The Last of Us

What would you do to survive? Would you trust people around you or would you have to resort to violence just to go on living. The Last of Us is a powerful story driven action game that shows us what it takes to survive a post-apocalyptic world.

In 2013 an outbreak happens all over the world that affects the minds of people and turns them into savage rabid beasts, eventually making them ticking time bombs that carry a spore that can infect even more people. You take the role of Joel, a sort of mercenary for hire to the person who gives the best items to survive. As you progress through the story Joel is tasked on keeping Ellie, a 14-year old girl, safe. The dynamic and growth between the two main characters will go down for the ages. The relationship which starts cold does materialize to something else due to many factors that I do not want to spoil.

Presentation: Food, items, and weapons are scarce in the world. This makes The Last of Us seem even more real. Unlike the Uncharted series, Joel cannot just shoot his way around everywhere towards his destination. Weapons need to be found and can only be modified if you find materials to do so. Again, items are scarce so this forces you to decide whether or not to shoot some enemies or try to sneak past them.

Sneaking is fun in this game and also vital if you do not have enough firepower to get through a group of numbers. Joel is able to hear the footsteps of his enemies and can improve on this sense when you upgrade that specific skill. It is a technological marvel graphically because the screen changes color and the sound focuses on the enemies movements. There are bottles and bricks that can be used to distract enemies as well. Throw them at one corner and the enemies will go check what the sound was, thus, enabling you to sneak to another area or throw a grenade at them if you want. This is essentially important against the Clickers (blind zombies).

Shooting is basic over the shoulder that has worked great for many games since it became the way to shoot for third-person games. Cover is very important and is used greatly to your advantage during shootouts. Eventually, you will take control of Ellie who can shoot a gun with the experience she gains throughout the story but her sneaking missions are some of the more challenging ones; which does make sense for her character. The locations change throughout the game because you travel across the country and they are a marvel to look at.

Graphics: The Last of Us is one of the most beautiful games out there. The lighting and shadow effects bring life to the game. The way dark rooms illuminate when you use your flashlight is realistic. You appreciate coming from a tunnel and looking up at the morning sun with its bright light shining across the skyline. This is a great part about the game; you play at different times of the day and that creates the perfect atmosphere for the game. Character models are just astonishing. Even the secondary enemies look credible and bring terror when they start rushing you. All the characters Joel and Ellie meet along the way have great animation.

Sound: The voice acting is great. Ellie steals the show with her smart remarks and you can tell how experience Joel is with surviving this harsh world. The sounds and screams of the zombie enemies are very terrifying and bring the notion of survival to another level. Gun fires and human enemies sound great and the soundtrack’s moody tunes fit the game perfectly.

Control: The Last of Us takes a lot of the mechanics that made Uncharted fun to play. Sneaking around areas really felt smooth. What is great is the difference in speed between Joel and Ellie. Of course Ellie is faster when sneaking than Joel due to age and this makes perfect sense for the development of the game. Fist fights are similar to Uncharted 3. The item pop-up menu could be a challenge for some, but once you get used to hot it works it becomes second nature.

The Last of Us has a griping story which feels very real and surpasses many similar post-apocalyptic stories out there. Scavenging for materials which was scarce at times heightened the tension of finding means to survive. The game’s conclusion will be discussed for a long time to come. Naughty Dog has outdone themselves with this game. It is not a crazy shooting action game but that does the game justice. The notion of surviving a harsh world that might get even harder makes you appreciate this masterpiece. The Last of Us is the 2013 Video Game of the Year.

Score: 10

2013 Game Awards
1st Place Overall Game of the Year (PS3/PS4)1st Place Best PS3 Game
1st Place Best PS Exclusive
1st Place Best Graphics (PS3)
1st Place Best Action Game (PS3)
1st Place Best Story (PS3)