PETER HOSKIN reviews Immortality and The Last Of Us, Part I – Remake

Compelling found-footage mystery: PETER HOSKIN reviews Immortality and The Last Of Us, Part I – Remake

Immortality (Xbox, PC, £15.49 or included with Xbox Game Pass)

Verdict: Magical mystery

Rating:

Whatever happened to Marissa Marcel? Or perhaps, before we get on to that, who even is Marissa Marcel?

In Immortality, she’s a model who became an actress who made three films. A scurrilous religious flick in 1968; a hip detective drama in 1970; and then, after a strange quarter-century absence, a pop-psychological thriller in 1999. But all three films, along with, it seems, Marissa herself, were lost.

Until now! The premise of Immortality is that footage from these movies, along with accompanying behind-the-scenes snippets, has been found and restored. Your task is to watch through it, to uncover what happened.

Whatever happened to Marissa Marcel? Or perhaps, before we get on to that, who even is Marissa Marcel? In Immortality , she’s a model who became an actress who made three films

And so, in front of you, is a selection of live-action clips. You play them, pause them, rewind and fast-forward through them, until you find something that catches your eye. Maybe a face, or a vase, or a diary. Then you tap…and, seamlessly, you are taken to new, related clips. Clips within clips within clips.

It feels compellingly nerdy, as though you are film editor toiling in the dark. And, given the maturity of some of these scenes, it really can get dark.

Then, every so often, you’ll strike upon something magical. Rather than taking you backwards, rewinding will instead take you into a hidden, supernatural netherworld, compounding the mystery. It’s one of the most wowing effects that I’ve ever encountered in video games.

None of this would work were the films themselves not so well produced and acted (albeit, sometimes, intentionally badly). But they are, so it does. Immortality really is one for the ages.

Verdict: First among lasts

Rating:

We’ll never see the last of The Last Of Us. This game, which was first released in 2013 and has since received both a sequel and a remastered version, is now getting another sparkling upgrade, this time for PlayStation 5.

I was all set to dismiss it as just another turn of the corporate machine, but then, well, I actually played it. The Last Of Us was already one of the finest visions of the post-apocalypse — in this case, a zombie apocalypse — ever committed to screen. But now, with this remake, its world of creeping foliage and collapsing architecture is just stunning in its sad beauty.

We’ll never see the last of The Last Of Us. This game, which was first released in 2013 and has since received both a sequel and a remastered version, is now getting another sparkling upgrade, this time for PlayStation 5

Then there’s how it feels. Literally. Given that this remake is for PS5, it makes full use of the haptic capabilities of the controller that comes with Sony’s newest console. Rain patters not just on the heads of Joel and Ellie — the sorta-father and sorta-daughter combo who are the game’s protagonists — but also in your hands. Zombie attacks buzz, buzz, buzz aggressively. It’s mighty impressive.

But the most pleasant surprise of all is the freshness. Decade-old games don’t tend to be shambling wrecks, exactly, but they can start to creak around the edges, where time has nibbled away at the innovation of their gameplay mechanics.

Not so with this remake. The Last Of Us, while occasionally a little too constraining for the player (as it always was), is still a brilliantly cinematic experience. Its stealthy-shooty set pieces remain thrilling. Its character arcs remain moving.

And speaking of cinematic, did you know that’s there’s a Last Of Us television adaptation coming next year? Truly, some things never die.

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