The PlayStation Network is on fire lately, releasing strong unique titles that truly set it apart from its competition. The Last Guy doesn’t sway from this formula of success. This “quirky” title from Sony Japan Studios is a simple yet complex little game that is haplessly fun to play.
There are so many jaded aspects of The Last Guy that the successful wackiness is riveting. Essentially, the story is quite simple: A purple and mysterious ray hits earth, turning everyone outside into a zombie leaving everyone who was indoors safe for the time being. As a zombie from the Himalayan Mountains that loves humans, it is your need to move the sparred humans through the streets and building’s safely from the hungry zombies that roam the streets now that centrally fuels the invention of The Last Guy. Partnered with the United Rescue Force to rescue the masses, you need to head towards approved Escape Zones where they can be airlifted to safety. Once at the escape where a United Rescue Force airship can come and pick them up. Sounds simple enough, but everyone is in for a surprise.
Spanning the Earth, The Last Guy throws players to real locales such as San Francisco, Newcastle and many more for a total of 15 gruesome zombie infested cities in all. Each locale challenges you to rescue a different amount of people and in a specific amount of time, and cleverly alters this time depending on the area you’re around. The game is played via top-down perspective very clearly like Google Maps. Features include building tops, roads, pretty much everything you would figure that belonged in a city street. Once you wander the streets and various passing structures, people will join you forming a long Mariachi line. They just do not like the idea of making things easier and staying besides you, but hey that’s what we all do when we are surrounded by zombies. Get scared.
Given the maps are not free roam, getting them to safety can prove difficult and require a great deal of strategy. The pacing itself is unique as players can increase the speed in which they move, but speed bursts aren’t unlimited so there is no way to run for the entire game. This game mechanic proves challenging, but also made us dizzy that we were walking while monsters were ready to burst our heads open 30 seconds away. Thankfully, a little bar pops up in the bottom left side of the screen that’s allows your group to sprint using the triangle button and gives you the ability to have your group pack together on your position with the circle button. Using these ability drain your stamina meter, which slowly refills over time. Also there are some power ups scattered around the levels that give you ability’s such as invisibility, power to stop time Hiro Nakamura style (do not worry, we think Heroe’s sucks). Watching your stamina meter is the key to success.
The Last Guy makes sure to come with a different vision mode, the thermal goggle ability that allows you to see how many people are in a designated building. An easy tool for accessing where to go next, and toggling between each vision is simple and can be used to your advantage and disadvantage. Use the vision view with caution because while using this mode you can’t see the zombies or monsters, providing a frigorific effect in the process. Also remember the people following you move exactly behind you moving the same directions you do, and having 1,000 people behind you makes getting the right passage difficult and frantic. The difficulty curve can be quiet daunting in the end but rewarding in the panoramic view.
Most of the zombie AI is revealing and not the most realistic. If the monsters see the line, they will not attack it unless they bump into it. If the creatures sees the Last Guy, they’re going to get pissed and rush anyways. It is weird that they only attack when they see a friendly Zombie helping humans and not when they see humans in general, as if they had a bigger problem with a nice zombie than their priority to catch humans escaping. They’ll ram into the line and kill a large portion, sending pieces back into hiding. Getting hit once is usually enough for the Last Guy to fail his objective. Worse off is if the Last Guy is touched slightly, he dies and its game over. Protect the line and protect yourself is the main message here.
The Last Guy is not all about gameplay but it has its own personal and different style too. The Last Guy actually employs a great deal of strategy. Every city has a different lay out and escape zone, some have large escape zones and others have little ones tucked in the corner surrounded by enemies, some have groups of people that are stuck in building’s that require much more to rescue than a simple snatch and grab. Figuring out the zombie patrol patterns, micromanaging your time, and forward thinking your escape routes are the keys of victory. Obviously you aren’t going to get top notch face melting graphics, but the cities are well polished and the scope is rather large on some levels while the horror music can best be described as perky.
There’s a good level of difficulty; a few levels make you want to kill a puppy (PETA, this is a joke) because they’re tough but getting past them is rewarding. Disappointingly, you can probably finish all 15 levels in a rather casual weekend. I understand that this is a PlayStation Network game and this game gives a rather casual approach, but a longer game would have been nice too. There is a lot to come back for added play through after all the levels are done. Every level has four hidden VIP’s hidden in it, whether or not you want to go back and save them is up to you. These VIPs give you bonus points when each levels ends so if you want to better your score, rescue those VIPs. Another problem is that there are no Trophies. With the rise of a promise of a new trophy system, there is not much support around for an odd reason. Even for such a “new” title, trophies need to be available now that the PlayStation Network supports them.
The Last Guy is an outstanding title, and it is funny and challenging. Yeah, it’s rather simple looking, but after you’ve played being humanity’s last hope several dozens of times, you’re going to be plotting your path across the maps when you put the controller away.