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Game review: The Last of Us

Naughty Dog's latest game, The Last of Us, is a great narrative achievement for video games. The game's subject matter is heavy, and extremely grim, but it also has a wonderful story and very polished game mechanics.

In The Last of Us, grizzled survivor Joel is paired up with a young girl named Ellie. The two begin at odds, their personalities clashing. Over the course of the story, however, Joel and Ellie learn about each other and grow very close. The two characters' pasts are explored and it all feels very fresh. Writer Neil Druckmann, head of the game's story development, managed to create characters that feel fresh and make decisions that are completely believable based on their motivations.

In terms of game mechanics, The Last of Us is good but extremely varied in terms of how it feels. Encounters include open conflicts, stealth areas, context-sensitive action sequences and boss fights. Players choose between using wits and stealth kills to dispatch of enemies, brazenly rampaging through most areas, or using a combination of the two. Items like bottles and bricks can be used to create distractions or attack enemies. Weapons and healing items can also be created using the game's surprisingly in-depth crafting system, and you can even upgrade your character at work benches throughout the levels. Despite being another third-person action game from Naughty Dog, enough new game mechanics were added and the atmosphere was tweaked just enough to make this title feel completely different from the Uncharted series. An online multiplayer mode is also included, where the player's performance determines whether their group has enough resources to survive.

Two versions of The Last of Us exist. The original PlayStation 3 version's release date was June 14, 2013. A remastered version of the game for the PlayStation 4 was released one year later on July 29, 2014. The remaster includes improved visuals, the option to play the game at either 30 or 60 frames per second, and includes the Left Behind DLC woven into the game's narrative.

The Verdict

The Last of Us is a stunning narrative full of nuanced characters and hidden depth paired with polished game play. Getting to know these characters and the world they live in is a thrilling and rewarding experience that you should not miss.