I organized a nice cozy diner last week to kind of try and celebrate my birthday and a dear friend of mine was kind enough to bring a birthday cake and The Last of Us as present. I’ve played the game for about 4~ish hours now and I know he’s eagerly waiting for me to review it so here goes… Just keep in mind I have not finished the game yet and I’ve only played single player so far so I may not be aware of everything but I think I have a pretty firm grasp of the game. Anyway, here goes nothing…

For those of you who have been living under a rock, The Last of Us is a post apocalypse survival/horror type of game developed by Naughty Dog who is the team behind the excellent Uncharted series… And even if you do not know Naughty Dog, I’m pretty sure you’d figure this out by yourself ought to the fact that the main characters from those games look really alike.

Anyway, most of the game (except the beginning bit) takes place 20 years after humanity fell victim to some sort of parasite that turns people into some zombie-like things… And I’m saying zombie-like because they’re not technically undead, but infected… So they do not qualify to be called zombies but let’s say they have everything you could imagine a zombie would be except the undead part. Not that it really matters as I do not see infected people filing for social security or anything… But I diverge…

So after that infection hit us, people have been living in quarantine zones with police or army forces who manage them… So you can’t really say the government has completely collapsed as there still is some form of authority in those zones/camps, but once you step outside it’s pretty shitty and chaotic… And this here somehow made me feel like I was playing Half Life 2 again for some reason… Maybe the atmosphere is similar or something…

You play as Joel and your mission is to escort that little girl named Ellie across post apocalyptic Washington D.C. (Well, I assume it’s Washington D.C. because of the Capitol) and so far the whole thing has been awesome for me.

Let’s talk about the graphics first… They’re awesome… And when I say awesome I mean really crazy good… So good I would venture to say this game has the best graphics on PS3 hands down. The lighting, the shading, the motion captures of the characters, the lip-sync… I think what really got me was the facial expressions that really match what the characters are experiencing or feeling. You can see the sadness in their eyes and everything… Man, after 10 minutes of game, when the apocalypse happens, I thought I was gonna cry when Joel’s daughter died (woops, spoiler…).

The scenery in The Last of Us is really good too… When you’re outside the quarantine zone and looking up at the buildings and they’re all leaning on each other, you just feel there’s nothing left of humanity out there… Everything’s gone and it looks and feels like the apocalypse with a big A.

The game play is pretty good too. I have to say, in most games like The Last of Us, you either have your entire arsenal ready to choose from at your fingertips or just the couple of guns you have to choose and those are the weapons you have to work with, period… The Last of Us is kind of in between on that aspect, as you do have a couple of guns you have to choose from your entire arsenal but it’s only to assign them to your hotkeys and the rest of the weapons are kept warm in your backpack… You can’t change them out just at the push of a button, only a couple of them can be hotkeyed, and you can change hotkeys assignment any time in the game by holding X and assigning a new weapon. And in my opinion, it’s a good way to do it because if you’re in a post apocalyptic trip and you come across a gun you’re not gonna be like “too bad I can’t carry that gun cuz’ I’m already holding 3 keys in my inventory”… Man that was something that really pissed me off in the first Resident Evil on Playstation…

Crafting is really good in that game as well. I usually do not like crafting that much and if I have the choice to just use what I have handy or craft stuff… Well, let’s say I just choose to be lazy because crafting in games usually takes a lot of efforts to go through. But in The Last of Us, crafting is pretty straight forward… You walk around, you collect scraps and you combine them to make something useful like a shiv or Molotov cocktails… And Molotovs are super awesome.

Stealth kills are good too and I’m starting to get really good at it as ammo is pretty limited in the game… Not super scarce but rare enough that you’ll think twice before firing your weapon and usually end up going for stealth. And to be honest stealth kills are so much more rewarding than shooting a target from a distance. When you grab the target, you get the option to either choke them or shiv them to death, and the guy just squirms and struggles and tries to grab your heard… Almost makes me feel like I’m killing someone for real. Once again, just like facial expression and all, the body language feels like the characters in the game are real people. Then it’s either the victim’s eyeballs roll over as your choking them or you throw them on the ground and stomp their skull until it bursts… And even then, the sound they make and the twitching is really convincing.

Doing all this nasty stuff with Joel makes you really feel he’s some badass survivor dude who’s been living in this effed up world for 20 years. He’s probably done some dark deeds in order to survive but he’s learnt to survive… Which is fair game in an apocalypse as it’s “kill or be killed”, right? And then you’ve got Ellie who’s 14 years old and who’s only known that world she lives in now and they’ve made her that way. By that I mean she’s not that really shy reserved little girl who’s lost and needs help. She knows what’s going on, she’s got the attitude of someone who’d be born during a time like that one, she swears and she even helps you shooting stuff. I think game developers have learnt how to make escort games more fun…  Usually in any game, if there’s an escort mission I’d be the first one to pass on it… So an escort GAME? No way… But since Bioshock Infinite where that girl just keeps on bringing ammo to you and find stuff for you, escorts are fun again. And for all you perverts out there, by “escorts” I mean “escort missions”…

Another cool thing about the parasite spores that’s wiping out humanity in the game is that it’s a parasite that actually exists in our world… But it only affects ants in the rain forest or something. So in the game it now affects humanity as well, and it’s always cool when it’s based on something real and the developers tweak it to their needs because it makes you think that could eventually happen and end up like in The Last of Us.

So basically, I love the graphics, love the gameplay, love the characters so far… It’s the apocalypse survival game I wish the Resident Evil franchise was. Why did Capcom have to turn Resident Evil into an action game…? The Last of Us is the living proof that survival/horror can still be awesome.

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