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The Last Guy

You are the Last Guy, the Last hope, the Chosen One. Thousands of lives hang in the balance, and only you have the tools to save them. There isn’t much time but you’ve got to give it your all, because every person counts. Each individual rescued is better for humanity’s future, and more importantly to your score on the worldwide leaderboard.

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The Last Guy is one of those games that you want to play over and over, rather you need to play over and over. If you were an urgent Chosen One you could save just enough people to get by and beat the game in a weekend, maybe a long evening. If that’s your prerogative, then by all means do so; however, you aren’t the true Chosen One.

As the Last Guy your task is to guide the title character around various Google maps of various large cities. At your disposal you have infrared vision, a stamina bar for running and organizing your crowd and that’s basically it. You guide the Last Guy around and when you are near a building survivors will pile out into your line. As you find more and more people your line will grow, and it’s your duty to guide these survivors to safety, avoiding various types of monsters patrolling the city. The starting point of the map doubles as an extraction zone, where you guide the people to get rescued at the end of the time limit and that’s basically it. It’s a very straightforward premise but there’s a lot more depth to be found if you’re willing to learn the ins and outs of saving humanity.

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“It’s a very straightforward premise but there’s a lot more depth to be found if you’re willing to learn the ins and outs of saving humanity.”Since the stages are based on high resolution Google maps, everything plays out in that same top down view. Sometimes navigating the stages and identifying obstacles can be difficult but in a smart move the infrared also shows what areas in the stage can be walked on and what cannot. The maps create effective and fun levels, especially if you’ve been to any of the locations. Each has a quota of survivors that you need to rescue to progress, along with a time limit to accomplish the said feat.

Saving the quota is rarely an impossible task but that isn’t to say it isn’t difficult. Before moving onto the next stage you could easily spend a few hours honing your skills, and finding the best routes through the stage. Timing and patience are key to being the best Last Guy, as well as knowing when to use your stamina to run or make your line of survivors into a more orderly frightened mob. At the same time you need to be triggering your infrared vision to see where other survivors are holing themselves up.

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“What makes being the Last Guy so addictive is the risk/reward mechanics of the game.”What makes being the Last Guy so addictive is the risk/reward mechanics of the game. To get higher scores you have two goals when completing a level that will maximize your score. One is saving the VIPs, which are random important people that are scattered across the level. There are four in each stage and are almost always in the most treacherous places in the city, on top of the fact many times they are sealed away by barriers. This brings us to the other score booster, your survivor line. What makes the game easy enough to pass through is the ability to just save people and drag them back immediately, but if you drop them off in a long line then you get a line bonus at the end in addition to the score for the actual number of people saved. In addition to the boost, you need certain line lengths to break barriers to get to either more people or sometimes VIPs, or even power ups. On top of that every 100 people in your line increases your maximum stamina.

Now leading a mob of raving humans through cities overrun with bizarre creatures is not easily done. The line will follow you in the same manner that your tail does in the classic Snake game. It’ll follow your path perfectly, so if you make a U-turn each and every survivor will proceed to the point of the turn and then turn around. As with Snake, getting your tail around is a challenge; just imagine 1500 people crossing a street in front of a stampeding zombie. Fortunately with your crowd control command you can help them cross a bit faster, but you’ll find yourself sweating each close encounter.

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Being the Chosen One is a tall order to drop on anyone, but The Last Guy makes it one of the most addictive downloadable games available on the PSN. The risk/reward mechanics are perfectly tuned and will have you contemplating taking your thousand man line to the safe zone for the victory or straight into ground zero where you hope you’ll find that last pesky VIP. Sometimes things can be difficult to decipher since everything in the game is tiny, but it’s a minor blemish on an otherwise superb game.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2008. Get in touch on Twitter @_seankelley.

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