The Last Guy • Page 2

You have to get to know him.

The changing level design and enemies are important to reduce the feeling of repetition, as is the inclusion of hidden VIP civilians who - if you gather them all - unlock a hidden stage for each four you complete. Shambling zombies chase you down, while scuttling insectoid monsters race predetermined routes along highways, and spore enemies fog the area so you can only make out pathways using the X-map, and can't see any other enemies for a good few seconds. There are also power-ups to consider - some pause enemy movement, others teleport you back to the rescue zone, others still boost your stamina - and deciding if and when to use these is important.

It all affects your approach, and the inclusion of leaderboards for each level adds another layer of replay value. There's an early inkling that this could be a good high-scores game, albeit the sort of thing you dip into every now and then rather than a full-on Super Stardust HD-style obsession.

For all that though, the game is let down by a couple of things. The main one is the one-hit-kill for every enemy contact. Anyone who's ever browsed Google Maps' satellite photos knows about slanty skyscrapers and other quirks, and these are absorbed into the gameplay, shielding you from view every now and then - but also shielding enemies, which can be a little unfair. And while some enemy variations are quite smart, forcing you to lure them out of position for instance, others are more frustrating and just wind you up.

It's also jarring that you can reach the required total of refugees, dive back into the danger zone to collect a few more, die by mistake and then have to redo the last ten minutes of action despite having technically won already. On your first playthrough, you might just as well hit the total and spend the remaining time lingering in the escape zone to run the clock down rather than risk having to replay.

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It's important to consider level layouts early. The best strategy usually isn't the obvious one.

All of which undoes a bit of The Last Guy's good work, and it's easy to play it for a few hours straight and come away very down on it as a result.

Persist, though, or play it in smaller doses, and the game's inherent charm wins through. The jabbering voice-overs, mutant yelps and comical screams plant a smile, and the generally thoughtful mechanics and strategic under-wiring reinforce it over time, and do just about enough to push the score back up.

Were it any more expensive, we'd probably start dropping points, but GBP 4.99 is about right. The Last Guy's another decent example of a simple, slightly risky game perfect for PSN, even if it seldom feels particularly essential.

7 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy The Last Guy Tom Bramwell You have to get to know him. 2008-09-16T07:00:00+01:00 7 10

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