Tyler and I finished up The Last of Us this week. We’ve been playing it since we last Sunday and not much else. We had been been interested in giving it a try for a while because it had been getting so many good reviews.
Having now played through the game once, it’s easy to see why it got Game of the Year. Graphically it is quite smooth which one would expect from a game at the tail end of the PS3s life cycle. As I wandered through all the abandoned houses and landscape I kept thinking to myself, “Fallout 4 better look this awesome.” Exploring old buildings in an apocalyptic waste land is something I’ve grown to love in the Fallout series, and The Last of Us has plenty of it.
Tyler and I hadn’t played any of Naughty Dog’s other games like Uncharted so we weren’t sure what to expect as far as gameplay goes. I was worried it might be something slow and difficult like Resident Evil had done to make it intentionally more scary. Thankfully the game controls were quite smooth and you had to rely on sneaking, ammo conservation, and exploring rather than just fighting against a UI that wanted you to die.
The story of the the game was the biggest selling point for everybody, and it didn’t disappoint. You play the game as Joel, a construction worker in Texas. In the games opening you experience the first part of the outbreak and you are trying to escape with your daughter Sarah. About 20 minutes into the game you come across any army soldier who is under orders to shoot on sight to prevent the outbreak from progressing. Joel manages to survive but Sarah is killed in the encounter, and then you fast-forward 20 years. Joel is now in his 50s living in a quarantine zone is Boston and works as a smuggler with his partner Tess. They are given a job of delivering a young girl, Ellie, to the milita group Fireflies for some unknown reason. As the game progresses on you discover that Ellie is the first person ever found immune to the disease and they hope she will lead to the discovery of a cure.
As with most games plots, nothing is ever as simple as it appears and what original was just a mission across Boston turns into a trek across the country with stops in Pittsburgh, Jackson City, and Salt Lake City. All along the way Joel forms a bond with Ellie just as the players form a bond with the both of them. By the games climax it comes down to having a cure for all of humanity but killing Ellie in the process, or taking her home and not finding the cure. I marched into the operating room and put a bullet into the doctor and both nurses.
The story did not disappoint and while playing the game was fun, Tyler and I were both compelled to play it during every spare minute we had to see where the story was going. It was definitely the games most compelling quality. It has also shown us that Naughty Dog makes games we should be more interested in, which is good because we own all three Uncharted games which Tyler is now diving into. We are hoping for a lot more good stuff.