Soundtrack | Visuals & CGI | Story | Voice Acting | Sound Effects are all amazing
You know it had to end
I had the pleasure of unboxing the Limited Edition of the game. It includes the game, a stunning picture booklet, and an old school match box with the DLC code and cassette tape which has a USB inside with the games soundtrack. It is an awesome looking package to say the least. So about the game, I must say that it is possibly the best game I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Everything about it is sheer brilliance. This is the first time I have ever said something such as this about a game.
This is a Naughty Dog masterpiece, and you can see this was years in the making. From the subtle but effective soundtrack, to the breathtakingly CGI and visuals, the faultless and on the money voice acting, and the “true life living” of the story, which without a doubt is something to watch.
One of the key issues you find yourself immersed in, and you will be drawn into it, is the true reflection of human nature in difficult times. You will find the conflict within yourself in determining Morality versus Mortality. Its survival of the fittest, kill or be killed. This is the nature of the beast in this game. If you are a gamer that wants a great game with an equally great story, I would without a doubt say to you, this is it!
In my review, I will not give away any part of the games story, as I want you to experience it as I did. This game almost hits the ground running. In this world you are playing in, there is little time for mourning, grieving, feelings and emotion and what Naughty Dog has done is give you characters that you will love or loath, that will make you feel for them, or not at all. That is the key to this story. That is the crux of the main character Joel.
In the opening part of the movie, you get to meet Joel, a single father. And the start of this story will lead you to understand why and how Joel became such a hard, tough character. I tell you that when you watch that first sequence, until that point when you realise the words I have said, you will know. That will give you a basis of how good this game and story truly is. Yes, I know, I am praising so highly a game that may or may not appeal to everyone. But this game is brutal. It is hard, but it is true.
During the game you will understand the importance of survival and what it takes to survive. As you work your way through the game, you will fight against other humans equally determined to survive as you are, as well as the infected laying siege to the city, to the world. Joel is assigned, unwillingly, the task of protecting a young 14 year old girl names Ellie. By now you will see an older, harsher Joel. He is a man that doesn’t open up or trust anyone easily. He is tough, strong and a formidable player. This is a man you want to have escorted you through the barren wastelands and to help you survive. And in Ellie’s case, it’s exactly what she needs. And Ellie, well she is a little foul mouth, but don’t be fooled by her youthful look, because this girl is tough. She has needed to be, and is.
The bulk of the game is centred on Joel and Ellie’s aim to find Thomas, Joel’s brother. Why this is will be revealed to you in the game. The reasons will become clearer when you play it. As you make your way through demolished buildings, underground tunnels, subway systems, abandoned homes and towns, make sure to look around for rations of health, ammunitions, weapons including household chemicals and parts. Stock is absolutely limited in this game. At any given time you can have a gun with a measly ten rounds in it and with a horde of enemies bearing down on you. This is where your skills and wit need to come together. You cannot shoot your way through most of these battles, because the AI doesn’t just sit or stand and wait for you to fire at them. In this game, they flank, duck, move, and attack you. The AI is completely unpredictable, on any level you play on. Even the infected are as unpredictable as their human counterparts. So when you walk around this wastelands, stealth is key. And believe me, it needs to be. But it takes nothing away from the intensity of this game. In fact, as you play it you will soon understand the importance of stealth. And it’s great.
Just to take you back to the first part of the game, in the very beginning when you meet Joel’s first companion Tess, you are offered ration cards which seems to be the new form of money in this world. But that is the last you will see of the ration cards. They play no further part in the game. You cannot go to someone else and offer them ration cards for stock, food or ammo. Here, all those things are scarce and people will kill for them. There are two main faction adversaries in the game other than the groups of lone human survivors, and they are the Army and the Fireflies. You will also encounter ruthless gangs that will kill you on site. When you play the game you will notice the absence of a map or a HUD to direct you in the way to go. Oh no! You need to pay careful consideration to your environment and its surroundings. If you don’t, you can easily walk back into the path of the enemies you crept past a little time ago, especially in the broken down buildings you will clamber through. So be weary. There are infected that are more dangerous than the next. Those infected for over ten years become what is known as "Clickers". They can detect noise quite well, but cannot see. They are aggressive and extremely dangerous. Normal infected will run at you but are manageable in killing them if you keep your wits about you. Then there is the big daddy of the infected that throws grotesque blisters at you which cause you some damage if you are hit. They are extremely difficult to kill, so if there is an opportunity to run, do it.
As the story unfolds, your main characters Joel and Ellie will encounter supporting AI players. Each of them is done superbly, and add dimension to the game. By midway through the game you will have learnt a thing or two on how Joel has come to deal with pain and loss. Ellie is equally capable in this role, even for a girl so young. The Last of Us will show you what humans can be like if ever such an apocalypse should occur in the future. If this game is any realism to that fact of how life could be, count me out.
This game has a lot to offer you, in almost every style of play. Although this is a 3rd person game, it’s not like any other before it. You may feel the world is something you have experienced before in other games, perhaps Fallout, or even every other Zombie title you have played. But unlike those games, you learn about character, about human nature and about morality. I know this all sounds so intense and perhaps too serious, but that’s what this game is! It’s as though everything is real. Isn’t that what why we play games? Don’t we want a game that makes us think, react, and do? I am not a lover of Zombie genre games, and hardly consider myself a fan of 3rd person games, but this isn’t an ordinary game. It’s a great game. It has the potential to be the best.
As I said in the beginning, this isn’t your standard review. I won’t lead you down the story book part of the game. I can only tell you what I got out of it. There are many intense moments in the game, and when you get that respite, you welcome it. But you always need to be alert and aware of what is around you. From the dark dingy tunnels filled with the infected, to swimming under water to find exits, and to the open grass areas that leave you vulnerable. The developers show you a city that has been abandoned for over 20 years. The abundance of trees and brush are unkept and grow everywhere. There are cars, buses, trains left unattended for two decades, sprawled all over the place. It doesn’t matter if its daylight, dusk, night or dawn, there is danger everywhere and all the time.
I would not be exaggerating if I tell you that this is the best game I have ever played on PS3. Everything in the game comes together so well. I thought I was being impartial when I said how great it was, and I still feel that way. There is little to find wrong if anything at all. I could mention the two minor things I picked up in the game, but they are so minor that if you blink you will miss it. Some people may focus on it, others will completely be void of it.
Up until the very last scene of the game, you will always feel a part of it. You will connect to these characters, perhaps unlike any other way you have ever done before. I hope that you will enjoy this game as much as I have.
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