When The Last of Us released back in 2013 I never got to play it. For one, I wasn’t that interested in the premise then, and second, I didn’t own a PS3. However, when I bought my PS4 almost 2 years ago I decided to try out the remastered version, since I was such a fan of the Uncharted series as well knowing the game received so much praise. I’m so glad I made that decision. The Last of Us is an exceptional experience, boasting an emotional and compelling narrative, with well-developed characters and solid gameplay.
It’s safe to say that the ‘zombie, post-apocalypse’ narrative is a frequent topic in the entertainment medium, whether it’s film, television or video games. Despite this, what makes The Last of Us such a standout adaptation of this theme is the heavy focus on a personal narrative. The main drive of the story is for the protagonists Ellie and Joel to find the ‘Fireflies,’ a rebel group that can produce a cure with the help of Ellie, who is immune to the virus. However, while this may be the core objective, the real focus is Ellie and Joel themselves. We witness them slowly develop as individuals as well as their father-daughter-like relationship. This happens through both harrowing trials and the more quiet, self-reflecting scenes. Developer Naughty Dog put their expertise in narrative-based video games to great and effective use.
The story is indeed the standout aspect, but the gameplay also offers a surprisingly solid experience. Taking inspiration from various other ‘survival horror’ games, you must journey through the mostly linear world, scavenging supplies and ammunition. This allows you to craft a variety of healing, offensive and defensive items to aid in your survival. Furthermore, you may play as Joel for the majority of the game, there are a number of segments where you must play as Ellie. These sections offer a nice break in gameplay, where stealth is often the focus. While the overall mechanics may not be as engaging and fun as those of Dying Light, it works perfectly fine at what it tries to do.
The Last of Us is a must play for anyone who likes a strong narrative or are fans of zombie/horror games. It cements Naughty Dog as a top-tier developer with yet another incredible video game in their high quality roster.
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