Naughty Dog’s “The Last Of Us” was officially released in 2013 (same year Batman: Arkham Origins came out) on PlayStation 3. It received critical acclaim from critics and gamers alike selling millions of copies worldwide. A remastered version was released in 2014 on PlayStation 4. In 2020, the controversial sequel earned critical acclaim.
A television adaptation of The Last Of Us is in development with the game’s creator, Neil Druckmann (the Uncharted series) & Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) headlining the show. Pedro Pascal (one of my favorite actors) will portray Joel. It’ll air/stream sometime in 2022 on HBO/HBO Max.
This review contains no massive SPOILERS. I’m only listing out the strengths and weaknesses of the main story, not online multiplayer. My policy is not to review mobile or multiplayer games if they lack a narrative.
Healthy & Sick Aspects
Healthy: Troy Baker & Ashley Johnson both did an excellent job for their respective performances as Joel & Ellie.
Nolan North (my all-time favorite voice actor) did a fantastic job for his performance as David. A sadistic survivor.
Neil Druckmann did a flawless job for his direction, writing and mapping out a cohesive narrative with his fellow Naughty Dog posse.
Gameplay is presented as a third-person survival horror shooter. You play as Joel (Ellie in certain moments) navigating your through a post-apocalyptic world escorting Ellie who may be the one to end an epidemic that’s turning people into zombie lookin’ creatures. Stealth is the best option by crouching. Make sure you don’t create a loud noise like using a gun or running. Silently takedown enemies via chokehold or a handy dandy shiv. You can distract enemies by throwing an object a few feet away. Vision Mode allows you to see enemy activity. Ellie, Tess and other allies assist you in a sticky situation. If you’re caught, use your guns, melee weapons or fists. A flashlight helps you navigate dark areas. Place objects that’ll let you go from Point A to Point B.
Graphics are beautiful to look at. They bring elements to life including character models, a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, fluid animation, creature designs and environmental locations.
You can plan on Easy Normal, Hard, Survival and Grounded. The latter is the most difficult. Think you can beat it relying on your brain? A word of caution, ammo and supplies are scarce. So be weary.
Melee attacks are savage using your fists, baseball bat, wooden plank, and a tire iron. Range attacks allow you to shoot your foes with handguns, shotguns, rifles and a bow. You can also throw molotov cocktails and smoke grenades. Workbenches are another important factor. Collect scraps and manuals that’ll upgrade your weapons.
A Crafting System comes in handy if you need to restock on supplies and increase Joel’s stats. Specific ingredients are required to make a certain item. Choose wisely.
Photo Mode is optional. I love it when games give you the opportunity to take an awesome snapshot.
Enemy variations are diverse trying to kill you with different tactics. Humans such as the military and hunters are armed with guns. Infected people Rush towards you. Clickers are tough ones to beat. They will kill you in one hit. Bloaters are also tough. The Infected gave me the heebie-jeebies.
The Infected are based on a real-life fungal infection solely on insects. A unique take on the zombie genre except they don’t say, “BRAINS!”
Gustavo Santaolalla (21 Grams, Brokeback Mountain, Babel) orchestrated the soundtrack. As if Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu (one of my favorite filmmakers) directed a video game. I think the award-winning music from “Babel” is the sole reason Neil & Naughty Dog hired Gustavo.
Chemistry between Joel & Ellie serves as the main highlight. As the game progresses, they form a strong bond.
Character Development involving Joel & Ellie. During their journey, Joel sees Ellie as a daughter figure vowing to protect her from danger. The DLC story known as “Left Behind” expands Ellie’s backstory spending time with an old friend named, Riley before she met Joel. By the way, Storm Reid (Euphoria, The Suicide Squad) will portray Riley in the upcoming HBO series.
Besides Joel & Ellie, other characters like Tess are unforgettable. Every single non-infected individual is unique.
The game is primarily influenced by “Resident Evil 4.” Other influences are “28 Days Later,” “Sin City,” “I Am Legend,” “No Country For Old Men & “True Grit.”
I’m giving The Last Of Us credit for inspiring “Stranger Things,” “A Quiet Place” & “Logan.”
The Prologue reveals Joel used to live in Texas. As a Texan, myself, I’m giving Naughty Dog an Extra Point.
Primary Themes are Survival, Hope, Loss & Redemption. Each one is handled maturely.
Without giving anything away, The Prologue establishes a tragic loss from Joel’s past. What you’re about to see indicates the game will pull your heartstrings.
I can’t give away The Ending. You’re gonna have to play and find out how it ends.
After you beat the game, you can replay on New Game Plus.
Sick: I couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m giving Naughty Dog an Extra Point for making a flawless game as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
The Last Of Us is without a doubt, a masterpiece. Some of the positive stuff listed above, indicates why this game is an instant classic. If you’re looking forward to seeing the game on HBO, I strongly recommend it as a gateway introduction for newcomers. After I played the second game in 2020, I have a bad feeling the show will become a letdown.