The Last of Us (PS3 game review)
It’s been a really, really long time since I posted a review on any video game, but I absolutely have to sing the praises of The Last of Us’ single-player campaign. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this game, but this is one of those times where that hype is completely warranted. It’s been a while since I’ve played a game with characters as interesting as the ones in this game. When you couple that with gameplay that is truly tense and exciting, you basically have what amounts to a contender for game of the year.
Before I go any further, I should note that this review will focus solely on the single-player portion of the game, as I have not yet played the multiplayer portion. But believe me when I say that the single-player campaign alone is worth the price of admission. Without giving away too much of the story, The Last of Us takes place in a world that has been devastated by a parasitic fungus that essentially turns people into violent zombies. You play as Joel, who is tasked with escorting a young girl named Ellie across the United States, while trying to survive against a horde of zombies, as well as predatory humans. This may seem like a standard setup to a run-of-the-mill “zombie apocalypse” story, but what sets it apart from other zombie games is its focus on the relationship between Joel and Ellie. Through well written and fantastically acted dialogue, you truly get the sense that they care about each other despite being initially forced together through circumstance. It’s this relationship between the two, and the trials that they face together, that make me not want to put down the controller, because I have to know what happens next to them.
Now, admittedly, when I first saw some gameplay footage of this game, it looked like another Uncharted game to me (i.e. just another third-person shooter). This isn’t too surprising since the developers, Naughty Dog, made both the Uncharted series and The Last of Us. Like Uncharted, The Last of Us is, at its core, a cover-based third-person action game. However, despite some similarities, The Last of Us is definitely not the same as Uncharted. For example, The Last of Us does not have any regenerating health. In order to heal yourself, you need to have a health kit handy, or find randomly scattered food. Also, ammo is extremely scarce in The Last of Us. Enemies that you kill will rarely drop ammo, and so you’ll often have to search empty houses and drawers in the hopes of scrounging up a few bullets. This ammo scarcity also forces you decide whether a firefight with a group of enemies is worth it, or if it’s better to kill by stealth (e.g. sneaking up behind someone and strangling them), or avoid a fight altogether. Also, firing a gun can alert nearby enemies, which can overwhelm you if you’re not prepared.
In order to help you gauge a potential conflict situation, Joel has the ability to focus his hearing so he can “sense” nearby enemies. Also, depending on the types of enemies you face, your tactics will likely change. For example, “Runners” are recently infected humans that can be taken down with bullets or your fists. “Clickers”, on the other hand, are humans who have been infected for a longer period and are rendered blind by the fungus covering their eyes. The clickers detect prey by making noises which act like sonar, and so making a lot of noise will attract them. Also, trying to fight clickers with your fists will likely result in your death. Humans are another matter, as they often have firearms, and will attempt to flank you or take cover as necessary.
The Last of Us also features a crafting system that allows you to create items such as health kits, shivs, and nail bombs. In order to create these items, you’ll have to search for supplies such as blades, alcohol, and rags scattered around the map. Training manuals you find will also help to increase the effectiveness of crafted items. Drug supplements are used to upgrade Joel’s skills such as his maximum health, how far he can hear, and how fast he crafts an item. Also, using scavenged parts, Joel can upgrade the characteristics of weapons he finds such as increasing the magazine capacity of a pistol, or reducing the recoil of a shotgun blast. It should be noted that when your craft an item, upgrade, or try to heal yourself, the game itself does not pause, and so you need to be sure you’re safe before doing any of these things or you’ll leave yourself undefended against an enemy attack.
Still, no matter what you think of The Last of Us’ gameplay, I don’t think anyone can argue that it’s a really good looking game. From the character models and facial animations, to the use of lighting, to the incredibly detailed environments which include abandoned buildings, forests, and many other vistas, you can tell that the people at Naughty Dog are squeezing every last ounce of power out of the Playstation 3 before the console is put out to pasture. The game also has a great soundtrack, although the music is used sparingly. However, when it is used, it helps to greatly add to the game’s overall atmosphere.
Without a doubt, The Last of Us is easily one of the best games that I’ve played this console generation. I may be over hyping the game a bit too much, but I really can’t help it. If you have a Playstation 3, you owe it to yourself to give this game a try. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get this game now!
I give the single-player campaign of The Last of Us 5/5 stars. Seriously, stop reading! Get this game RIGHT NOW!
2 for 1 opinion exchange, and Japanese Game of Thrones
I recently put up a 2 for 1 opinion exchange thread. I wanted to get more opinions for my Ender's Evangelion AMV, so if you want to do an exchange, please post in this thread:
On another topic, because of the most recent (and arguably most gut wrenching) episode of Game of Thrones, I wanted to share an article about the impending release of the Game of Thrones DVD and Blu-Ray in Japan:
The article also contains a couple of preview videos, and I have to admit, hearing the show in Japanese sounds really cool.
3 years, 2 months, and almost 1 week ago...
...was when I uploaded my last AMV here...until today. Recently, after seeing the trailer for the new Ender's Game movie, I wanted to make a trailer video utilizing footage from the Rebuild of Evangelion movies. I hope you all enjoy it!
On another note, over a year and a half ago, I made a video based on the Battlestar Galactica TV series, but I never mentioned it in my journal. Well...better late than never. I hope you like this vid too!
...it's been just over seven years since I joined the Org (yay!). However, it's been over three years since I last uploaded an AMV to this site, and exactly two years since my last journal entry. Suffice it to say, I haven't been exactly active in the community in recent years. So why am I posting now? To put it simply, I caught the AMV bug again. I have an idea for a video that I want to see through to the end. I will admit, though, the video I'm making will not be as original or complicated to make as some of my past works, but I'm still hoping it will be enjoyable to all of you.
On another note, in my last journal entry, I mentioned that I was editing a new video. Obviously those plans didn't pan out. The truth is my ambition for that video outstripped the time and skill that I had to make it. I've pretty much shelved that video, although I may re-approach that video in a "simpler" fashion in the future.
Anyways, here's hoping that the next time I post in this journal, I'll finally have a new AMV to show all of you.
...it's been a few months since my last entry, and I hope to update this journal a little more frequently than that in the future.
Anyways, on the AMV front, I have finally started editing another video. However, it is taking me a ridiculously long time to finish, due to a lack of free time to edit. Under normal circumstances, I probably would have finished it by now, but all I can say at this point is that I'd like to release it sometime this year.
On the gaming front: yes, of course, I've been playing a lot of video games. I've decided that instead of putting up a big wall of text for my game reviews, I'll just post a link to those who want to read them. Here are some of my latest reviews:
Metro 2033 (PC game review):
Vanquish (PS3 game review):
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC quick game review):
Nier (PS3 quick game review):
Dead Space 2 (PS3 game review):
Killzone 3 (PS3 game review):
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PS3 game review):
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Xbox 360 quick game review):
Yes. I know I play to many video games.
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