The Last of Us follows one of your basic zombie apocalypse formula in that when the outbreak happens the military responds and martial law basically goes into effect in order to control the outbreak and keep everyone safe.
In the beginning, Joel, your classic overworked, single father character comes home to his young teenaged daughter, Sarah, on his birthday and she gives him a nice watch at which he jokes about her selling drugs to get it for him. It’s just enough to build a father-daughter rapport that seems familiar from any TV show or movie with the same type of relationship. Long story short, the outbreak happens and while trying to escape their small town, Sarah gets shot and killed by a soldier and then the game leaps forward 20 years.
Joel is a bit older and the world is more than a bit different. It’s pretty clear from the way Joel carries himself that he has grown cold to the world but is equipped to deal with it as it is now. Eventually circumstances align where he has to escort Ellie, a girl of similar age to his daughter when she died (Ellie is 14) to a base for the rebel group, Firefly. This is a mystery as to why she is so important to them until it is revealed by her that she had been bitten 3 weeks before and had not turned since when the change usually happens within 2 days or so. So, shes immune and possibly the key to the cure.
The game itself plays in such a way that it is so hard to put down. In my first sitting I spent 6 hours playing and I still feel that I am maybe a quarter of the way through the game. Obviously the plan to take Ellie to the Firefly base failed; the rebels were dead when we got there. The game prompts you to think in terms of supplies and I love that it does so without explicitly telling you to do so other than the odd tip when you die. If you find yourself walking into a room of Runners and Clickers and you are low on supplies, it might be a better idea to sneak by or take some out stealthily with a shiv or an arrow. If you have the supplies and good aim, you might choose to go in guns a blazin’; it’s your choice. You find yourself searching every new room or house you enter for any supplies you can find, and I love it. For some reason that feels very authentic to me. I also like how Joel’s backpack reflects his supplies. Melee weapons and long range weapons like rifles and bows can be seen attached to the backpack and even nicely fit on there once you unlock more weapon slots in the fact that a bow and a rifle on the same side of the backpack doesn’t look cumbersome.
As with any apocalypse situation, the dead are not the only problem and the living are often more dangerous when they set traps or open fire on you just to take what you have for themselves.
Being that these zombies are unique to The Last of Us, I don’t mind that body shots will eventually put them down or that if you get the drop on them they can actually be choked out. They get infected by either a bite, as usual or, by breathing in spores which come from the dead bodies of infected. The zombies progress through stages the longer they are infected and it makes sense that they become more powerful in this world because, the virus works as a growth rather than just a reanimation. There are Runners which as the name suggests sprint at you if they see you; they are stage 1. Stalkers are stage 2, and they are a bit more aggressive and you can start to see the fungus grow from their head. Clickers are stage 3 and they are blind, so if you can sneak by them you can avoid a fight but, don’t let them get close because there is no fighting them off; once they take hold of you, you’re done for. Bloaters are the 4th stage and they rely solely on echolocation like the Clickers. They have so much fungus grown onto them that it acts as armor. They take the longest to develop so, they are pretty rare. I’ve only run into 2 so far and they function as almost a mini boss. You can eventually get a skill to defend yourself when a Clicker grabs you but, if a Bloater gets it’s hands on you, there is no chance.
The point of all that rambling is to say that this game is awesome. I can’t say for sure what improved between the PS3 version and the remastered PS4 version, but I imagine it was just graphics and bug fixes. The scenery is sometimes downright gorgeous as nature reclaims the Earth with less people on it to cover it with roads and buildings.
I honestly have nothing bad to say about this game so far; if you can get your hands on it, do it. But, plan to spend at least a few hours on it upon putting it in because I can almost guarantee that you will not want to walk away from it.
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