The Last of Us takes place in post-pandemic world where a type of fungus infected the masses, thus ending society. Times are tough for the hero, Joel, who, along with his partner Tess, takes odd jobs to survive. A rebel group called the Fireflies gives Joel a mission to take the young girl, Ellie, for an unknown reason. The main goal of the game is to get Ellie to the Fireflies out West, traveling across America through ruined cities, damp caverns, lush forests, and more. It’s a captivating tale with heart at its center, but coated with gruesome enemies and dire straights that are more gripping than a lot of pandemic type narratives.
In this 3rd person shooter, there’s an emphasis on stealth and a looming vibe of survival horror as supplies are scarce. Players will have to choose their moves wisely as rushing through environments will likely end in death, or worse, low supplies for the next battle. The enemy AI is intensely smart, and the same can be said about Joel’s partners, though the AI does have its hiccups. Getting back to the combat, when Joel makes it safely past enemies, or winds up taking them down, either way is a satisfying, brutal experience. Everything feels right from the weapon selection, to crating tools like Molotov cocktails to take down large squads. It can be a bit overpoweringly challenging so tread carefully.
Gorgeous: the word to describe The Last of Us. Every location is finely crafted, with beautiful graphics and excellent art design. Despite the overbearing situations, players will find it hard not to just stop and look around. The music takes a back seat to the actual sound design making the voice cast shine, enemy cries scare, and environments sound authentic. The game is best when played at night, with a good set of stereo headphones. With a New Game+ mode, tons of extras, and even a good multiplayer thrown in, it’s an excellent package.
The Last of Us may as well be called The Last Swan Song of the PS3. It’s a fantastic game to put this generation for Sony to rest. The compelling story, brutal combat, gorgeous levels, and the addition of tons of extras make it a fine addition to the PS3 family. Despite smaller issues, Naughty Dog outdid themselves, again.
Score: 5/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on June 26, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.