Is HBO’s The Last Of Us A Little Too Much Like The Video Game?

Whereas episode one combines game elements with updated creative decisions, episode two seems even more intent on conjuring the atmosphere and experience of playing “The Last of Us.” From the leaning skyscrapers to a detour through an American History museum, the episode painstakingly invokes the Boston-set segment of the game. But it’s the characters’ movements that so apparently resemble their pixelated counterparts.

Joel, Ellie, and Tess advance through the episode much like they would move through a level. Joel pushes over a file cabinet to pass through a doorway. The trio takes a shortcut through waist-deep water. Tess asks Joel for a boost up to a crawl space between dilapidated concrete columns. Joel runs out of ammo in his revolver and picks an assault rifle off the floor to shoot down an Infected at the last second. The characters cross between two buildings on a wooden plank and climb down a rusty ladder barely bolted in place. In a very similar moment to the first game, the ceiling collapses in the history museum, leaving them unable to go back the way they came.

Like how 2018’s “Tomb Raider” borrowed story elements and set pieces from its own 2013-rebooted video game franchise and Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” series, episode two of “The Last of Us” may leave some wishing they were playing the game instead. A bit of fan service that goes over the heads of general audiences is not necessarily a problem, but if the TV series actually does show elements of gameplay, why did the creators specifically suggest it wouldn’t?

Leave a Comment