The Last of Us was released worldwide on June 14th of this year, since then it has been lauded by many as 1 of the greatest games ever made, spent around 6 weeks at number 1 in the charts and has sold around 3.5 million copies, not bad some may say, especially as it is a Playstation exclusive.
The Game is brought to us by Naughty Dog, but this is not their first brush with success, quite the contrary, they have had many successful games and franchises over the years from the Playstation 1 up to the PS3.
Crash Bandicoot was created by Naughty Dog from 1996-1999 on the Playstation 1. The game followed the eponymous hero as he travelled across the Wumpa Islands, defeating the Plans of Dr Neo Cortex, so that he can save the Islands, and rescue his girlfriend.
Crash is a Platform game with some 2D scroller elements, you run away from the camera breaking boxes, collecting fruit and masks, all while avoiding the pitfalls.
I loved this game, I played it while I was in primary school, and I think it may be time to relive some of the joy of my youth.
Now that Naughty Dog was no longer making Crash Bandicoot, they started a new franchise Jak & Daxter, on a new Platform the Playstation 2. The game followed Jak (a mute teenager) and Daxter (Jak’s friend recently turned into a rodent by dark eco), as they travel across the world, defeating enemies, rescuing sages in order to defeat Gol & Maia and save the world.
J&D was a more evolved game with a darker story, and a nice bit of humour. Jak and Daxter was a platform, with more sophisticated enemies, a controllable camera, open style world and the great innovation of mastery of eco.
I love this game, played it on PS2, and now with the HD collection, I play it on the PS3. The Jak franchise spans 3 main games, a racer, and 2 PSP titles.
A new console generation, a new franchise for Naughty Dog. Uncharted was definitely the most adult of the 3 franchises. The series follows Nathan Drake (Nolan North), a supposed descendant of Sir Francis Drake, as he travels around the world trying to uncover age old mysteries, also while foiling the plans of evil organisations, and ultimately saving the world in the process.
Uncharted is the most cinematic game created by Naughty Dog up to this point, there was no level system, and a rich immersive storyline to pull you in. The gamplay was very enjoyable, platform elements updating what we previously saw in games like Tomb Raider with an effective run ‘n gun shooting system, updating AI and player movements as the franchise continued.
I really enjoy playing this game, I have played each entry in the franchise at least twice. The franchise has spanned 3 main games, a motion comic, a PS Vita title and there have been talks for a few years of an Uncharted movie.
Now to the ‘Main Event’
The Last of Us has got to be one of the greatest games that I have ever played, I still have fond memories of playing it, and I can’t wait to play it again, but as they say, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’.
The Last of Us takes place 20 years from now, in a world now very different from our own. The world has been ravaged by a Cordyceps fungus infestation that has ravaged the planet, the fungus has mutated and is capable of infecting humans, turning them into violent creatures, that attack and infect other humans.
The game follows the exploits of Joel (Troy Baker) and Ellie (Ashley Johnson), a middle-aged man who wants to forget his past, and a 14 year old girl who has known nothing but this new world and has an important secret to hide. The game involves the 2 of them travelling across the United states, from Boston to Salt lake City, with plenty of stops in between (below). Along the way, they have to deal with the infected in it’s various stages, Hunters (humans hunting their own kind) and cannibals. They are travelling across the country in order to find the Fireflies (a rebel group), so that Ellie’s secret (immunity to the Cordyceps) can be studied in hopes of creating a vaccine.
The game is a third person action adventure game that uses a variety of styles. At points it is a stealth, and at other points, it is an action brawler, with some gruesome finishing moves. The style that the game takes on depends entirely upon the player, you can run into situations and attack or sneak around taking down enemies with a homemade shiv. The infected stage 1 are violent but easy to beat same as the hunters and cannibals except they can use weapons, the clickers are vicious and unexpectedly strong and the bloaters are huge, covered in fungal armour with poisonous bombs. I chose to use a combination of playing styles, as this helps you conserve ammo, keep enemies guessing and keeps you safe for as long as possible, but eventually you just want to beat their face in with a bat. To help you along the way you collect supplements to make yourself stronger and quicker (Health, crafting etc) and salvage to upgrade weapons as well as bits and pieces to create weapons, bombs and med kits.
The Last of Us is a true cinematic experience, it is more like playing through a movie, than just taking the reins of a video game character, the creators have successfully created a convincing world that really sucks you in. The relationship between Joel & Ellie starts off a little combative and aloof, but they grow to really care for each other and trust each other as the game goes on, and they develop a loving Father Daughter relationship. The game is quite emotionally draining in places, your adrenaline gets pumping and then tragedy strikes bringing you right down, but you never have time to rest.
I found this game really enjoyable, the action is balanced really well with the emotional moments, you really immerse yourself in the gameplay always looking for opportunities to sneak up on an enemy or take them out quietly with an arrow to the head. The crafting and upgrade functions add a great aspect to the game, allowing you to improve your character as the game becomes more challenging.
I honestly believe that ‘The Last of Us’ is one of the greatest video games ever made if not the greatest. It will definitely go down in history as the first in a new generation of video gaming. With the success of TLoU it is almost certain that a sequel will be on it’s way, on the PS4, can’t wait for the next instalment, and can’t wait to play it again.
If you haven’t played it yet, get your hands on it as soon as possible, even if you don’t have a PS4, I advise you at least rent 1 😉