Genre: Action Adventure, Survival Horror
Plot: Joel, a brutal survivor, and Ellie, a brave young teenage girl, must defend themselves against zombie-like creatures infected with the Cordyceps fungus, as well as hostile humans in a post-apocalyptic journey across the US in 2033.
The Last of Us is quite possibly the greatest game I’ve ever played ever, ever in the history of everything. Seriously. I recently borrowed a PS3 just to play it since I couldn’t justify purchasing one just for this game, but honestly it’s probably worth it. In a genre as saturated as zombie games it’s pretty hard to stand out, especially with powerhouse franchises like Resident Evil or Left for Dead. Even though Resident Evil 6 made me so heartbreakingly angry and sad I wanted to cry for a week and then write a month’s worth of hate mail to Capcom, but I digress. So you may be asking why is The Last of Us so amazing? Well I’ll tell you why.
First, the graphics are absolutely top notch, without question. The lush environments and character design really help create a new reality for the player to step into. There is real subtlety in the facial expressions of Joel and Ellie, lending a believability and nuance that really help you feel for these characters. I found myself just staring at the landscapes on more than one occasion. But there’s more, each environment helps to tell the story of the fall of mankind, from notes and graffiti to the abandoned that really build the sense that this was a world once lived and that really unpleasant things have since taken place.
But it’s not just the visual aesthetics that make this such an amazing game its also the story, there is real character development and the dialogue is amazing. There are no throw away lines. Each sentence helps create a narrative that helps the player understand the motivations of all the characters present. I found myself over and over again trying to catch every interaction, and even though the game lets you skip cut scenes I didn’t do it once. I actually wanted to watch all of it, to learn as much as I could these characters become real people. It is cinematic in its scope, at times it feels like you’re playing a movie. I’ve played through it twice already and there’s a part of me that wishes I could develop selective amnesia so it could be just as surprising again.
Finally the game play mechanics are just as flushed out as anything else in the game. The controls rarely feel sloppy and there is real strategy, you’ll find yourself hoarding ammo and using stealth as much as possible. But when combat gets real this game is brutal and the kill animations really signify how savage things have become. While decapitating a zombie or blowing off the limbs of a hunter can be disturbingly satisfying, there is still a part of you that feels that sting for Joel’s loss of humanity. I think my only complaint about this game is that its not eleventy billion hours long. Seriously go check this game out as soon as possible. I give a it 10 out of 10.