GVN Quick Review: The Last Of Us (Playstation 3)

The Last Of Us
Publisher: Sony
Developer: Naughty Dog
Released: June 14th, 2013

The Last Of Us is clearly one of the most ambitious and daring games to have come out this year.  The whole element of the game centered completely on the relationship of our two antagonists Joel and Ellie, and how the bond between the two would grow as the game progresses.  The Last Of Us' story covers the span of a little over a year and in that time we see Joel and Ellie's bond and it manages to make us connect with these characters in a way that would make major motion picture studios jealous.  As you progress you see the issue of morality and what you feel you need to do in order to survive as it weighs heavily on Joel and especially Ellie.

Ellie especially as a character grows leaps and bounds having to make the tough decisions herself in order to survive.  There are quite a few moments in the game that shows Ellie coming to the realization of what Joel has done for years to survive on his own.  You can see this in how she interacts with other characters that and committing to ideals that actually shocked me.

There are many other characters that come and go throughout Joel and Ellie's journey.  Joel's companion Tess, brothers Sam and Henry, Joel's brother and more help move along an already strong story by providing much perspective on what is possible in their ruined world and how to attain it.  Almost every character delivers strong performances that left a huge impact on me and allowed me to play with more perseverance in helping Joel and Ellie reach their journey's end.

Upon reaching the journey's end, I was left with quite a lot to contemplate.  Putting into perspective about the choices that Joel or Ellie made along the way.  After everything settles I am incredibly pleased with how everything played out.  It's probably not the best ending out there as it leaves definite room for more to come but it was still satisfying none the less.

The infected world in The Last of Us is quite possibly one of the most beautifully destroyed post-apocalyptic environments I have ever laid my eyes on.  There is an extreme amount of detail going into capturing the realism of what an abandoned world would look like after several years.  There is a ton of flora growing all over the place.  It covers the streets of abandoned cities, growing all over buildings and in more open areas shows off an assortments of beauty when traveling in the wild. 

The metropolitan cities like Boston show a ton of neglect and slow decay as buildings start to fall apart and abandoned cars litter the streets rusting away.  Areas like the sewers and flooded tunnels also look amazing even in their decrepit state.  Lots of details on the walls of past residents whom no longer live there.

There's also an insane amount of detail going into every single person and infected body in the game.  Not since L.A. Noire have I seen so much strong details in a characters face.  The various stages of the infected, alive or dead, are great and definitely creep me out.  The people I encountered throughout the game look amazing as well. During gameplay cut scenes they show a great deal of facial expressions and look incredibly diverse.

The Last Of Us' gameplay gives you a lot of room for exploration while at the same time keeping you on your toes.   This is survival horror at it's finest.  While the post apocalyptic world is big and beautiful and begging to be explored, there's always danger around the corner.  There's always bandits or infected just waiting to end your journey prematurely so it becomes vital to learn how to use your surroundings.

I found the stealth element to be great and that helps in part of the game's dynamic lighting and sound effects.  There's always something to hide behind but make too much noise hustling around you'll have a party of infected on you in seconds.  Of course nothing is perfect, there have been times when I would sneak by in completely dark alleys or rooms and clickers still managed to notice me when I made no sound.  There's also the small complaint about how bandits, at times, seem to know exactly where I was going even behind cover.

The game also gives you limited resources that you have to decisively use on certain abilities in the game.  There's supplements that can enhance health, crafting speed, healing speed or even fend of clickers looking for a bite.  There's also limited parts lying around for crafting bombs, med kits or enhancing melee weapons.  The game gives you just enough of these items to survive a bad encounter or two.  You will be forced to think on the run quite often and it helps to make sure to think your actions through before going into an encounter.

There are some minor graphical and gameplay issues I have come across throughout the course of the game.  Many times I have walked up to an area and noticed some missing walls, gate or rocks and then they would appear out of the blue.  A couple of times I would walk down a path an d suddenly see my partner floating in front of me for a brief moment but then returns back to there original position.  Another glitch I found involved climbing up onto some areas and instantly dying for whatever reason.  Overall though, these minor glitches don't really have any negative effects on the overall gameplay experience.

Aside from the gameplay, the real draw for The Last Of Us is the strong story and the growing bond that is shared between our two antagonists.  This is what will keep you playing the game.  Granted there is one small complaint and that is how slow the game starts off but after a few hours you become completely engrossed.  Besides Bioshock Infinite, I have never felt so attached to a character ever, let alone two of them at once.  Upon the journey's end, I found myself truly satisfied with the ending after much reflection. 

Now there is a multiplayer mode, but I have yet to touch that.  The Last Of Us is all about the story of Noel and Ellie and that's all I cared about.  I strongly recommend picking up Last Of Us as its nothing short of a phenomenal game with some of the strongest leads I have ever played in any videogame.  The Last Of Us is definitely one of the best games to come out this year.

+The most beautiful post-apocalyptic world I have ever seen
+Noel and Ellie's bond drive the story
+Good stealth gameplay mechanics
+Team mate AI is pretty solid
+Facial expressions are top notch
+Amazing enemy design
-Some minor graphical and gameplay glitches
-Game starts off a little slow
Final Grade: A

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