The Last Of Us – PlayStation 3
Platform: PlayStation 3
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date (WW): June 14, 2013
Nerd Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Reviewed by Kitters
The Last of Us was a beautifully written 3rd person shooter game by Naughty Dog. This game was a PlayStation 3 exclusive that makes having the console very much worth it. The game is played from three different characters perspectives with the main one being Joel, the second being Ellie, and the character having the smallest play time is Sarah (Joel’s daughter). Joel was a single father launched into a catastrophic world that is overrun by the Cordyceps Brain Infection, a spore-based infection that rapidly spreads once a victim is bitten. The beginning of the game Joel loses his daughter in a run in with a soldier whom is trying to contain the virus; Joel managing to make it out alive.
Fast forwarding 20 years to the year 2033 we see our character Joel, much older looking than when we first played as him in the beginning. Some of the most notable things about this game was the magnificent appearance of these characters. They all had the appearance of being so real which goes to show just how hard Naughty Dog worked on this game. I was completely awestruck with how amazing EVERYTHING looked. From the atmosphere of the area you started in and it’s serene beauty of the modern city to 20 years later being in the realistic looking apocalyptic city, this game immersed me from the beginning. I got so side-tracked in actually playing this game that I had found myself stopping multiple times to talk about how amazing it was being able to see the moss on the bricks and the littered streets. Being able to feel myself in the area was one of the most enchanting things about the game, and yet it got even better.
The character development in this game is one of the best I have ever felt. I mean I could feel myself loving Joel, and feeling sad about his losses and what he has had to go through. Once in this new world though he had a great friend and partner, named Tess; the two were smugglers where they frequently had to sneak outside of the city limits to illegally to sell and trade with other survivors. The two of them wind up trying to find the leader, Marlene, of an anti-government militia group called the FireFlies, who got possession of their guns that they were meant to trade. Marlene stated that she would return the weapons as long as they smothered something out for her, Ellie, who may be mankind’s only hope.
Scientists still had not discovered a vaccine to keep the people from turning and they were running low on hope that a cure would ever be found. Joel was very harsh on Ellie, very cold and distant not wanting to let himself get close to her at all. Leaving the city we see another new scenery, the even more deserted area that these diseased zombie-like humans are at. Little by little you come face to face with them and depending on the difficulty you’re playing on depends on the tactics you can use to avoid these infected beings. I tried two different games, one on easy and one on a much harder difficulty. The difference in combat was absolutely astonishing! On easy I could shoot them all no problems and easily push them off or shank them given the opportunity. Resources were also fairly common to find, which they helped you to create bandages, Molotov, and bombs galore. However on the harder difficulty I had to be extremely stealthy as the slightest bit of sound would alarm every one of the infected in the area. It was also much more difficult to make anything and shanks no longer killed the enemy, but was the only way to get them off of you if you were grabbed. The incredible change in difficulties really affects how you play the game, how you strategize your moves, your kills, and how you think in the game all together.
Reaching the meeting point where the duo is supposed to drop off Ellie they find that all of the FireFlies in the area are dead and Tess gets really worked up. A vehicle is heard outside with what sounds to be the military coming to kill all inside. Tess manages to distract them long enough for Joel to get Ellie to safety. After getting out they go to find an old friend of Joels’, Bill, who may have some information on where he can find the FireFlies and to cash in on a favor Bill owes him. This is when the connections between our characters really start to grow, as we progress in the game it’s almost heartwarming to see our character Joel care for Ellie. They begin to have this special bond, an almost father-daughter like bond. You could almost feel yourself in Joel’s shoes and you yourself grew to loving Ellie.
Gaining a car from Bill we run into a group of hunters who cut the ride very short by ambushing Joel and forcing them to continue on foot. After running from the hunters for what seems like forever we meet yet another couple, brothers Sam and Henry who are also trying to escape. The four decide to work together to pass over the bridge, which is heavily guarded by hunters. The task is not easy, and Sam and Henry leave Joel and Ellie behind to pursue freedom before they are captured and killed by the hunters. Luckily though they escape and wind up washed ashore across the bridge and back into the presence of Sam and Henry. Joel is still mad with Sam for abandoning them, but knows if he were in the position he would have done the same. Going through sewers they get caught in a hoard of ‘clickers’, which act similar to bats as the spores have grown so much they have lost their vision. Which is another aspect of the game that is very interesting, you can see the progression of this spore-based virus that people were infected with. The longer they were infected the more mutated and more dangerous they become.
Soon after that they head off in search of Joels brother, whom we saw at the beginning of the game, Tommy. They reach their safehold and have a heartwarming reunion and catch up a little bit on lost time. Joel tells Tommy about Ellie, and that he wants Tommy to take her to the FireFlies because he doesn’t want to. Ellie, hearing this steals a horse and runs off forcing Joel and Tommy to go find her. Finally when Tommy agrees he will take her, Joel realizing his feelings and protectiveness over her, tells him to forget about it because he will take her. After leaving the stronghold Joel and Ellie set off again to find the campus that the FireFlies supposed to be doing their research. When they get there however they find the place is overrun with the infected with the FireFlies nowhere to be found, and here come more hunters who were sent to kill Joel. In the midst of the fight Joel falls and gets impaled by a metal rod going through him in the abdomen area, Ellie manages to pull him off of it and get him on the horse for a quick getaway.
It’s winter now and we get to play as Ellie, who is taking care of Joel who seems to be in a comatose like state, most likely due to infection and pain. She decides to go hunting for food and runs into two strangers who offer her a trade for a massive buck she killed. She agrees as long as it’s medication to help Joel. One of the guys goes to the camp to get the items and the other stays with her to wait on the trade. Unfortunately a huge hoard is approaching and they have to fend it off. Ellie’s combat is worlds different from Joels, she does not have the strength to push off enemies so with her stealth is the only way to go, making her bow and arrow very useful.
It is able to make silent kills which keeps other clickers from attacking her. In the heat of the battle, the man begins to tell Ellie about himself and the group he is trying to keep safe. We quickly come to realize that this is the man who has been trying to kill Joel. She escapes with the antibiotics, and finds that the men are now hunting her and Joel down. In a desperate attempt to draw them away from Joel she gets caught by the men and held captive by the leader who is harassing her. We now play as a disoriented Joel who wakes up to find Ellie missing. He sets off to find her while at the same time she is trying to escape. The game play gets very interesting here as we get to jump back and forth between our two characters, trying to protect both of them as they try to find each other worried for the others safety. Ellie, managing to get away is now taking refuge in a restaurant where the man who captured her is now trying to kill her. She manages to fend him off and escape meeting back up with Joel. It’s at this point in the game where you can see just how much they have bonded and what they are willing to go through for each other.
As they continue on their journey, they finally reach the area where the FireFlies are. There are wild animals roaming and Ellie gets to pet a giraffe. Finally they meet up with the FireFlies who take Ellie. Due to the stories ending I strongly urge you to play for yourself. I can not talk about what happened, but the games ending is one that made me cry. This game that had me so caught up in the story I could not put down the controller until it was over. The story isn’t really great for replaying for the fact that the story does not change, though it is worth replaying on another difficulty level just to witness for yourself how much of a difference it is.
Now is when I am going to point out a flaw I had with this game. I’ll go ahead and say the controls were really good the entire game, it was easy to shoot and to take cover and be stealthy. The major flaw though was the controls for swimming, it was so difficult to control Joel under water and Ellie could not even swim, so you would have to find another way for her to get across water. There was not too many areas in which you had to swim but when you did it was very difficult. Overall though that is the only flaw I can point out and there weren’t too many places where swimming was necessary. The game was breath taking and extremely immersive and if there are other flaws, they are so small you don’t even care. This was a magnificent game and the scary part about it is that the infection these people had were real. This spore-based infection is not in humans though, it is most common in bugs such as ants and beetles. Knowing that fact though, makes for a really creepy scenario in which I haven’t seen before so I applaud Naughty Dog and recommend everyone to play this game. Especially if you love games that grab your heart and make you feel something for a fictional character.
Another thing this game has, like many others, are the Easter eggs located throughout the game. Where I won’t say, but they have things such as previous games, and other merchandise Naughty Dog has had. It is really interesting to go through the game and look for them. It is also a game that should be played slowly, giving you a chance to look around and see how amazing the surroundings are. It took me about 13 hours to play through on easy, taking my time to be stealthy and enjoy my surroundings. On difficult however, it took twice as long due to the change in the way the combat had become and running into an area to clear it was no longer an option.
This game is seriously worth borrowing a friends PlayStation or just buying the game if you already own a PlayStation. It is a story that will touch your heart and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s got an amazing feel to it and the characters are so life like. Another thing I love (as a side note for anyone interested) if you check youtube, there is an alternative ending that is really cool. Please play through the game first before watching it, as it is the ending and will spoil it for you. It was an improve version of the ending and it was super cool to see how they created the game.
Reviewed by Kitters
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