One most the anticipated game for gamers all over the world. Some say it’s the best game ever created, others simply say that it’s a masterpiece and certain persons say that it’s the game that defined this generation.
The Last of Us.
Naughty Dog latest game is Last of Us, a third person survival action game from the studio that brought you Jak & Daxter and the Uncharted franchises. The Last of Us is set 20 years after a fungal plague that decimated mankind, with society destroyed the military creates a quarantine zones inside city’s to live separately from the infected, but not all the city’s in the USA have been able to survive.
Food is scarce to feed all the persons that live within the walls of the city, and becoming infected only takes one bite… It’s a savage and brutal world where the word humanity is all but one more word in the dictionary, where it doesn’t reflects on almost no human being in this world, the most important thing is surviving one more day in all means necessary.
The game starts with a slow pre-credits right before the fungal plague started in a modern day world exactly like ours. Quickly the game introduces us to Joel alongside someone very important to him. After the cinematic the gameplay kicks in slow… This will show us how such a fragile person feels when the imminent of death and terror knocks at it’s door.
The pre credits ends and we get to see this old and gray haired Joel, that lives in Boston’s Quarantine Zone. Joel work as smuggler with his partner, and one day his partner leads Joel into a crazy deal with the Fireflies, a resistance group that lives within the quarantine zone’s wall that keeps fighting against the military. This deal, requires Joel to smuggle Ellie a 14 year old girl out of the city and deliver to another Firefly group near Boston, as soon as they get to the rendezvous point they find them self to think of other plan, and since that moment Joel and Ellie are going to embark on a road trip throughout the USA meeting new and old friends with the purpose of getting Ellie to the Fireflies.
The relationship of these two characters starts by hating each other, Ellie doesn’t want to go with Joel and Joel doesn’t want to smuggle Ellie out of the city by any means necessary. This quickly changes once both of them notice that they’re going to spend more time with each other than any of them thought before, and throughout the game Ellie wants to know more about Joel’s past but he really doesn’t gives much of a chance to her, although sometimes he does answer her questions regarding his past.
Joel starts as cold person no one takes that away from him, but his feelings for Ellie improve throughout the story, for example of not being able to leave Ellie at any moment, and the moment of giving Ellie a gun. With Ellie it’s different she’s a clever and witty girl from the beginning till the end, she knows how to handle a gun and she keeps telling Joel that she knows how to take care of herself. The game highlights the different seasons like Winter and Spring that has feelings and emotions attached to it as this relationship improves.
The Last of Us gameplay combines stealth and cover shooting with a good amount of survival horror in it. The game gives the player the choice of taking advantage of the stealth,combat or even mixing up both, most of the resources will be limited so you have to plan the way that you want to approach both infected and survivors, there’s different tactics for both of them as for stealth players or guns blazing players.
The melee combat is brutal, you can rush with a melee weapon against your enemy and you’ll feel the impact of the weapon in the enemy, while the ranged is all about each bullet counts with the scarce ammo available for you each shot that you can better be an head shot to make sure you have bullets for everyone that steps in your way
The game features a real time crafting system that can be used both outside of combat or in combat, enemies can attack you while your crafting for example a bandage. This crafting system allows Joel to craft bandages, cocktail Molotov, nail bombs (this things are AMAZING), melee weapons improvement and etc.. To create these things you have collect the necessary materials to be able to do crafting, for example nails, paper, alcohol, scissors and many more.
The Last of Us also features weapon customization that allows the player to customize and improve it’s weapons, for example adding a scope to the hunting rifle, or adding a secondary or primary weapon hostlers to equip a second primary and secondary weapon faster. You can also upgrade the weapon stats like ammo capacity, power, range and so on.
For the technical aspect, Last of Us is pushing Playstation 3 hardware to it’s maximum, not only that but the game can crash due to the amount of particles sometimes in a boss fight. The character models look great. especially Joel and Ellie’s no doubt, Naughty Dog really had the effort to keep the other character’s models on par with the main characters.
The animations feel smooth, great and detailed, especially combat animations with each melee weapon, we can see how brutal the hit is by hearing the sound and the strength of the impact. The sound design is amazingly done in terms of environment sounds and melee weapons, the gun shots are great they are not close to realism but they’re somewhere there.
What I enjoyed most in terms of sound most was the soundtrack itself that was composed by Gustavo Santaolalla every music seems that it’s put on the right moment creating the perfect atmosphere for the voice acting during the cinematics. There are some glitches in the game that occurred to me during my play thorough for example : model glitches that made characters with a huge neck and out of proportion, textures glitch and crashing due to the amount of particles on the screen.
One of the most talked system in the game was the Artificial Intelligence. It’s great but it’s not perfect it has some flaws for example my partner being right in front of the objectives that I need to push to continue the game, taking some time to understand that it needs to jump and rarely being in front of the enemies that I need to stab. One of the things that I hated most was that enemies couldn’t detect Ellie, I understood why Naughty Dog made it this way but personally this should have been done due to the fact that it takes immersion out of the game when a infected or a survivor looks at Ellie and nothing happens and she starts running to me, it was a development choice and I understand but still takes out the immersion from the game.
On the bright side the AI helps our character by telling us where the enemies are, giving med kits and items, using a brick against the enemies or even saving us when it’s a 2v1 or 3v1 battle, Ellie’s AI is great but it does has some flaws at the end of the day
The Last of Us voice acting is great, Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Troy Baker(Joel) brought us emotional moments during the campaign of the game. The reason I’m saying this is due to the fact that the voice acting alone brought the characters to life and we really felt they’re emotions and feelings like fear, anger, pain or sorrow, thorough their voices combined with the facial animations. Another voice acting amazingly done is Nolan North’s , Nolan North surprised me by giving such a voice acting to a character that is a a maniac in a post apocalyptic world. Not only that but David’s character is well written and combined with Nolan North’s voice we saw a character that is surprisingly good, but unfortunately we didn’t saw enough of him besides of a few cinematics.
Last but not least is Last of Us Multiplayer, the multiplayer portion of the game is called Fraction and we can access it via the menu and one thing I’ll left clear here it’s a competitive game that requires teamwork, sneaking but most important TIMING, it can although frustrate some people due to the fact that the game is based on stealth and highly dependent of our team skill and brains. Once you start the multiplayer the game asks you to select one of the two factions from the single player mode Fireflies and the Hunters.
The multiplayer features a type of narrative where you need to grow your “clan” not a player’s clan but a survivor’s clan, the narrative is all about growing your clan and allow it to survive it till the end of those nasty weeks! You’re clan members can become infected and die, can get hurt and will need to recover, run out of ammo and etc… It really gives the multiplayer portion of the game a personality from other games, you are also able to sign on Facebook to get your friends name to become the members of your clan, this doesn’t add any new survivors to your clan but changes the name of current and future ones.
In terms of gameplay and game modes, there’s only two Team Deathmatch modes available, the first one is called Supply Raid and if you die you’ll respawn in waves while Survivor is all about one life and that’s it for the round. The gameplay is not like Uncharted it in an way possible especially on the pace of it. The multiplayer is all about hide and seek and moving in crouch mode since the beginning till the end of it while trying to “listen” enemy footsteps, It’s just like the single player you can gather materials and craft items to use against your enemies, ammo is also scarce and each Molotov is a blessing.
You can customize classes with weapons, perks and weapon perk, this “ultimate” perk allows you to buy a powerful weapon like a military sniper or a shotgun from the in game store. This in game store can be accessed within the multiplayer match to buy upgrades to the weapon, ammo, weapon perk and armor. To buy those things in the store you need to look for salvage in game and kill enemies to get this salvage, this upgrades once brought can only be used in that match if you play another match you have to buy them all over again.
The multiplayer portion of the game can become frustrating very fast due to it’s community. The game is not done to run around like a crazy man randomly shooting hoping to get a kill, and why do you get frustrated? Due to the fact that if a enemy spots your “crazy friend” they’ll know that you and the rest of your team is there, going as a lone wolf it’s not going to work out well even if you flank, because you don’t have enough bullets to kill an entire enemy team, the shots must be well placed and well timed.
My final opinion is : Last of Us is one of the best games in this current generation, it’s single player brought us emotional connection to the characters and it’s story while giving us some huge fun in combat and sneaking. The multiplayer portion of the game gives a great experience to hardcore fans of sneaking games that enjoy playing as a team and enjoy a small multiplayer narrative.
With that being said The Last of Us deserves a 9.5.
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