Rating – M
System – Playstation 3
Genre – Action-Adventure Survival Horror
The Last of Us was released only for Playstation 3 on June 2013. The game features two main characters: Joel, voiced and motion captured by Troy Baker and Ellie, voiced and motion captured by Ashley Johnson. The story follows these two characters on their journey across the United States in 2033, and as they are traveling, they must fight “zombies” and bandits to complete their quest.
When the game begins, the player gets to see what happens to Joel when the pandemic starts. He experiences a tragic event within the opening few scenes that affects him throughout the game. The story fast-forwards twenty years to the present day where Joel is trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. He gets a mission to escort a fourteen-year-old girl named Ellie to a resistance group known as the Fireflies. Once this mission is assigned, the player is taken on an adventure where he/she must defend both characters from infected humans and bandits.
The characters in this game are realistic and each of them added to the overall story, even the secondary characters. There is a great deal of character development and characterization. Due to the tragic event in Joel’s life, he reacts very strongly to certain topics, and it explains his actions through the story. Ellie’s past is just as dismal, and yet she carries herself differently than Joel. The two are a great contrast to one another. While one is hostile and pessimistic, the other is friendly and optimistic. Their different outlooks on life and the current situation make for interesting conversation between the two.
I love the survival aspect of this game. Each moment/scene makes the story seem more real. The characters are actually in danger, and it adds to the realism of the story. Joel and Ellie are in dire situations that put their lives at risk, and it is the player’s job to help them through. Many parts of the game require the use of caution and stealth to avoid being overwhelmed by lots of zombies all at once. Early on the zombies are pretty easy to defeat or avoid, but the player gets introduced to different types of zombie as the game continues. Each of the zombies are designed to represent the cause of the outbreak such as the “clickers” only being able to hear Joel or Ellie because fungus has grown over their face and eyes. The method through which the humans become infected is an interesting take on the zombie genre. The idea that fungus could cause civilization to crumble is extremely unique.
While zombies can be fun to defeat, the gameplay can get a bit repetitive. The stealth aspect of the game can get quite tedious when trying to get around a lot of zombies. Plus, if you make a mistake and one of them sees or hears you, zombies will be all over Joel and Ellie in no time. I tend to become quite frustrated with stealth missions, so when I couldn’t get passed the zombies after multiple tries, I let Chad take over. The controls, on the other hand, are pretty decent. There are times where Joel might accidentally grab or throw the wrong thing or a command might not go through, but overall, it was a good system that flowed well.
On another note, I love the ending. I never saw it coming until the last few levels, and I’m sure it shocked and will shock many people. I feel the ending was well-crafted and fit perfectly with the overall story. It demonstrates what the characters are willing to go through for one another, and it avoids cliches, going for a more believable ending. I appreciate how the game represents both positive and negative aspects of humanity.
The Last of Us is such an amazing game with a fantastic story. While it’s not a game I would replay right away, it’s immensely memorable. It’s one of the best games I have played in the last year or two, and I highly recommend it. The DLC The Last of Us: Left Behind is out now and explains what happened to Ellie before she met Joel. I will be getting that soon, and I’ll be sure to review it once I finish.
Story – 5/5
Controls – 4.5/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Replay Value – 3/5
My Rating – ★★★★½