The Last of Us - Review

We all know Naughty Dog for their stellar Uncharted series, in which I personally love.  Now, we have their newest game in The Last of Us, which has been receiving very high praise amongst numerous outlets in the videogame industry.  Is The Last of Us truly a masterpiece as it is being claimed or is it one of the more overhyped games of our generation?  Read on to find out.  

Ever sense Naughty Dog released their Uncharted series for the PS3; I have become a huge fan of theirs.  The Uncharted series is one of the best video game trilogies out there.  In fact, I’ve had numerous discussions with friends stating that Uncharted is reason enough to purchase a PS3.  Some agreed, some didn’t, but the fact is clear, when Naughty Dog released The Last of Us, I held high expectations for the final product.

It is difficult for games to reach their promise for me when I have such high expectations for them.  It’s even more so when said game has been receiving perfect scores from numerous videogame outlets.  However, this is where I found myself with The Last of Us.  I had placed The Last of Us upon a pedestal before I even started up the game.  This has backfired for me in the past *cough cough BioShock Infinite cough cough* but luckily for me, The Last of Us belongs on this pedestal.  Simply put, The Last of Us is truly a masterpiece.  From the very opening cinematic, The Last of Us took hold of my emotional strings and tugged away.

The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world.  Oh great, another one of those games…not the case.  The atmosphere in The Last of Us may be a post-apocalyptic US, but it’s nothing like the worlds we’ve seen in various games, movies, or television shows.  When one thinks of a post-apocalyptic planet earth, one may see dust, dirt and crumbling buildings as far as the eye can see.  While The Last of Us may have the crumbling buildings portion covered, it definitely doesn’t follow in the footsteps of the world being a dustbowl.  The world in The Last of Us is lush, green and eerily beautiful.  There are trees growing in the middle of highways.  Pools of water now occupy where parking garages once stood.  Green shrubbery has taken the place of concrete and asphalt.  I found myself on various occasions simply taking in the lush lands of Austin, Texas while I continued my travels westward.

Being set in a post-apocalyptic world, you can imagine supplies are at a premium and this is brought to the forefront in The Last of Us.  As you progress through the story, you’ll be able to find supplies such as water, scissors, scrap parts, etc. in order to craft items for yourself as well as upgrade your weapons.  This constant search for supplies really emphasizes the fact that you are amongst the last of humanity and will search everywhere to find that extra bit of bandage to assemble that much needed first-aid kit.  While sneaking though crumbled houses; I cannot tell you how many times I checked drawers just to see if I could find something I could use.

The story for The Last of Us is nothing short of amazing.  When we talk about stories in video games, a lot of the time we say: “Oh, this is a great story…for a video game.”  Well, The Last of Us breaks this mold.  The story is fantastic, regardless of what entertainment type it is.  As I was playing, I could envision myself watching the story on a big screen as the next blockbuster movie, or curled up next to a fire reading it from cover to cover.  It’s not just a great story for a video game, simply put, it’s a great story.  I’m purposely not going to talk about the story in attempts not to accidently spoil something.  In this day and age it can be difficult to not read plots and synopses of video game.  However, with The Last of Us, you’ll want to experience the story with a fresh palate; the overall game experience will be much more enjoyable.

What helps the story thrive is the fantastic voice acting and music.  If anyone has read my past reviews, you know I am one of the biggest fans of Mass Effect, especially for their voice acting.  Well, I’m here to state that I feel The Last of Us may have outshone the voice acting in the Mass Effect series.  The two lead characters of Joel (Troy Baker) and Ellie (Ashley Johnson) were nothing short of remarkable.  They really acted their parts masterfully and it is shown in the final product.  While the other characters you meet along the way are not as prominent as Joel and Ellie in the game, they are still held to the highest degree of professionalism in voice acting.  Even if a character doesn’t have much of a speaking dialogue, they still acted as if the one sentence was the most important sentence in the game.  There is no drop off from lead character to minor character; the voice acting is stellar.

There is not enough praise worthy adjectives that I can use to describe The Last of Us.  Simply put, it’s one of the finest video games I have ever played.  The story will grab you from the beginning and you will absolutely become invested with the characters on screen.  I’m not even ashamed to admit that I started to tear up in certain sections of the game; that’s how invested I became with the story and characters.  The Last of Us isn’t just “another post-apocalyptic game.”  The story has substance, growth and will undoubtedly stroke your emotional chords.  Naughty Dog has created an impeccable game and with next generation consoles right around the corner, hopefully videogame developers will use the Last of Us as an example on how to properly tell an engaging and worthwhile story.

5/5 - Joysticks