The Last of Us Review
Life sucks in The Last of Us. For more than two decades, civilization has devolved to the point that you have a hard time differentiating people from the monsters that prey on them. It’s a madhouse world but for a young woman like Ellie, there might still be hope.
And in a world plagued by horror and suffering, a woman like Ellie is possibly the only hope humanity has against dangers from both zombies and itself.
A grim and terrifying survival game, The Last of Us nonetheless provides us with great gameplay and story. It’s a chilling and cynical ride through post-apocalyptic America, but players are nonetheless presented with a more optimistic look with both Ellie and Joel traveling through a devastated landscape.
The dark ride begins with the spread of the pandemic in the 70s and how it destroys the world around a father and daughter, Joel and Ellie. We are soon introduced to Joel, who is seeking to protect his daughter from a world gone mad through a bizarre fungus that transforms people into zombies as well as the bandits and cannibals who have followed in its wake.
The Last of Us has proven itself to be quite an interesting journey that forces players to follow the plot in order to fully understand the predicament that the heroes must face as they seek shelter from a world that has degenerated into a horror show of its former self. Another more surprising and delightful development would be the fact that the survivors you encounter are every bit as apathetic and opportunistic as actual survivors of such a catastrophe would actually be like.
As father and daughter travel through the devastated and dying remains of the Unites States, we also get a better idea on the nature of the two survivors and what it takes to be the ultimate survivor in such a world. For instance, Joel seems to epitomize the survivalist brutality required to survive and even thrive in such a mad world while Ellie remains to be a hopeful soul who opens up the possibility for not just surviving, but eventually saving civilization. While combat is not really all that recommended, it is always likely to occur as both infected and non-infected are every bit as dangerous and violent as the other.
While it can indeed be labelled as a survival horror game, The Last of Us is as much a dramatic tale of triumph as well as a struggle for survival. Combat is every bit as gory as you’d expect from a zombie apocalypse and the zombies themselves tend to have varying degrees of aggression and while non-infected may seem weaker than the infected you normally face, they nonetheless have a huge AI advantage as is possibly the case in real life.
While the action is quite exciting, remember that this is a survival game and that the resources you possess are largely limited. For instance, take note that Joel’s gun has scarce ammunition so accuracy is always a must. Remember that unless you’re sure you can hit a given target, it’s best not to shoot as you’ll be wasting valuable ammunition that you’ll probably have to use later on.
For all you zombie fans out there, remember that this game is not some FPS and if you go about guns blazing, you are likely to die in very interesting ways later when you run out of ammo. This game is about making the decision to shoot or not to shoot and that the latter is all too often the answer. Stealth and subterfuge in this game is far more important than firepower as the latter is almost always in short supply.
While unforgiving as a game, the game has made a hit-and-miss when it comes to managing the checkpoints located throughout the game. For instance, while certain points of the came indeed be hellishly difficult, the checkpoints that allow players to save from one tough point to another and somewhat negates the survival aspect of the game, much to the dismay of gamers.
While the game is far from being unwinnable, take note that the game will always have plenty of challenges for players to face. A stealthy approach is almost always preferable but not always applicable with the occasional friendly being a bit too troublesome and attractive to zombies and other dangers. A truly challenging game as The Last of Us often forces players to act beyond the norms in order to survive and prevail.
Stealth is also given emphasis in this game but it should be noted that the AI is probably not the sharpest available as you can often kill enemies in front of their fellows with little consequence. Take note also that hearing and silence are much more important in this game than actual seeing as enemies can often spot players through their noise and don’t need to be seen to be detected.
The game’s combat isn’t really all that unique or exciting but it does force players to prioritize survival skills over actual fighting. Another important part of gameplay and possibly a frustrating aspect (or delightful, depending on who you’re talking to) of The Last of Us is that it presents Joel as perfectly human. That means his aim in the game is far from perfect and will go down like any other Joe when he’s ganged up on by enemies.Of course, its arguable that this is the entire point of the game and that Joel could easily be a stand in for any survivor of a given disaster with both his frailty and limitations intact.
The game also features a multiplayer mode and it easily reflects the grim aspect of the game’s premise. No one can or should be trusted as enemies often take the form of opportunistic and brutal uninfected as well as the more traditional zombies. After all, humanity seems to be down to its last legs and whatever resources remain are in a deplorably short supply. Unlike most zombie games where players often take the form of heroes and elite zombies, The Last of Us only presents us with both humans vs. humans squabbling over the remaining resources of the city.
The Last of Us has proven to be one of the best survival games of the decade thanks to its gripping plot and gameplay. Sure, it might have a few setbacks here and there, it is nonetheless one of the most challenging of survival games thanks to the limited resources players are allotted and the possibility of being overwhelmed.The game also presents us with two very likeable and realistic characters in this apocalyptic game which presents us with a dying world. It proves to be one of the best entries for the survival genre of the PS3 so far.
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