Last of Us: Surviving the Infected
Last of Us is one of the best games out there for anyone looking to get a good mixture of action-adventure with survival horror. This is one of my all time favorites to play, and despite having played it already I tend to go back into it quite often to play through again. Developed by Naughty Dog, the same people who brought to us the Uncharted series of games, this game is just remarkable to experience.
Spoils ahead so continue at your own risk.
The game is played through a third person perspective, and as the player you are in control of Joel, a smuggler who has been hired to get a young girl named Ellie out of the city and across the post apocalyptic lands of the United States. The game takes place twenty years after a spread of a mutated strain of cordyceps has turned those infected into cannibalistic creatures.
Now, if you know anything about cordyceps then you know that it is an actual fungus. If you've never heard of them before then here's a few facts. There are 400 species of cordyceps on our plant. This parasitic creature is known for being found mainly on insects and arthropods. This fungus attacks the host to invade and eventually replace the host's tissues. It creates a branch from the host which usually sprout from the head, and when broken off the particals are considered infective.
With this new found knowledge you can now pkay the game and know what they're talking about when they mention cordyceps or spores. In the game the cordyceps were mutated allowing them to have the ability to infect humans. The fungus grows within the brain and eventually breaks through the skull. In the process it has created cannibalistic creatures that have lost all reasonable thought. In a sense this gives the whole game a very zombie feel to it when fighting the infected.
As you start the game you play Joel, a single father who is caring for his daughter when the cordyceps breaks out. The beginning of the game sets you up, almost like a movie, with how things started. Driving through the city in an attempt to escape, Joel, his daughter Sara, and his brother Tommy end up in a serious car accident while everything is in chaos around them. With Sara's leg broken Joel is forced to carry her while Tommy protects them.
Eventually Joel makes it to the highway where you, as the player, discover the military getting involved. The soldier raises his gun on the orders to shoot down any humans trying to leave. In the process the soldier shoots us right through the heart woth feels as he guns down defenseless Joel and Sara. Before the soldier can kill Joel, Tommy comes to the rescue after having been separated from his brother and niece. However, Tommy is late in saving Sara who dies in the arms of her father.
This scene opens up the game to many with a heart full of sadness and tears of lost hope. Credits begin to roll through while in the background news reports explain all that is going on. Once those credits are done we are thrown twenty years into the future. Joel and his smuggler partner Tess find themselves in a pickle when they take on a request to get a child out of the city and to another underground base for payment. Terrible things happen along the way and soon Joel is left to do the mission on his own. You find out that Ellie is infected and has been for some time without any signs of turning which leads the fireflies into believing she may be able to help them with finding some kind of cure. This is what has Joel continuing on with the mission despite being upset over the death of his partner. The game is split up into seasons as Joel and Ellie make their way from Texas to Massachusetts.
I think that the story is brilliantly played out, and the development of the characters as the story continues on is amazing. At first there is a lot of tension between Joel and Ellie due to Joel not wanting to get to attached to someone who could easily die the next day. After the loss of his daughter that makes sense, and Ellie is just as old as he daughter had been when she passed away. As they continue on in their journey the two become closer which adds to the wonderful development of the two characters.
This was a complex story with a very nice pace and good action sequences. Along the way other characters are introduced in a way that keeps the players invested in what happens next. The combat system of the game allows you to not only create improvised weapons like spiked baseball bats and bombs, but you get a good variety of guns as well.
Another fun aspect to this game is that they added an online player versus player mode in which eight players in two groups of four compete to gather supplies for their teams while fighting the other team off. Set on a small map, the two teams are pitted against each other for several rounds. It can be extremely fun to play with friends if you're in to that sort of gaming.
The DLC called Left Behind gives the players a chance to get to know the story behind how Ellie ended up infected. It also shows us a piece of the game that was cut out for dramatic effects in the original game, and lets us know how everything went down after Joel was terribly injured. It's a very short piece that just adds to the story perfectly.
I always recommend this game as a must play due to the magnificent story in general and how beautifully everything plays out. I'm absolutely excited and can't wait for the second game to be released soon.