The Last Of Us was a huge hit on the PS3, coming in an extremely close second only to the mighty GTA V in the Midlife Gamer Game Of The Year Awards. One could argue that despite being one of the finest titles in living memory, and possibly ever, only one thing held it back; A lack of beard quality. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Matt, Joel had a luscious piece of hirsute glory upon his face, you’re talking crazy!” Well, obviously I’m not the only one who thought this because Naughty Dog have remastered The Last Of Us for the Playstation 4, now upscaled to full 1080b, 60 beards per second glory.
Visual upgrades are aplenty in this remaster, but I beseech you to ignore the weary lines upon his face. Nor should you concern yourself with that haunted look in his eyes, a man who’s seen a thousand things he wants to forget. The crucial element of Joel’s face is the luxurious beard, and never has one been so well defined.
As beautiful as things look from a distance, it’s magnificence gets even better as you look closer. The flecks of grey. The slightly uneven lengths.. The way you can clearly see some of the hairs grow in random directions, because no one’s facial hair is perfectly uniform. It’s a perfect reconstruction of a fundamental symbol of masculinity.
Gaming has, rightly, long fought to be considered a true artform in the same way that film and music is regarded as art, but with the sublime quality of Beardism we see in The Last Of Us Remastered, we’ve moved far past these forms of media. Some regard Picasso’s Guernica to be the finest work of art ever seen. Others would argue for Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, or maybe the cave drawings from the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in Ardèche, France. Am I suggesting that Joel’s beard is better than these? Even the layman’s eye can see it’s comparable, but those with a finer sense of taste will understand the full resonance.
Social media has also been awash with discussion regarding Joel’s beard, with some touched by it’s ethereal beauty, and others reading deeper into it, looking towards the psychological significance.
@munkimatt It has a certain weathered quality, and an undeniable strength. The bristles indicate an unkempt approach to personal hygiene.
— Iwan Lehnert (@IwanLehnert) August 1, 2014
@munkimatt the beard is more of a statement on the struggle of man vs his own animalistic nature the work has evolves and is very much art
— Andrew Pedley (@K7E7Z) August 1, 2014
@munkimatt it’s black. BLACK! BLACK! Where are we sleeping tonight mother? In father’s grave? We crawl on our knees towards our doom!
— Phillippe Grande (@Philmatic_) August 1, 2014
In essence, Joel’s beard is visual symbolism of the paradox of the man himself; Strong, yet hiding his true self from the people around him.
The Last Of Us Remastered is a simply wonderful game, as is nearly unanimously agreed. One can only wonder though if more even praise would have been lavished upon it at release had Joel’s beard been as truly magnificent as we see it here. The engrossing story, haunting music and beautiful graphics are now overshadowed by the true star of the game.
Joel’s beard. We salute you.