Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Last Of Us

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 9.5

(+) Pros: - Amazing production value, - Great, progressive story that never lets up for the entire game, - Likable characters and superb character progression, - Simplistic gameplay that's easy to learn and get sucked into, - Great blend of action, stealth and shooter elements, with plenty of intense in-game moments, - Good pacing throughout the game.

(-) Cons: - Too easy on default difficulty.

Gameplay time: About 15 Hours

I am WAY late on this game. I knew that it was one of the best games of the generation, and that it was absolutely phenomenal on many, MANY levels. Crafted by the masters behind the "Uncharted" series, "Naughty Dog", "The Last Of Us" is the zombie epidemic of a game that took the gaming world by storm. It was so amazing that it warranted a remake for the PS4 SO QUICKLY into the system's lifespan. 2 years later, I've finally played this game, and without a doubt, I can say that this is one of the best games of ALL TIME. Its a masterpiece on so many levels and I seriously hope that it becomes an IP for Sony to release in the future. "The Last Of Us" is an epic adventure/action title that will live through the hearts of gamers as one of the best story driven games ever made. Trust me, I'm not overreacting. Yes, this isn't a Japanese game, and yes, its THAT good.

The story stars an old man known as Joel as the main character. It all begins as a zombie outbreak occurs, taking the world and the town that he lives in, by storm. He goes home to pick up his daughter, Sarah, after finding out that the world has gone to shit, and is forced to shoot his neighbor in front of Sarah after he turned into a zombie. His brother, Tommy, comes over with a car to bail them the hell out of there and tries to get them into a quarantine zone. However, things get even worse when he finds out that a good part of the town has already turned and has began attacking others. ...Then things get EVEN worse when the quarantine zone guard is ordered to shoot any survivors on sight...including Joel's daughter Sarah. Tough times...before Joel is shot as well Tommy comes to shoot the soldier, meaning that he survives while Sarah dies. Fast forward 20 years later and Joel now lives into a safe zone as some sort of smuggler. Things are about to get a whole lot tougher for him though when he is roped into a job that involves smuggling a kid named Ellie, who is supposed to be mankind's savior.

Come over here...sunshine....

We'll get something out of the way first: this game's production value is massive. For a game that was released a couple of years back, the graphics are amazing (they still are), the voice acting is superb and almost everything about this game is f**king triple A. Its great to look at and it sounds awesome, Sony really went all out with this one, thinking that it would be the game that wins the system over. This might actually be the winner for one of the best, if not, THE BEST PS3 game out there right now. It says a lot that the remastered version of this game is probably also the best game on PS4 at the moment....yeah.

Being a story driven game, "The Last Of Us" has a pretty great story. Sure, after the amazing prologue, the game starts off rather normally without too much of a bang, but it steadily ramps up into something amazing and never lets up. Its full of emotional moments and intense encounters, whether it be against zombies or regular bandits trying to ruin your day. You discover revelation after revelation, and instead of a story about "saving the world" it becomes a more personal story for Joel and Ellie, which is a lot more interesting. Its like a roller coaster ride, after a certain point, it just drops everything on you and you're going to have a blast throughout after the somewhat slot start that's just for ramping up.

Sneaky sneaky....

Speaking of Joel and Ellie, who are WONDERFULLY portrayed characters, the characters in this game are very, VERY strong contenders for carrying the story itself. Your story means nothing if the characters don't shine, and boy, the characters in "The Last Of Us" are so well written and acted out, its hard to think that this is a video game. Like many claim before me, but I think that the performance of the voice actors in "The Last Of Us" makes the entire experience feel like...a very well acted out movie. You'd mistake the characters for REAL actors because the facial expressions are SO amazing. If you'd ask me, THIS is the peak of a western game. You know me, I always DID prefer my Japanese games, but this one blows so many of them out of the water with its characters. This is one of the few times where I think that an older character can work out as a protagonist, but Joel is SO solid.

Now, while the story and characters play a HUGE part in the game...we haven't even touched on the gameplay. Being a linear, adventure styled game that thrives on action, stealth, and shooter elements, "The Last Of Us"'s gameplay is rather simple, but also intense and engaging. Throughout the game you'll be going into multiple locations in the post apocalyptic world, ranging from abandoned cities to deserted sewers....though for the most part, the environment is primarily urban styled. You'll be facing off against 2 kinds of enemies, normal, hostile humans, and the infected. Both require different strategies to beat, and this is where the fun starts.

Health Kit, always go health kit,.

Playing as Joel is easy. For being an old man, he gets the job done. He has a...small arsenal, that expands into somewhat of a weaponry as the game progresses. His weapons range from pistols to shotguns to flamethrowers to bows....and he is also able to pick up items in the environment to use as weapons, be it lead pipes and wooden sticks to use as melee weapons, or bricks and bottles to throw at enemies. You'll be swarmed with multiple enemies at all stages of the game, so its crucial for you to make use of the environment to sneak around enemies to take them down slowly. Obviously, you can choose to go in guns blazing, but its always safer and more satisfying to slowly take down your enemies when they are unaware, one by one.

Infected enemies come in two primary types. One, the runners, which are basically running, slapping zombies that charge at you to get in hits on you, aiming to beat you down into submission. These come in groups, but are easily taken down if played correctly. The other infected type are the clickers, these guys are NASTY. If you are a more melee focused player and prefer to take your enemies out up close, be it up in their face or from behind like a sneaky cheat, the clickers will ruin your day. Since they instantly kill you up close with their bites, you'll need to take them out with ranged weaponry, or as the game suggests, you ignore them completely, because they are just annoying to take down, since you will always require some sort of resource to kill them.

That's what they all say.

The other type of enemies are the humans. Be it the hunters, bandits or soldiers, these dudes always act somewhat same-ish. Most of them group up and take pre-planned patrol paths, then when they're split up from one another, you can go and take them down. Systematically dismantling a team of human enemies can range from easy to ridiculously difficult based on the environment and the amount of enemies all around. There are PLENTY of moments where the game SWARMS you with enemies, making your decisions and actions very important. These moments are intense, they require fast fingers, and you'll need to be prepared to fight them head on, if needed. Unlike the infected, humans are tough to take on up close as they tend to have all different sorts of weaponry, and they gang up on you. This is where the game is at its hardest, and you'll need to go into every fight prepared, or you will die.

The game is well paced into 4 different seasons, each representing a major arc in the game (spring, summer, fall, winter). Pacing is pretty good throughout, though the first arc is kind of long compared to the rest. The timing where Joel and Ellie run into other new characters is perfect, and the moments where its just the 2 of them traversing through an abandoned city either full of bandits or zombies is also just right. The game never feels TOO rushed or dragged out, and that's one of the strongest points in the game. From the start to the end, the game remains strong, even for its conclusion, the game fired on all cylinders.

Tell this not beautiful?

I honestly don't have too much complaints about the game at all. Some people say its repetitive, I definitely don't think so. HOWEVER, I will say that the game is far too easy on its default difficulties. I suggest playing on hard for your first one if you don't want to just breeze through the game (enemies don't do too much damage, Ellie hands you way too many items, you are given too much room to make mistakes). Other than that, the game is simply fantastic throughout, I've got no complaints here.

Its easy to see how "The Last Of Us" is one of the best games in the previous console generation. There's just so much to see and do here. While the experience is mostly linear and its a very story driven game, its masterfully done. Certainly one of my favorite games in years and the best game for my PS3 thus far. Hell, this is WITHOUT me playing the online segment of the game. Yes, even after the masterfully done story, this game has online play. WTF.

Happy gaming!