Review by Cyckness
"Yeah, I know, another 10/10. Can't help it though."
So The Last of Us put me in a very weird place.
It has been called "the Citizen Kane of gaming", "the most riveting, emotionally resonant story-driven epic of this console generation", yada yada yada. Crazy, lofty things have been said. Things that, as a knee-jerk reaction, you immediately want to debunk.
And while you're playing it, you think that this is so overrated, that this is just Uncharted meets survival horror, that the hype train went off the rails... but in spite of all that, when it comes time to put everything together and give this game some kind of numerical score... you find that you can't think of a damn thing to say about this game but what virtually everyone else said. Last of Us is a masterpiece. There. I can't be the guy who gives a "different" perspective on this one.
But aha! It isn't perfect though! Cuz', see, during the stealth moments in the game the enemy only responds if he see you (Joel). Ellie can and will jump right in front of a bandit or a Clicker and they will walk right by her. This is not game-breaking by any stretch, but it does have a way of pulling you out of the otherwise flawless immersion to be found in the game.
And when I say flawless.... you can smell the decay of the run-down home, see the saw dust covering the work benches where you customize your DIY arsenal and feel the powdery snow beneath your feet. This game is a steady stream of gorgeous all the way through and the character's facial expressions are the crowning achievement. This might be racist, but the African American fellows (I'm thinking of one in particular) you come across in the Last of Us are so masterfully modeled that you do not need to see the color of their skin to know exactly what they are. I... I can't get over how perfectly they nailed the eyes and the lip movements. Its unlike anything before it.
The gameplay is tuned to perfection. Combat is fun but also oppressive, stifling. It perfectly matches the tone of the game. You feel every brick you throw, every rifle blast that tears off the man's head. It is relatively nothing special to connect with a character through cutscenes... it is very special to connect with them in combat, to feel every bit like a wild animal after a good fight as the grim protagonist Joel must feel when he takes a life. Last of Us does it though. God have mercy, it does it.
The story.... let's put it this way: Ken Levine has not stopped crying since June 14th, because Bioshock Infinite just lost every single "Best Narrative of 2013" award that he thought was in the bag.
The plot is helped immensely by incredible writing and smooth pacing... with the exception of a rather slow start in the Quarantine Zone.
Music is dripping with feels. Don't be surprised if the soundtrack, coupled with quite possibly some of the best voice acting in a game, brings a tear to your eye.
This game is criminally good. The whole zombie thing is quickly getting unbearable and you almost DON'T want to love this game because of that, but you will succumb... and shame on you if you let zombie fatigue keep you from playing this.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 06/24/13
Game Release: The Last of Us (US, 06/14/13)
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