Review by undertaker188

Reviewed: 06/20/13

Naughty Dog's Cream of the Crop

Naughty Dog has created what seems to be a game worthy of the title: Game of the Ages. The Last of Us takes the player down into the nit and grit of heart and soul, relationships, love lost and love gained. It takes us to the brink of death and back, as we fight our way through, inching to survive to the next season. The Last of Us will be set in history, as the only game in my book to be absolutely flawless. Let's break down some of the games key components, that truly make it what it is.

Story: 10/10
The story we follow in this epic game is unlike that of any other. We follow a man named Joel, who lives an ordinary life as a single father, and his world is turned completely upside down as a mass infestation begins to spread across the country. On a side note, it is said by many, that the first 15 minutes of this game are the greatest of any game ever created, and that is absolutely true. The riveting story thrusts you into survival mode as you try to protect your family, and escape the madness rampant in the streets. The connections made with other characters throughout the game provide the player with a different outlook one could never achieve playing another title. The player can truly begin to form a bond to the main characters, and even at some points allow frustration and anger to cloud their overall opinion of the people you meet and play as throughout this 16 hour game.

Gameplay: 10/10
The overall way you choose to play the game is just that: Your choice. You are a survivalist and you take what you can. You are limited in ammunition and supplies. Stylistically, you can pass certain areas of the game not firing a single shot, and others may end in an all-out battle for your life. The gameplay is diverse, and allows Joel to explore areas and scavenge for supplies. You gain the ability to craft different, albeit extremely useful items such as health kits, knives (referred to in the game as shivs), Molotov cocktail bombs and more. You also have the option to upgrade melee equipment, as well as the weaponry you use. There is a great sense of diversity in the weapons you find throughout the game as well, ranging from pistols to my personal favorite, the shotgun, to rifles and even a simple bottle or brick. Progressing further into the game, ammunition becomes harder and harder to come by, pushing your instinct to conserve, endure and survive. There is also an extremely advanced AI presence in this game, as non-playable characters are tough and smart, having the options to flank you, and use different tactics to see you dead. Naughty Dog has called this the "Balance of Power". The Last of Us has delicate moments scattered throughout that give the player a moment to breathe, and bond with the characters even more.

Graphics: 10/10
The graphics are absolutely outstanding. The lush scenery contrasting with the brutality of the game make for an absolutely amazing experience. The cities you enter, to name a few, Boston, Salt Lake City, are accurately represented throughout the game. The way the greenery has overtaken collapsed buildings, and the evacuation signs placed throughout streets adds to the overall realism you feel playing throughout the game. The facial expressions on characters as well as their general movement make it seem as though you are taking control of a real person, or are fighting with real people. All four seasons are also represented throughout the game, starting with the dank weather of summer and ending with the breezy weather of spring. The winter was without a doubt the harshest, but also the greatest representation of the winter season I have ever witnessed, and your character trudges through snow and fights through storms. It is truly rewarding when it is over.

Soundtrack: 10/10
The soundtrack scattered throughout the game received universal acclaim, being a simple guitar and tribal percussion. The music drops in and out, and allows periods of silence to allow even more realism into the game itself. The chief composer is two time Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla. The beautiful chords seem to strike at just the right moments, and fully allows the player to immerse themselves into the serenity and beauty, or harshness and brutality that they can behold during cutscenes and actual gameplay.

Controls: 10/10
I say in every review I write that controls can either make or break a game. They create a barrier between the game world and the real world. A player needs to be able to fully immerse themselves in the game, not having to think of a control scheme to survive. The Last of Us provides us with just that, allowing for a great deal of fluidity and ease while controlling Joel. It is easy to move around, launch into gunfights, or snap a mans neck if need be, all while feeling like you are in complete control at all times.

Replay Value: 10/10
While there are many frustrating situations you find yourself in as a player in this game, you can start back at the beginning when it's all over, and have no qualms about launching into the story again. All the elements mentioned above allow for the greatest replay value I have ever experienced with any game I have played in 16 years.

Naughty Dog has created a masterpiece that will go down in the annals of history. The Last of Us is a title that will be remembered for years to come, with it's diversity and new concepts, it's outstanding graphics and memorable moments, The Last of Us won't be remembered as the generic survival game, but as a game in which you make friends, family, form bonds, and of course, endure and survive.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: The Last of Us (US, 06/14/13)

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