Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 14/6/2013
Tranquility, it’s the one thing whilst playing The Last of Us that you will be thankful for. These moments don’t come along too often in this game but when they do savor them as that feeling won’t be around for long. Whilst in these moments of tranquility you will start to feel calm and thankful that you have made it through your latest encounter with either the hunters or the infected. These feelings will soon change back to fear, anxiety and panic as you will more than likely encounter another section that seems to overwhelm you.
The Last of Us sucks you in from the very beginning and never lets you go. It’s a roller coaster of a journey that had me hooked and at some points even shocked. I can comfortably go on record and say that this is not only the best exclusive PS3 game I have played but the best game I’ve played of this current generation.
A different World
The Last of Us takes place in 2033, 20 years after the Cordyceps Fungus has taken over. You play as Joel a man who has seen the world change from before the fungus took over up until the present day. Joel like all the other survivors has had to adapt in order to survive and in order to survive sometimes it would mean that someone else has to die.
There are moments throughout the game when Joel can remember back to a time before the whole world went to shit, whether this is talking to fellow survivors or through something as simple as a movie poster. It’s interesting seeing how a character has adjusted to his new surroundings and still retain a piece of his humanity. Even when the game goes to some dark places and Joel has to do things in order to survive you still root for him because you know he’s got no other option.
Then we get to the other main character in this game. She comes in the shape of a 14 year old girl called Ellie. You may play as Joel throughout the game but for me Ellie steals the show.
It really is amazing to watch this relationship grow throughout the game
These two come together through a business arrangement early on in the game whereby Joel has to transport Ellie across a ravaged USA. It really was amazing to watch this relationship grow throughout the game as they really are an odd couple, Joel who has seen and pretty much done it all and Ellie who has not seen anything outside the walls of the quarantine zone and because of Ellie not knowing of anything she will be always asking questions and always full of wonder. This alone is what separates The Last of Us apart from most other games out there.
The interplay between not just these two characters but others you meet along the way is just brilliant and it really makes the game more compelling. Just listening to how other people in this world have managed to survive and what they have had to do in order to stay alive make the whole world more believable.
As well as having possibly one of the finest written stories I have had the privilege of playing the voice acting is superb and the graphics and look of The Last of Us are absolutely stunning. Cities are depressing as well as beautiful to look at. Instead of landscapes that are just caked in various colours of grey Naughty Dog have kept up their tradition of adding colour to a world no matter how bleak and depressing that world might be.
Cities are depressing as well as beautiful to look at
In the 20 years since civilisation collapsed nature has started to recapture the land and take over. Skyscrapers are now covered in green vines that reach high up the side of them. Roads have been taken over by trees, roots, and grasses. The Post-apocalypse has never looked so beautiful.
Kill or be Killed
And yet within all of this beauty there is the real evil of this game. First you have the humans. These are hunters who will deploy all sorts of tactics in order to finish you off. In some ways these are the more dangerous enemies in The Last of Us. This is down to the fact that they have the ability think for themselves. They are able to flank you and will always keep moving towards you unlike other games where they sit behind the same piece of cover and just wait for you to pop them once they poke their heads up. You always have to try and stay on your toes with them and move around as much and as safely as possible. Stealth killing plays a massive part when it comes to combat. Being able to listen out for nearby enemies by using Joel’s listen mode can give you an advantage and can help you plan your attack strategy. Stealth kills also help preserve you precious ammunition and it’s also satisfying to take down a room of enemies without firing a shot.
Attention to detail is also evident when performing a choke hold on an enemy. Watching your victim swat and try to grab hold of you whilst your choking them adds another level of realism to this game and this is also evident when you shiv a man in the throat. The noise that is made in the last few moments of that person’s life is chilling.
Along with your human enemies The Last of Us has some not so human enemies. These come in the form of the infected. Unlike the human enemies these come in many forms. The two most frequent forms are known as Runners and Clickers. Runners are you basic infected, only just turned and have full use of all their senses. Get spotted by one of these and depending on how many infected are in the vicinity you will soon have them all after you. Clickers on the other hand are a more terrifying prospect to deal with. These infected are blind and rely on sound to know where to attack. Working you way around these takes more careful thought and planning as is they find you and catch you its game over as they kill you instantly. This sounds unfair and stupid but in reality it just adds to the tension and the fear, knowing that if you mess up that’s it.
Med pack or Molotov that is the question
Another brilliant addition to the game is the ability to craft supplies. Throughout the world you will be able to collect various items that you can use to create various items. These range from shivs, Med Packs, Grenades and Molotov’s. Items can also be attached to melee weapons to give them a better attack. What to do with the items you pick up will also change how you play the game as items can be used for several different things such as will you use the rag for a med pack or a Molotov cocktail. The other thing I really liked about this whole system is that all the crafting is done in real time. Never does it take you out of the game so if you’re in need of a med pack during a fight you need to time it just right in order to craft the med pack and then use it. This really is a brilliant dynamic and one that I thought really added tension to the game.
It was also nice to see that unlike other survival games this one actually knew what the word survival meant. Too many times I have played survival games only to be giving copious amounts of bullets and other items whereas in The Last of Us bullets and supplies don’t come around too often.
Another brilliant addition to the game is the ability to craft supplies
Unlike most games where characters seem to have deep endless pockets everything was visible on Joel’s backpack and you inventory is extremely limited. This for me just added to the realism unlike those other games where no weapon is visible yet they are carrying several large weapons and enough bullets for a small army.
As well as creating items Joel can upgrade his weapons through parts he finds on his travels. Various things on your weapons can be upgraded whenever you find one of the work benches which are dotted around the world. Joel himself can also upgrade through pill pickups. Making these choices of what to upgrade though could prove difficult as there are not enough of these supplements in one play through to fully upgrade him.
The Last of Us also comes with a multiplayer and unlike a lot of other games where it is just tacked on this is a well thought out multiplayer that adds all the stealth and crafting elements from the single player and puts them neatly together for a unique multiplayer experience. The online mode is simply called factions where you either choose to be part of the hunter or fireflies. You then get the choice of only two modes of play. This may sound a bit scaled back from other online modes in other games but in the world of The Last of Us it’s perfect. These modes are named simply as Supply Raid and Survivors.
Survivors is essentially a 4 on 4 death match but in it death is permanent. This is the mode where all the skills you have picked up during the single player are put to good use. Supply Raid is more of a team effort in which you have to whittle down the enemy numbers in order to win whilst still using the same tactics you learn from the single player. Within the multiplayer is a sort of mini story in which you have to survive 12 weeks and build up you group as much as possible. This is done by winning matches, killing enemies and collecting gear. This becomes more involving and pretty addictive the more you get into it.
Overall like I said earlier in my review I would say that this is the best game I have played out of this current generation of games. Not only is the story brilliant but the characters that make the story are just so brilliantly written. It’s a game that deserves to be played over and over again. Multiplayer is unique and offers up something a little different than what you might find out there. Graphically it really is in a league of its own. Naughty Dog have shown that they are masters at what they do. Time and time again they manage to best themselves and set the bar even higher. I genuinely cannot wait to see what Naughty Dog have in store for the PS4.
BOG’s The Last of Us Review Score
|10||Why so high?
Gripping story, characters you care about, stunning visuals, wonderfully though of Multiplayer
|Why so low?
Nothing is perfect but this is as close as you can get without really nitpicking
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