The Last Of Us (Sony Playstation 3, 2013) For Sale Online

The Last of Us goes back khổng lồ the heady days of Silent Hill with its gameplay and trouser trembling fright levels.

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The Last of Us goes back to lớn the heady days of Silent Hill with its gameplay and trouser trembling fright levels.
Zombie trò chơi pop quiz: You"ve finally found the exit khổng lồ the abandoned warehouse you"d been scavenging supplies from, but between you & freedom are four shambling infected monstrosities, all eager for tasty man-shaped snacks. How are you going lớn make it past without ending up as human tartare?

If this was pretty much any other recent survival horror title, the answer would be simple – reach for the trusty military grade shotgun, grenade launcher or plasma cutter as appropriate, paint the walls with rotted brains và waltz across the room, scooping up an assortment of high-powered ammunition along the way. This isn"t one of those games though, this is The Last of Us, và your arsenal right now consists of a brick và a length of drainpipe with some scissors taped to the end. Good luck, you"re going to need it.

Keeping your resources limited is just one of the many things Naughty Dog"s latest action adventure gets right – forcing you to lớn think through your approach to every encounter while keeping the tension ratcheted up to lớn 11 generates a cấp độ of unease that the genre feels like it"s been missing since the early Silent Hill games. It seems an obvious point that a zombie-themed trò chơi should be scary, but it"s a rare enough occurrence that here it feels fresh.

Then again, it"s an injustice to hotline The Last of Us a zombie game anyway. As in 28 Days Later, these creatures are infected rather than undead, & although they remain consistent antagonists throughout, this trò chơi is clearly more interested in telling a story of post-apocalyptic survival than smashing rotten heads, and it"s all the better for it.



Infectious enjoyment

That"s not lớn say the story spares us the usual tropes – a virulent infection has decimated the population, degenerating it"s victims into mindless ravening lunatics & bringing civilisation to its knees, pretty much exactly as it has a thousand times before across every possible media.

Significantly though, the game keeps the details of the outbreak và the disease itself deliberately vague, recognising that any attempt to lớn explain something that"s basically pretty ridiculous is doomed to failure (Resident Evil and it"s ever expanding psuedo-scientific virus nonsense says hi). Instead, The Last of Us makes a conscious effort to focus the story on the surviving human characters và how they go about coping with the aftermath.

It"s a good call, và coupled with the high-quality production, both visually & from the voice cast, makes for a compelling tale.

Starting with a brief prologue which introduces protagonist Joel during the first panicked moments of the outbreak, the trò chơi then flashes forward trăng tròn years khổng lồ a devastated America where the remnants of the population eke out a living in oppressive militarised quarantine zones. For reasons I don"t want to lớn spoil here, the now bitter and grizzled Joel grudgingly takes on a mission lớn escort the 14-year-old Ellie across the bandit and monster riddled country, and the rest of the game chronicles their journey.

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I know it doesn"t sound like much, but it wouldn"t be right to go into too much detail, as the story is definitely something you"ll khổng lồ want khổng lồ experience for yourself. The growing relationship between the two main characters as they travel from one dangerous situation to lớn the next is a pleasure khổng lồ follow, and the interplay of Joel"s tired cynicism against Ellie"s naive enthusiasm and determination makes for a solid narrative device. Showroom in a well fleshed out supporting cast, from fellow struggling survivors khổng lồ some deeply unpleasant và unsettling villains, and you"ll soon start to lớn care when bad things happen lớn these people.



Where the bad things are

And bad things will happen. The Last of Us doesn"t pull any punches letting you know just how bleak its world really is, in both story & gameplay. Quite aside from the bloodthirsty infected tearing people to pieces, Joel và Ellie are prepared lớn go khổng lồ extreme lengths khổng lồ stay alive, & even though the game manages khổng lồ make caving in a bandits face with a brick feel desperate & necessary rather than voyeuristic, some of the later set-pieces are likely to lớn garner at least a raised eyebrow from even the most jaded gorehounds. It"s definitely not one for the kids, unless you"ve a particular desire to see them spend the rest of their lives in therapy.

Underneath the darkness & grime though, the roots of Naughty Dog"s previous Uncharted series are clearly present, not that that should be considered a bad thing. The Last of Us carries over the super-high production values established in Nathan Drake"s adventures – the environments are varied and lushly rendered, with large portions of the trò chơi taking place in xuất hiện countryside and forests – a nice change from the usual sewers và abandoned labs (though they"re in here too), while character models are equally highly detailed và excellently animated.

The one downside is that, due mainly to lớn the slower pace, the basic linear cycle of explore-fight-cutscene that underpins these games feels a little more forced here.



Go with the flow

The Last of Us still flows well, with cutscenes seamlessly integrated and virtually no load times between areas, but Uncharted was able lớn distract attention from its illusion of an xuất hiện world by racing along at a hundred miles an hour, và that doesn"t always happen here. There are plenty of times when you"ll wonder why you had to open this door và not the other identical one you just passed, or when an area opens out into a large room full of conveniently cover height crates that instantly telegraphs the upcoming fight. It"s not a massive issue, but given the lengths the trò chơi goes to to maintain suspension of disbelief, it can be slightly immersion breaking.

The combat system is also more-or-less imported wholesale from Uncharted, but thanks to the grittier theme actually feels like a much better fit here. Drake"s brand of rough và tumble fisticuffs were always cinematic, if a little clunky, and it"s a style that fits well with the desperate and brutal hand-to-hand situations Joel often finds himself in. There"s plenty of gunplay too, but the combination of limited ammo và tricky aiming makes it always feel risky.

The aggressive AI contributes to lớn this too. Disturb a group of infected & they will all rush lớn overwhelm you, while bandits and soldiers are quick to lớn try & outflank you or flush you out with molotovs and smoke bombs. This means that stealth is most often the way to go, which serves lớn balance every fight on a tense knife-edge & means the game is ultimately successful at keeping you on the edge of your seat all the way through.

Given the plethora of zombie-based games released in recent years, it would have been easy to lớn see this as Naughty Dog just jumping on the bandwagon & making Uncharted: The Walking Dead. Instead, the designers have taken influence from the best writing the genre has to lớn offer (The Road, The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later) và elements of some of the best games of recent times (Arkham Asylum, Fallout, Uncharted itself) and melded them into a whole that, despite feeling familiar, ends up as more than the sum of its parts.

The Last of Us is visually arresting, mechanically solid, maturely written and by turns heart-rending, tense, unnerving & brutal. Kiểm tra your ammo. Grab your shiv. Just try your best khổng lồ stay alive.