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Tristan Kalogeropoulos
11 Sep, 2008

PSN The Last Guy Review

PS3 Review | Last but far from least.
There’s something inexplicably enjoyable about gazing upon an aerial photo or satellite image of a built up urban centre. The sheer amazement on the faces of people, from slightly literate 4 year olds all the way to the most decrepit of adults, as they zoom around the world using Google Earth is testament to this. Streets that crisscross between familiar structures and that guy across the road from you, passed out drunk on his nature strip, all merge together in a familiar set of metropolitan patterns, yet seem so unfamiliar, so alien, when viewed from above. Sony Computer Entertainment Japan seems to have acknowledged the strange glee that these airborne happy snaps elicit and using them as a background for collection and evasion gameplay, they have created The Last Guy. Filled with bucket loads of quirky charm, this unique game succeeds in offering up yet another great downloadable gem to those perusing the PlayStation Network.

From its promotional material to the fact that it bases itself around a character named The Last Guy, a caped member of an elite team of rescuers, it’s plainly obvious that idiosyncrasy is what this game is going for. And it delivers this in spades, along with a decent dose of fun, feeling like a strange cross between the old classic Snake and Katamari Damacy.

You play as The Last Guy himself, part of the United Rescue Force, helping to save the Earth’s populous after a strange purple light shone upon its surface turning all that were outside and on the streets into zombies and forcing all that were safe inside buildings to remain confined within, fearing these monstrous mutations. The Last Guy, being the top rescuer in all the lands, is tasked with entering various cities to coax the cowering masses out of hiding and to lead them to safety.

If only The Last Guy was available for rescue work after Hurricane Katrina.

If only The Last Guy was available for rescue work after Hurricane Katrina.
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Each of The Last Guy’s levels is based entirely off aerial photography, not satellite images, of various cities throughout the world. Nagoya, London, San Diego, and Sydney - replete all the familiar landmarks, including the Opera House - are just a few of the urban centres represented. The uncomplicated top-down view of these metropolises offers up an incredibly novel take on level design. Streets and buildings come together to form mazes, feeling slightly like something out of an expanded Flash game, and offering a backdrop to an experience that is indeed unique. Within the skyscrapers, malls, houses and other structures dotted about each city are the inhabitants, presumably paralysed with fear at the prospect of emerging. Well that is until the caped Last Guy draws near.

The goal of each level is to draw enough of a city’s denizens out of hiding to follow you to a designated safe zone within a specific time limit like some kind of post apocalyptic pied piper with a stopwatch. From here a rescue ship picks them up after the level's five to ten minute period is up. As you approach buildings in which they are hiding, the rescuees emerge and are instantly attracted to you forming a line behind The Last Guy, ready to be lead to safety. As the queue grows things get a little more complicated. The long tail means that enemies can easily scare - there's no killing or brain eating in this zombie game - your band of followers, from the point in the line that they are touched, all the way to the end of the line, sending them scurrying back into nearby buildings. You can drop any refugees off at any stage however, there are benefits to increasing the amount of people that are following you.

A stamina bar near the bottom of the screen indicates the duration for which The Last Guy can use his special abilities. The more refugees you have with you the more stamina your hero gains, meaning the more risk you place your trailing evacuees at, and the more rewards you will receive. The panic that sets in when you can see a zombie approaching your hundred person strong tail-like band is intense, especially if you’ve got no way to drag them away. Thankfully all you really loose from having their ranks sliced into is time as their shelter is simply the nearest building, resulting in the need to simply wait until the threat has moved on and then standing outside said structure and waiting for everyone to finish pouring out and back into formation.

For collection junkies, each city has 4 VIP's that can be rescued for extra points. Once rescued their profile is viewable, offering up a suitably odd description. Each level also judges your efforts on a three star basis, meaning that there's plenty of replay value in attempting to rescue as many people as you can for top marks.

"They're in here. What do you mean they cut the power? How could they cut the power man, they're animals?"

"They're in here. What do you mean they cut the power? How could they cut the power man, they're animals?"
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The controls are simple; guide The Last Guy around with the analogue stick, and you’ve pretty much got the basics of the gameplay. But there’s some neat additions to flesh out the experience, making it more than just a re-skinned Snake. Pressing X switches the view to Thermography view, which places a heat sensitive overlay on the city, showing you where those needing to be rescued are. The Circle button draws the line of your rescued citizens close to you to reduce their vulnerability to enemies, but at the cost of some your stamina. The Triangle button allows you to run, which speeds you up but also drains your stamina. Power-ups, such as temporary invisibility and additional stamina, are also dotted around the level which means a planned approach can greatly assist your rescuing ability.

The game’s myriad enemies are all placed under the umbrella label of zombies, but George A Romero undead these are not. There’s one ambling humanoid type enemy, but they are but one of several foes that need to be avoided. Each level introduces its own foe. Speedy Scorpid zombies dart down streets and are best avoided at all costs, partially invisible Chameleon zombies slink around, and there’s even a mountain zombie. All these variations and more require a varied approach to avoidance and make for a completely different experience in each location.

The Last Guy’s sound design offers several obvious nods to the arcade titles of yesteryear such as Pacman. The blips and blops of the Popcorn inspired music do wonders in adding, not only to the quirkiness, but to the mood of your position in the game. During the final minute of any given level, the tempo speeds up complimenting the urgency of getting your band of fearful followers back to the evacuation point. The stomping sound of your trail of civilians marching and their terrified cries when they can spot a zombie are also great, adding a definite sense of both comedy and dread to the game.

The Last Guy may be made up of a series of incredibly simple elements, but there’s a certain something about the way it mixes these together that makes it incredibly enjoyable, filled with quirky individuality and completely worth your time and money.
The Score
The last guy's sum is far greater than its rather simplistic parts, offering up yet another fun and entirely unique game for the PSN service.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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5 Comments
5 years ago
been loving this game since us launch ... yes, review scores about right. I really loved the quirk, simplicity and kind of ingenious concept that came up with TLG. Worth the money.
5 years ago
I found its really hard to see, even when zoomed in as much as possible. Then again, what would I know, I only use a standard def. tv... Wanting to invest in a hdmi cable soon so I can play @ 1080 icon_biggrin.gif Not really interested in paying full price for it at the moment though. icon_sad.gif

Also that was a good review, we need more psn reviews icon_biggrin.gif
5 years ago
Zhou wrote
I found its really hard to see, even when zoomed in as much as possible. Then again, what would I know, I only use a standard def. tv... Wanting to invest in a hdmi cable soon so I can play @ 1080 icon_biggrin.gif Not really interested in paying full price for it at the moment though. icon_sad.gif

Also that was a good review, we need more psn reviews icon_biggrin.gif
you don't need a HDMI cable for that all you need is component but id advise getting a HDMI cable anyway .
5 years ago
This is the first game I've wanted to play on the PSN!
5 years ago
Pixel Junk Monsters & Pixel Junk Eden are pretty good imo
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  28/08/2008 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  SCEE
Year Made:
  2008
Players:
  1

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