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Currently reading: True Gaming Perfection: The Last of Us

True Gaming Perfection: The Last of Us

The Last of Us:

A great example of gaming perfection is Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us,” and with “The Last of Us: Part II” on the horizon, I figured it’d be a good time for to write a short article about the first installment into “The Last of Us” franchise, and tell you just why we love it so much. I’m Dan from “GoneFullGeek” and in this article; I’ll be talking about everything I love in Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us”.

The Last of Us

Of course, I’ve got to tell you that this article will obviously contain spoilers to “The Last of Us” so if you haven’t played it by now, then you need to visit Amazon and buy yourself a copy the ‘remastered’ version on PS4, and don’t stop playing until you’ve finished it! Once you’ve done that, come on back to GoneFullGeek and finish reading this. If my word isn’t good enough for you, then check out launch trailer for “The Last of Us” and you’ll see it’s a game worth having:

Now with that out of the way, let’s get straight to it.

First of all, I just have to say that because of its incredible story, stunning graphics and awesome gameplay, “The Last of Us” is definitely one of my all-time favourite games. Although I love Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” series a great deal, for me personally, “The Last of Us” has to be Naughty Dog’s crowning achievement. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to see what Naughty Dog have in store for us with “The Last of Us: Part II”.

The Story:

So let’s move onto my favourite thing about the game – the story. Simply put; I think its perfect – all of it. From the tragic and heartbreaking beginning, all the way to the hopeful and tear-jerking ending. And you know what? I think that’s a rare thing – to have one hundred percent of a game’s story to be completely compelling and engaging, to the point where not once do you find yourself losing interest throughout the entire game. Usually I find that there’s some part of a game’s story where I think “That could’ve been better” or “Meh, I guess that’s okay” but with “The Last of Us,” that never happened. You aren’t forced to settle for anything mediocre, as it’s all pretty amazing and it never really leaves you feeling as though something could have been better.

After playing for a little while, I didn’t just want to follow Joel and Ellie on their journey, I needed to. Hoping they’d survive and wishing they’d beat the odds, find the cure and be able to save everyone. And let’s be honest, after what happened to Joel’s daughter at the very beginning of the game, we all hoped he’d find a little happiness by the end… Even if it is twenty years after Sarah was murdered. After all, he deserves it, right? I mean, sure; he’s done terrible things. But c’mon, he lives in a terrible world, so I reckon we can forgive him a little for always looking out for No. 1.

After all of the post-apocalyptic movies you’ve watched and games you’ve played, wouldn’t you do exactly the same thing?

The Characters:

I was blown away by the sheer level of emotional engagement I felt with almost all of the characters in “The Last of Us.” Even the smaller, less important characters, such as Bill; (voiced by W. Earl Brown) A man you can’t help but sympathise with. A man who’s instinct to survive has brought him nothing but loss and loneliness.

And of course, Henry and Sam (voiced by Brandon Scott and Nadji Jeter) – the two brothers you meet in Pittsburgh. After realising they’re in a similar situation to Joel and Ellie (aside from the whole ‘cure’ thing) you immediately relate to them and as a result – losing these two characters felt pretty sad. As you get to know them a little and search for the “Fireflies” together, surviving with them and helping each other, you really start to feel as though they’re more important than your typical ‘every game’ kinda side characters.

But of course, anyone who’s seen or read any post-apocalyptic story ever, knows that this relationship isn’t likely to last a long time. And so, in keeping with this post-apocalyptic cliché, they meet their end in perhaps one of the saddest ways in the game. Sam, the younger brother, is bitten and infected; his older brother, Henry, is then forced to kill him in order to protect Ellie. After that, he can’t live with the guilt of what he’s had to do, and commits suicide…What a sad way to go.

But Joel and Ellie… What a pair they make. What a team!

Their Journey:

Watching Joel go from seeing Ellie as nothing but a nuisance and wanting rid of her, to loving her as though she were his own daughter. Even after everything this harsh, ‘Clicker’ filled, post-apocalyptic world has thrown at him: having his twelve-year-old daughter, Sarah, die in his arms at the hands of some dumb soldier who was ‘following orders.’ (First time I’ve cried in a game in years) To losing his friend, or dare I say “lover” Tess (voiced by Annie Wersching) and God only knows what he’s been through in the twenty years between those two events. But I’m betting most of it ain’t good.

As for Ellie, her character is pretty great throughout the main story. Seeing her grow to trust Joel with her life and view him as her protector, and eventually come to love him like a father. In fact, one of my favourite parts of the game is in the second half of the main story, when Joel is impaled through the back, and Ellie is basically forced to fend for herself, and protect Joel whilst he recovers from this serious injury. This is where she really comes into her own and starts to handle herself like a mini Lara Croft. Taking on a few waves of ‘Clickers’ and infected, surviving her encounters with those cannibal freaks, oh and let’s not forget David – but after what she did to him, I think it’s safe to say that this girl is pretty ‘bad-ass’ and can certainly take care of business.

Talented Voices

Following these two characters, watching them develop and being a part of their journey, looked and felt incredible. All thanks to the amazing writing team at Naughty Dog, their animators, and of course, the incredible voice actors that brought two of my favourite characters to life, in such a spectacular fashion – with:

Troy Baker, as Joel.

Troy Baker Joel

Ashley Johnson, as Ellie.

Ashley Johnson Ellie

And of course, we can’t forget: Nolan North, as David.

Nolan North David

The Graphics:

“The Last of Us” is beautiful… Ya’ know; if you ignore all of the decaying corpses, demolished buildings and swarms of infected. You’ll know it looks incredible and that it’s definitely one of, if not the greatest looking games on PlayStation 3. From the facial capture, the incredible views, the lighting as you quietly creep through decaying museums and desolate dorm-rooms. All the way to the texture in Joel’s worn, tattered shirt and back-pack – this game is stunning. The remastered version for PlayStation 4 looks just as impressive, when you compare it to a lot of other games originally designed for the PlayStation 4 itself. The number of hours the team at Naughty Dog must have crammed into the development of this game is staggering. But it definitely paid off for them, and us.

Although graphics aren’t the single most important thing in a game, I think it’s definitely up there. For me, I much prefer quality over quantity and Naughty Dog doesn’t skimp out when it comes to graphics or story-telling – they excel at them.
What a masterpiece Naughty Dog have created… Again!

The Soundtrack

The brilliant and erie music of this legendary game hits all the right spots. It keeps the tone of the game feeling very desperate, and keeps us in the mood to cling to life in a world where hope is all but gone. The Last of Us’ soundtrack was composed by Gustavo Santaolalla. He’s also worked on the soundtrack for the DLC, and is currently working with Naughty Dog on composing the soundtrack for The Last of Us: Part 2. So worry not, as Part 2 is in very good hands.

The DLC:

The Last of Us: Left Behind

Although it was short, even the DLC “The Last of Us: Left Behind” was decent. And as you get chance to play as Ellie in the main game, I was really excited to get to play as her more in the DLC, especially after rummaging through her back-pack (in the main game) and finding the letter from her Mother and the photo of her best friend, Riley.

I really wanted to know more about her life before meeting Joel, and that’s what “Left Behind” gives you. You get a deeper look into Ellie’s back-story, which helps you understand a little more about why she is the way she is, and what happened to her best friend Riley. Plus you get to roam around in an abandoned shopping centre, trying on Halloween masks and throwing bricks at cars, so go ahead and set your inner thirteen-year-old free for a while.

GoneFullGeek Gaming Review

  • Story

  • Graphics

  • Gameplay

  • Soundtrack

  • Replayability

  • Overall