Naughty Dog is renowned for blurring the lines between movies and video games.
The developer’s previous PS3 games was the excellent Uncharted trilogy.
The Uncharted games played more like a video game version of Indiana Jones.
Not wanting to milk the franchise for more than three games, Naughty Dog then decided to branch off and introduce an all new IP called The Last of Us.
The Last of Us is an ambitious title with an excellent narrative that features themes and dark storyline elements that is rarely seen in the video game industry.
With most video games being “save the world” type scenarios, the main focus of The Last of Us is simply surviving in a world that has been plagued by an infection that has overwhelmed the entire world.
This fungal disease is spread by spores and turns people into mutated killers. If you are exposed to the fungi, you will turn into a mutant killer within only 48 hours.
The game centers around two characters called Joel and Ellie. Joel is on an assignment to smuggle Ellie out of the city. Joel has a tough guy type of persona and is only delivering Ellie because it’s his “job”.
Unlike Ellie, Joel lived through life before the infection ruined the world and has pretty much become more miserable as each year passes by.
Ellie on the other hand tries her best to make Joel appreciate her company as the two must work together in order to survive.
I’m not going to spoil the game for you, but the journey the two characters have to face during this game is a powerful one and you will see their relationship develop as you progress through the game.
Even though The Last of Us is set in a post apocalyptic world, don’t let this fool you as being a dark and depressing looking game.
There are still several parts in the game that are set in dark corridors, but most of the time you will be out in the open witnessing nature growing in the cracks of urban civilisation.
The amount of green vegetation you will see in this game is the best I’ve ever seen. Naughty Dog sure knows how to make natural environments look both lovely and realistic.
I can honestly say that The Last of Us features the best graphics ever on the PS3 and is close to what next generation games will look like.
One has to wonder what Naughty Dog can do with PS4 hardware in the near future.
As excellent as the story and graphics are in The Last of Us, the gameplay itself is top notch and rarely gets too repetitive or boring.
Even with games like the Uncharted series and the recent Tomb Raider game, I felt they got too repetitive at times because the bulk of the gameplay relied too much on gun fights.
It seemed like very moment you are ambushed by multiple guys trying to kill you with both guns and grenades. Fortunately, The Last of Us isn’t like that because the game features gameplay that allows you to beat enemies your own way.
This is because The Last of Us is a survival game mixed with a bit of action too. The main thing you will do in this game is try to stay alive and conserve ammo whenever you can.
If you choose to kill enemies with your guns all of the time, you are sure to be out of bullets because ammo is not abundant like it is in most other games.
To be successful in this game, you will need to scrounge for supplies or even grab weapons off of the enemies that you kill. The best thing that I found about The Last of Us’ gameplay is that it gives the player several options to get past enemies.
If you are skilled enough, you can go all out like Rambo and punch your way to victory. I did this a few times, although I lost a chunk of health by doing so.
Still, unlike the recent Tomb Raider game, Joel is efficient at physical combat and can wield almost any weapon or punch and kick enemies to death.
Another way of playing this game is purely using stealth tactics. Stealth will become a huge factor in the game because you won’t be able to kill all of the enemies all of the time or else they’d kill you.
If you press the R2 button, Joel can listen to an enemy’s footsteps and the screen turns black and white showing their whereabouts.
This is a helpful feature to use as I helped me through the game a lot. This was particularly helpful during times when I was surrounded and the enemies were still looking for me.
Another innovative feature introduced in this game is the crafting system. Crafting allows Joel to create his own weapons and supplies with the items he finds throughout the game.
For example, a simple rag and an alcohol bottle will allow him to make his own Molotov cocktail. He can also create his own smoke bombs and medical kits too.
Crafting is an important feature because the items that you can make will help you a lot on Joel and Ellie’s journey. It’s worth noting that you have to be careful while crafting items because the game doesn’t pause.
Be sure to be in a safe place before you start making that medical kit!
There aren’t much negative things for me to say about The Last of Us as it’s truly a flawless masterpiece. Without spoiling too much, I would say that there are times when the game skips ahead of time and you wonder what happened in-between those events.
I’d also say that the latter part of the game dragged on a bit, but this is just a minor flaw as the game is pretty enjoyable for most of its 12 hours of gameplay.
Overall, Naughty Dog has created one of (if not) the best video game this generation. I lot of people love Mass Effect 2, Uncharted 2 and Red Dead Redemption, but I would go as far to say that The Last of Us trumps them all.
I personally loved playing this game more than any of the Uncharted games. This game is right up there with Heavy Rain as best game I’ve played over the past five years and that’s saying a lot.
If you’re looking for a mature type of game with a deep narrative and next-gen quality graphics, look no further than with The Last of Us.
Lasting Appeal: 9.0