When The Last Of Us was released on June 14th 2013 on the Playstation 3, it was a revelation Naughty Dog had managed to create a game that in my opinion was hands down the best game I had ever played. Never before has a game pushed me through an opening 15 minutes like The Last of Us managed, many of you reading this won’t be aware that I am a dad to a 6 year old and it was suggested recently that, that in a nutshell is why I was so moved by such an amazing game and he was probably right.
When the Playstation 4 was announced THE reason I kept my Playstation 3 was because of The Last Of Us, when the rumours started regarding a PS4 version I was excited about the prospects especially after following on from Tomb Raider which proved a huge hit.
There is a reason The last Of Us has received of 200 awards including numerous Best Game Awards, as well as awards for Audio, Action and Adventure and Best Performance. The Magicians at Naughty Dog have turned the 2013 Game of The Year and actually improved on perfection. The Last Of Us Remastered gives smoother animation, richer detail wrapped round the Dual Shock 4 controller and includes all the DLC released. Taking this as an example of what the studio can do I am sure I am not alone in being really excited for the 2015 release of Uncharted 4.
For those who haven’t played the game yet here is the story :-
The Last of Us takes place 20 years after a global outbreak of infection mutates most of the population into deformed and monstrous creatures which in turns causes the destruction of civilisation. There are areas where survivors gather in either small groups of heavily policed quarantine zones either way food is scarce and people live in fear from either the monstrous creatures or from heavy handed police.
The game starts in the present day Joel and his daughter Sarah, Joel has just returned from a hard day at work to find his daughter just woken up on the sofa, she hands him his birthday present a brand new watch. Straight away you get the impression that Sarah is a fiery character and the two of them sit and watch TV before Joel carries her to bed. Sarah is woken up by a phone call from her Uncle Tommy who is looking for her dad, the line goes dead and she goes to find her dad. It is here that you will start to see that something is actually quite wrong, police sirens go past the house and a news report on the TV ends abruptly then you see an explosion in the distance.
The Last of Us places Joel and Sarah into the situation that is happening right now and shows them responding to it as quite honestly any person would do. You get the impression from Sarah that she can be a fiery character, but she is also kind and questions things that she doesn’t agree with. Whereas with Joel it is obvious that the only thing that matters to him is keeping Sarah safe and that is going to mean some hard decisions along the way.
The Last Of Us is not just a game, it is a story and one of the many things that developer Naughty Dog is good at is Story Telling. You are given this environment and you know that something big is happening because of the sounds outside and the news report but nobody is aware just how bad it is, because it is happening right now. It is a game that is going to make you care about the characters and take you on a roller-coaster journey of emotion with them as they fight to survive,
Joel deals with it by taking odd jobs to get food and shelter and that is his daily life, he simply does what he needs to survive. There are times throughout the game that he is obviously haunted by his past, especially when his is introduced to Ellie who has only known the world as it is now. He is tasked with protecting Ellie and at first he finds it very difficult to trust her however as time progresses Ellie proves that she is telling the truth.
There are many little pieces placed within the game that show Ellie’s soft side, that for many of us would just be an everyday occurrence but for Ellie who has never seen things before she is full of questions and wonder of the world. As the game progresses and her knowledge of the past grows through conversations with Joel and things they stumble onto along the way it is impossible not to become attached to her as she steals the story. One of the features in the game is Joel’s listening ability which allows you to see where enemies are even through walls, this starts with a fairly localised area but as time goes on you can upgrade this and it really does help especially if your looking for stealth kills. For the hardcore gamer you do have the ability to turn this off, personally I’ve enjoyed having it on as there are sections later on which were even difficult with this function on!!
Multiplayer is something that I was worried about with The Last of Us how would it be possible to deliver a multiplayer experience based on this title, however Naughty Dog have managed it. I expected a run and gun more Uncharted feel of the multiplayer however I couldn’t have been further from the truth. You’ll have to gather ingredients from around the battlefield like nails, rags, alcohol, knives, and bindings to craft your own gear like nail bombs, Molotov cocktails, and even health packs. This is simply done tho through an easy access menu system. Because supplies in the game are very limited you find yourself looking for stealthy kills and conserving ammo as if you run in all guns blazing often you will be picked off by 1 or 2 of the opposing team, as I discovered quite early on.
Each player begins with a clan of five people chosen from one of two clans; The fireflies and The Hunters. Clans are specific to each player, and everyone has their own off-screen virtual survivalist group to cater to. As you succeed in the multiplayer, your clan will grow. More people means more mouths to feed, more shelter to maintain, and more illnesses to treat before they spread throughout the encampment. Your score in the game is calculated by parts which can be used in game to purchase ammo, armor or even upgrade your weapon.
The Last of Us is everything that we thought we would get from a developer like Naughty Dog and more. The game is simply stunning I have tried to find fault in the title, I have sat through painstaking number of hours just to see a section of the game that I thought….”ahhhh there it is” where something doesn’t feel right but with The Last of Us that moment simply never came. It is my opinion that what Naughty Dog have created is not only one of the Best games on the Playstation 3 that I have ever seen but the Best game of this generation of consoles.