PS3 Review: The Last of Us

Does Naughty Dog leave the PS3 on a high note?

There’s been a lot of talk about The Last of Us since it launched, wherever it deserves these 10/10 ratings from the big sites and the huge sales that eclipsed Man of Steel at the Box Office. Naughty Dog did wonders with Nathan Drake’s adventures in the Uncharted series, but does The Last of Us live up to the hype?
The game is set in a post-pandemic America where a man named Joel is hired to smuggle a girl named Ellie across the country. Through the journey you’ll come across heartache, loss and a real struggle for survival. It definitely has a Walking Dead meets 28 Days Later vibe about it, as even the infected aren’t your only foes.

That’s not to say they aren’t the biggest threat, because they are. Enemies called Clickers can grab you and kill you instantly unless you have an upgraded shiv in your inventory. There’s a bigger emphasis on stealth as opposed to the run-and-gun style of Uncharted, there’s still a cover system in place but the AI can attack from any direction and even flank you unexpectedly.

The strategy for getting past these while gathering collectables, ammo (which is scarce as it is) and parts to upgrade your weapons/abilities is tough, but thankfully I was lucky enough to have the Bradygames strategy guide which really helped in this matter. I personally didn’t use it till my second playthrough as I wanted to experience the game without spoilers, but it definitely helped me with the collectables and strategy going forward in the later, brutal difficulty modes.
The storytelling of The Last of Us is definitely its strongest asset; you really connect with Joel and become attached to Ellie. The combat is sadly its weakest point, especially the gunplay which feels a bit clunky overall. The companion AI isn’t the smartest either and sometimes will hinder you in trying to be stealthy, making sections more frustrating than they have to be. Overall though, the campaign is brilliant from start to finish…it just has the odd hiccup that stops it from achieving perfection.

Multiplayer is an interesting combination of Deathmatch modes with factions but with limited ammo, approaching it like Uncharted will result in absolute failure. It’s a nice addition but ultimately isn’t nearly as fun or engaging as the main game. In terms of visuals, The Last of Us is a wonder to look at…the character models and facial expressions are some of the best this generation, it’s just the lack of variety of enemy models and the odd blip in areas that let it down. Voice-acting is brilliant and truly believable, while the music really catches the atmosphere of the post-pandemic America.

The Verdict

Naughty Dog’s PS3 Swansong is a masterpiece that everyone deserves to play, sure it isn’t perfect…the combat is its weakest point, but the stealth is strong, the story is epic, the characters are believable, the multiplayer is a nice bonus and the visuals are beautiful. Is this the best game of this generation? It’s pretty damn close…