The lights are on
Genre: 1-Player Action (8 Player Online)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: June 14 (Playstation 3)
ESRB: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes,
Package: The Last of Us unfolds to bring forth one of the
greatest video game single-player experiences of all time with a rich, engrossing
character-driven story while also including an interesting approach to the
everyday multiplayer component.
Fun Factor: Despite The Last of Us' weighty and even depressing
narrative, it stands as one of the most enjoyable games you'll have the privilege
Gameplay: The option to choose how to engage enemies with
either a full-force attack or stealthily makes for an absolute nail-biting
blast. The Last of Us' gunplay and melee are professionally fashioned.
Graphics and Art: Everything you witness in The Last of Us
is gorgeous. The amount of detail with such graphical quality is unbelievable.
Music and Sound: The tantalizing score is wonderful, fitting
the game's tone perfectly. I applaud the voice actors for delivering powerful
performances, and the in-game sound design is stellar.
Replay Value: You'll want to revisit The Last of Us' story
after the first playthrough, and the online multiplayer is worth getting into.
Gamechanger Status: The Last of Us is a pioneering video
game of the Playstation 3's life-cycle. It's a testament to the thought that the
making of video games is an art form, and one I'll remember for the rest of my
days. Everyone should play The Last of Us.
Life is precious and frail, relationships are an amazing
part of humanity, and the ability to overcome harsh times is based on the
willingness to survive through them. Down through the years of expansion of the
video game industry, games have in some form or another touched on these facts
of society. Seeing comrades and opponents defeated by violence is a common
commodity in video games. Interacting and even connecting with fictional
characters is a cultural mainstay and the obsession over making it through the
next undead apocalypse is everywhere in the medium. Naughty Dog's The Last of Us
distinguishes itself by taking these ideas to the next level.
Something has happened to the world we live in. An
infectious virus appears to have ushered the entire population all across the
globe into a state of hopelessness and horrifying savagery. Infected roam
cities and neighborhoods hunting any human survivors left. While some of these
remaining survivors just seek refuge from the mysterious pandemic, others have
taken up arms, scavenging and murdering in cold blood any living being no
matter who or what they are. The Last of Us doesn't revolve around what or who
might be responsible for the present doom or on the usual noble mission of
finding an antidote for this outbreak, however. Instead, its focus is simply on
two human beings: Joel, a hardened soul who is doing the best he can and Ellie,
a teenage girl who not only knows no other life than this one she's grown up in
but also may hold the cure to the infection because of her immunity.
As Joel, you run into Ellie fairly early in the story and become
entangled with the task of escorting her to a location so a possible cure may
be found. The premise is easy to grasp, though the journey is anything but.
Between you and your destination lies the lowest humanity
could become morally as well as infected creatures yearning for the taste of
flesh. The vicious monstrosities come in the shape of what are known to be as
"clickers", "runners", and the occasional "bloater" (the name might sound
funny, but when you're in a room with one of these guys you won't be laughing).
I am a tad disappointed that there wasn't a greater variety of enemy types, but
it's hardly an issue. These haunting figures prowl areas hissing eerie murmurs
and sounds that will make your skin crawl. Your heart-rate may rise when you
take these infected head one in combat as their creepy personalities match
their unforgiving ferociousness in combat. Human adversaries offer up the same
amount of intimidation due to their numbers and possession of weapons.
Each and every enemy type you come across in The Last of Us
can be taken down on your own terms. Choosing whether to sneak past or behind
enemies for a quick stealth kill, or handling a situation with less discretion
are open for experimentation. Taking enemies hostage is an option as well. The
Last of Us incorporates a "hearing" capability where you can tell where enemies
are that is quite handy. Some combat scenarios should be performed in a certain
manner because of a particular enemy type's handicap ("clickers" are blind so
treading carefully when at all possible is recommended so not to reveal your
position) while others can be accomplished by a combination of stealth or
action maneuvers. The natural ease of The Last of Us' playability makes for
intense and exciting combat situations. They never get old, especially since
your resources of health, ammo, and equipment are scarce.
Due to your limited available resources, strategically
assessing combat is a pivotal feature of The Last of Us' gameplay structure.
Finding a couple of rounds of ammo will make your day and if all else fails,
frantic melee combat and a well placed distraction could save your neck. You
acquire a pleasing amount of different weapons throughout The Last of Us. Some,
like a revolver or shotgun, are dependable, familiar firearms, while others,
like the bow and arrow and inventive nail-bomb, add a unique aspect to the
game's healthy amount of weapon options. All of the weapons in The Last of Us
give off a fine sound and the gunplay is nice and sturdy as well. If you run
out or decide to conserve your ammo, there are bricks and glass bottles laying
around most areas you can throw to distract or coerce enemies. This can and
cannot be a useful tool as it only stuns enemies for a short period of time.
Ellie can also throw bricks or provide covering fire in tight spots.
Access to weapons and health is made convenient through a
smart treatment of the d-pad. You can craft or upgrade items by stumbling upon
a number of in-game parts spread throughout the game. The Last of Us lets you
upgrade weapons via workstations, and Joel's abilities like his maximum health,
hearing range awareness of enemies, and more can be upgraded at any time by accessing his trusty backpack.
Crafting and upgrading are encouraged, important gameplay facets of The Last of
Us that will help you carry on in the audacious storyline.
From a gameplay standpoint, The Last of Us strikes gold, but
all of the things it gets right does not compare to its potent, lengthy story.
The Last of Us begins with the best start of any video game I've ever played
and, in the same light, concludes strongly. The meat of the game us layered
with breathtaking environments, encounters with three dimensional characters,
startling plot twists, and gratifying gameplay all enriched by this remarkable
character-driven tale of survival. Joel and Ellie are fleshed out brilliantly
and you'll come to care about them in ways foreign to the typical video game
Joel has a lot of depth to his on-the-surface gritty
personality and Ellie, despite and because of her youth, gets the same quality
of treatment. Even though they appear to be polar opposites in characteristics
such as gender, age, and interests, the bond these two form is a stark
highlight of The Last of Us. It's done so well that as Joel and Ellie care for
each other more as they try to survive amongst what could considered an emotionally, mentally crippling
undertaking, you as the player, grow to care for them as well. The small talk
between them is executed properly, and
since Ellie is only fourteen years old, the pandemic occurring twenty years
earlier, the manner in which she sees the world comes out in interesting-sometimes
charming- comments. Joel is especially relatable because of his tough, but
humble, mindset. Their journey together will not leave you untouched.
The rough proverbial road Joel and Ellie walk on is lavished
upon with extravagant environments. The astonishing graphics bring to life the
stupendous skyscrapers, neighborhoods, and country sides. The lush flora,
life-like buildings, the way the sun rises and direction the wind blows the
leaves off of the trees is a spectacle not to be missed. One of my favorite
things about The Last of Us was exploring any area possible. You learn much
concerning the world through notes, letters, and such written by civilians.
Some are unimportant, others are food for thought, and then there are
particularly disturbing ones that show you The Last of Us' world could be our
own. It is a really creative avenue for Naughty Dog to take so that besides interpreting
the hideous state of the world through just two people, you can get a look at how
it's hurt or affected the ordinary person.
The game also supports online multiplayer labeled as
Factions. You choose to align yourself with one of the two factions, and then
dive into one of the three game types. The matches entail a fair amount of
teamwork and they can be fun and intense, though a bit gruesome. While I think
the inclusion of multiplayer in a game that takes itself so seriously is
somewhat odd, it's a very innovative style of online gaming.
The Last of Us is a challenging game. Not in terms of its
difficulty, but in terms of the world you are forced to enter; the very surreal
depiction of violence and humanity will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Involvedly gripping, Naughty Dog has created a sublime piece of art. The work
put into The Last of Us is overwhelming, and you can see the beauty of this
masterpiece in the littlest detail.
WS-N, a gamer for
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