Welcome to ‘Adam Talks’, a slightly restructured edition of the hugely popular weekly Play This! series.
With all eyes currently on Los Angeles’ E3 2013 you may be forgiven for forgetting that Naughty Dog’s brand new Playstation 3-exclusive action-adventure survival horror title ‘The Last of Us’ is set to be released this Friday.
And if you haven’t managed to peel your eyes away from E3 (and all its next-generation splendour) and fix them on the latest critics’ review scores for the Last of Us, I’ll say one thing: there are a lot of 10’s being thrown around. Okay, I’ll say one more thing: at the time of writing this article, Naughty Dog’s latest effort currently holds a Metascore of 96% (which, for the record, is higher than Bioshock: Infinite’s measly ‘94%’).
It’s good then.
I’ve been following The Last of Us since it was first announced way back in December 2011 having grown up playing Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter and Uncharted series’. And with their latest effort sitting nicely between the pillars of survival horror and action-adventure it seems Naughty Dog have certainly matured since their days of cartoon characters riding polar bears away from much larger (much, much larger!) polar bears.
In fact, the way their games have progressed has parallels with my progression through life. From childhood (Crash Bandicoot, Jack & Daxter) to my teenage years (Uncharted) through to manhood (The Last of Us), it’s a comforting feeling to see a developer’s games ‘age’ as I do.
The Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting and puts the player in control of Joel (voiced by Troy Baker), a loner with a dark past, who strikes an unlikely friendship with young Ellie (Ashley Johnson) as they fight to survive in a world inhabited by both scavengers and the zombie-like Infected.
The game naturally takes elements from some of the biggest “zombie” novels and films ever made: The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, No Country for Old Men, The Road and Day of the Triffids, they’re all in there and all help shape what is surely a serious contender for Game of the Year (I’m very interested to see how The Last of Us stacks up against Bioshock: Infinite, a game I thoroughly enjoyed but a game with a few issues here and there).
Don’t get me wrong, The Last of Us isn’t “a zombie game”, it’s the story of two people’s unlikely relationship and the choices you have to make to survive. Think: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead rather than Techland’s Dead Island.
To me, video games tell a story. It’s why I’ve never been a huge fan of multiplayer-centric games (though, The Last of Us does include its own multiplayer mode too); I want to be engulfed in the story of one man’s (or woman’s.. or Bandicoot’s) survival; I want to live it! It’s why The Walking Dead and Bioshock: Infinite are already two of the greatest video games ever made even if they do have tiny gameplay-related niggles every now and again.
It’s safe to say you won’t be disappointed if you pick up this game come Friday and I wouldn’t be surprised if the proverbial mantlepiece over at Naughty Dog HQ isn’t packed full of awards come next year.
Play This? You should crawl over your grandmother’s cold, rotting corpse to get but a glimpse of this game.
Or, if this thing isn’t your bag, pick up Animal Crossing: New Leaf for Nintendo 3DS because I’m sure that game will be just as good.