Format reviewed: PS3
Other formats available: None
Developer: Naughty Dog
It’s the end of the world as we know it. If the characters in this latest game by Unchartered creator Naughty Dog sang a song, that’s what it would be. They aren’t singing, they’re not very happy.
It would be very easy to pigeonhole The Last of Us as yet another zombie game. After all, the infected people in the game have a very zombie-esque demeanour.
They are infected with a virus that turns them first of all into rabid, extremely violent people, after a while they become blind and find their way by clicking like a bat (they are called clickers) and then if they live longer they become huge armour-plated beasts who like to throw their guts at you (bloaters).
The story is about a man, Joel, and a teenage girl, Ellie, who are on a road trip across the USA to get to an elusive band of people called the Fireflies. Along the way they meet various people, some who help them, but most of the remaining uninfected, who are referred to as hunters, are fighting to stay alive as much as Joel and Ellie so you end up fighting them too.
Then there are areas that have infected in them so you need to work out how to get around them or to kill them. Although there are a number of weapons in The Last of Us, there are sections of the game where you can get through without having to kill anyone or anything.
In fact there is a section towards the end of the game where we kept on getting killed when we tried to fight and when we tried not to, we succeeded first time.
Anyway back to the weapons, because a lot of the time you will need them as evasion isn’t an option. These are limited as is the ammo for them. You will rarely feel that ‘tooled up’ as you will find a few shotgun shells here, a few arrows there and maybe some pistol and rifle bullets.
In addition to these you learn how to make Molotov cocktails and nail bombs with the things you can salvage from the houses and buildings you go through. These are things like tape, alcohol, scissors and nails, which when you have the right amounts you can make into things like the aforementioned weapons, but also knives called shivs and modified baseball bats and bits of wood with nails in.
This crafting is certainly the latest thing in games. It’s in Far Cry 3 and Dead Island Riptide and in The Last of Us you will find yourself scouring every room you go in and every bit of ground you walk over. This makes for a realistic feel, this is a world where mass production doesn’t exist anymore so there aren’t bountiful supplies of things.
Then when you get into combat you have to be careful that you don’t waste what little you have on lesser baddies only to walk into a big bloater with only your fists for protection.
Thankfully a lot of the time you can creep around and take out many of the foes silently with your bare hands and save ammo and hopefully find some more in their pockets.
Not everyone can be dispatched quietly though and the AI for the baddies has to be some of the best we have seen in a game.
If you go in all guns blazing be prepared to be flanked without knowing it whilst another pins you down with covering fire. The AI of your colleagues isn’t always as good though.
On one occasion, whilst creeping through some rooms trying not to be discovered, one of the people I was with decided to walk about and straight into a hunter. Thanks a bunch I said, well words to that effect anyway!
One thing you can always be sure of with Naughty Dog games is how they look and The Last of Us is stunning. Then there is the attention to detail. I know it’s a small thing but just look at the way the characters’ hands move as they walk downstairs, it’s brilliantly observed.
The Last of Us might not be that original when it comes to the storyline but it is so well made, it is compelling and at times moving. It will also make you jump more than a few times too and could well be the last big hurrah for this generation of consoles. Until GTAV arrives that is.
Review by Tuckski for BCS