There are a lot of games in the market, some good ones and some bad ones, but once in a while we get that one game that just blows us away. The Last of Us; Naughty Dog’s wonderfully crafted art has finally hit the stores and if you want a real treat, you should do yourself a favor and get this one, but before you do, we would like to tell you how great this game is first.
The first thing you notice about this game is the stunning visuals and the world they put you in. You play as Joel, a hardened survivor of a “zombie” apocalypse tasked with getting a girl named Ellie to a group known as the Fireflies. We don’t want to ruin the whole story for you, but what we can tell you is that you would want to stick around and let the story transport you in a world where all hope is almost lost and where people must do almost anything to survive. The story is the heart and soul of the game. Most of the time you’ll be very excited to see what would happen next, but the very core of the story isn’t in the tale of the two survivors; it’s in the little details that go with you along the journey. Stumble upon a record store and your partner, Ellie looks around and flips through the discs talking about how people don’t listen to music anymore or get into a certain place and she’ll talk about how bad it might smell or how cool it would be to live there. It’s this emotional draw toward characters that would impact your playtime in the game, and we found ourselves helping the AI often first rather than ourselves when enemies are afoot. The characters in the story are one you will remember, we did find ourselves remembering almost the full cast because of the impact they made across our journey and you have several instances where your jaw will drop at certain cutscenes. Needless to say, if it means anything to you, get this game, you’ll thank us for the advice.
Graphics and sounds are also too notch. The atmosphere of a post apocalyptic world is truly astonishing in this game. Buildings are slowly being taken by flora, dust particles and sunlight gives the world a rather lush, yet poisonous aura that reflects how the world came to a sudden end. Simply exploring your environment can tell you the story of what has happened there and collecting journals and notes along the way just gives you the detail where and how hell broke lose. Though nothing can compare more to how detailed the characters are. You will feel their pain simply by looking into their eyes. Accompanied by an outstanding performance by the actors and actresses, the world becomes that much believable.
The sound in the game is simply awesome, we don’t have to cover voice acting, because it’s you already have a good sense of how good it is. The eerie sound of “clickers”, zombiefied-fungi infected people, present a threat similar to most horror games. Sound becomes a huge part of the game when you deal with distracting a clicker since they have the ferocity to kill in an instant. Distant chatter of enemies provides both intel and reason behind their action.
Creating a proper AI that can work with you in a game is pretty rare and Naughty Dog has somewhat nailed it. You’ll be accompanied by AI characters through out the game. The great thing about the AI is that it’s smart enough to help you out and assist you. When facing enemies, you’ll be thankful that Ellie is there to bust you out of certain situations with her trusted pocket knife or a thrown object. Sometimes they’ll be there to coordinate a double takedown or a synchronized shot against enemies. Your foes will be doing the same thing, though they would usually have the unfair advantage by sniping you with a handgun, lobbing Molotovs right where you are and searching your exact location when alerted. A throw of a bottle may get them distracted, but the minute they get alerted, you either get a swarm of the infected headed to your general location or an army of blood thirsty hunters your way, even though the noise you caused is miles from your position. It is odd that there isn’t a co-op option in the game, your adventures mainly involve company and the puzzles require the use of two and sometimes even more characters to solve. It’s not much but an addition of cooperative gameplay would’ve been such a pleasure given how the gameplay revolves to main protagonists.
Multiplayer though, is a nice touch. If you’re done hunting the infected ad would love the idea of a challenge, you’ll fine many of them bustling online. As you start, you are given options whether you would side with the hope driven Fireflies or the relentless hunters. As you play, you’ll be presented by challenges in two game modes, one where it’s your basic death-match and the other is basically the same concept but without respawns until the beginning of the next round. Leveling up grants you more weapons and abilities and customization is present for those looking into making their avatar as badass as they see fit. The addition of a colony with the use of your Facebook friends is an interesting touch in trying to create a story behind the multiplayer games, but we paid no or little attention to it since there was nothing there to keep you engaged in trying to keep your colony alive aside from the missions the game assigns you by killing X amount of enemies or crafting X amount of times.
Fun Factor: 8.5/10
Gameplay revolves around stealth, there are instances where you have the chance to go all Rambo on occasion, but remember, the minute you leave that cover and gain the wanted attention, you’ll find yourself restarting constantly. Your best friends in this game is the O and R2 button, where the O button gets you in a crouching position to give you better cover and mask your sound around silence and the R2 button uses Joel’s unbelievable hearing ability to see through walls and spot enemies as long as they make a sound. Crafting is also a key essential tool to use as you see a lot of gear laying around. You can craft items such as medkits, nail grenades, Molotovs and much more. You’ll find a variety of weapons along the way, and to be honest, we were disappointed with the assortment of armaments in the game. You’ll mainly find yourself using a handgun, shotgun and on occasion a rifle, anything outside outside of that is basically in the category of either unused or useless. Finding scraps around gives you the ability to upgrade your guns and also grants the ability to carry more guns rather than switching them out from your backpack.
Puzzles are simple and easy to solve, though it lacks variety when most of the things you do is either help Ellie reach here or find something you can walk or climb on.
In addition to the single player experience, the multiplayer experience is something to explore, it plays out similarly to the single player missions where you can use the hearing skill, craft weapons and even upgrade on the go. We found ourselves just plainly having fun, but what immerses us is the fact that we also fall silent as if the enemies can hear us through the television and give our position to enemy players.
It is really rare to see games like the Last of Us, the basic fact that this game can get to your emotional spectrum really opens your mind about how we would fare in a survival situation. If we had the chance, we would give a higher score for the story itself, since it gave us one hell of a story to experience. The gameplay aspects has its share of flaws, but then again which game does? It is the reinvention of stealth action combined with the clever AI that makes the game worth the play. Jumping into multiplayer is also a bonus, adding into the experience of survival against other people. There is a reason why this is one of the best games out there, even other companies have claimed that this is the game of the decade. Whether you believe it of not, if you’re a gamer and have a Playstation, you owe it to yourself to get this game. And if you have the other systems, we advise you play this as well, so you can simply experience the game.