Naughty Dog's Finest
The Last of Us takes the post-apocalyptic setting and takes to new highs. It involves you with an absolutely amazing plot that should be experienced by every video games fan out there.
The game starts you with a banger of an intro, one of the best prologues in gaming history. Making you get involved without wasting any time. At first I was weirded out by the fast forward, but ended up being a plus overall. The traditional survival-horror atmosphere is here, you won’t have that much ammo to work with, you need to avoid making mistakes so you don’t run out of supplies, the scenarios are tight and dark, giving you some tense flashlight sections, as well as feeling the fear of just running forward without caution. The sound bites give you lots of scares as well; the game is perfectly design on what it aims to present to you.
I would say that my favorite thing about the game is the characters. The performance by the actors, the game follows the steps of Joel, a hard headed man who lost a lot. Joel is introduced to Ellie, a young girl who only knows of this apocalyptic world. The two of them might have the best interactions I’ve seen in games, not just between them, but also when it comes to the side characters. The acting is top notch, you can feel the emotions from them, the writing is basically perfect, aside from sometimes you not agreeing with what the characters say or do, but that’s what comes from any type of media. The arc of this characters is something to behold, what they go through, how they change, how they evolve. It’s just a masterpiece of a work.
The adventure takes the duo through diverse locations, going from a couple of cities to a couple of forest areas, and the detail is just superb. The scenario is always something that can caught your eye, the details, especially when you’re going to houses, are just marvelous. Your interaction with the world as well, you can find text notes around, like diaries or just a small note on a paper, that gives you a clue or tells you a quick summary of what happen with the people from that area. You can see the conditions they left, or if maybe they were not able to leave. The animation isn’t short of great as well, the interactions of Joel with the scenario, putting his hands when you walk too close to walls, changing his body based on where are you walking through, if you’re trying to hide or use the listening ability, or when you’re just stumbling through objects, it’s just amazing.
Sometimes the world has so much detail that you end up going through every single corner of the area, looking for supplies, because you’re not sure of what you’re seeing in the distance, and it might be something, but usually it’s nothing. As well as taking a couple of minutes to figure out where you can go through, or what’s interact able, so you can progress, thinking once or twice “Am I lost here?”, what maybe the game could’ve give you the option to make the “tips button” show up quicker.
The gameplay grew on me, at the beginning I felt it was a slow start. It made me think “well, the gameplay is the weak link of this game”, because I wasn’t sure about how to approach each situation. You start very thin, and the game puts a very low cap on supplies and max ammo, so even if you go through the struggles of going stealthy through an area, while only using melee, taking 3x the time. You will probably end up being already max out on the supplies and ammo you can get, but if you go guns blazing, you won’t find enough to resupply everything that you lost. So I thought “well, that’s unbalanced”. But then, you start to unlocking more weapons, and more crafting options – the game has a very simples crafting option that you can at any point just stop and open your bad to make some items, varying from homemade bombs to a healing item, the game doesn’t pause tho, so make sure to be safe – with that increase in options you could just spend a couple of bullets here and there, and when you ran out of it, just change weapons and have them to emergencies only. You could opt to go through an area just using bombs and Molotov’s for example, it starts to open up and increase in its quality.
Another problem in the beginning was that by what I stated before, you feel like the upgrades for you character and the weapons are not meaningful, and maybe the game didn’t even need it. But the same thing happens, the more options you have, the more sense it makes. And trust me, you’ll want every inch you can get to improve your chances. I hated the fact that the melee weapons break so easily, just with a handful of hits and the Shiv is a onetime use item. But again, it was only in the beginning, where you just have one pistol, it feels frustrating, but later you don’t even notice it. The combat is the simples cover-based shooter style of previous Naughty Dog games, it’s very simple. I just wish they’ve used the lock in target as an option for any difficulties, I don’t like when the shooting is hard on the console, I’m a PC player, when I play console, without headphones and a mouse, I don’t think that feels good enough for me to enjoy if it’s a hard game. So, just like I said about the Uncharted games, one knock against The Last of Us is that I, personally, have more fun playing it on easy and activating lock on aim. You can only activate that option on easy, what sucks, because I’m mostly a shooter guy, just not on this setting.
Despite the crafting system being simples, as well as the shooting and the upgrade system, I cannot say the same thing about the stealth gameplay, and that’s a complement, a huge one. The Last of Us has the most amazingly intense and cerebral stealth gameplay I can think of, you almost have to be standing up while playing though some of those sections, it’s so nerve wracking, at any point it can all go south, man I loved the feeling these moments gave me. It’s the best part of the gameplay, for sure.
Well, The Last of Us is a must-play for every gamer out there. It’s one of the games with the most impactful moments I can think off, I talked a lot about the basics and some negatives, that is because I can’t spoil what makes this game one of the greatest ever. You get involved with the cast of characters, you feel a lot of things being a part of this journey. Joel is one of the most memorable protagonists in gaming history, and Ellie, oh my god Ellie, she’s just tremendous, so well-acted and written, amazing to believe she’s from a video game of 2013 – speaking of that, what’s up with Female side-kickers in 2013, both Ellie and Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite, maybe the two best in that role – Do yourself a favor and play this game. One of the rarest examples of a game having a cinema-level presentation, with great intro, great plot arc and great finish. Naughty Dog did it again, what an amazing team.