The Last of Us Review

Platform: PS3 Publisher: Sony Developer: Naughty Dog
Reviewer: JayWood2010 Genre: Survival/Horror Rating: Mature

Back in 2012 at Spike’s VGA we got a surprise reveal of Naughty Dog’s hidden little secret for over 2 years by the name if “The Last of Us.”  Immediately fans was going crazy over this stunning looking title and really who can blame them?  We are talking about possibly the best developer in the gaming industry.  The same developers that brought you Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, and Uncharted.  This title however separates it’s self from anything Naughty Dog has ever done before.  In fact it may have separated it’s self from what any game has ever done before.

The story is about a young girl at the age of 14 and a 40-50 year old man (Ellie and Joel) who are in a worldwide zombie apocalypse.  I will not tell you why they are together to avoid spoilers but the bond that these two characters hold is in my opinion the best thing in the entire game.  As the story opens up you are immediately drawn to the characters from the amazing intro of the game and you are glued to them until the final scene that leaves you utterly amazed from this game.  It sets the tone of this world in terror and despair.  Joel was maybe in his late 20’s, early 30’s when the infection first broke out but Ellie on the other hand was born into this world so it’s all she knows.  Some of the best conversations in the game is from her not knowing what the world was like before zombies have infected the world. And on one side you have Joel who is not a very likable character for the world around him has made him into a guy that you would not necessarily say is a good guy per say.  Then you have Ellie who seems to be care free and isn’t bothered by the world at all.  The mix of the two personalities plays out beautifully throughout the game.  They also act like real people with real emotions rather than people who are superheroes or godlike.  Throughout Joel and Ellie’s adventure you do meet many other characters, some likable, some not so much.  The thing about this game is your biggest threat is not Zombies, but it is other humans that have some interesting tactics to say the least to survive.  Because of this the mood is always tense when you first meet characters and you don’t necessarily trust anybody throughout the entire game.  “The Last of Us” is written out beautifully but unfortunately it suffers from a little predictability from many movies or shows you have seen.  I predicted probably about 70% of the key plot points from beginning to end and even when a guy is going to suddenly pop around a corner to grab you.  The one plot point that did shock me however was the ending.  To avoid spoilers though we will leave it at the story is amazing, brilliantly written, but unfortunately much of it is predictable.

Much like the story, the voice acting is brilliant.  There is nothing more that grabs my attention than great acting, and in “The Last of Us” I can honestly say that the voice acting blew me away.  To add to that the animations fit it perfectly and I don’t believe there is a game that has both better acting and voice acting from every single character in a game.  We are not only talking video game impressive, but Hollywood impressive.

Now when you take the story and the voice acting it automatically makes this game a must buy, but with every game you need good gameplay.  And this game brings it.  For the first time ever I can say I truly enjoyed a zombie game.  I have never been able to say that up until now.  Humans are the most dangerous things in the game and story, however for once zombies are in fact a threat as well and killed me dozens upon dozens of times.  There is different types of zombies that makes it interesting.  I won’t tell you all the types but I will tell you the two main ones.  Clickers and Runners.  Runners are the first stage of the infection.  They can see you from a distance and they will run straight at you to kill you.  They aren’t really difficult taking down when they are alone but in hordes they are highly dangerous and pretty scary.  Clickers is the 3rd stage of infected.  They have a fungus that has grown over there head to where they can no longer see.  However they can hear you and sense you nearby.  They are highly dangerous even by themselves due to the fact that one bite kills you.  You should be able to easily sneak by them though, however when clickers and runners are together then it is no longer easy because the runners will alert the clickers.  This leads to the most interesting dynamics of the gameplay, to where you need to sneak, kill silently, while also conserving ammo.  Ammo is extremely low on the game so always be on the looks out for supplies.  Speaking of supplies you can upgrade your weapons with supplies, craft med kit bandages, and even make bombs out of supplies you find.  Every time you are crafting though it is all in real time so make sure there is no enemies around or you may die.  Unfortunately “The Last of Us” isn’t always so thrilling and fun with the gameplay.  Humans are uninteresting at times because it becomes repetitive.  Sneak up behind somebody, choke them out, and move on.  On the other hand they are big threats so make sure to be smart before engaging an enemy.  The hand to hand combat is also pretty stunning looking.  And you can take bottles and bricks that you find on the ground to use as a weapon or throw to distract an enemy. Even though it can be fun at times, it also gets boring before the final scene of the game.  Also the numerous amount of puzzles can get a little derivative as well.  See Ellie can’t swim, however she is small so this adds a team mate ability in puzzles that I must stress is literally always the same puzzle, just in different environments.  If there is ever water there is always miraculously a wooden pallet to help Ellie swim that you need to retrieve or high ledges that you need to throw Ellie up so she can get you a ladder or a board.  These parts of the game gives you a nice mix of gameplay but were not necessarily the most fun or clever things in the world.  There is also a few glitches like doors not opening or unable to pick up ladders which you will have to restart checkpoints on these occasions to advance forward in the game.  Also your partners are practically invisible to enemies.  Dead serious I have had Ellie walk right in front of Zombies and humans and they act like she doesn’t even exist.   I’m talking two feet in front of them by the way. It takes you out of the immersion of the game in these occasions. None the less over all the gameplay is rather good at many moments in the game and conserving ammo while looking for supplies makes the gameplay immediately one of its own.

The Graphics in this game actually shows the PS3’s age.  As soon as I played “The Last Of Us” I noticed that the animations and character models was probably the best in any game for consoles to date.  On the other hand the world its self was not as beautiful.  It was still great looking, but not the best we have seen either. And the multiplayer is pretty dry in comparioson to the singleplayer. It is a stunning game still and the art-style is superb and how they captured nature taking over the world we once knew as civilization.  There is many moments in the game that will have you stop and stare at some of the scenery but it feels like most of the polygons was focused on the character models rather than the scenery which I will say paid off, but the scenery has been better in other games.

The multiplayer is a nice distraction for maybe a week or two but it was far from anything amazing.  It has a unique style to it by trying to throw in a survival/horror mix into a third person shooter multiplayer game.  Unfortunately the maps are rather dull and the multiplayer is also ugly compared to the single player.  The biggest flaw was the map designs.  My favorite playlist is “Survivor” where you have two teams pitted against each other 4vs4 with one life.  The problem was that when you first start the game off you pretty much only have two options, go left or right to a hallway that everybody ends up meeting at.  Personally my favorite class was the bow and arrow and I did enjoy myself, but I can’t brag about it either.  As you level up you get new gear and can customize your soldier.  “The Last of Us” also suffers from a few glitches as an example would be your character freezing up in multiplayer.  Not sure what was going on but I had to look up online to see if anybody else was having this problem and a few has.  I had to actually change routers completely to fix the problem.  My internet is fast enough for multiplayer and I have never had issues in any other game so this is a problem somewhere on Naughty Dog’s end.  To pari this off the weapons have little customization adn are rather weak.  The melee is broken paired off with a smoke-shiv combo you will be over-powered.  YOur choice is either use a shotty for the only reliable weapon due to the playstyle or shoot people over and over with weak weapons. Either way the multiplayer can be fun but it is anything from being the best out there.

In the end Naughty Dog delivered an amazing game that could very well possibly be the game of the year.  If Naughty Dog hasn’t already proven they are one of the best game developers this game will show you why they are considered one of the best if not the best game developers in the industry.  It is a must buy game for the superb story, Hollywood voice-acting, great gameplay, and a multiplayer that you can enjoy for a while.

Story 10
Voice-Acting 10
Gameplay 9
Multiplayer 7.5
Graphics 9
Survival Horror 9.5
Overall 9.2
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