This week, Forums, Twitter, my TV, my Facebook and just about everyone and everything has been screaming and shouting about ‘the greatest game ever made.’ With its flurry of 9.5/10’s and ‘Perfect Scores’, The Last Of Us is most probably the highest rated game since Zelda: Ocarina Of Time.
With countless awards at E3 this year, Naughty Dog’s apocalyptic world has seen ‘Best PS3 Game,’ ‘Most Anticipated Game’, ‘Best Show’, and the list goes on almost infinitely. It has also been claimed as the best game of 2013 so far, and to come!
So obviously, it would be rude not to play it!
As a big fan of the Uncharted Series, I was extremely keen to see what the game would bring. For me, the Uncharted Series was about in depth story lines and character interaction alongside action cinematics and beautiful scenery and LOU isn’t any different. The world begins with Joel, played by voice actor Troy Baker (who is well known for roles such a Snow Villier in FFXIII, various Call of Duty characters, lead protagonist Matt Baker in Brothers In Arms). It is Joel’s birthday and his daughter Sarah has bought him a watch. From the word go, the game toys with your emotions, makes you laugh and cry all in the same five minutes. Joel pretends the watch is broken and the ‘Drake-like’ humour is instantly revealed. The opening scenes show the zombie-apocalypse breaking out and Joel’s attempt to escape with his daughter. Vast amounts of people running crazy, explosions, cars overturning and people being eaten alive, brings you to your first action cinematic and it looks absolutely amazing! Upon trying to escape, Sarah gets shot and dies, which actually is a really sad moment and I really felt for Joel as tears rolled down his face. The scene cuts to 20 years later and America is now a series of ‘containment zones’ governed by a Police State that invokes curfews and lack of, well, everything. The black market currency is ration cards for food and the characters in the game trade them for information and the like.
But enough about the setting, what is the game like for God sake! Well, in basic terms, the game is basically Uncharted with a few extra ‘bits.’ Dotted around the maps, you can find ‘parts’ which allow you to ‘craft’ useful items such as Shivs or Med kits and upgrade your weapons. You can also find supplements which can increase your stats such as Max Health. Ammo is more sparing and you are forced to use stealth to creep past the zombies and Police type villains, especially at the beginning. The sceneries themselves are heavily detailed and have been beautifully crafted from the ground in front of you to the buildings in the distance, and everything appears to be ‘really there’ instead of it being built in layers for example.
What seems to be the most groundbreaking element to LOU is the storyline. For the last few years, the gaming industry is slowly catching the film industry up in terms of revenue and I believe it will eventually surpass. But now games are starting to obtain world class writers and actors, and gaming isn’t just about popping heads and stealing cars anymore. More and more gamers are enjoying the entire experience, especially how a story unfolds, and they like to be emotionally attached to their favourite characters. Naughty Dog have completely capitalized on this. The Last of Us is a complete experience, not only within playability, but to actually watch as well. The storyline is incredibly immersive, and unlike any film, because YOU are technically the main protagonist, you begin to feel the emotions felt by the characters as you play. Without giving too much away about the story itself, it’s incredibly rich in detail and there are many layers to it, with twists and turns, humour and sadness, fear and courage and with it’s film like qualities it is most definitely one of the best games to have ever reached our consoles.
No game is perfect, but I genuinely can only find 2 things ‘wrong’ with it., and by ‘wrong’, I mean I am just being picky. Joel could very well be Drake, from Uncharted’s brother. I mean seriously. Take a look:
Ok, so maybe Joel has a beard…But you cannot argue they are extremely similar, in fact, whilst choosing the images, I was getting confused over who was who. My second gripe would be the enemy types. For a ‘Zombie-Horror’ I found I was battling more Humans than actual Zombies and the Zombies they designed are actually really cool-looking and are a different type of Zombie that you might see in other games as the older they get, a fungus grows over them which actually restricts their vision etc.
As I said, I was being picky! What a great game! and Kudos to @tannerman1uk for lending me it 😉