|The Last of Us|
North American boxart
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Designer(s)||Bruce Straley (game director)|
Neil Druckmann (creative director)
|Release date(s)||June 14, 2013(Worldwide)|
June 20, 2013(Japan)
Digital Download (via PSN)
The Last of Us is a action-adventure survival horror video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It was revealed officially on December 10, 2011, and was released worldwide on June 14, 2013, which is quite a long time. Japanese release date includes June 20, 2013.
The player manoeuvres Joel, who is trekking across a post-apocalyptic United States in 2033, in order to escort the young Ellie to a resistance group, called the Fireflies, who used to believe that Ellie was the one who has the abilities to cure an infection that devastated the world. The player defends the characters against zombie-like creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus, as well as hostile humans such as bandits and cannibals, employing the use of firearms and stealth aided by capabilities such as a visual representation of sound in order to listen for locations of enemies. The player can also craft weapons or medical items by combining items scavenged in the world.
The Last of Us takes place in the year 2033, twenty years after a fungal-based, brain-altering pandemic has spread and infected nearly 60% of the world's population. Since the outbreak, the world has gone into a state of panic and frenzy as officials try to fix and keep the situation under control; when the World Health Organization's attempts to procure a vaccine fail, cities are placed under martial law one by one, and residents are assigned to designated quarantine zones that are supposed to separate them from the infected and keep them safe.
Sometime within the twenty years leading up to the main events of the game, an anti-government militia group calling themselves the Fireflies is established, and their main goal is to find and produce a vaccine for the Cordyceps Brain Infection, while staging attacks on quarantine zones as an act of defiance, as they view the military as tyrants.
The Last of Us uses a third-person perspective. Players take control of Joel, while Ellie is controlled by the AI for the majority of the game, although the player switches control in the later sections of the game. The game involves gun fighting, melee combat, and a cover system with no preset cover locations, only crouching near objects and navigating normally. The player fights off the Infected and the Survivors—humans that are not infected, but are hostile towards Joel and Ellie. A feature the developers call "dynamic stealth" allows for many different types of strategies and techniques that the player can use at any given time as they approach a new situation, to which enemies will react differently.
Throughout their journey, Joel and Ellie use multiple ranged and melee weapons to help them defeat their enemies and continue through the levels. These include long weapons like a bolt action rifle, shotgun, bow, flamethrower, and assault rifle, as well as short-barreled guns like the pistol, revolver, scoped revolver-like handgun called the "El Diablo", and a sawed-off one handed shotgun called the "Shorty". There are also many different degradable melee weapons that can be scavenged from the environment like metal pipes, planks, baseball bats, machetes, and hatchets. Items like empty bottles and bricks can be picked up and thrown to distract or stun enemies, as well as be used as simple melee weapons.
Along with regular weapon and equipment slotting, the game also features a crafting system. By going into the backpack, the player can use recipes introduced throughout the game to forge useful supplies like Molotov cocktails from once useless consumables such as liquor, discarded towels, and broken razor blades. To force the player to make tough decisions based upon their current circumstance, all of the items created require some of the same consumables that can be used for another producible item. For example, the Molotov cocktail and health-kit items both require alcohol and rags to produce. Another aspect of the crafting system is that it happens in real-time, meaning that the game does not pause while crafting, forcing the player to choose their crafting time effectively in order to avoid being taken advantage of by enemies while busy.
The player is also able to collect toolboxes and parts, in the form of gears, to help upgrade their arms at an array of workbenches set throughout the game. Things like the number of weapon holsters, fire rate, clip capacity, reduced recoil, and range can be increased. Training manuals can be collected to increase the effectiveness of crafted items as well. For instance, the durability of crafted shivs can be increased, as can the radius of a Molotov explosion. Joel's physical abilities are upgradable too. The player can do things like improve his health-bar size or increase his crafting speed by collecting pills and medicinal plants throughout the game.
The game also features periods of no fighting, where the player can explore the environment and engage in non-combat oriented actions. These sections often involve conversation between the characters, either automatic or optional via prompt, where they discuss their current situation, surrounding environment, make jokes, and so on. Along with that, there are a multitude of collectibles that can be scavenged from the environment and stored/viewed in the backpack. Objects like notes, posters, maps, can be collected to provide the player extra knowledge on their current environment and its former or current inhabitants. Firefly pendants, with the inscribed names of their former owners, and a series of comics titled "Savage Starlight" can be found as well. The player must also solve simple platforming dilemmas that the characters come across while traversing the levels. These involve boosting each other up, using floatable planks to get Ellie (who cannot swim) across bodies of water, and finding ladders or dumpsters to climb upon to reach higher areas.
The game features an AI system called "Balance of Power". This new system allows enemies to react realistically to any combat situation they are placed in by taking cover if they see the player, calling for help if they need it and even taking advantage of the player's weaknesses, such as when Joel runs out of ammunition, is distracted, or when he is being attacked by other enemies.
The Last of Us includes a separate multiplayer component called "Factions", a mode that adds to the world the single-player story established. From the beginning, the player is allowed to pick a faction, either Hunters or Fireflies, to become a part of. The player has 12 weeks to hold out by keeping their clan alive through collecting supplies during the matches, with each match counting as a day. By surviving to the end of the 12 weeks, the player has completed a journey and is allowed to chose their faction again. The focus of multiplayer play in The Last of Us is Clan growth and survival. Scavenging supplies is the way to accomplish these goals. Supplies are gained based on how well the player do in the match. Killing an enemy, assisting in a kill, reviving allies, and crafting items all earn a player's parts. At the end of the match, these parts are converted into supplies. Enemies also drop supplies when they die, which can be looted. While the player can populate their Clan with random non-player characters, they can also populate the Clan with their friends' names via Facebook. This personalizes the player's Clan and doesn't post to their Facebook wall. To further aid player's immersion, there are special events which allow the player to rescue his/her characters friends' names, among other things. Linking up with Facebook also gives the player access to three boosters. The mode also features a crafting system identical to that of the single-player, where the consumables can be found in certain supply box set throughout the maps.
Factions also lets the player customize loadouts to suit the player's playstyle. There are four customizable loadout slots. Each loadout has two weapon slots, four survival skill slots, and one purchasable equipment slot. When the player starts a Clan, it begins with eight loadout points to distribute into these slots. As the player's Clan's overall store of supplies grows, the player can eventually earn up to 13 loadout points. The amount of loadout points that the player gets is directly related to many how many supplies they earn throughout the life of the Clan.
The component features two game modes of eight players max: Supply Raid and Survivors. Both offer unique challenges to the Clan's survival and count towards the Clan's progression. Supply Raid is a standard Deathmatch, where the team who runs out of respawns first loses. Survivors is a no respawn mode where teams win rounds by killing off the entire enemy team or ending the round with more players, and win the match by winning four rounds. Crafting ingredients and producible items do not carry over between rounds. The multiplayer characters are also customizable of which their hats, helmets, masks, and emblems can be personalized.