William ‘B.J’ Blaskowicz has changed so much and yet so little. Once barely more than a tiny pixelated face at the centre of Wolfenstein 3D’s HUD, he’s now a hulking high-def mass of polygons. Back in 1992 he was the embodiment of the shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude – or perhaps more accurately, shoot-first-and-never-ask-any-questions-at-all. Yet fast forward to 2014 and we’re treated to his pseudo-philosophical babblings about the nature of existence. These days good old ‘Blasko’ seems to be taking himself a lot more seriously. Of course the one constant, the tie that binds the two soldiers past and present together, is their love of shooting Nazis in the face.
“Come on… When have we ever gotten into trouble?”
We already know the ending to Ellie and her best friend’s story. That’s what makes Riley’s mischievous words at the close of the Left Behind DLC’s opening cinematic all the more poignant. It will inevitably come to a heartbreaking conclusion.
Many might question whether this is a story that actually needs to be told. From the gut wrenching introduction through to its ambiguous finale, The Last of Us almost never misstepped or faltered. Nothing, it’s argued, need be added or removed from the experience. One of the game’s greatest strengths was that it treated its audience like adults. It trusted that its players were intelligent enough to fill in any blanks themselves, encouraging them to make their own connections without the need for clunky exposition. As Ellie tells Joel in those closing moments about how she and her best friend were bitten – and how only she survived – we picture the event in our minds. We imagine just how terrible it must have been for her but we never actually see it happen. Despite this being such a defining part of Ellie’s backstory, we didn’t need to.
Year of Release: 2001
Format: Playstation 2
Price: £2.00 (CEX, Wood Green, North London)
Welcome to Lebensbaum, a strange imaginary town somewhere in Germany. An imposing wartime wall looms over it from all sides casting a shadow over the tangle of alleyways, Bavarian-style houses and cobbled streets. The sky is a ominous shade of grey during the daytime. Doors are firmly bolted come night. Nothing much seems to happen here and yet there’s something not quite right. Lebensbaum’s residents drift through life in a collective bubble. They are either too rooted in their small town ways to notice, or perhaps like the natives of Summerisle, complicit in something more sinister. You have to hope it’s the former…