Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: 6/14/2013
Available Exclusively On
Post-apocalyptic games always try to focus on a mass group of people or the devastation itself. The Last of Us focuses on two people, Joel and Ellie as they travel across the US to find a cure for the biological outbreak that’s destroyed the planet. The journey is a decent length and you really get to love Joel and Ellie and they become amazing characters that you don’t want to separate from.
The Last of Us is full of emotion and amazing production values. It’s the best-looking game to grace the PS3 and is a great entry for the final lap of the console’s lifecycle. The combat is a mix of action and stealth. You can sneak around enemies and grab them from behind and either shiv them or strangle them. Shivs aren’t easy to come by, you must craft them and they can break. Strangling takes about 10 seconds to do and is a slow way to kill someone, make sure no one else is around or you will be spotted. You don’t just fight humans in this game, Clickers are some of the scariest monsters since Dead Space’s Necromorphs. The sounds that were used are incredibly scary and original. These creepy creatures can hear you even if you crouch. You must slowly crouch around them and you can only kill them with shivs. Hunters and Runners are also hard to fight but Runners can’t be snuck upon, you must fight them. Bloaters are like Tanks from Left 4 Dead; huge enemies that are hard to take down. These enemies are interesting to fight, but they are the only ones in the game so it can get repetitive after a while.
Repetition sets in other things like each encounter feeling the exact same way. It’s just room after room of zombies or humans to fight. I wanted more cinematic events which were kind of sparse. Crafting and collecting parts helps make the game a bit more interesting. You can craft melee weapons, Molotov, shivs, medkits, and smoke bombs. You can craft in the middle of combat which is nice, but weapon upgrade stations are rare. There are only about a dozen in the whole game and you need to save up a lot of your parts to upgrade weapons. You can add gun slots and even increase clip capacity on one-shot weapons which is nice. There’s actually a good variety of weapons and they all feel useful in different situations. I found myself using all of them one way or another often.
The game is very linear but feels like an adventure. You go through various areas in the US from Boston to Utah and the game just oozes a stylized atmosphere. You really feel like you’re being pulled into this destroyed world and it just feels so compelling. Despite combat, though there isn’t much to the game, there are no puzzles or anything else that’s very challenging. Just pushing Ellie across pallets in water, moving ladders, etc. The combat is downright frustrating since Clickers can kill you in one hit and the stealth is a bit iffy. Sometimes it felt the AI was flawed and got me killed. I also ran into a few glitches.
The story itself is the best part of the game. Bringing Ellie across the country and the hardships these two go through is just something else. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you get to play both characters and Ellie is just a strong character. A little girl who curses, kills people, and wipes out an entire gang on her own? It’s nothing like I have ever seen and shows Naughty Dog has the guts to do this.
The game itself looks amazing. The textures are at such a high resolution, the animations and models look great, and the lighting is fantastic. It really shows just how much more powerful the PS3 is over the Xbox 360. 360 exclusives like Gears of War 3 and Halo 4 have some pretty ugly textures and the lighting doesn’t look too hot. The Last of Us looks like a PC game and it blew my mind which is rare for current generation consoles these days. There are a few eyes sores but you really have to hunt for them, if only every developer put this much effort into their games.
Overall, The Last of Us is one of the best games of this generation and the best PS3 game this year. Joel and Ellie are highly memorable characters and their journey is frightening and enlightening. The combat can feel repetitive towards the end and can be downright difficult and frustrating, not to mention constantly being lost due to a lack of direction. Despite these flaws, this is one fantastic journey that every PS3 gamer should endure.