In this tale you play an middle named man named Joel who has been put in charge of a teenage girl along with his significant other named Tess to return a teenage girl, named Ellie to a group called the Fireflies. Along the way it is discovered that Tess was infected along the way on their journey across the United States (as it turned out, it was originally only supposed to be across town) and you left Tess to fend for herself at her own wishes so that you as Joel can get Ellie back to the Fireflies safely.
You actually start the game as Joel’s late daughter Sara and you go looking for your father during the middle of the night and you eventually find him in the office and you’re then told to get into a Jeep looking vehicle and you get to look outside the windows and view the city for awhile. During the ride however you get t-boned and are switched over to Joel and you pick up your daughter and start trying to make your way through the city with her in your arms, and you scamper through the city fighting off the infected until you reach an opening in a brick wall and you run away until you come across a military servicemen who helps you out. But it’s too late, Sara eventually dies.
The story continues 20 years later, you play as Joel for majority of the story and you have Ellie by your side for the majority of the storyline as it plays out.
You get to deal with the infected, and there are several stages of the fungus that is going around starting with runners who are recently infected and are on the same level as you strength and look wise they are the most zombie like of them all. You can take the runners out in hand to hand combat as well as the stalkers, Stalkers are in the second stage of being infected and they start to show the start of the deformity in the head area. Then there are the clickers who are in the third stage of being infected and their heads are really deformed at this point, in fact their faces are white and the back of their heads have sort of a yellowish and orange color to them, not only are they ugly as sin, but they are strong and if they get to you and you have nothing to fight them off with such as a shotgun, you are as good as dead. And that leads us to the last of the infected called bloaters, bloaters are easy to spot but hard to describe, bloaters are the most deformed in the head and body, you can tell who they are once you see them because their heads are completely deformed but also their body as well, part of their stomach have these pieces hanging down that sort of look like utters of a cow but not quite the same look, but I am not sure what else to compare it to, so I tried to think of something common to compare how it looks.
I don’t want to ruin the story so I won’t really go much further than that, but you should also know that during the story you run into two black males one older gentleman and one younger boy who is also a teenager like Ellie. During your time with the two brothers the youngest, Sam, discovers he is infected one night and he hides the fact during a conversation with Ellie, so everything goes off without a hitch that night. So the next morning Ellie was sent to get Sam for breakfast and Ellie was attacked and Joel was going to help her and Henry who is the older of the two brothers stopped Joel but then Henry realized it had to be done, so Henry killed his younger brother with a shot to the head to save Ellie’s life. Then he blames Joel and was going to shoot Joel but he instead turned the gun on himself and shoots himself in the head and dies.
I tell that story and not much else in the story line because I feel like that is controversial enough to warn people about, I know I was surprised to see how it happened, I can only imagine what others might have thought. This part comes at a later portion of the story, a little past the halfway point.
But let me go on and dive into all aspects of the game, because while the story is great, it means nothing if the rest of the game is broken. So let me get to the rest of the games areas.
In terms of game play, this game plays great, the normal difficulty is what I played on and I thought it was fantastic in terms of how hard it was, not to hard, but yet not to easy either. There is a good balance there. Another element to gameplay which usually drives me off the wall in games is a stealth element of games. But in The Last of Us, it isn’t required at any point, but it is used quite a bit as a strategy to take down enemies quietly to avoid being spotted. And the reason for trying to be not spotted is that on some levels there are a lot of enemies and a very limited supply of weapons and ammunition that you’re dealt with so going into a war full on is not a smart idea in some cases.
In terms of hand to hand combat you will be hard pressed to find a better hand to hand combat from all the games I have played. That and the melee weapons add a little of fun to the game. There is a way to add to your combat weapons whether is be a blade at the end of a baseball bat. I rarely used it so I can’t comment on that part of the game.
In terms of gun play, at first I had problems with the aiming with them, but it is more rewarding once you get used to it and be able to execute at the higher success rate. The array of guns include various hand guns, shotgun, sniper rifles, and an assault rifle.
The controls are really well done, at first a little confusing for me coming from the typical sandbox style games which pretty much have the same sandbox control schemes. Surely over time you figure out the control short cuts and how the controls operate in general.
Granted I take fault for this lack of control knowledge and lack of ability to quickly adapt to it since it is a pretty simple control scheme, but the way it was explained made it seem a little harder than it really was, and over time you adapt to it.
I’ll say this about the graphics, these might be the best graphics I have seen in any game. The game is beautiful, the landscapes is very well done, especially in Pittsburgh where they nailed the Fort Pitt Bridge that Pittsburgh has as one of its landmarks.
But not just landscapes and landmarks, but all the areas are amazingly done with the little details and lighting. For example one of the late parts of the game you have to swim under water and on Joel’s shirt I noticed water running down his arm like it would have in real life. Granted that may seem like a minor detail, but it’s little details like this that make this game stand out not just graphically but also in terms of game play.
The audio in this game is as great as the rest of the game. The Last of Us really benefits from the sound quality because it sets the tone not just in terms of the talking aspect between the characters, but also the sounds of the enemies, nature sounds, and the sounds of animals such as dogs. The sound really makes the game complete, because without it the gameplay and visuals might be greatly effected. Because you need to feel engaged and in The Last of Us it really helps to enhance it.
The story pretty much goes like this, you play as Joel and your main plot is to take Ellie back to the Fireflies and along the way you run into trouble from the infected, various characters who want Ellie, more so in the latter portion of the story, but you also must fight through human forces as well in the form of security guards.
The game ends with deep dialounge between Joel and Ellie, and the two form a very deep friendship over time.
The Last of Us is truly a great game, from the visuals to the audio to the story lines, the game has no misses at all that I can think of. Maybe perhaps, one minor complaint is at some points I spent a lof of time trying to figure out which way I was supposed to go because there were no clear options. I think a map overlay would have been a help. Other than that, this game is really just a smash hit. It makes a strong case for game of the year, which is amazing to considering that we’re only halfway through the year. And typically the great games are released in the fall time, so great games in summer are rare and should be commended.