The Last of Us – Interrogation

"Where is the safe?"
“Where is the safe?”

As we mentioned in an earlier article, The Last of Us multiplayer element –Factions– has just had a FREE update. Version 1.03 brought with it a number of important game balancing tweaks, but more importantly, it brought with it a brand new multiplayer mode called ‘Interrogation.’

Well, now we at Twinstick have had the chance to sit down and hammer the new mode for a good few hours – we thought we’d tell you a little about our experiences.

Firstly, it’s awesome. If that’s all you needed to know, then, by all means, stop reading and go download and play it now! If you’d like a little more depth or reasoning then stick around. As you may be aware, ‘Interrogation’ mode is a 4 vs 4 mode, similar in setup to ‘Supply Raid’ (if you’re familiar with factions already). However, where Interrogation differs is in the overall aim of the game.

Instead of just killing your way through the opposing team, you have to interrogate them to find the location and combination to their safe. Due to this structure, this game mode has two different phases. In phase one both teams have to hunt down and interrogate the enemy, you need to get five interrogations to move onto phase two. How do you interrogate? Well, that’s simple enough, you need to either hit triangle over a ‘downed’ opponent and, unless interrupted, you’ll interrogate him or her before executing. It takes a little longer than a standard execution on the other modes, so you need to make sure you’ve isolated the enemy as much as possible. Alternatively, you can perform a ‘shiv’ interrogation – sneaking up and taking a live foe down from a stealthy position behind their back, which is quicker, but still leaves you vulnerable.

Once your team has collected 5 interrogations, you move onto phase two: finding and cracking the safe. Its a seamless transition, no stopping and starting (you can be onto phase two before your opponent has finished collecting their interrogations after all).

This is where the new mode REALLY comes to life. Once the safe has been located, its location is highlighted on the map. At this point, you need to get to the safe and crack it to win the game. This means the roles and behaviour of BOTH teams has to switch instantly. If you’ve collected your interrogations, you must attack the safe, the other team MUST defend their safe from you.

HOWEVER, what usually happened in our time with the game, the team attacking the safe is typically exposed while trying to rush the safe,quickly downed (as the enemy knows where you are heading) and then interrogated, leveling the playing field once more. Now both teams have to decide how many will stay and defend their safe and how many will go on the offensive and attack the enemy’s safe.

Opening the safe comes in 3 stages.
Opening the safe comes in 3 stages.

Every single game we had was a close one. In only two games did one team open the safe while the other was still collecting interrogations. In ALL of the others (and believe me, Sonatine and I played a LOT of games) they ended with both teams having to attack AND defend their locked box. It made for some incredibly long and balanced games as you stop caring about kills and prioritise defending your safe or quickly planning an assault on the other teams.

You are awarded more parts for gathering interrogations or for interrupting and killing a player trying to open your team’s safe (a defensive kill), which means there is a huge incentive for defending the box – you’re not just ‘Ensign Ricky’ left to watch the box because you can’t shoot straight. What’s more, defending the box is just as tactical as attacking. You know the enemy will be expecting you to defend it, so you have to try and hide away from the box – using it to lure them in. Once they’re distracted with the task of safe cracking, you can move in for the kill! This is made much more difficult if two come for the box at once – especially if you are left to defend solo (HINT – silenced weapons are your friend here).

The safes themselves are opened in 3 stages, if you pass the first stage (partially open) then get shivved – next time you get to the safe you’ll continue from the end of stage 1, likewise for stage 2.

"Hey, flamey guy, where is the... oh, right!" Molotovs not so useful in Interrogation mode!
“Hey, flamey guy, where is the… oh, right!”
Molotovs not so useful in Interrogation mode!

One interesting thing about this mode is Naughty Dog have (so far) elected to remove the pool of lives situation, essentially giving each team infinite lives (up from 20 – I’m not sure what percentage increase that is??). This means if no team can get the box open, kill counts (and therefore parts) can get pretty high. Currently, this has become the BEST mode for increasing your clan size.

There are still limitations, games don’t just go on forever. In fact, the ever present clock timer has never been more important. As it ticks down towards the end of the game, it actually influences how quickly you can open the box. Hacking safes with under a minute remaining is much swifter than with 5 minutes still ticking away on the clock.

We found with all of this, it radically changes the way you approach each game. For example, you can only interrogate ‘downed’ opponents, so you can’t rely on using molotov cocktails – as these are an instant kill – no interrogation. Although they are useful at dispatching large groups and therefore making the solitary enemy more vulnerable to being interrogated. Also, shivs – a tool I usually ignored – are essential, especially if you fall behind early. You can get an easy shiv kill on someone attacking your safe – and get a quick interrogation in the process!

We also found that once you DO fall behind and the opposing team has collected all their interrogations, you’re free to be more reckless (as getting ‘downed’ can’t make things any worse for your team at that moment). The game feels much faster paced in these moments – that is, of course, until you catch up! Then you need to be more cautious again, have people hanging back protecting and stealthily attacking the safe keeps you in check.

One of the only criticisms we launched at the multiplayer aspect of The Last of Us in our Factions review was a lack of different game modes. Well all that has now changed – and more than that, the new mode might very well be the best mode! When we reviewed it before, we gave it an impressive 9/10 – if I wrote that review again today it would be hard not to give it the full ‘Spinal Tap’, that’s right – all the way up to 11.

With a DLC announcement coming any day now, The Last of Us really is the game that keeps on giving.

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