Game Reviewed: The Last of Us
Release Date: June 14th, 2013
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: [Reviewed: PlayStation 3]
Genre: Survival Horror, Action Adventure
Rated: M for Mature
And the 2013 VGA Game of the Year award goes to… Cue Applause. Okay, not really. I made that up. Obviously the 2013 VGA’s have yet to happen, but I am calling it now. As of right now The Last of US is an extremely strong front runner for that awesome title. For the rest of the titles yet to release this year, they definitely have their work cut out for them.
The Last of US, developed by Naughty Dog, is a survival horror game that has too often, in my opinion, been described as “Uncharted with Zombies”. Which isn’t too far off as Naughty Dog also developed that very popular and successful series. And the Last of Us plays very much like the Uncharted titles. But it must be known that The Last of Us is so much more than Zombies.
Players will find themselves in control of survivor Joel and although his ‘partner’ Ellie is controlled by the AI the majority of the game you can rest assured that you will get the opportunity to play as her later on. As you travel through the environment, experiencing the story and gameplay, you will very quickly learn that the Infected are not your only enemies. There are plenty of uninfected that are also extremely hostile towards you as well. This gives you the ultimate rush, with feelings of intense edge of your seat fear, anticipation and excitement. You truly never know what is going to happen. And all this combined with the very real “Cordyceps Fungus” infected people, it really can’t get any better.
For those of you who don’t know the Cordycep Fungus is very real. It is currently known for how it effects the insects it infects. And if you have watched any of the youtube video’s about this fungus you will know how truly creepy it is. Naughty Dog has taken this very real fungus and mutated it into a virus that has plagued the human race. And in my opinion this realness is what makes it both a unique survival horror game, but also completely terrifying.
The Last of Us is one of the best stories in a game to date and evokes every feeling possible. Immediately upon starting the game your feelings are drug through the mud. It is almost impossible not to feel for the characters in game. It is even more impossible not to be completely captivated by the story, leaving you wanting more. And this is only after the introduction. I honestly have not felt this connection to a story in a video game since the dreaded loss of Dom in Gears of War 3. It was almost as if I was playing the most amazing story I have ever read.
Gameplay in The Last of Us is beyond awesome. It is scary, nerve racking, over whelming and just plan and simply, EXCITING. It is the most involved I have been in any game ever. And best of it is straight forward, Survive! It doesn’t get much easier than that. Except it really isn’t that easy. You are forced to sneak around, looting and scavaging for various items; like weapons, ammunition, health packs, as well as items such as bricks and bottles. And forget about running and gunning that is completely out of the question, as you will get overwhelmed, run out ammo and ultimately die. So get your ninja skills ready and prepare to use some patients because stealth is your friend here.
You know those random items you found? The rags, rubbing alcohol, blades, tape etc. Well now is the time to put them to good use and craft them into very helpful tools. Crafting is as simple as opening your bag, and holding X to create the item. Assuming you have all the required ingredients that is. You can craft items likes Molotov cocktails, granades, health kits, shivs and so on. But keep in mind while you can only carry so many of these craft items you also can only carry so many of the items used to craft them. So if you ever come across items that you can’t pick up I’d strongly suggest crafting any items you can to make room in your bag. You will also want to keep your eye on your weapons durability as it will eventually shatter leaving you vulnerable if in the middle of battle.
The Last of Us is not without its flaws but hear me when I say with a story as incredible as this it is difficult not to overlook. With an AI system, “balance of Power”, developed by Naughty Dog that is said to promise a more realistic approach to any and all combat situations, it can be frustrating when it doesn’t work quiet the way you think it should. All the Ai problems I encounter in The Last of Us were made noticeable by Joel’s allies, Tess and Ellie. Too often when faced in those tight situations, ducked under cover of some old ratty desk and trying to maneuver around while maintaining cover did I notice not once, not twice, but too many times to count that Ellie and or Tess would be standing right in the open. This resulting in my cover blown.
Despite this one inconstancy in the AI, The Last of Us is a superior game that is worthy of the Game of The Year title. And I would say so based on the story alone. But when you add the beautiful graphics, smooth gameplay, challenging environments and terrify feelings of suspense it is impossible not to say this game is a must have. And in fact The Last of Us is worth every single penny spent.
Replay ability: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.75/5