded or not. We started a tense moment. With a impressive sentimental charge and as raw as the best The Last of Us. Perhaps we are about to kill a father of a family; maybe he is a murderer, but we will never know. Even if we pull the trigger and our bluff is blown, the fight for survival will turn the best father into a killer.
It is hard and brutal, but repetitive to the point of boredom. And it is that, returning to the hook previously launched, the game was full of these moments. In a video game, even more than in the movies, balance is perfection. Repeating too much implies that tension and terror go to the background; and I Am Alive became a shooter more.
Repeating too much means that tension and terror take a backseat
Even so, the foundations that laid I Am Alive mean that, even after 12 years have passed, I don’t forget him; especially when I remember that what fascinated me about the first advances of him, we can never play it. Despite having Jade Raymond, mother of Assassin’s Creed, as a producer, the higher-ups at Ubisoft decided not to release anything announced to date. This forced its subsidiary in Shanghai to resume a job that they were poorly able to get out of the hands of the previous development team, with less budget and a promise something more soulless.