The Last of Us Review
Welcome back fellow gamers to my esteemed blog. As many of you know, one of the most anticipated titles for Playstation 3 is finally here. The Last of Us is a game developed by Naughty Dog, the company responsible for many successful gaming sagas such as Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted. Naughty Dog is famous for their action and adventure titles, and now they are dipping into the pool of survival and horror. Does Naughty Dog succeed at this attempt? Let’s review.
Graphics: The Last of Us is a visual masterpiece. From the moment you begin the game, the level of detail and design is mind blowing. Character models and environmental details are beautifully done. The world is very interactive with breathtaking environments, and at certain points I couldn’t tell whether I was playing a game or watching one of the game’s many CGI movie sequences. This is a level of detail and perfection that is rarely accomplished in a video game title, and Naughty Dog should definitely be commended for this accomplishment. Anyone who is a huge fan of eye candy will be having a giant sugar rush with this title. Score: 10/10
Gameplay: Fans of Uncharted will be drooling over The Last of Us. The gameplay is not so much action based as Uncharted. The Last of Us is a game about survival, and you are forced to do just that. Items are not laid out for you to grab and instantly use. Instead, you have to collect anything from bottles, and bricks, to pipes, and two by fours to survive. Survival also consists of finding pieces to construct modified weapons such as shives, healing items, and finding supplements to upgrade your status. Ammunition is extremely scarce in this game, as you mostly depend on your survival instincts and wit to traverse through the desolate world that awaits you.
What truly makes The Last of Us stand out besides the eye candy, is the story and characters. The story takes place in a post apocalyptic United States that is devastated by an outbreak of a modified cordyceps fungus, which instead of infecting insects attacks humans. You take on the role of Joel, a man who from the beginning is stricken with grief, loss, and a destiny to fulfill. He is later joined by Tess, and they are ordered to escort a young girl named Ellie to a rebel group known as the Fireflies. For the sake of spoiling the story, I will not go into anymore detail, but the storyline is fantastic. During the course of the game, Joel forms an inevitable bond with Ellie through conversation as they progress further towards their goal. As they learn about one another’s past, they begin to build a foundation of trust for each other. This combined with the overall story of The Last of Us brings together an amazing blend of dynamic story and characters who will be unforgettable now and in the future.
Joel and Ellie’s quest is not an easy one by any means. There are numerous foes that wish to cut their journey short. There are hunters, human survivors in Pittsburgh who are trying to impede your progress since they resent Joel and Ellie. Then there are the infected, humans that are consumed by the engineered cordyceps fungus (this is a real life fungus that effects only insects, click here to view the background on cordyceps). The infected come in five stages of evolution. The are runners, stalkers, clickers (in my opinion the freakiest and scariest due to that noise they make), bloaters, and spore cadavers. These foes are not easily outsmarted or thwarted in any way. The AI in the Last of Us is very impressive. Human opponents do not just simply stand around when you’re hiding instead, they are constantly searching for you, which means very little time to relax. Constructing items also requires an element of strategy. You construct and modify weapons in real-time. This means that if a foe catches you, he, she, or it can attack you and interrupt your operation. The infected are a deadly force to be reckoned with. Evolved forms like the clicker, require stealth and timing to avoid, and confrontation can be very deadly since attacking them bare fisted will infect you. They also infect you in one bite (one hit kill) which can damage a smooth operation. Naughty Dog put a lot of energy into all the gameplay elements of The Last of Us, and it shows beautifully. Score: 10/10
Sound: The musical score for The Last of Us is absolutely brilliant. Gustavo Santaolalla truly brings the emotion and mood of the game to life through his amazing music. The voice actors do a fantastic job with Troy Baker leading the helm as Joel, and Ashley Johnson holding the fort as Ellie. The voice actors truly pour a lot of energy and emotion into their roles, as opposed to voice actors who merely want to speak in order to get a paycheck. Score: 10/10
The Last of Us is truly a masterpiece that I believe is a shoe in for game of the year. The story is gripping, the characters are lovable and memorable, and the feeling that you get when accomplishing the game is absolutely satisfying. Combine this with a high replay value, and a multiplayer mode, and you have a truly beautiful piece of gaming art. If you own a PS3, and have not played this amazing title, then I suggest scraping some nickels and dimes together and grabbing this piece of gaming greatness.
Final Score: 10/10