Snapshot: The Last of Us Remastered

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There is something quite compelling about the natural qualities of this fictitious dystopia. Without the zombified aspect of the game this could be existing urban degradation near you. I have seen Fresno.

We don’t need some apocalyptic event to make this urban decay real, it is an aesthetic as likely to have occurred through some flawed planning and governmental mismanagement. Or maybe even climate change. This bares resemblance to the description of the unpopulated urban environment depicted in Alan Weisman’s ‘A World Without Us’.

The attention to detail is high. I look down and i don’t see one generic surface. There is paving laid in multiple patterns and textures, a soldier course of retaining pavers and even some degraded by war or weathering. I look at block of seating and planting in front of me, made of a different stone with coping, populated with light posts and overgrown shrubs.

The foliage is unconvincing however and it sways inorganically like a seesaw, rather than the disorder of multiple limbs with variations in weight and wind resistance impacting their movement. It also lacks diversity and is sometimes too obvious as the sole barrier to movement when that is all required of it.

There is tweeting but no birds to be seen from the occasional tree that has outgrown its planter box. Its roots spill over the edge with evidence of infrastructure decay from the inevitable overpowering roots. There is litter strewn around and moss everywhere.

The water isn’t particularly convincing. The reflective qualities are there but the consistency of the water when engaged sometimes looks like jelly, although it didn’t bother me like the foliage.

We are reminded of believability vs necessity debate with environmental assets in games. The interpretation of a post-apocalyptic environment where nature has begun the re-establish itself is what sets it apart from the pack and it plays a major role in the tone of the game.

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