ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Last of Us - Review

Updated on July 14, 2013

Openings are important. They grab your attention and pull you in. Developers Naughty Dog understand this and so the first twenty minutes of The Last of Us are brilliantly set-up. Sat in the back of a car for a good portion of it, you're forced to watch as the world around you falls apart. Many post-apocalyptic stories struggle with the "fall of civilization" aspect and so many avoid it, skipping ahead, usually by putting their protagonist in a coma. Even if the rest of The Last of Us was awful it would have been memorable just for that opening. Fortunately, the rest of the game is pretty darn good as well.

Set twenty years after the initial outbreak, the story follows Joel and Ellie, an unlikely pair as they attempt to cross a huge chunk of America in order to reach a group known as The Fireflies. The disease that has decimated the world is a human strain of Cordyceps fungus, an actual real world disease that infects insects. The best science fiction is usually grounded partially in reality, and by using what is quite possibly the closest thing we have to an actual zombie disease, Naughty Dog is capable of cranking up the horror aspect.

And make no mistake, this is a horror game. In fact if Naughty Dog have achieved one thing it's to provide a genuinely modern interpretation of survival horror. Supplies are limited and ammo is scarcer still. To make things even more difficult, Joel's aiming bobs and roams all over the place as you attempt to line up shots, and the first gun you acquire takes an age to reload and shoot. It makes for a very different pace within a third-person shooter title; a lot of the time you'll feel rather disempowered and find yourself avoiding conflict rather than engaging in it.

Troy Baker's performance as Joel is phenomenal. The rest of the cast is great as well.
Troy Baker's performance as Joel is phenomenal. The rest of the cast is great as well.

Added to all that is the fact that Joel's no super human. In my review of World War Z, one of the main issues I had was how Brad Pitt was some kind of superman and not an ordinary guy. In contrast, not only is Joel an average bloke, he's also way past his prime. For the most part, he never runs, only jogs, he has none of the dexterity that Nathan Drake had in Uncharted, and his choke hold when he sneaks up on an enemy takes several seconds to pull off, as they flail their arms around trying to get him off.

Combat with enemies; both humans and infected, is a tense, sometimes frightening affair. Not only can you not take all that many hits, healing and crafting items is done in real time. What's more, you can only have several weapons equipped at once, meaning to swap them out for others means rooting around in your bag, leaving you vulnerable. It makes for a much more strategic kind of gameplay that rewards preparation as much as it does good aiming, which is as it should be considering this is a game about survival.

Meanwhile, the infected come in two main varieties; Runners and Clickers. Runners, much like the zombies in 28 Days Later, will dive at you the second you're spotted. On the other hand, Clickers can no longer see due to the disease's progression, and so rely on echo location. The series of chittering clicks, signalling that they're close by, will make you panic whenever you hear it, since one bite from a Clicker is game over. It results in some interesting encounters when both Runners and Clickers are both thrown into the mix as you work out which threat to prioritize. It's also a bold move from Naughty Dog to have such dangerous enemies turn up so early on in the game.

Unlike Clickers, Runners can be fought off with some button mashing.
Unlike Clickers, Runners can be fought off with some button mashing.
Guns are clunky but can be upgraded with various parts that you find.
Guns are clunky but can be upgraded with various parts that you find.

Whilst sneaking is a viable, sometimes necessary, alternative to bypassing enemies, there's the odd moment where it's not always clear whether or not you can creep past or are explicitly required to clear out the area. It's never a major issue though, and for a game that has so much else going on, it's surprising just how robust the stealth mechanics are. Even if you're spotted, finding a new hiding spot will cause enemies to have to search for you; none of that telepathic nonsense where everyone locks onto your position the moment you've been caught. The "levels" are really open too, an area can include a whole street, or several buildings. It's a big move away from the disguised corridor mentality of a lot of games, and even the Uncharted titles were mostly well-crafted linear paths.

I've skirted around the plot through this review because it's a story that deserves not to be spoiled. Few games are able to conjure up the ambiguity and emotion that Naughty Dog achieve with The Last of Us. The developers have managed to cherry-pick the best elements from the likes of The Road, The Walking Dead, I Am Legend and The Day of the Triffids, not to mention countless others, whilst also creating something entirely new. In terms of altering the way videogames approach story-telling, it's comparable to Silent Hill 2: none of its characters are blatantly good or evil, and there's no right or wrong answers. The ending meanwhile, will leave you dwelling on it for days. Naughty Dog manage to tell a compelling and engaging story without sacrificing the game itself and turning the whole experience into an interactive movie.

In this era of AAA blockbuster games, it's easy to be cynical and think that nothing intelligent and original can ever be made, at least not on those budgets. Then a game like The Last of Us comes along and proves us all wrong. Quite simply, a masterpiece, and a game that everyone should play.

The Last of Us was released worldwide on June 14th.

© 2013 LudoLogic


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LudoLogic profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Souther29 - I've not had a chance to play the multiplayer yet. Like you I'm never all that fussed about the multiplayer, at least in something like this, since it can feel tacked on. If it handles anything like the main game though then it should be pretty good!

    • Souther29 profile image


      5 years ago from London, UK

      Like JohnGreasyGamer said, I've heard nothing but great things about this too. I like a good story that really drives the gameplay. I will also be buying this one when I'm paid haha! I'm not one really for multiplayer in these sorts of games - do you know if it's any good or does it add to the experience in any way?

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      I've heard nothing but good things about this game but your review is the only one that hasn't attempted to blow smoke up my arse. A very concise and well thought out article that gives all the details it should without spoiling any of the elements that we should be routing for!

      Voted up, useful, interesting and beautiful - I'll be buying this as soon as I'm paid! ^^

    • jabelufiroz profile image


      5 years ago from India

      Great review. Voted up.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)