The lights are on
The Last of Us (TLOU) is the greatest game I have ever played. Everything from the eye popping graphics, to the varied and fun combat, to the scavenging, and not to mention the story screams 10/10. First off lets start with the graphics. The graphics are amazing. Many times I would just stop in the middle of an encounter, make sure there were no enemies around and admire the beautiful scenery. The decrepit skyscrapers covered in green by Mother Nature taking back what's hers, The abondoned town with each building and house having a story to tell of a family unsure of what's happening or where there going or a pub with recreational activities like arcade machines and darts, to the town next to a lake blanketed with snow. It's all so beautiful that it almost makes you forget about the infected.
The Last Of Us is one of the most suspenseful, thrilling, and outright horrifying games I have ever played. So much so multiple times after dealing with a room full of infected, silently sneaking up in each one and killing it or throwing a molotov or a bomb to do the trick when I advanced to the next area and saw yet more infected, I couldn't take it, I was drained. I couldn't keep playing because I was so terrified of these things. So I'd have to call it a day and take it all in. The gameplay is smooth. The shooting is tense because Joel isn't a perfect shot but after some upgrades he gets better but not perfect. It's some of the most enjoyable 3rd person gunplay I've experienced in a game right up there with Max Payne 3. Scavenging and crafting is also surprisingly fun. You'll spend a lot of your time scavenging areas and drawers for supplies like ammunition, scissors, alcohol, banding, explosives etc. to craft things like shivs, bombs, molotovs, and health packs on the go. You'll also be looking for parts to upgrade your weapons at a workbench like adding scopes, more power, larger clips etc. On top of that you'll also be looking for pills that upgrade Joel's health, attributes, and abilities (It's impossible to completely upgrade Joel in one playthrough) and you'll also be looking for collectibles such as journals, comics, and training manuals. I found this part of the game very fun and kept me busy exploring every knook and cranny of every part of the game to find every collectible possible to get a few of the TLOU few and difficult trophies. When I reached the end of the game and realized I had only 95 of the games 140+ collectibles it left me with a yearning of playing through the game again to find the rest. Trust me, unless you use a guide you won't find all collectibles in one playthrough, but if collectibles and trophies aren't your cup of tea than you can skip this portion of the game altogether. I would recommend however at least trying for the notes as they fill in part of the backstory of the game and even tell stories of their own. The most memorable of those stories being about a seafaring man named Ish who tries to wait out the apocalypse at sea but later comes back when he's running low on supplies, after being weary of other survivors at first he later starts a community in the sewers beneath Pittsburgh. This series of notes traces a number of years from when it's him by himself in the sewers to him being the "protector" of a whole community with tons of little kids, to the community's ultimate demise and his escape. One of the biggest things I enjoyed while playing TLOU was finding and reading these notes scattered about, they really enhanced my experience that much more. If there were to be a Last of Us sequel (Which I hope there is because there are so many different stories you can explore in a post apocalyptic world) or story based DLC, I would love to see it explore Ish's adventure.
But first lets talk about this games plot.
The game starts out during the onset of the outbreak with anti-hero Joel and his daughter Sarah, which is a very emotional prologue that shapes who Joel becomes as a person. Then, the story flashes forward twenty years to a "quarantine zone" or a safe area protected by the remaining U.S. military in what's left of Boston. The game starts in earnest when a older more grizzled looking Joel and his partner Tess, an expert smuggler, are hired by the leader of the "Fireflies" a rebel group that will do anything to find a cure to the Cordyceps outbreak, to transport their cargo to a Firefly base out west in order to get Tess' large stash of guns back. The "cargo" turns out to be a 14 year old girl named Ellie and the reason behind why they're transporting her vague. The plot mainly revolves around Joel and Ellie and their complex relationship as they trek across the U.S. and encounter loads of both living and undead enemies. The story will make you truly care about both characters, and the ending will stick with you for awhile. In this beautiful and dark world acclaimed developer Naughty Dog has created there really isn't a right or wrong just a large grey area that gets greyer and greyer the more attached you get to these characters and the more you try to justify their actions as they make these tough decisions, and the game's ending might prove to be decisive, but will no doubt leave everyone with the question of how far they would go for the ones they loved.
As for the multiplayer I have played very little but what I have played feels really fun and deep and is definitely a great bonus to an already amazing game. The shooting mechanics are exactly the same and you still are scavenging for supplies and tools to level up your character and grow your community while hunting down the other team. You don't respawn so when you get killed you're done until the next round. I also like the added sense of teamwork you experience while playing. The multiplayer is definitely something you should check out and will keep you playing for awhile after you finish the story.
The Last Of Us is an emotional ride with memorable characters that will keep you hooked till' the end. The ending will also stick with you for a very long time. The game also features a fulfilling multiplayer mode that will keep you going back long after the credits roll. The Last Of Us is my Game of The Year pick so far (And also one of my favorite games ever) and is a surefire frontrunner for the award. With TLOU, Naughty Dog has sent the PS3 off with a bang.
Thank you for reading and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!
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