Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us PS3 Game Review

First let it be known, the new PS3 game, The Last of Us should be a 10 rating. Who knows… some other ratings probably will be higher. The problem is that this game had the glitchies! That’s my own term for the glitch gremlins. This game froze up completely three times; three times too many for a $59 game. Hence, the drop in playability and entertainment. However, besides these sidetracks, the game is a stellar experience.

The game begins with a flurry of emotions. In fact, there’s a scene early on that nearly brought a grown man to tears. Not an easy feat for any form of entertainment medium; especially, a video game. Let’s just say a pandemic begins, guns are shooting, people are attacking and biting, and all hell breaks loose. After this initial flurry of events brings you into the game (in an emotional way); you’re then transported to 20 years after this fateful night.

As one of the main protagonists, Joe’s dealings, lifestyle, etc. over the last 20 years are pure conjecture. All you can see is that he is a hardened man who has seen things not meant to be witnessed. In this world, the infected run ramped looking for people to attack, and survivors who are not infected will kill you for whatever resources (i.e. weapons, food, etc.) you may have. It’s not a great place to be!

One of the best attributes of any medium is if there is a good story to tell. In this case, Naughty Dog’s team has crafted a phenomenal story for The Last of Us. This story allows you to feel the desperation of not only yourself, but those around you. You certainly don’t want to be attacked, but you begin to understand why. So, in this kill or be killed civilization, weapons are a high priority. This brings Joel and his assumed partner, Tesse, in search of The Fireflies. They seem to have made off with most of their weapons. When coming upon a wounded Firefly, she indicates that she’ll give the location of the weaponry if Joel and Tess can transport an important commodity across town… Ellie. Why’s she so important? Seems she’s been bitten by an infected and seems to be immune to the complications. From here, Joel, Tess, and Ellie are in survival mode. Soon, the team goes down to two… Joe and Ellie.

During the game, as a player you’re given the opportunity to play in the style you choose. There are many instances where you will have to combine stealth tactics and all guns blazing, as well. The key is to know when to stay quiet and know when to light em’ up. Throughout the game, ammo is very scarce. So, when you shoot, it’s best you make it a good shot. Resources are also limited. In my opinion, molotov cocktails, nail bombs, and towards the end, smoke bombs are your best bet. Guns bring in all sorts of unwanted attention, so only use them when necessary.

It’s during the stealth portion that one of the game’s weaknesses show, which is Ellie’s AI behavior. She runs out in clear site of the bad guys, when we’re supposed to be hiding. She blurts out comments loudly in a room full of infected, when we’re supposed to be quiet. In a game when your relationship with her is key, an intelligent AI is a must and is lacking within The Last of Us.

Once you’re over being angry at Ellie’s AI behavior, you’re right back this amazing experience. Another cool attribute is the game’s changing of seasons. Each season brings with it a sense of renewal, but also a sense that more challenges surely await. The winter season stands out as my favorite of the game for many reasons. The setting is fresh and serene (for awhile), and you play as Ellie (can’t tell you why). It’s a change of pace that was unexpected, but enjoyable just the same. It’s during this season that you meet another character, David. Let’s just say that he’ll be in your memory for quite some time after the game is over. Winter changes everything for both Joel and Ellie.

As shown, the PS3 game, The Last of Us has many great segments to be enjoyed. But in the end, it’s the story that grabbed hold and didn’t let go. I’m not lost on the irony of how the story plays out between the two young girls in Joel’s life. His daughter, Sarah, in the game’s open segments; and Ellie throughtout the remainder of the game. In the end, the game is about survival of the fittest. It’s Darwinism plain and simple. However, the game is also very symbolic of the nurturing and caring for others. The game deals with this metaphor in some very interesting story twists, and that is where The Last of Us is its strongest… it has a great story to tell.