- May 10, 2012
At a time when blockbuster action games are sinking into a mire of desperate overproduction, shallow gameplay and broken narrative logic, The Last of Us is a deeply impressive demonstration of how it can and should be done. It starts out safe but ends brave; it has heart and grit, and it hangs together beautifully. And it's a real video game, too. An elegy for a dying world, The Last of Us is also a beacon of hope for its genre.
PlayStation 3 isn’t only well-known for its number of exclusive games, but for the sheer number of quality exclusives. That’s what makes The Last of Us even more impressive, because not only does it join the ranks of Uncharted, Killzone, God of War, Infamous and more, but it bests them all. In short, Naughty Dog has crafted a game that impresses in virtually every way. The Last of Us is a true feat.
Its unrivaled presentation in particular sets the bar even higher than the Uncharted trilogy already did, and its writing, voice acting and layered gameplay combine to create what is very easily the game to beat for Game of the Year 2013.
The Last Of Us strips away the geek-centric fan service so commonplace in contemporary games. For every highbrow idea explored, developers seem compelled to throw in a lowbrow one to counterbalance it. The Last Of Us resists such compromises, and does so without disappearing up its own backside. Naughty Dog has delivered the most riveting, emotionally resonant story-driven epic of this console generation. At times it’s easy to feel like big-budget development has too much on the line to allow stubbornly artful ideas to flourish, but then a game like The Last Of Us emerges through the crumbled blacktop like a climbing vine, green as a burnished emerald.
There is more to The Last of Us than just combat and "emotional" story tropes. To touch on its setpiece moments, to detail its beautiful changes in pace, would be to spoil too much. It cannot be said enough, however, that Naughty Dog's new best creation is complete, and when I say complete, I mean it to pay the highest of compliments. I do not want more from The Last of Us: I do not need more. As the last line was uttered and the credits ushered in the close, I was done. The Last of Us had achieved everything it needed to achieve in order to provide me with everything I wanted.
And it ended perfectly.
The Last of Us is the definitive statement on what the genre has achieved thus far. Made of wildly eclectic gameplay mechanics polished to a sheen, bound intelligently and movingly to one of the most affecting narratives in games, The Last of Us succeeds where so many pretenders have failed.
It combines DNA strands from across the genre, yet reworks and recontextualises them to become far more than the sum of its parts. Its storytelling is peerless, as affecting and multi-layered as it is grounded, underplayed and real. In terms of everything the modern action game has strived to be, The Last of Us is the full-stop at the end of the sentence, leaving no more to be said. Until next-gen. If this is our starting point for that, then the next five to ten years could be truly amazing.
Nobody doubted Naughty Dog’s technical expertise – and there’s no question that The Last Of Us pushes the aging PlayStation 3 hardware well beyond what we might expect of it in terms of visual fidelity – it’s in the game’s storytelling and scripting that the real surprises lay. Joel and Ellie’s story is a sprawling, often desperate struggle for survival against insurmountable odds and a series of increasing bad rolls of the dice, and it’s expertly told.
But there are moments of beauty in the tale, both physically and emotionally, between a mismatched duo that end up relying on each other far more than either thought they might. The bright moments are overwhelmingly powerfully so, the innocent ignorance of Ellie’s upbringing slotting perfectly between Joel’s dark, barbed decades of his own private hell, and those they meet on the way.
There’s one fleeting, momentary respite near the end of the tale as Ellie stares out onto a rich green field, Joel at her side. It’s quiet, poignant, delicate and shows an element of nature untouched by the disasters around it. A reminder that not all is bad, not all is lost, and, after everything that’s happened, it’s hard to fight back the tears. These things you can’t help but carry with you long after it’s all over, and few other games can have that kind of hook, that kind of reaction.
The Last Of Us does. Several times. Just be ready.
The Last of Us isn't just the PlayStation 3's swan song; it's the best exclusive on the console full stop.
"The Last of Us is a remarkable achievement, and one of those rare games that you never want to end."
This is a masterpiece: play it as soon as possible.
Overall, multiplayer is light on modes and it may not expand on the core story-driven experience, but it’s still a thoughtful addition to a superbly executed package.
OPM UK 10/10
"A work of art in which amazing sights and sounds fuel an emotionally draining, constantly compelling end of days adventure. This is Naughty Dog pushing the PS3 to its limit. Over to you PS4"
An assured, touching, and engrossing adventure, The Last of Us represents a watershed moment for the medium. The unlikely bond that blossoms between the title’s two lead characters is both heartrending and poignantly paced – but the release delivers much more than captivating cinematics. This is a meaty slice of survival action that masterfully depicts the horrors of life in a post-pandemic setting. The conclusion may feel a little hurried, and the multiplayer somewhat surplus to requirements, but this is still an essential tale of survival that will consume you quicker than a cloud of contaminated spores.
Verdict: Consider picking up a PS3 if you don't have one.
Giant Bomb 5/5
The Last of Us is not simply Uncharted with zombies, but it couldn't exist without Naughty Dog having made Uncharted first, either. It's a dark adventure, one rarely filled with laughs or joy. There are bitter pills to swallow along the way, and nothing is taken for granted, not even characters. People live, people die. Sometimes it's fair, sometimes it's not. It's still a zombie game, but a sobering one. Take a deep breath.
Cheat Code Central 5/5
The Last of Us is one of the best games I have had the pleasure to play in my life. The graphics are gorgeous and believable; the soundtrack is pure audible gold for the ears; the story and actors deliver in a way that it should become industry standard. However, there is one thing The Last of Us does better than many games out there--it treats you like an adult. It doesn’t hold punches; it doesn’t try to hide away from hard issues; it is just what it is. You are not a stupid gamer, and Naughty Dog realizes this and therefore doesn’t treat you like one.
Adam Sessler(Rev3) 5/5
One of the finest games I have ever played.
The Last of Us is not a cheerful story, but it's a damned good one.
The Last of Us is visually arresting, mechanically solid, maturely written and by turns heart-rending, tense, unnerving and brutal. Check your ammo. Grab your shiv. Just try your best to stay alive.
Empire Online 5/5
"The Last of Us is not just the finest game that Naughty Dog has yet crafted and an easy contender for the best game of this console generation, it may also prove to be gaming’s Citizen Kane moment," "a masterpiece that will be looked back upon favourably for decades."
The Telegrapgh 5/5
The Last of Us is a triumph.
Yes, this is the entire review lol.There are not enough words or pages on the internet to describe just how good The Last of Us is. All I am going to say is this: why waste time reading about The Last Of Us when you could be playing it.
The Last of Us delivers a lasting experience that will be spoken of for years to come. It shows people why there is still plenty of life left in this current-generation console and why PlayStation still has some of the best properties in the industry today.
Digital spy 5/5
With a hauntingly beautiful game world, stunning visuals, and a wide variety of ways in which players can approach combat, The Last of Us is another exceptional game from the team at Naughty Dog.
However, it's the studio's ability to make this past-pandemic world and its contrasting cast of characters feel so believable and credible that really makes The Last of Us stand out from its peers.
Naughty Dog’s last PlayStation 3 game is discernibly the greatest offering of the current generation. The story touches the player’s heart and most importantly makes you feel wanted. You will grow to care about the characters and bind in with their emotions. The Last of Us is a sign of the video games industry coming to age.
Quite simply, The Last of Us is a generation-defining title. Pushing the hardware to the absolute limit, Naughty Dog’s bleak tour-de-force is only let down slightly by its own ambition, with some mechanics occasionally affecting the immersion that pervades every other moment spent in this stunning world. Naughty Dog have done it again, but who ever doubted that they would?
Digital fix 10/10
The Last of Us is the last outing for Naughty Dog on the PlayStation 3 and there is no finer way to exit the stage of this current generation than with the performance of your career. Bravo and encore.
There's no denying it: The Last of Us hits almost every nail on the head. Its storytelling, its gameplay, its characters, and their journey in this bleak but almost sadly beautiful world that saw the downfall of the human civilization doesn't ever really try to shortcut its way to genuine emotions, opting, on the contrary, for the hard but humanely faithful path. The ambivalence of the human soul, the spot on portrayal of conflicting morals and the tragedy of impossible choices are all beautifully written and played. Plus, the multiplayer is far from being a gimmick; quite the contrary, in fact. It's very much a coherent and enticing experience on its own, with a brilliant meta-game idea, and a unique, multiplayer take on survival.
IB Times 10/10
To allow myself one big claim, just for the finale, this might be the best game I've ever played.
In atmosphere and narrative, Naughty Dog knows few barriers, and turning their talent and craftsmanship to such haunting and profound subject matter will ensure that the developer is poised to continue its dominance as a premier auteur development studio well into the next generation of console hardware.
Naughty Dog has proven itself again as one of the most accomplished development teams in the world. With The Last of Us they have given us a consistent and interesting world that is supported by practically all of its game mechanics. From the rich complex combat system to the sublime sound design, this game immerses the player in one of the most visceral plots in this generation. Maybe the AI could have been better, but, overall, this game proves how far the craftsmanship of making video games has come.
The writing is great, the acting is superb, the characters are beautifully designed and developed, there’s a riveting sense of authenticity, and the immersion one feels is unmatched.
This is the most ambitious project Naughty Dog has made so far. It's not a new genre, but it mixes up some of them to bring something unique. It's got nothing to do with Uncharted apart from the look some images may show, but still is one of the best games on PlayStation 3.
The Last of Us is a step forward for Naughty Dog in terms of narration, story and gameplay, maybe the last big shot for PlayStation 3 and a fine example of a "cinematic game" melted into a great gameplay. A must buy for every serious gamer.
The Last of Us is a deeply felt, shockingly violent game that questions what we're willing to sacrifice and, more disturbingly, what we're willing to do so save the ones we love. The conclusion offers no easy answers. You won't forget it.
Naughty Dog has crafted what’s probably their best game yet—a game that serves as a fitting end to the generation that’s made projects such as The Last of Us realistically possible.
It’s the relationships that really make The Last Of Us. It’s a technical marvel, a true triple-A with best-in-show production values, but it’s the beautiful combination of performance and story that elevates it clearly above the competition.
When it was over, I put my controller down as I tried to process what just happened. But the only words that came out of my mouth was, “Well done, Naughty Dog.”
The Last of Us breathes new life into a vastly overused genre, setting the bar for post-apocalyptic stories to come. It doesn't do anything new mechanically, but you'll be entirely too invested in the progress of the remarkably down-to-earth characters to care.
A stunning achievement in both storytelling and third person adventure, with unforgettable characters and tense, brilliantly paced action.
The globe and mail 9/10
The Last of Us doesn’t just stand out as one of the year’s best games, it’s also a refreshing gem in a genre that is woefully oversaturated right now.
A brilliant and evocative story, superb combat mechanics and an interesting multiplayer component, The Last Of Us is one of this generation's best.
Thrust in a lawless world, you feel the ache of a society gone to seed. The Last of Us stretches on for hours, forcing you to endure the suffocating atmosphere and unrelenting despair that citizens of this world have become accustomed to. And that time spent navigating the desolate wasteland draws you deeper inside. You read letters from people who have long since disappeared, meet groups who have created a rickety social structure to help them survive life's many threats. Most important of all, you watch Ellie grow. From feisty warmth to beleaguered exhaustion, her many moods are always twinged with a grounded levity. Her uplifting nature stands in sharp contrast to the people and events surrounding her, compelling you to protect her, shepherd her, and cherish her. The Last of Us is a singular adventure that looks the downfall of humanity in the eyes and doesn't blink.
There are hints of a nuanced message in The Last of Us, but convention wins out too often to easily find them. Naughty Dog commits to a somber tone that affects every piece of the game for better and worse. It achieves incredible emotional high points about as often as it bumps up against tired scenario design that doesn't fit its world. Survival in the post-apocalypse requires compromise, but The Last of Us has given up something vital.