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June 19, 2013

The Last of Us Review


The last of "Us" great PS3 games......if you catch the joke.



Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg.

Release Date: June 2013.

Platform: PlayStation 3

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Developer: Naughty Dog.

Genre: Action-Adventure/Survival-Horror. 

Intro:



In this highly anticipated new PlayStation 3 game, players assume the role of Jole, a grizzled survivor who has to escort a girl through the ruins of America following a fungal virus outbreak 20 years prior.

Bonds are strengthened, lives are put at risk, and worst of all, amoral choices are made, an unfortunate necessity in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The Last of Us promises to be one of the greatest relationship stories in gaming. 

Does it succeed? Is it an experience to remember? Is it filled with sickening displays of violence?

Well, let's find out....

Areas of Concern:


Violence:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

General Violence:



Gamers should know that this game contains very realistic and brutal depictions of violence towards humans.

(There is an option to turn off the gore in the game's settings, but this review is done with the gore on.)

--You can engage in fist-fights with people and infected: Blood spurts out, staining the environment and camera, and cries of pain are heard as they cringe in pain. You can also hit their heads against objects as finishing moves. Infected enemies' heads burst, blood spraying and chunks of flesh being shown.

-You can also use pipes, plies of wood, and bricks to hit enemies, and axes and sharp objects to slice enemies with; your character chops and hacks at them, with blood squirting, the enemy gurgles and cries out in pain. 

You can also use a knife to hack and stab, sometimes in the eye, with arterial sprays of blood and screams of pain. 

--Several people are shot: Blood spurts out realistically, they fall to the ground and cry out in pain, blood pooling out under them.

-Some high powered weapons (like shotguns) can also dismember enemies, leaving multiple gruesome bullet wounds and a huge mound of bloody flesh sticking out from their torsos.

--You can grab enemies and use them as human shields against bullets, blood spraying. Afterwards, you can strangle or shoot them in the head, blood spraying out. You can also throw them on the ground and stomp on their faces, or give them a knee to the face, or beat them with your gun, blood spurting. OR you can shiv them in the neck, blood spraying and gurgling being heard. 

(Killing people is a complicated business.....)

--You can throw molotovs, which set enemies on fire, they become charred, and they flail around whilst screaming in pain for quite a while.

-You can also use flamethrowers to do the same.

--You can rig explosives, which blow up and dismember enemies, with a big mist of blood.

--At several points during the game, Infected bite and tear at people with blood leaking out on the environment, and we occasionally hear cries of pain.

--We see several corpses littering the environment, blood shown, some with fleshy growths coming out of them.

Storyline Violence: 

--A man breaks another man's arm as part of an interrogation; he screams in pain, and we briefly see his dislocated arm.

-A man interrogates two men; he punches the one guy, and he stabs the other in the knee, screams of pain being heard, he twists the blade around and the man screams some more. 

--A man chops off a piece of a dead human, and we see the limb dropping to the ground along with several other body parts. It's heavily implied that there is cannibalism going on. 

--An Infected is chopped in the face and then decapitated, with blood spraying out and it's head falls off. Later on, another Infected is decapitated, but with more blood spraying out and we hear lots of gross sound effects.

--A man is stabbed and sliced several times with a machete off-screen; we see arterial blood sprays everywhere, some splattering on the camera.

--A man lands on a piece of rebar. He is then pulled off of it, with blood spurting out and squishing being heard, and afterwards his clothes are covered in blood. 

--A rabbit is shot through the torso; we see blood splatter on the ground, and a girl removes the arrow from it. Later on, she hunts a buck, and blood stains the ground as arrows strike into it. Eventually we see it dead in a pool of blood.

-A horse is shot with blood splattering all over the environment and it lies dead in a pool of blood. 

--A woman is shot in the stomach, blood staining her clothes and hands, and she squeals in pain before dying.

-A man commits suicide by shooting himself in the head; we see blood spraying and he slumps over onto the ground.

--There are several sequences where explosions go off, wreckage being strewn across the environment, and bystanders are knocked back.

Player Deaths:

This is why you don't throw pies at old people......


Note: The most gruesome death scenes are shown for no more than a second, and then it cuts away.

--A big infected enemy can grab you by the mouth, and try to force your head apart; we briefly hear a crack and see pink flesh.

--You can be burned alive; we see your character get charred as he flails around, and we hear him screaming in pain as the screen cuts to black.

--You can get bitten in the neck by a clicker, with blood spurting out, and we see it pull your jugular out.
 
--You can be beaten to death by a man; we briefly see your face with the nose torn off and blood all over your head.

--A man can grab you from behind and break your neck, a crack being heard and we see your head twist around.

Once again, all of this happens very quickly. 


Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--Apparently a number in the game, if you call it, will direct you to a phone sex line. The development team claims this is unintentional, and for all I know, it may be. But still, caution advised. Don't go phoning the numbers you find in the game!

--A girl looks at a gay interest magazine; we don't see anything, but she wonders "how he could walk around with that thing", and continues paging through it enthusiastically. She then asks why the pages are sticking together...only for her to explain it as a joke.

--It is lightly implied that one character is a homosexual; he refers to a man as his "partner", and seems very emotionally attached to him. This may or may not be the case.

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--God and Jesus' names are used in vain.

Frequent Strong Language: Uses of F**k, S**t, D**k, B**ch, B**t**d, A*s, C**p, H**l, D**n, and an obscene gesture. 

Spiritual Content:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--We briefly see a gnome and fairy statues, and two characters discuss them. 

(In some parts of Europe, fairies and gnomes are believed to be real spirits, which is where they originated from. As such, depictions of fairies and gnomes count as idols of false gods.) 

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--A girl makes a joke about selling drugs.

--We see a woman pour herself a drink. A few places show liquor bottles and you can throw an empty beer bottle as a distraction. Other than that, nothing.



Gross Stuff/Gore:

--The Clickers are mutated human beings, with their faces all grotesque and mutated, fleshy growths being shown.

-A big Infected enemy is covered with grotesque spores and growths. 

--We see spore and flesh-like growths on some environments.


Scary Stuff:

--The encounters with Infected are genuinely scary and intense, especially if you're playing it on a higher difficulty.

Morality:

Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

Not that good.....it's all about survive or be killed. As such, morals are low, and people are willing to do anything for themselves. There are a few good factors, but otherwise, this is a rather lawless world...

Review of Game:


The Last of Us is a beautiful, emotional, and complex work of art from the beginning, to the very end.

I am convicted that this game will past down the halls of time as one of the greatest games ever made on any console. Ever.



Gameplay: 

The Last of Us mixes survival horror with action adventure to great effect. This is not a generic shoot 'em up, this game is brutal, plain and simple.

From the realistic, animalistic violence to the uncomprimising gameplay difficulty, this game makes you feel like a hopeless survivor in the midst of the apocalypse.

Players take control of Joel from a third-person perspective. From here, you can either use gunplay, which is rather difficult considering your short supplies, or stealth, another great challenge due to the thorough nature of enemy patrol routes.

Players can craft weapon upgrades, improvised weapons, or health kits. The game makes it easy for you to do so at any time, provided you have the proper supplies.

Which leads us to another part of the game: Scavenging. Players have to scavenge for useful material in order to give you the advantage against the hordes of enemies heading your way.

Hidden passages, locked store closets, or overturned night tables are all places to look for supplies. After the player has decided his/her playing style, it's time for combat.

Fist-fights are brutal, and feel like such as well. While useful for one enemy, trying to brawl with a whole group of bandits will land you in a bit of a situation, one where you might not survive.

As such, players have to adapt, observe, and act accordingly, adding another layer of complexity to the gameplay.

All of your strategies with normal bandits, however, will be turned upside down when you face the true enemies of the game: The Infected.

The Infected act on sound and primitive instinct, as opposed to the more methodical approach the bandits take.

Infected enemies are a beast to fight. They will swarm you, and the more advanced Infected, called Clickers, will only need to grab you, and then it's all over.

They are genuinely scary to fight, forcing you to adapt, and to adapt quickly. The encounters with the Infected are the most tense in any game I've played. It's really, really intense, and that's what makes it so good.



Story: 



It's not just the gameplay where the game shines, however. The Last of Us would be nothing if not for it's great story and characters. 

Joel and Ellie are an interesting dynamic, employing a father/daughter type bond.


Joel is a grizzled, cold survivor, whilst Ellie is still young and relatively new to this brutal world. Most of the fun comes from hearing the two banter back and forth, making for one of the most compelling and touching video game relationships there is.

It also helps that the voice acting is masterful across the entire game, making it that more immersive and interesting.

The other characters you meet are representative of the game's world, and they do a good job at it. I decided not to spoil anything for you, so please, go into this game blind. It's the best way.



Audiovisual: 

The graphical quality of the game is superb, to say the least. Beautifully detailed environments and wonderful character detail draw you into the experience. 

Now, I don't know if it's just my PlayStation 3 not being up to date, but I did notice some minor slowdown, and there's not anti-aliasing. When the game first started up, it prompted me to download some software for it.

Me, being my impatient self, decided not to, and as such, I think the graphics could have been a lot better had I just waited an hour or two.

So if you play this game, download the software first. I think that will improve it, but I can't say. Didn't do it. Besides, great graphics aren't the only thing that make a great game great, now do they?

Quality Verdict: Masterpiece (A++)

Go into this game with your expectations lowered all the way. In doing so, you will be even more surprised and moved by the game, making the experience much better. 
Play it! It's highly recommended...

Conclusion:




Look, you'll have to decide for yourself if you are going to tolerate the unrelentingly brutal violence and frequent strong language, the former at least giving you the option to tone it down.

If what you read seems like too much, rather give it a pass. But if you can handle it, it's one heck of a ride. The best game I've played in recent years, and it may well be up there with my top 5 favourites.

Verdict: 18+

Mature Gamers Only (MA)


Outro:

So there you go! I got this up only 5 days after launch, not bad, and a new record for the blog! (Not to brag....of course.)

I'll see you guys Friday with that long overdue article, and Sunday with the LONG overdue Grand Theft Auto 4 Areas of Concern.

Until next time!

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