There’s something to be said about Naughty Dog’s game franchises on the current generation of consoles. They just get how to make their games feel cinematically epic. Granted not original with their stories, but that’s beside the point.
Last of Us is just that. It’s a tense action/survival game with a plethora of good things to say about it and a few nagging points that keeps it from achieving true greatness.
In the Last of Us you take control of Joel, a survivor of the fungal pandemic that has taken humanity to the brink of extinction. Joel is tasked with bringing Ellie, a 14-year-old orphan who knows no other world but the one they currently live in, to the Fireflies research camp in Colorado. The story takes these two characters on a wonderful, yet familiar journey that stays interesting because of the dynamic between the two main characters. Joel and Ellie’s discussions, small and large, or Ellie’s way of ignoring the death and destruction all around her only to be taken in by the beauty of the world make these characters interesting and entertaining throughout.
During the course of the game you do run into other characters who for some take part on your journey. These characters for the most part end up being of little interest and have no real depth to them, with each having that been there, done that feel and the supposedly twists that come about with them do not feel as such because you can see it coming from a mile away.
For the gameplay, Last of Us does pretty well at not bringing anything new to the table, but that’s okay. The hand-to-hand combat feels very brutal in every punch thrown or face smashed. The gun play feels similar to that of another Naughty Dog franchise only with the player having to keep an eye on their ammo since it is very limited, forcing you to get creative with the enemies at some parts.
The best gameplay moments in Last of Us come when dealing with the infected. For the most part you will want to try and sneak passed them undetected because once they are aware of you, you better be prepared to fight for your life. But in almost every game there also comes the weak points for gameplay and with Last of Us that is the NPC’s that join your journey at certain points (excluding Ellie). To me at least in my experience they were useless mostly doing stupid things like running around a wall out of view when a swarm of infected are coming at you so you yourself has to run out and save their dumbass. To telling you they will cover you and as you sneak around to flank there they are running up the middle of the area to your hidden location. Ellie on the flipside of this proved useful in the beginning finding Joel useful supplies but around the midpoint of the game I realized she stopped doing that.
Visually The Last of Us is a treat. It is one of the most beautifully crafted games of this console generation. Whether it be some of the breathtaking landscapes or the beautiful detail in the character models that you really get to appreciate in the close-ups during cut scenes. The same can also be said about the sound. Between the soundtrack and the ambiance of the world you are exploring it helps immerse the player in the game and situations creating some very tense situations.
The Last of Us may not be a game for everyone, but it surely is a game anyone with a PS3 should at least try because it is an experience, an experience that is truly a shame to miss out on.