26 June 2013 | Aqua_Fresca
One of the best games I've ever played.
Leave it to a video game to produce the greatest zombie story since George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Yes, the story is great. Yes, the voice acting is great. Yes, you get emotionally involved with the characters and everything that happens to them. With that said, though, The Last of Us is more than just a well-told story, it could very well be a sign of where the genre is headed, and if that's the case then colour me excited.
What I'm talking about, mainly is the emphasis on survival. In most zombie games, ammo is really the only resource you need to worry about, and more than often there seems to be enough of it. I'm not saying those kinds of zombie games are bad, but it really seemed like a cop-out when these games would continue to embrace a heavy action, FPS style of gaming. But what about the survival aspects? What about having to consistently gather food, weapons, various items, and find shelter? Why not makes these games about how far someone's will can take them, of how determined they are to survive and the things they're will to do in order to do that? The Last of Us aims to do just that.
While still an action game, it's definitely not a shoot-em up. While you collect various weapons throughout, mainly guns, ammo is extremely scarce. There is no guarantee that an enemy you kill will drop some ammo, and if they do it may not be for the gun you need it for. Sometimes they don't drop ammo at all, but instead supplies that can be used to craft other weapons. Even then, the amount of supplies that's dropped is never consistent, and if you don't have enough of one particular item it can mean the difference between crafting another weapon or health kit, and ultimately, your ability to survive. In short, The Last of Us encourages you to find new ways to kill or bypass your enemies in order to preserve your supplies for as long as possible. Though the game doesn't go as far as I've described in the last paragraph, The Last of Us definitely points towards that direction.
I'm also a fan of how involved other humans are in this game. It isn't simply one person or a few persons trying to sabotage you the whole way, you interact with a lot of people in this game, and it's because of that that it really grounds it. It doesn't simply become a game of Us Vs. the Infected, but instead, and a lot like in Romero's best Zombie films, it's mainly about the collapse of society, of people trying to carve a little spot for themselves in this New America, and striving to discover your purpose and worth amongst the chaos. It's so easy to make the zombies the villains in these games, but it's ultimately pointless because zombie's cannot reason. They are what they are and their nature must be accepted, for better or worse. Humans, on the other hand, can reason, and it's what they're capable of that is most frightening. The Last of Us gets that, and that's why it stands out.
With all of this said, there are some issues I have with the game, though not detrimental enough to cause any kind of dent in my rating, though they're issues non-the-less. I'm not the biggest fan of there being different types of zombies, as it just feels like the developers are purposely doing it to give gamers varying levels of difficulty in their encounters, which doesn't ring true to me. I'm also not a fan of how your allies interact with the zombies; so Clickers can kill you in one attack, but if they attack Ellie then she can withstand it for a longer period of time? There's just no consistency there.
Still, the good far out way those two quibbles of mine. The game is damn near flawless, from how the story is written and acted, to the mechanics and how the game is played, to the graphics and just how real and involved everything feels. Naughty Dog continues their success with this game, and the way it ends definitely calls for a sequel. It's one of the best games I've ever played, and I can't wait to see where they take the story next.