Eurogamer

This article about scarcity in the Last of Us is wrong, and we’ll explain why

This article about scarcity in the Last of Us is wrong, and we’ll explain why

Warning: Slight spoilers ahead

The issue of scarcity in The Last of Us is an interesting one, and I ran into the same issue as the writer of this article; I had enough molotov cocktails and sharp objects to last me a good long time. Arguing whether or not that's good for balance in what amounts to a survival horror game is one issue, but bringing up that particular passage of The Road doesn't do a good job of making the point one way or the other.

When the father gives his son the soda, it's a tiny way of experiencing the world as it used to be, and it's a heartbreaking scene. Likening that to having too much ammo is wrong, and The Last of Us does an absolutely fantastic job of bringing that same sense of sadness and loss to the interactions between Joel and Ellie.

The two characters have many conversations about the way the world was, and they talk about everything from coffee to "finding yourself" when you go to college.

Ellie picks up a magazine in a young girl's room at one point, and her anguish at reading about how people her age used to worry about dances and clothes is conveyed very well. Ellie is dimly aware of everything that has been lost, and the hints of what her life would have been like before the plague deliver the sort of pathos that is described in the article here.

The idea of cultural scarcity, and the reaction to these artifacts that makes The Road so effective, is communicated very well in The Last of Us, and it has little to do with the number of crossbow bolts you find along the way.

Besides, you spend much of the game well past the few civilized areas of the world, where few people are surviving and even fewer are scavenging. It makes sense that supplies to make firebombs and other improvised devices become more plentiful as the journey goes on, especially when you begin taking things from the bodies of the people you kill.

You can criticize The Last of Us for a few things, and maybe I'll tackle that ending soon, but scarcity? That was handled very, very well.