This was just what I needed.

It seems to be an ongoing trend for me these days, but the only video games that I seem to be playing, and playing to completion might I add, are these zombie/apocalyptic games, first with The Walking Dead, and now with The Last of Us. You'd think I'd be tired of all things zombie by now, but its works like this that just keep me enthralled, and with The Last of Us, I experienced something far more than "just another zombie (fill in blank here)". I experienced one of the best video games that I've ever played.

When it comes to video games nowadays, I at least need a good story to keep me playing. I know that there are plenty of games out there that have little to no story and are still a blast to play, and I'm not taking anything away from those games. However, the games that, for me, leave a long, lasting impression are the games that manage to not only tell me a story, but give me characters to connect to, to care about.

As great of a game as this is, it's the characters of Joel and Ellie that really sold the game for me. The dynamic of child and caretaker in a harsh world has been done before, even recently as mentioned earlier. But it's Joel and Ellie, and the relationship between the two, that really makes this game special. Whether it's working together during a fight or listening and telling one another (bad) jokes, the relationship between the two is just as organic as the characters themselves, and it's really something wonderful to see, especially in a video game that consists of most of its moments not being quite as, well, "uplifting".

I still remember the first gameplay that was shown, showcasing the teamwork between Joel and Ellie, with Ellie playing distraction by throwing a brick at one of the human "hunters". When I saw that, I knew that playing this was going to be something special. I also knew watching that this was going to be an extremely brutal game in particular.

Others of said it before, and I'll reiterate it as well: The gameplay can be gruesome.

I realize that as much as I can talk this game up, I know that this game is not meant for everyone. I don't just mean it in the sense of how violent the game is (although it certainly is violent, that's for sure). The subject matter is dark, grim, and pretty depressing.  I realize nowadays, the label on the box doesn't matter as much as it used to. But for TLOU, this is truly a mature game. When the game decides not to hold back, it doesn't hold back. It will "go there" at certain points, and for some, it may be too much. I have to admit, there were times when even I was taken aback to what I was seeing. But it's moments like these that make the lighter moments, the moments filled with hope or some kind of happiness, that much more special and memorable.

Being that this is more than likely Naughty Dog's last title for the PlayStation 3, Naughty Dog really went "go big or go home" with the graphical presentation of the game, and oh boy, does it show. This is without a doubt one of the prettiest titles on not only the PS3, but in terms of overall console gaming in general. This may be a post-apocalyptic game, but the environments are just flat out gorgeous.  Whether it's the worn, aged buildings and cityscapes, covered in lush, vibrant green vinery, or the vast mountain and riversides, this game just looks beautiful, and the attention to every detail is stunning. Even the sewers look fantastic. And trust me, everyone hates sewers in video games. Naughty Dog took a risk in putting bleak game in such radiant settings, but they managed to pull it off without sacrificing the tone of the game itself.

Although I still argue about calling a game like this a "game", it is still a video game, and as such, I do need to at some point mention the gameplay. This is a game made by the makers of Naughty Dog, and there will be familiarity in how the game plays if you've ever played an Uncharted game. That being said, features such as the simple, yet excellent crafting system, variety of stealth and gun based gameplay, and violent nature of the game make it more than just "Uncharted with a new, gory coat of paint".

Even with all the praise I give it, not every game is perfect, and sadly, The Last of Us does have faults of its own (although thankfully, most are only superficial. For the most part). As stated, this game uses every bit of power that the PS3 will allow for. However, the PS3 is on it's last legs in terms of graphical quality, and it shows. Although the game is very beautiful, going from CGI cinematic back to gameplay does show a substantial dip in quality, and can take you out of the immersion sometimes, especially with the occasional pop up texture here and there. Also, the hand to hand combat, while smoother than Uncharted is still a little rough, especially when a large horde is after you. I remember the times where I would try to transition from one enemy to another, but where it would stay on that singular enemy I was attacking until I stopped attacking. This got me killed many times, especially when it came to fighting hordes that included Clickers, the instant kill enemy of the game. Again, flaws are few and far, but it should be mentioned.

With all of that being said, it was a bold move on the part of Sony and Naughty Dog to release a game for the PlayStation 3 so close to the release of the highly anticipated PlayStation 4. Although I can't wait to see what Naughty Dog will bring to the table for the PS4, their (probable) last game for the PS3 sends the last real year for the PS3 out into the sunset properly, and leaves behind what many would consider one of the best games of not only this year, but as many have claimed, this generation. Something I'm more than happy to agree with.