The Last of Us review
Take Uncharted, Tomb Raider and Heavy Rain, add some feelings and stick them in a blender. Will it blend? Sure. The outcome is this masterpiece from Naughty Dog going by the name The Last of Us.
Welcome to the real world. A world that’s full of disaster and thus is all about survival. It’s another zombie outbreak, and the military tries to get a hold of the chaos and turn it back to order. Nothing is as it was before – no TV, hardly any radio, and no luxuries such as coffee. It’s all about trying to survive and fight for your cause.
So the current state is…
After the outbreak, people settled in groups that was more or less organised in attempt to keep infected at bay. The military seem to have control over certain cities, while other cities has fallen either to the infected or to the Hunters. These people are scavengers and don’t really care if the people they meet are alive or not – if they are, a quick and coldblooded takedown for possible food is their way of living. The Fireflies seems to be the rebel group against the military and is quite possible the faction that I’d like to see win this war.
Walkers. Zombies. Infected. Biters. Walking Deads. Undead. Beloved kids goes by with many names. Sometimes we experience zombies as slow and walking corpses that rots. Other times they mutate. The latter is what is going on here, and the player even gets to experience the different stages the infected go through. When a human being is getting infected, they literally go maniac, and I’d guess it’s the bacterias way of getting spread, by affecting the brain to attack everything with a pulse. Humans can also get infected by spores. As you progress you will meet the various stages such as Clickers and Bloaters.
A cute couple with no romantic tension
The interaction between Joel and Ellie are fantastic, and Naughty Dog has definitely outdone themselves. I simply adore the fact that you might be playing the big guy and escorting a young woman around, but it’s not like she can’t take care of herself. Numerous times she will prove herself worthy of a fight.
I found myself a couple of times not really sure where I was or where I was going, not to mention you have to be quite close to collectibles and loot to actually see them – so I guess that collectibles might be easy to miss. How to stay alive is very well thought through – you have to be at a safe space to patch yourself up just to make an example as you’re giving the enemy a chance to attack while you’re vulnerable.
The Last of Us is doing a great job of mixing it up between exploration (you will need as much loot as possible in order to survive and they are scarce), shooting enemies which are mostly Hunters at encounters, and if you are running low on ammo, you have to shift strategy and lure your enemies into the right position by throwing bottles or bricks, then take them down either by a quick melee or a good old hand-to-hand fight. Which is just awesome executed by the way.
To avoid being spotted by the enemy, you can use the very well made listening mode. By doing so, other people nearby gets highlighted, even when not in sight. This gives you the upper hand and a chance to sneak around and take down the enemy one by one instead of an open firefight that might get you killed. Be aware though, even the slightest noise will alert their team mates. The AI is pretty good and it shines through when you sneak around a group of enemies that is searching for you.
Playing with friends
The multiplayer is rather entertaining. Usually I am not into shooters, but the more I played, the more I liked it. I even started to understand why shooters can be so appealing to certain gamers. It’s all about playing with the right people and trying to work together. Furthermore, Naughty Dog didn’t try and make the multiplayer the main thing for the game, and I would actually be a little surprised if they released any paid DLC for the multiplayer.
With two modes (deathmatch and survival) and only a handful of maps, you quickly get used to the maps and what to do. The levelling system is quite different from what we are used to – instead of looking at a dull XP number raising, you are instead treated to numbers of survivors in the clan you’re a part of. You have to collect food and tools in order to expand your clan – these collectibles are found scattered around in the multiplayer maps, and also drops when killing an enemy. On top of it you do actually win XP dependant on how well you’re doing – but these XPs are converted to food points at the end of a match, and if you gather more than required, you will get more survivors in your clan.
As you’ve probably seen in gameplay trailers, the graphics and animations are stunning. What you’ve seen is what you get with this game. Naughty Dog has gotten so good at developing for the PlayStation 3 that this game is truly the best looking one on the console. Walking through a forest will make you stop and just listening and watching – the ambient sounds are magnificent and stays true to your surroundings. Same goes for when you’re walking in a town that are in the middle of being swallowed by the nature – the details of the crumbling buildings are just marvelous and stunning.
The only glitch I’ve experienced so far is when Ellie stands in the way. At one point I was supposed to go up a ladder, but Ellie stood in front of it, so when I attempted to climb, Joel lifted his foot, flapped his arm and gave up the climb. It made me laugh, and this is absolutely not gamebreaking, as Ellie either can be pushed aside or will automatically move after a little while.
This game is not going unnoticed, not even by the mainstream media. The story is far too complex and enticing that everyone who plays it will be blown away, and I don’t think anybody will be able to brace themselves and keep quiet about the game to their friends. This game will also most definitely win a good chunk of awards. It gives you what it promises and more. It tells you a story that you won’t be able to foresee and you won’t forget it either. Spiced up with a fun multiplayer, I see no reason to not get this game.
Miss; Oh boy. I simply can’t pinpoint anything that should be here. This happens only rarely (this is the first, Uncharted 3 would have had the same problem) but the game really is that good.
Need; I would have loved to see some co-op, if not local (splitscreen on two screens, please!), then at least online. Sorta the same way they do in Donkey Kong. The secondary player (playing as Ellie) won’t get any save game, and everything that player collects go directly to the primary player. Naughty Dog, make it happen.