The Last Of Us review (PS3)

MattyG | 425d ago | User review
Reviewing: The Last Of Us
Click, click, click
Over the past five years or so, the gaming landscape has been inundated by post-apocalyptic and/or zombie themed games. More often than not, these games range from mediocre- a la ZombieU -to downright awful, like this year's Walking Dead Survival Instinct. But occasionally, the industry strikes gold with brilliant experiences like Fallout 3 or Metro 2033. These games tap into what can make the genre really special; a sense of survival and desperation in truly hopeless situations. This year, developer Naughty Dog released The Last of Us, a game quite unlike anything they've ever done before. While some were apprehensive at the prospect of the studio that brought us Crash and Jak tackling such heavy subject matter, in the end they delivered more than anyone expected them to. The Last of Us is a prime example of the post-apocalypse genre done not only right, but masterfully.

The story of The Last of Us is a simple one; a smuggler named Joel must transport a girl named Ellie cross-country to a mysterious organization, get paid, and get out. For any readers sake, I refuse to elaborate on the story any more. Ruining the story of The Last of Us even a little bit would be doing it a great injustice, and this is really a game best experienced without foreknowledge. What I CAN say, is that The Last of Us delivers a heartfelt story that is all at once emotionally engaging, unpredictable, and wonderfully simple. None of the situations that Joel and Ellie encounter ever feel contrived. Each scene and chapter has an organic flow that makes the story consistently believable, even if their plight is extraordinary.

The excellent story of The Last of Us is only heightened by excellent performances across the board. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson deliver incredible performances as Joel and Ellie respectively. Joel's no-nonsense, badass manner is never the focus of his character as it would be in other games, and Ellie is a strong female lead in a game full of them. The characterization and writing of every character focuses on deeper, more human aspects rather than skin deep, at-a-glance features. Whether it's a hesitant pause before a reply or an unintentional brush of a watch, every performance compliments the character's writing in a way that makes each character believable, likable and almost tangible.

The Last of Us may be an amazing storytelling experience, but a game is nothing without it's gameplay. More often than not in post-apocalyptic games, the action clashes with the tone of the situations at hand dramatically. Whether it's zapping zombies with electric machetes in Dead Island or whacking them with an indestructible Cricket bat in ZombieU, the players agency within the gameplay never really feels like it matches the dire circumstances presented in the story. The Last of Us bucks this common issue by mirroring the desperate struggle of Joel and Ellie in the story with equally desperate feeling mechanics. Between the game's scavenging and crafting mechanic, it's difficult over the shoulder shooting and the brutal melee combat, everything fits the tone and feel of the game impeccably. Occasionally, Joel may get attacked by a horde of clickers (the games excellently modeled zombie-substitutes)and have to make a mad dash just to survive. These moments, while intense, can pose a problem for the games framerate. While mostly steady, it an drop into the low 20s when situations get to hectic. This isn't a massive issue and doesn't do anything to hurt the overall experience, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless.

Naughty Dog has always delivered impressive visuals with the Jak and Uncharted series, and The Last of Us is no different. Whereas in most post-apocalyptic games, there may be a smattering of boring brown or gray buildings occasionally covered with the red blood of zombies, here there is a beautiful array of colors and aesthetically pleasing art design. Every location Joel and Ellie visit has a unique flavor and feels like it could really exist outside of the game. Character designs are also gorgeous and incredibly animated, always reflecting the characters mood or situation with appropriate animations. Lighting is one of the most impressive aspects of the visuals however, as shadows are cast along the wall or the sun beats down through some trees in the woods. Every piece of the visuals eventually come together to form a wonderful looking game that is always pleasing to look at.

The general consensus when The Last of Us multiplayer was unveiled was that it was unneeded. Naughty Dog was trying to craft an incredible story driven experience that would set it apart from any other game, and multiplayer had finally reared it's ugly head to ruin the day. Even I was skeptical when first booting up a match. I am glad to say, then, that The Last of Us' multiplayer mode not only does what it sets out to do well, but actually compliments the incredible single player mode. Naughty Dog could have gone the Call of Duty route, turning every match into a massive bullet storm and ruining what made the singleplayer campaign so special. Instead, they took what set the singleplayer experience apart from other games- a sense of desperate survival, of scavenging for already limited supplies and engaging in struggles with opposing factions just to continue living- and transferred it over to the multiplayer. Ammo is always limited, supplies are easily used up, and the crafting system still lives on. Traps are deployable, stealth is advisable and death is inevitable. Although it can suffer from typcial multiplayer issues (poor sportsmanship, cheating, etc), it doesn't feel like a separate mode from the singleplayer, but rather an extension if the universe established there.

Naughty Dog has crafted the ultimate post-apocalyptic game, one I had always dreamed of and now have. Is is an incredible feat of storytelling, engineering and character performance. No amount of superlatives heaped on it could ever do it justice, so do yourself a favor and go experience The Last of Us.
Ups
Incredible story
Expert performances
Excellent visuals
Downs
An occasionally low framerate
Multiplayer headaches
Score
10.0
Graphics One of the most beautiful games this year. Always interesting to look at, and impressively believeable
10.0
Sound Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson deliver superb performances as Joel and Ellie, The musical score provided by Gustavo Santaolalla is haunting, captivating and beautiful.
9.5
Gameplay Fits the feel of a desperate post-apocalyptic situation perfectly. Occasionally dragged down by a dropping framerate.
10.0
Fun factor While I wouldn't call it "fun" in the conventional sense, The Last of Us is one of the most engaging and compelling games released this year.
9.5
Online Perfectly matches the tone of the singleplayer, and uses the established mechanics to great effect. Occasionally unenjoyable due to regular multiplayer issues.
10.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
moegooner88  +   425d ago
You were born to be a writer, great review.
MattyG  +   425d ago
Oh stop it, you. (Thanks!)
#1.1 (Edited 425d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
Ezz2013  +   425d ago
but it's true
i really loved reading your review
SmokeyMcBear  +   425d ago
I'm surprised you gave a good reveiw to a non pokemon game.
MattyG  +   425d ago
Just wait for the 11/10 Pokemon X/Y review.
Austin48  +   421d ago
you are a great reviwer i loved the last of us it looks like you did to
Blastoise  +   425d ago
Nice review, the music in particular was a highlight for me. The main theme and the ending theme...soooo good.

Also, I like this line "Traps are deployable, stealth is advisable and death is inevitable." :)
#3 (Edited 425d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
MattyG  +   425d ago
The music is spectacular. I got the soundtrack with the Survival Edition and still listen to it constantly.

And thanks, I had hoped someone would like that line. :)
ShAkKa  +   425d ago
Score should had been higher...
MyFeetHurt  +   421d ago
yeah 123082402348/10 should be the real score.
cunnilumpkin  +   416d ago
graphics are FAR from a 10

more like a 6

jaggies everywhere, sub hd textures, artifacting shadows

gameplay is sluggish, controls are spotty

7.5/10

story is very good 9/10

voice acting and sound design is top notch 10/10

overall 8/10
#5 (Edited 416d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(11) | Report | Reply
NeoTribe  +   416d ago
Right..... your the minority with that opinion. You realise this is goty right? Will be atleast.
cunnilumpkin  +   416d ago
its not even top ten this year imo

metro last light is far better
tomb raider is WAY better
bioshock infinite is leagues better
ni no kuni is way better
gta v is way better
SC2 Heart of the Swarm is FAR better
bf4 will be way better
splinter cell blacklist is way better
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is much better
shadowrun reboot is FAR better
arma 3 is much better

last of us is not even competition or in the running

get over it

it has an ok story and great music

the graphics suck, like all console games, and the controls are spotty at best
darren_poolies  +   415d ago
@cunnilumpkin

Hahahahahahahaha good one...that was a joke right?
I_am_Batman  +   414d ago
How did the story turned from "very good" (first post) to "ok" (second post) in a couple of hours? Also your second post looks like you've just posted every game you played this year vs. the one you couldn't play cause you don't own a PS3 (probably included Ni No Kuni to convince people otherwise).

"SC2 Heart of the Swarm is FAR better than TLOU"
Yeah and Tetris is superior to apple pie.
#5.2 (Edited 414d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
cunnilumpkin  +   414d ago
dude, sc2 sold like 20 million

what did last of us sell again?

I think the people have spoken

last of us is a b-game compared to everything I listed
Ravenor  +   414d ago
In comparison to most things released on the consoles the past few years The Last of Us is clearly one of the better looking games. Does it have some visual issues? Sure! Is it fair to compare it to Metro 2033 Last Light running on brand new hardware? Heck no.

Seriously dude, grow up.
I_am_Batman  +   414d ago
You clearly missed my point. But hey if you want to play the sales card let's play with your rules.

Nintendogs>SC2
#5.5 (Edited 414d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Bio_Mod  +   414d ago
Also very good review mate

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The Last Of Us

Average Score 9.6 Reviews(578)
Release Dates
PS3 Release Dates
EU 14 June 2013
US 14 June 2013
PS4 Release Dates