With the world in chaos and some nefarious fungus the cause of the zombie apocalypse, Grant finds himself knee-deep in The Last Of Us. Join him in this story driven survival horror meets action-adventure game as it takes him on a captivating journey in a very broken world.
The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic America. A fungus that affects people’s minds and causes them to go into a crazed zombie-like state has wiped out most of civilization. Many of the survivors of this human-infecting fungus have taken refuge in military controlled quarantine zones where strict martial law is set on the residents. A rebel group known as the Fireflies have arisen to try and free the people from this control. Outside of these zones there are small pockets of people fighting for survival on their own.
You play as Joel, a smuggler who seems to care so little for anyone other than himself it’s surprising you ever warm up to him. His path crosses with a very optimistic young girl named Ellie. In stark contrast to Joel, Ellie is lighthearted and incredibly likeable character. Joel, very reluctantly, chooses to go along a journey with Ellie making for a very emotional and enjoyable story. The chemistry between these two polar opposites is remarkable and was for me is one of the highlights of the game.
Along your travels, you will encounter several other interesting characters who provide much needed life into the otherwise desolate world. All these characters have unique and well played out personalities and provide for some very memorable sequences. The story is at times a bit too cliché and predictable however I would still rate it up there as one of the best I’ve played through.
The Last Of Us provides a good mix of exploration and combat. You explore areas to find useable items such as ammunition, parts for upgrading weapons and salvageable items like blades and explosives. The salvageable items can be used to craft something cool like a nail bomb or a shiv. These items add an extra dimension to the otherwise very straight forward combat.
If you prefer purely combat orientated games, you may be disappointed. While not bad, some aspects could have been improved or expanded to provide a more diverse and enjoyable experience. One of the good combat mechanics was the Listen Mode. By activating this mode you are able to see enemies through walls based on the sounds they are making. This allows for a more tactical and planned approach to clearing out an area. Outside of this, combat was relatively standard with a basic cover and stealth system in play.
Due to your scarce ammo supply, you will mostly rely on stealth to take down enemies. This is unfortunate as I found using the stealth more tedious than enjoyable. Once you are spotted, you will then have to rely on your weapons. You will find the combat becomes much more enjoyable towards the end. Initially, you have just a pistol at your disposal which is actually a bit dull however as you progress you unlock some pretty awesome weapons and weapon upgrades. Despite all this, clumsy enemy AI makes killing an enemy feel a bit too easy.
The worst part of the combat is the artificial approach to ammo management. Enemies who carry guns don’t always drop ammunition. However, you will find ammo in places you wouldn’t expect like already ransacked houses and occasionally on the bodies of the infected. Weapons also have a much lower ammo capacity than I would have liked. This compelled me to have a conservative approach to ammo usage however I felt that this could have been achieved through less artificial means.
The events surrounding this post-apocalyptic world seemed to affect people’s judgment; with human enemies opting to call out their attack plan and split up into one person search parties. This made combat a bit easier, however at times it was cringe worthy. Overhearing a discussion about how you just took down a whole chunk of their forces then seeing them split up and explore areas individually definitely didn’t make me feel like I was taking down worthy opposition.
The AI of your companions outside of combat is great and further made the characters feel more alive. As you wander around an area, your companions will frequently interact with the environment and begin dialogue based on this. Things go downhill however in a combat situation. When you are trying to remain hidden near enemies your companion will often do strange and stupid things like run around in-front of them or change cover at ill thought out moments. This is okay though as the enemy will just pretend they aren’t there. At one stage I had one of my companions running into an enemy who just ignored them and carried on.
Visually, The Last Of Us looks exceptional. I would easily rate it up there with the best graphics I’ve seen on a console game. The setting changes drastically from inside sewers to a long abandoned town full of overgrowth. The character models are great with a high level detail making them look almost real.
In terms of sound, the voice acting for all major characters was superb however the music and sound effects is very average. Often the music doesn’t really fit in with the situation. The sound effects are adequate however I never really noticed anything exceptional.
The multiplayer mode included in The Last Of Us is surprisingly decent and provides for some additional playtime outside of its 15+ hour campaign. The premise is that you have a clan that you must provide for. You get supplies by playing multiplayer matches through killing enemies and collecting parts. Each match that you play is equal to a day. Your clan grows based on how much extra supplies you have at the end of each match.
The idea of this was great however soon my clan became more of a meaningless number to me that was a chore to try and provide for. This didn’t stop from the actually matches from being fun. Inside the match you are able to collect parts and craft items. You unlock weapons and survivor skills based on the total supplies you have gathered. Unfortunately, there is only two game modes to choose from and of that I really only enjoyed one of them.
It’s a refreshing sight seeing a new IP being released by a first party studio so close to the end of this console generation. The risks both Naughty Dog and Sony took over this decision was definitely worth it with The Last of Us turning out to be, overall, a great game. If you enjoy a story-focused action-adventure game then this may be what you have been waiting for. A word of warning though, the game does start out slow, however the latter part of the game is definitely worth the wait.
About Grant Cheetham
Grant Cheetham has been a passionate gamer since he first picked up a controller. Based in Sydney, Grant decided to take his passion for games a step further and start writing about them. When not trying to improve his Gamerscore he is often found in Minecraft building monuments to himself.