If the Uncharted franchise and The Walking Dead graphic novel drank too much wine and made sweet, sweet love down by the fire, their lovechild would be named “The Last Of Us.”
This game, I think, was under-hyped a bit because of all the zombie games flooding the market the past few years. I was on the fence about this one until I realized, not too long ago, that it was made by Naughty Dog.
Just as with the Walking Dead game, I rented this from a RedBox kiosk down the street from my house and after three days of renting it, I figured it was time to take it back. That was a decision that I immediately regretted! So much, so that I was annoyed to discover, after my wife convinced me to reserve it again from the RedBox app on my phone, that someone had rented that newly returned copy already. It was a long couple of days until I found another available copy at a different kiosk in town.
The game is more of a sandbox, free-roaming environment than I expected. Want to go explore several floors of some random building? You can!
Want to scout around in the shadows and alleyways instead of taking out a group of wandering hooligans? You can!
You play, for most of the game, as a man named Joel. From the very start of the game, things ramp up quickly and continue at a pace that keeps you from feeling too comfortable or lax about the setting. The Last Of Us is equal parts a story-driven shooter, puzzle solving and exploration game. I can’t say too much about the story or the journey because I don’t want to spoil anything. Suffice it to say, the story was what drew me in. This is the game that I had hoped The Walking Dead game would have been.
Design-wise, The Last Of Us is breathtaking! All of the textures, lighting effects, and creature designs are top-notch and look very realistic. The same goes for the sound effects. Check out the game play screen cap below, for an example of the design work. All of the hard work that was put into this game becomes very clear the first time you’re sneaking around a darkened floor of a seemingly abandoned building, just as you hear faint sounds of approaching infected.
There is a multiplayer mode to the game which seems odd. Personally, I feel like delving into the setting in a multiplayer mode would ruin my love for the game. Knowing how Naughty Dog executed the multiplayer modes on the Uncharted games, I have a feeling it’s a playground for people exceptionally gifted with that style of multiplayer shooters and/or those folks who started competing closer to release day. So, there’s that, for those of you who love multiplayer mode.
- Textures, design, and sound effects are amazing!
- Ability to wander and explore was unexpected and really added to my enjoyment of the game.
- The store was especially engaging and drew me in more than the other aspects that I enjoyed.
- You can pause cut scenes.
- Zombies and freaky infected people.
- Honest to god, the only thing I think of as criticism is that playing through the game and story on Normal difficulty, partly taking my time, took only ~16 hours. Thinking of this as someone who had just shelled out $60 for the game, I would probably be pretty annoyed. That being said, it was well worth $12-ish bucks I paid in rental fees.
The Bottom Line
I highly recommend you play this game with the sound turned up, in a dark room, because what fun is playing a creepy game if it doesn’t make you jump like pansy from time to time? As it is, I’m wishing that I wasn’t a cheap-ass and just bought it, so that I could play through it again, just for fun.