As harrowing and brutal as it is fun.
- Top notch story with strong characters in an impressively fleshed out world.
- Brutal stealth combat with crafting mechanics that feed into it nicely.
- Interesting multiplayer that doesn’t feel totally tacked on.
- Not one to spoil anything, but seeing how strong everything else was I felt the ending was a little bit weak.
It’s a good thing I don’t really cover story in these reviews because this is one I feel really needs to be experienced. I’d say it were this years Walking Dead, not just because both contain zombies - but they both put you in a bleak world that at times can be emotionally draining but are compelling in a way that most video game stories aren’t.
Though unlike The Walking Dead, The Last of Us backs up its enthralling narrative with some terrifically fun gameplay. With the Uncharted series Naughty Dog proved it can do crazy over the top, bombastic and fun action games but they take a more subdued approach with The Last of Us which I find just as enjoyable.
Stealth, conservation and crafting play big parts in the games combat.
Ammo and resources aren’t strewn throughout the place with wild abandon as in most third person shooters. So you’re encouraged to take out people quickly and quietly, sometimes avoiding it altogether when possible.
When it’s not quietness is key, but if you’re anything like me you’ll have difficulty keeping quiet for too long - fortunately when the guns do start blazing the action is still perfectly functional and the violence delightfully high impact.
Crafting can be done anytime, including whilst in combat and you’ll often find yourself hiding to craft some more medkits or slap together a quick homemade bomb whilst in the thick of it.
Resources are finite and all the recipes share common ingredients, forcing you to decide whether you really need that molotov or if those parts would be better served getting more medkits. I’d read that most grew tired of the games combat by the end, but I personally found it highly compelling.
Fortunately this aspect of the gameplay carries over to its multiplayer, so even when you’ve played the story to death you can get largely the same experience online in a pair of team deathmatch-esque game types that tie into an interesting metagame that see’s you earning resources for a camp of survivors.
There’s also a Call of Duty style unlock system, with a points mechanic ala Black Ops 2 that ties into building your loadouts.
And of course Naughty Dog continue to prove themselves masters of presentation. The game looks fantastic, sounds fantastic, I really dig a lot of the soundtrack and they definitely knock it out of the park as far as voice work is concerned - I’m not sure the dramatic beats would have hit so hard if they hadn’t.
Don’t think I really have anything more to add.
It’s a fantastic game. Exclusives like this are why I bought a PS3 to begin with and it’s good to see it continue to be money well spent.