The Last of Us by Naughty Dog (the same developer as the Uncharted series and Crash Bandicoot) has been getting rave reviews from every direction.
Without revealing too much of the story you’re a survivor in an ugly future where a fungus has turned a lot of people into killer mushroom looking zombies that want nothing more than to eat and/or kill you. Most of the human non-zombies you meet aren’t much better, often they are worse. The government has instated marshal law, food and supplies are scarce, there’s a resistance group, a lot of bad guy types, and a handful of good guy survivors also. The co-op type game play with the main characters Joel and Ellie make for interesting tension when you know there are mushroom zombies and bad humans around every corner.
I’ve played through the game, played the multi player, and I have to say Naughty Dog impresses me with their story telling and style of game play again and again.
The combat system is similar to Uncharted with different weapons, melee, and stealthy ways to go about killing infected and humans alike. Third person is not my favorite view in games but The Last of Us pulls it off with out too much of the clunky, clumsy, feeling that some third person games have. Stealth can play an important role in conserving your supplies and surviving long odds. You have abilities and tricks you can use to move among enemies undetected. If you choose to go in guns blazing the enemies tend to out number and over run you even on the easy game setting.
The crafting system is simple and easy enough to use if you can find enough raw materials to make what you need (everything from health kits to molotov cocktails). Basically it combines 3 or 4 things (alcohol, duct tape, blades, rags, ect) to make something useful. The things you make are very useful and this system is also incorporated into the multi player.
Those things are part of what makes this game pretty awesome. However it’s the gripping story line and plot twists that keep happening that pushed me to play it as much as possible. From the first few minutes until the end the game makes an emotional connection. Whether it’s a parent/child relationship or just caring about another human enough to put your self at great risk. There is something in this type of story that makes it feel grounded .
I’ve read that the game reminds people of movies like “The Road” and “Children of Men”. I’d say it has influences from those films/books, and others as well. There were some minor screen tearing, pixelation, and some graphics weirdness during the later levels in the game, but nothing that kills the over all experience. In conclusion I think this game should contend for game of the year, the writing and game play were top-notch, and it felt deeper emotionally than anything else I’ve played lately.