For some strange reason, Resident Evil 4 kept coming up in my head as I advanced through The Last of Us. Both seem like completely different games at first glance. However, the more I thought about it, the more similarities kept popping up. Not necessarily in a gaming sense, but more on a personal level. Resident Evil 4 was released in January of 2005, and completely revolutionized action games. It set the new standard and every great series from God of War to Uncharted has seen some inspiration from it. I didn’t realize early on, but The Last of Us is the next revolution. You might have noticed all the crazy scores on the web, the game got perfect 10’s from a record number of media outlets (Jarrod’s just a douche). These scores are not just over excitement. The Last of Us is simply a masterpiece.
Jarrod has covered the game tremendously over the past week, having detailed articles on almost every aspect of the game as well as a complete written and video review already available on the site. Having just completed the game on Thursday, I wanted to solidify the fact that all the hype is completely justified. This is a game that instantly lands in my top 10 favorite videogames of all time (to give you an idea, Resident Evil 4 would get the number 3 spot). One that I completed in only two intense sessions (same happened in 2005 with RE4). Naughty Dog have perfected the Uncharted gameplay with The Last of Us. Adding survival elements really draws you into the game. My favorite addition however is the fact that every action you take has to be done in real-time. This means that if you need to heal yourself, you can’t pause the game and do so, or press a button and be instantly cured. You need to kneel down and take care of your wounds. While it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that you could heal gunshot wounds with bandages, you need to remember that this is a videogame. It’s the perfect blend of reality mixed into a virtual world. Even switching guns can only be done by dropping your backpack and switching out your old gun for a new one. I can only imagine how hard the game must be on survival mode because of these effects. It’s something I know I’ll want to experience one day simply because the stress level and intensity cannot be matched elsewhere. The closest I can think of is again, Resident Evil 4’s pro mode.
Living in The Last of Us‘ world is nothing short of a nightmare. I found that the infected themselves are far from being the biggest threat here. While they are freaky and hideous, they are predictable. They run on instinct, if they see you they don everything in your power to kill you without care for their own survival. The humans however, they’re the real monsters in this game. They’ll trick you into thinking they’re friendly, but will pull a gun on you while you have your back turned. They’ll ambush you, they’ll hide and everything they do is designed to survive. They’re totally unpredictable and in world like this, it makes perfect sense. Another thing I need to mention about the world is that it’s absolutely stunning. It’s the prettiest game of the generation by far. There’s a scene in here heavily influenced by Jurassic Park where Ellie yells at Joel to come see the view. What Joel finds are a specific exotic animal that have adapted to the environment. That kind of emotion is rarely found in a videogame.
The characters themselves take center role. Joel is a truly troubled man. He’s done some atrocities to survive, things that most men couldn’t retain their sanity as a result, but in The Last of Us, only the strong survive. While Ellie is only 14 years old, she has the maturity of a young adult. You can see that the inner child in her takes over from time to time, but it shows that she’s no normal teenager. The best thing about The Last of Us is the relationship between these two and the way the game showcases their evolution. You will see it for yourself when you play the game, it doesn’t necessarily start pretty between these two, but it blossoms into something special.
It’s safe to say that you absolutely must purchase this game on June 14th. Even if you don’t own the system, get one or borrow one from a friend. You need to experience this gem at least once in your lifetime. You won’t find a better videogame this generation.