Not Quite the Game of the Generation,
But It's Absolutely One of Naughty Dog's Best
I am always hesitant to play something that many herald as the "game of the generation." I feel that this title puts an almost impossible to overcome bar for the game in question to reach and leap over. Sometimes I might even feel some animosity towards the game after playing it, realizing that all of the overly emotional compliments and awards were undeserving of the game. The Last of Us is the type of game that falls into neither category of game of the generation or a title that I show ill will towards. No, it's a game that ranks right up there with Sony's finest first-party titles, one of Naughty Dog's greatest achievements, and one of the best games of the year-- nay-- of the generation. It's not without problems, but what is? It's Naughty Dog at their most sensational, it's The Last of Us.
The Last of Us begins with a bang, putting the player in the role of protagonist Joel's daughter Sarah. A mutant strain of a fungus known as cordyceps has infected large numbers of human beings, turning them into malevolent and highly violent beings. The city turns under into chaos, with thousands rushing to find safety amid the carnage. Joel and his daughter are stopped by an enemy soldier, who fatally wounds Sarah with a gunshot. The game fast forwards to twenty years later where major cities are under lockdown, sections of cities are quarantined by police, and a huge swath of humanity has been destroyed. Joel meets up with Ellie, who a friendly rebellion group known as the Fireflies, wishes to have "smuggled" across city limits for the reason that she might hold the key to curing humanity. Joel and Ellie start out not on the greatest of terms, but as their journey together takes each twist and turn, they understandably grow closer. It's a relationship that showcases a lovely transformation between the two, and a heartfelt, beautiful story that heavily contrasts with the hellish world the two must survive in.
|The Last of Us is one of the most gorgeous|
games to have a realistic take on things.
|Sometimes Joel just has to get his hands dirty.|
As for exploration, a lot of The Last of Us takes place in rather linear areas, but most of time there are side rooms or areas to journey into to acquire goods for crafting, health kits, and supplements, which are used to boost Joel's overall health, healing time, etc.
Crafting is a major part of The Last of Us. At any time in the game, you can look through Joel's bag in real time. Just make sure there's no infected breathing down your neck beforehand! Through acquiring crafting goods from shelves, drawers and other places within the game world, Joel can craft things like health kits, Molotov cocktails, and upgrades to melee weapons, such as strengthening them so they don't break as quickly. In addition to crafting goods, Joel can visit workbenches placed throughout the game to upgrade his various weapons, increasing their reload speed, capacity, and so forth.
|This brick could easily be replaced|
by a launch Xbox 360.
But these tense and immersive moments are occasionally ruined by the AI. Generally your AI partners behave themselves, but sometimes when you're supposed to be silent, such as in the previous Clicker example, they will move around, even move right next to the Clicker threat. Thankfully, the AI can't alert the enemy to you, but it's still something that took me out of what was supposed to be an super-serious experience. Furthermore, I've had it where enemies would do erratic behaviors, almost as if the AI couldn't decide what it wanted to do.
|And a "good day" to you, too!|
|"I could use... a hand here...*choke*"|
Additionally, if the massive single player campaign wasn't enough, Naughty Dog has a multiplayer component to The Last of Us. This mode is called Factions, and has players picking a side, either Hunters or Fireflies, and participating in matches to help their clan stay alive for 12 weeks. Each match serves as its own day. After surviving (or failing to survive) the 12 weeks, a player can choose their clan once again. It's an incredibly innovative take on multiplayer, currently only marred by the amount of lag in a wide number of matches. Note: That I'm saying this at the time of this review. It could be fixed by the time you read this.
|Here's something to heat this match up!|
|I could stare at many of the areas|
of The Last of Us for hours.
[SPC Says: 9.25/10]