The Last of Us Review – Making Every Shot Count
Luis Alamilla | On 17, Jun 2013
The Last of Us is amazing. I haven’t felt so close to a game’s story or its characters this much since last year’s The Walking Dead game. The Last of Us is the newest game out of Sony owned studio Naughty Dog, the master minds behind fantastic PlayStation titles like Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, Uncharted and now The Last of Us. The Last of Us is an engaging experience that you won’t want to miss.
“I haven’t felt so close to a game’s story or its characters this much since last year’s The Walking Dead game.”
The Last of us takes place in a post apocalyptic world 20 years after a deadly infection spreads across the world. This infection turns those infected into zombie like creatures that spread the infection on to other humans by biting them. In this game you play as Joel, a middle-aged man who is given the task of take a 14-year-old girl named Ellie to the west. As for the reason behind the journey, well, I’ll let you find out the answer on your own.
The relationship between Joel and Ellie is remarkable. Playing as Joel, I felt so close to Ellie. I just want to protect her, no matter the cost. Ellie also has a lovable, humorous yet badass personality that you can’t help but fall in love with. She also has a sense of innocence because she grow up in this apocalyptic world. She never had to experience the normal teenage girl issues of worrying about boys or wondering what to wear. Ellie’s entire life has been focused on surviving this dangerous world.
“I feel so close to Ellie. I just want to protect her, no matter the cost.”
The gameplay in the last of all is fun. You control Joel in a third person shooter environment. You’ll constantly have to deal with the infected or other humans and you’ll have two ways to do so. You can attack head on or you could strategical use stealth to attack your enemies. Either way you have a choice and you’ll have to pick which you’ll do wisely because the choice could be deadly. If you attack head on, you have to take into consideration your weaponry and your ammo. Ammo is scarce, it’s the apocalypse after all. You can also craft items like bombs, smoke bombs, molotov cocktails and health packs but they’re all crafted in real-time. This means that if you’re in the middle of a battle with a group of hunters or infected and you need to create a health pack or a bomb, you better find a safe place or some sort of cover so you don’t die mid crafting session. If you choose to take on the more stealth like route, you can use bottles and bricks to create distractions for enemies and sneak up to them and kill them one by one. Either way you have a choice of how to handle things and I love the fact that the game isn’t forcing me to do a stealth mission of some sort, I can choose how I want to approach enemies.
The control scheme for the game works really well. Use the analog sticks to control Joel’s movement and point of view. L2 is to sprint while is R2 is a listeners mode where you can use the sounds around you to determine where characters and enemies are. Pushing R3 will turn on your flash light which you’ll occasionally have to charge by shaking the controller. L1 is to aim while R1 is to shoot, you can also use the x button to zoom with a scope if one is attached to your gun. Pushing R1 without aiming wil reload your weapon. The X button is used to jump, triangle is used to perform an action command, circle is to crouch, and square is a melee or combat attack.
I did have some technical hiccups with The Last of Us. During one instance I was fighting a runner in a closed bathroom and after killing it with a melee attack, I got stuck in a bathroom stall that I couldn’t escape from. My only option in the situation was to restart the level. The other instance is when I was fighting against a clicker, I was in the middle of a stabbing animation when the character model of the clicker disappears mid stabbing. The technical hiccups are there, however they’re not that frequent nor do they ruin the game’s story mode.
The infection has different stages. When one begins to turn, they’re called runners, they run after you head on and attack. Stalkers are the next stage and they’re a form of runners and the next stage which is clickers. Clickers lose their sense of sight and use sound to find they’re way around buildings. They’re deadlier than previous stages of the infection but can easily be distracted by throwing bottles towards a certain direction. Then there’s bloaters, the infection at this point has almost completely taken over the body to the point where everything is covered in fungus. This fungus also acts like armor so they’re much harder to kill. These bloaters are fast and very strong and have a mid range attack of spitting spores at you. Finally when the infection has completely taken over, the infected goes to a corner of a building where it will die and the fungus will spread across the wall releasing spores.
While the story is certainly the reason to pick this game up, The Last of Us also features a multiplayer mode that I surprisingly enjoyed more than I originally thought I would. The multiplayer mode is online only and features two different mode, team death match and survivor. Team death match is exactly what the title says, team vs. team with a time limit. However my favorite mode is the second one named survivor. It’s a game of faction vs. faction without respawns meaning when you die you die, there’s no coming back. This makes the game more exciting and the factor of surviving only more important. I think it adds an immersive feeling to the idea of the game taking place in an apocalypse where everyone is trying to survive. Having actual people vs. people makes the game only more strategic. Maps in the multiplayer mode are just big enough for what the multiplayer is trying to do, I think they suit the multiplayer mode well. Across these maps are little cases with supplies, you can gather these supplies and just like in the single player mode, you can craft items to use during the match.
The multiplayer mode also features a meta data system where you get different objectives or goals for your faction. The addition of the meta data system is cool, but I never really paid much attention to it. It was just sort of there while I played the game. Nothing attracted me to the system as much as I was connected to the game’s story. It’s disappointing really, on paper the idea seemed great, it’s just not executed as well as it could have been.
The Last of Us features some amazing acting and voice work. Character animations look great and the voice acting is even better. The entire voice cast really nailed the hammer on this one and I applaud them for their amazing work. The great voice work only makes the conversations between character more engaging and immersive I loved the overall sound and music design as well. The old classic guitar tunes fit the game’s overall design and little sound design choices like having Ellie whistle or hum different songs as you walk is brilliant.
The Last of Us is one of the prettiest games on the PS3 platform. The landscape design looks amazing and it really sets the tone for this post apocalyptic world. The changing weather conditions and season makes for some very pretty level designs. Character design look awesome as well with facial animations that perfectly fit their amazing voice work. The Last of Us isn’t just a good sounding game but it has visuals to match it too.
“The story was just too interesting and lovable that I couldn’t resist playing.”
Overall The Last of Us had me at the edge of my seat throughout the entire story. I constantly found my self trying to finish levels to progress through the story, suddenly it was midnight and I would tell my self one more level and somehow when I once again looked at the clock, it was 5:00 am. The Last of Us is just so immersive and while it has some technical hiccups, it was never enough for me to give up on the story. The story was just too interesting and lovable that I couldn’t resist playing.