Game retrospective-The Last Of Us

Here’s a post looking at the 2013 playstation 3 game The Last Of Us (A PS4 remaster of the game was also released in 2014). Keep in note, for those who have not played the game, there are some spoilers.

The game was developed by Naughty Dog-known for their Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter-and most importantly-the Uncharted series, and starred Troy Baker (Known for many video game voice overs, and quickly rising in that field) and Ashley Johnson (An actress most notably known for her TV roles, including the youngest Seaver sister on The Growing Pains sitcom as well as other roles). It also featured the most mature subject matter, with a violent and troubling tale, although not without moments of warmth and levity.

The plot of the game involves a massive fungus infection that’s turned most of society into mindless zombies of varying levels of infection, causing a total breakdown of society, although there is still areas of martial law with quarantined zones. ┬áIn one of these zones, a man named Joel (Baker) lives as a smuggler. Joel was kind of a well-working, middle class dad until the initial outbreak, where his teen daughter, Sarah was shot and killed by accident, and has been kind of living on the dregs of what’s left of the world in the two decades since.

On one of his runs, Joel is tasked by a rebel group known as the Fireflies with protecting Ellie (Johnson), another teen girl, although with her being brought up in this messed up post-apocalyptic USA, she’s a bit more rough and rebellious. Joel-still suffering from the tragedy of losing his daughter at first, is initially reluctant to help her. Turns out she might be the key to solving the infection-although bitten by the zombies, she appears to be immune, and therefore might hold the key to solving the infection. Joel is to transport her from Boston to Salt Lake City-mostly on foot-and they must brave not only the zombies, but groups of looters, cannibals, and other dangers, and they come across a few allies as well (although, unfortunately, due to the nature of the zombie infections, some of these friends become enemies, or unfortunately make sacrifices so they don’t become one). Eventually, through all their adversary, Joel and Ellie form a bond, with her pretty much replacing the gap in his heart left by the death of his daughter. This especially becomes clear when they encounter a group of wild giraffes in Salt Lake City, with Ellie looking at wonder at a look at what the world once was.

This becomes crucial towards the end of the game, as it turns out in order to get the cure, Ellie would have to be sacrificed in surgery.

Joel, of course, isn’t willing to let her die and lose his “daughter” all over again. He breaks her out of the hospital-including killing former allies The Fireflies-and they resume their travels. Since Ellie was unconsciousness, Joel lies to her and tells her there wasn’t any cure they could use after all, although Ellie has her doubts. Joel has saved her-but at the cost of the world perhaps, and their trust is on slightly shaky ground.

Last of Us largely utilizes a stealth gaming structure, with the player encouraged to sneak around and not make noise, and possibly not to engage in combat unless absolutely necessary, or engage them in a sneak attack instead of firing everything (Although some enemies are not as vulnerable to melee attacks)-although it’s different from the often covert stealth of the Metal Gear franchise. Weapons and supplies are largely crafted from leftovers and scrap (for instance, bandages, alcohol. As for characters, you mostly play as Joel, although Ellie is also playable in one chapter of the game (When Joel is badly wounded)

There’s also a fair amount of exploring to do. Although not exactly “open world” the levels are pretty large, and like Uncharted , often require some puzzles, such as hooking up generators to old, de-powered doors or unlocking safes. (although not quite as complex as Uncharted’s puzzles).

The game’s gotten a lot of accolades for it’s simple, but highly emotional story and excellent gameplay, although it’s mankind vs. zombies/society on the edge of collapse theme has of course brought many comparisons to the works of George Romero and the Walking Dead.

The game of course is rated M, mostly for violence, strong themes, and lots of strong langauge.