The Last of Us
Game Title: The Last of Us
Reviewed On: Playstation 3
Available on: Playstation 3
The Last of Us is not just one of the most beloved games of the year so far; it’s an early contender for most acclaimed piece of art of 2013. Naughty Dog have evolved beyond their charming and stylish Uncharted franchise to bring us more a complex and satisfying game. With The Last of Us they’ve grown as storytellers and, frankly, have brought videogames forward a few steps as an art-form.
On the surface, it looks like another shlock horror that game developers love so much. America has been decimated by a horrific, mutating virus and Joel, a taciturn, middle-aged Southerner, is assigned to bring a precious cargo cross-country. The consignment is a foul-mouthed young teen named Ellie.
The Last of Us is cumulatively powerful, as Joel and Ellie must travel together and fend off bandits and soldiers, as well as infected, zombie-like enemies, some of whom have devolved to become “clickers”. Clickers are original villains – blind, monstrous creatures that hear but don’t see.
The game-play is a rich, diverse mix of exploration, stealth, third-person combat (both armed and unarmed) and tactics. Every situation requires slightly different solutions. Choose how you use supplies. For example, will you use alcohol and rags to make bandages or a Molotov cocktail?
It plays tremendously, but the exciting, poignant story is what elevates the game. Joel is a stoic everyman with hidden depths, while Ellie’s good humour and sense of wonder keep bleakness at bay, even as her innocence diminishes. There are wonderful character moments, like Ellie teaching herself to whistle, or Joel fidgeting with his beloved, broken watch.
It’s also a stunningly presented game, with gorgeous graphics and a fragile, haunting score by Gustavo Santaolalla. The Last of Us is a privilege to play.