Game Review: The Last of Us

When a deadly fungus infects the world’s food supply, everyone is left to fend for himself. People infected by the mutagen roam the streets in search of their next kill, and the few survivors have to cower in fear. These survivors go up against impossible odds to survive. In these deplorable conditions, morality has all but disappeared. The one bright spot in this torn-up world is the relationship between Joel and Ellie. In their fight for survival, they prove that, even during the apocalypse, there is always some hope for humanity.

Naughty Dog really pulled out the stops when they made the environments for this game. The scenery is extremely realistic and is by far the biggest selling point of the game. The landscape emphasizes a return to the natural state of the world; where trees grow up through the streets and vines cover the remains of skyscrapers. The sheer amount of detail in these environments make the game that much more engrossing.

The story itself is not anything spectacular. It follows the general plot of any post-apocalyptic story. However, that is part of what made the game so great. The simple storyline gives players a chance to really focus on the relationship between Joel and Ellie. Naughty Dog did an absolutely amazing job at fleshing out these characters. Joel’s backstory helps sell a lot of his actions later in the game and really shows the troubles of this new world. It puts the story into perspective and sets a good stage for the rest of the story.

The gameplay helps make this game unique. Unlike many other games, a player cannot simply run into a room, spray a ton of bullets, and walk out the other side unscathed. The Last of Us requires a lot of strategy, which sets it apart from other games of the genre. Joel has an extremely limited number of bullets throughout the game, making his other tools invaluable. Shivs, smoke bombs, and Molotov cocktails are just a few of the many things he has at his disposal. These weapons make for interesting fights that are just difficult enough to keep players on their toes.

The multiplayer, however, is not nearly as great as the story. Players have a choice of two modes: supply raid (deathmatch) and survivor (elimination). It’s somewhat surprising that Naughty Dog did not include more gameplay modes. The company’s well-known franchise, Uncharted, has included over five competitive gameplay modes in each of its multiplayer sections. The lack of choices decreases the value of the multiplayer. The variety of maps is also somewhat disappointing, as there are only seven maps. All of which are slightly redone environments from the story. Most players have been online since the day the game came out, so they know what’s in each cache and where the good places are to hide. This makes the game extremely hard for newcomers to enjoy as the matchmaking system does not seem to take player level into account. The one thing that the multiplayer does well is the actual gameplay. Unlike many other games, players cannot run around the map and start shooting whenever they see a player from the other team, in fact, that’s the best way to die. Instead, players need to focus on teamwork. The online community runs with this idea, giving the multiplayer a slight boost in its overall value.

Even with the underdeveloped multiplayer, The Last of Us is definitely a great game. The environments are quite realistic and the gameplay is anything but simple. While the story is lacking in creativity, the realism of the characters and their relationships keep the game interesting.

Emily McNair is a down-to-Earth artist who is rarely seen without some form of video game regalia. She is from the small town of Monument, Colorado and loves to spend her precious spare time outdoors. She has been with The Oredigger for three years and is currently Managing Editor. She is working on a degree in chemical engineering and will graduate in May.

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