Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Last Guy Review (PSN)

You have to give Sony credit with their PlayStation Network games. From The PixelJunk Series to Echochrome and everything in between, we have had some very interesting titles available for us to play. The latest original title is The Last Guy, a game that looks absolutely simple but is extremely creative. While the game doesn't take too long to complete, it shows a lot of potential and possible future releases.

The premise of the game is fairly straight-forward. You play as The Last guy and the world is being over-run with monsters and zombies and you are responsible to help rescue the remaining citizens of various real-world locations. This is where The Last Guy becomes so unique. Each level is actually a real location in the world and the game uses Satellite Imagery to show off these locations. Some at first thought believed they were images taken from Google Maps. That is not the case, but they are still the real thing. Locations vary from Newcastle, Sydney, Los Angeles, Santa Fe and Tokyo among a few others. You're not trying to rescue people from the entire city, but rather small chunks. As a nice touch, when your character is in a certain location, the game tells you exactly where you are. If you're walking near a museum, you get to find out exactly which one it is.

In order to save people you need to walk by the building they are hiding in. Once you approach an area, those in need of rescuing will begin to flee and once you walk by them, they join your chain. In a similar situation like the classic game snake, the longer your group gets and the more challenging it becomes. There are various methods to get your characters to the Escape zone, from trying to keep the group closer together or running and/or using some of the power-ups located in the maps. When you attempt to run or gather groups, you use up your stamina bar. The larger your group, the more stamina you have, but since you will need more power to get the chain to rescue, you'll still end up depleting your stamina bars. Each level contains various enemies that are also trying to stop you from rescuing people. If an enemy attacks your chain, then the people who were broken from it run to the nearest building and you must help them evacuate again. If a monster touches you, then you die and must restart the level.

Each level has a different time limit and required number of people to rescue. The early levels are fairly simple, but as you progress further, you will need to develop a strategy to rescue everyone. Also, in a level where you are in Stockholm, you need to have a long enough chain to completely surround a building. Since people are trapped within the walls of the building, only by completely covering the building with other victims can you free those stuck within the walls. The strategy does help the game's longevity and the added bonus of VIPs also allows for multiple play through in order to unlock four bonus levels.

The graphics are not anything special to mention. You're playing as a small sprite which other than his red cape and blue suit doesn't look anything spectacular. The people you are rescuing also do not look like anything other than sprites. The enemies on the other hand are much better considering their size in comparison to everything else. There are over half a dozen different enemies and each one looks distinctively different from the rest. Their actions are also very different and that factors into your strategy.

The music in the game is also very unique. It's weird electronic style works for the game, but it might not appeal to the masses. The in-game sounds of monster and people is also really different. It would have been a nice touch if the victims/rescued sounded more authentic to the areas there were coming from, but that a minor complaint.

While the game is fun, it is really short and this will be a turn off for some. With just over 15 levels and each one taking anywhere from 5-15 minutes, you can potentially complete the game over the weekend. Yes, the later stages are a bit more difficult, but once you figure the best course of action and properly execute, you can complete the basic requirements with ease. Thankfully, the inclusion of VIPs and online rankings do give you a reason to replay levels, but again, it would have been nice to have more randomization with the placement of the rescued or the escape zone(s). The only randomization do get is the place of power-ups.
There is potential for additional levels, but that will only occur if the game is successful. Also, user-generated content would have been nice addition to the game. Had this been a PC title, you could have seen that happen.

The Last Guy is a fun game and one I truly enjoyed playing. At 10 dollars, it is a fun distraction, but once you complete the game, you may not see any reason to continue playing unless your friends are also playing. I was a bit disappointed that the game lacks Trophy Support as there is no real excuse for the omission. If you are looking for something different and like to try games that are very different than the rest, you cannot go wrong being The Last Guy.

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