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FTN Reviews: The Last of Us

June 23rd, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments


A lush green world, a place that animals live in harmony with nature, where trees grow wild and where water runs without man’s hindrance.

It’s serene, a place where you would take a loved one for a picnic or two, where you would look out over the vast vivid colours and profess your love to one another.
It’s such a shame that the place is so deadly and that shade of brown through the green isn’t dirt but a long forgotten house.

The Last of Us (TLOU) is a post-apocalyptic game set in a future where spores have turned humans into fungi zombie monsters. Sounds stupid we know but they are scary none-the-less.
What is left of humanity lies in military-ruled quarantine zones or on the fringes of society as bandits.
One such man is Joel, a man who has seen the world before it turned and who has become a fairly successful smuggler inside the Boston Quarantine zone. Joel has a shadowy past and he isn’t one to trust easily.
When a deal goes south he is asked to escort a young girl (Ellie) out of the zone with which he reluctantly agrees, once outside the zone he finds out some information and certain things happen making him decide to be the one to escort Ellie across the country himself.
For the most part you control Joel, a man probably in his late 40s or early 50s. He is a hulking, brutal man with fists like rocks, he has seen the world outside the quarantine zone and knows its folly, he is streetwise and is willing to kill.
Joel isn’t a young man, he isn’t going to be running around and jumping over fences, so don’t expect too much of him, he moves with purpose and has the ability to listen through walls, a handy skill when sneaking around.

Ellie on the other hand is a sarcastic teenager, world weary and sailor sweary. She hasn’t seen the world before this devastation and certain things fascinate her, the banal things we take for granted she finds a beauty in.
Joel becomes her protector and through the course of the game a fantastic friendship unfolds.

The game mechanics are simple, it’s about traversing the wasteland using rafts, ladders and anything else you can drag around.
Ellie can’t swim and this provides extra obstacles to overcome, most of the time you will be punting Ellie up for her to drop a ladder down.
There are no huge puzzles to solve and the game isn’t about exploring, you have a predestined path set for you

Throughout their journey Joel and Ellie come across many obstacles but none scarier than the infected humans. Runners are newly infected, fast and can easily overpower you in numbers.
Clickers have been infected so long they are blind; they track using a kind of sonar and you have to sneak around them or kill silently. Then there are bloaters, massive infected people who have been infected so long that they have Bloated (hence the name) and can throw acidic puss nodules at you, they are horrible to kill and take multiple bullets.
All of these enemies are scary but it is fellow man that will be your greatest threat.
Bandits hide in nearly every town, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting people, kill them and take their belongings.
They have no time for kidnap and just want you dead, meaning you will have to outsmart them in every way. The AI are not stupid, they will flank you, throw Molotov cocktails and hide in elevated positions.
Joel is no superhero either, taking only a few shots before he dies. Hence you will have to pick your shots carefully and do a fair amount of sneaking around these foes too. The good thing is your AI partner will take no damage so you don’t need to worry too much about them.

In towns you can wander around opening drawers and cupboards, finding scraps to upgrade your weapons and pills that let you upgrade your skills e.g. how fast you heal.
Joel can craft many things in the heat of battle like nail bombs assuming he has all you need to craft one. You can hide behind cover, go into your bag and maybe create something that was needed to win the battle.

Being a Naughty Dog game the setting and graphics are wonderful. Just like the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog prove they have what it takes to be the best Sony exclusive developer.
The story goes from strength to strength, never giving up an inch, the graphics are clearly pushing the PS3 to its limits and you are left wondering what this studio could do in the next generation.
I found only a few graphical glitches and the mechanics seem to work well.

There is a substantial amount of cut scenes but this is a story driven game and hence should be treated like an interactive movie, there is still plenty for you to do and the cut scenes do not detract from the game.

It has been my favourite game of this generation which is saying a lot, a great adventure that sucks hours from your life. Be warned it is a very emotionally draining game and anyone who has watched the first 10 minutes can expect more of this heartbreak.
If you have a PS3 and the money then run out and buy this game straight away

9 out of 10 Nerds

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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.