Sunday, June 30, 2013

Game Review: The Last of Us

Image from here.
It can't be for nothing.

In case you haven't heard of this game and all the hype behind its critical acclaim, The Last of Us is a survival horror adventure game developed exclusively for the PlayStation 3 by Naughty Dog, the geniuses behind the Uncharted series.

I'm a solid fan of Uncharted (Platinum Trophies for each game!). I absolutely love cinematic, story-driven games and I deem them to be the very reason that video games can be considered to be a true art. In video games like this, you spend a lot more time with the characters and with the journey than you would in a movie, and much more interaction than you would get from a TV series or a book. You breathe life into the tale, you literally walk in their shoes, and you face what they face. Uncharted is an Indiana Jones-type story revolving around the very cool and charismatic treasure hunter named Nathan Drake. The Last of Us goes much further than that with its own deeper and darker plot.

I won't get into details to leave everything experienced as it should, but basically, you play the very reliable Joel who protects a young girl named Ellie throughout a post-apocalyptic world where there roam zombie-like people they call Infected. The characters are amazing. From the first few minutes of the movie right to the end, I felt so unbelievably attached to them that I would catch myself thinking about the events in their lives at random points of my own day. It's truly rare that I get to feel this way for fictional characters, even counting movies, TV and books. If you engage yourself in this game, you would share their sighs of relief and waves of sorrow. At times throughout the game, I actually had to hold back tears. Manly tears.
Image from here.
The game is very smooth and fun to play. This isn't like Metal Gear Solid where you'd spend only a fourth of an hour actually playing and the rest, watching. The story unfolds perfectly while you explore the tragically beautiful environment and while interactions ensue. I just played it on Normal and it was quite easy, but had enough of a challenge to keep you engaged. Like a realistic survival story, there is quite a limitation to the supply of ammo, so I was a very stingy shooter. What's great is you can use the environment, bricks, bottles and even your handy dandy fists to help you dispose of the enemy!

This game doesn't only play great, but looks great too. The motion capture and facial expressions were rendered brilliantly. For the most part, it felt more like a movie than a game. Naughty Dog was truly able to bring over the best from Uncharted. They totally raised the bar for smooth and realistic fast-paced animation.


They got an Academy award winner to create the score for this game and it was evident. The soundtrack perfectly accompanied the events with eerie yet emotional melodies. It wasn't overused, either. It was extremely quiet when it needed to be. The sound effects are all very, very realistic.

Verdict: 5/5 - Excellent!
Not a big surprise there, but I'd just like to say that I already knew about all the high ratings this game has been receiving before I started playing. That means I had incredibly high expectations from this game, and they were all met perfectly. Well, it's even more than that. It blew me away. In a way that I didn't and couldn't expect.

This is a story that has to be told. It is likely one of the best in its medium. I highly recommend that you play this game and immerse yourself in it. If you don't have a PS3 and can't borrow one, watch a friend or even watch online. This is a tale I don't think I'll ever forget.

Between blogging, singing, and other things, I haven't really been able to play games recently. How fitting it is that I got to play this game now, because it reminds me that I am totally missing out. I really ought to use my PS3 more! As I have read before, video games really are the best avenue for one to experience many amazing lives rather than just one. This is the first of many game reviews!

Loved The Last of Us? Hated it? Let me know by commenting below, or just tweet me!

Here's the trailer!


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