So I bought The Last of Us because it looked super friggin’ awesome. I then moved back home from University and lost it in the sea of bags I brought home with me. After spending a couple of weeks unpacking my room (unusually quick for me) I remembered, found it, started to play.
First off, as you’ll all know visually it is STUNNING.
The thing starts of with a long cut scene, beginning with Joel (main character) with his teenage daughter Sarah. Now everyone who’s followed the pre-release stuff knows the girl on the cover is Ellie, so wow big cliché the daughter is probably going to die and Ellie will replace the daughter shaped hole in his heart. Also, if you’re going to do a ‘single parent’ oriented character, statistically shouldn’t that full-time parent be a woman? (Where the mother is was never disclosed). But whatever, classic infected/zombie-like beginning.
You’re first in control of Sarah, and immediately I think the controlling of the character is what Heavy Rain would be like if they made a HR2 and cut out all the artsy crap that was more annoying than innovative. You only get to move about and press triangle a few times before a long drama unfolds where you interact by viewing things and changing to Joel and running away from fires/infected.
Then you get stopped by some kind of military person and though it’s painfully obvious that this is where Sarah dies, gosh darn it I cried. Well played TLOU, well played.
The story line is pretty basic. Your usual ‘you need to do X, but you need to do Y and Z before to get to X, and whilst you’re completing Y, A, B and C happen before you can complete Y’.
The fighting scenes are pretty much the same as well. They vary from infected to ‘clicker’s’ to ‘bloaters’ to mixtures of them and then normal enemies which include thugs and soldier groups. Each group and sub-group have their own characteristics when fighting so it’s pretty easy to adapt your fighting style to theirs. But one thing spices it up: the amount of choices the game gives you. You can choose to stealth kill, shoot-down, nail bomb and Molotov them, distract them by throwing bricks/bottles in another direction, blind them with smoke screens, brutal melee attacks or stealthily avoiding any fighting at all.
A couple of things I found annoying at first. NOW I MUST WARN YOU – I play on easy or ‘girlfriend mode’. Even if I breeze through the game, I always begin on Easy because I did not buy or download for free this game to DIE every two minutes and only find two bullets on every twenty bad guys I kill. As such, these problems may only occur if you are playing on or are expecting some easy mode perks.
So, when you and Tess are smuggling Ellie out and they kinda just expect you to know where the hell you’re going even though there’s no signposts or arrow or map or ANYTHING, therefore it make its so much easier for the soldiers to find you. Cue mashing L2.
AND, when you’re told to be super stealthy because of said soldiers or a room full of clickers, and you’re going at a painfully slow creeping pace to make sure you don’t get a gory cut scene of your neck being ripped out, and Tess, Ellie and/or any other character just start sprinting about the place and NO ONE NOTICES. Also found it pretty unconvincing that when you’re wading through water or creeping up to clickers’ faces rather than behind them, they don’t use that apparently heightened sense of hearing and hear you.
So, with annoyances so very early on in the game like that, why did I come back to the game the next day at seven pm and when I checked my watch it was three am?
Simple: It’s just addictive. It is classic, edge of the seat, slapping your leg and swearing at the TV every time you get caught, you know something creepy is going to happen but you don’t know how bad and when and you really want them to get to their destination because actually these character are pretty deep and relatable, gaming. The little notes you find are heart-breaking too and really set the story-world.
The simple morality of the story also works in its favour. The age old personal vs. world wide, the few for the many scenario. Will you actually lead Ellie to a life of being treated like a lab rat and/or death for a cure? You’ve spent a whole year with her, your stories are both so sad they resonate with each other, but is that worth living in this hell potentially forever?
I haven’t actually gotten to the end of the game yet, so I may completely change my mind on this and write a follow up review, but hey, I’m guessing the end part will deserve it’s own review (or it won’t, which will in turn, deserve it’s own review).
Neither have I tried the Multi-player aspect yet, though as the gore of the game is, I’m assuming, meant to be so disgusting that you’re not supposed to want to see it or play the game in some small way, that the multiplayer aspect of it would just ruin that whole effect. That horrible place between being better off not seeing Joel’s face being ripped in half by a Bloater, but needing to see it because you wanna go see if you can set them on fire and kill them before they can do it again.
My main point is that, although the game isn’t flawless, the reason so many people have given it 10/10 is, in my opinion, because of the amazing visual aspects and storyline/characters. When Joel is seriously injured and you have to control his hobbling around a building to get back to your horse, which under normal circumstances is painful because all you’re doing is keeping your thumb on the L3 stick for 10 minutes, you’re heart is racing wondering if he’ll make it, forcing him to get back up when he collapses by thrusting the L3 stick up until it threatens to break.
That and it’s creepy. SO CREEPY. You don’t know when these bad guys, any of them, are gonna come about because it’s not like in other games when it gets dark so you know there’s gonna be a fight scene. You fight these infected or ‘normal’ people in broad daylight. In subways or streets, in Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.
* Not very helpful for a beginner when you’ve no idea where you’re going
*AI isn’t perfect which lessens the hyper-realistic aspect of the game.
*Tasks can become repetitive (e.g getting that stupid raft every time Ellie gets near water)
*Creepy-ass bad guys
*Varied groups of bad guys
*Varied types of weapons/ choices of attack
*3D character personalities
*Timeless. As in ‘huh where did that day go?’
*And yeah, I’ll admit, a little stereotype breaking. Nice to see a guy being parental instead of being twisted and shagging busty babes or a stupid love story.
*Ellie is a badass. She swears like a pirate, can whistle (got one up on me already), can shoot and holds a potential cure for all infected in her brain. And she’s the voice of Gretchen off of Recess.
It’s my first review. And I haven’t even finished the game. Aside from what that may say about me, I can’t give it a 10/10 if I’ve found a fault, so it gets a 9/10 and regardless of the negatives, I definitely say you should play it if you own a PS3. And if you don’t, go buy a PS3 and play it, because everyone should have a PS3.