The Last of Us finally hit the PS3. After a series of delays, Naughty Dog released the highly anticipated post-pandemic game. And the wait was worthwhile, even at the end of the first half of 2013, the title emerges as one of the best of the year.
Born under the shadows of Uncharted
Since his announcement, The Last of Us walked in the shadows of Uncharted. The explanation is that since starting its activities in the current Sony console, the PS3, Naughty Dog invested in a new franchise that ended up becoming one of the best exclusives of the console, justifying for many the purchase of the video game just to play the trilogy of Drake.
That made The Last of Us come up with good expectations. His early videos, even if they did not feature gameplay scenes, thrilled everyone. The result was so positive that the game won several awards, as the most anticipated title of the year and best game on display at E3 2012. Everyone knew the quality of the company, and believed that this would be the first step on a new successful path.
More than a simple story
The plot of The Last of Us is an excellent example that games can also tell a story worthy of a literary work. The plot revolves around Joel, who after tragically losing his daughter, has to find motivations to live in a world dominated by chaos after a massive contamination that transforms humans into horrifying creatures.
Joel's path ends up crossing that of Hellen, a teenage girl who may possess the cure for the virus that pollutes the world. But in addition to protecting her, Joel begins to nurture a relationship of father and daughter, which he never imagined he could experience again.
On top of this relationship, the plot unfolds in a very well scripted way, from the somewhat troubled form and full of insecurities between the two characters, until the realization of the paternal love of the protagonist. And as much as it seems a bit drawn to the sentimental side, the story fits into a thriller that moves the player, causing him to fight for the survival of the characters more in the way that twists in front of a movie, than by the fatigue of reaching the next checkpoint.
This charisma of the protagonists will make even the most eager players watch the cutscenes of the game. Dueling in Portuguese also helps a lot in this task, since it brings the same voices that dub famous actors, like Angelina Jolie.
Mechanics molded into a difficulty that pleases
The gameplay of The Last of Us is one of the most interesting points of the game. Any mechanics presented in the game always come up against a challenging difficulty that pleases and makes the experience more realistic.
Beginning with Joel's move, the character does not run as fast and efficient as he should have, but it is enough to not allow any carelessness, such as slipping a button finger, to be committed to flee from his enemies.
Hand-to-hand combat is also effective, but it runs counter-clockwise, showing that Joel is someone who has never had experience with rods and bars of iron, but must manage them to survive. Thus, striking your enemies is a good alternative, however, it is far from being the solution to all your problems, or rather clashes.
The sighting system is another element that works well, but thanks to a good deal of difficulty, it is not efficient the whole time. The behavior of their enemies is not something coordinated, that is, they hardly behave in the same way when it comes to running towards them or hiding and attacking. This way, even with a semiautomatic sight, it is difficult to achieve a perfect shot
To top it all, another element that should be basic and to some extent linear, also counts on its mishaps. Climbing platforms can be an easy task for Drake in Uncharted, but it's not as simple for Joel in The Last of Us. Although a lift seems easy to achieve - just a nice boost - the game creates a difficulty where it's necessary rely on the help of your allies, or simply find another way to get to it, such as using a ladder or a bin as elevation. Difficulty? I would call it reality!
Diversifying the genres and creating an own style
It's hard to define an exact genre for The Last of Us. Throughout its plot, the game features elements of adventure in the third person. The escalations and the way the characters need to find their goals brings us back to this "conclusion." However, another part of the story puts the player into distinct elements of games of the same style.
The first of them is the suspense imposed at various times. Some creatures do not see you, they just hear you, and you have to act sneakily, with as little noise as possible. Faced with this apprehension, the game begins to create elements of a survival horror worthy of games like Clock Tower, where carelessness can be fatal. In the case of The Last of Us, these same creatures eliminate the character with a single blow, so if they notice your presence, be prepared to start over from the last checkpoint.
Other moments of the game refer to a stealth style, such as Metal Gear Solid and many others. For example, heavily armed soldiers chase after their characters and you have to sneak around to eliminate them, or at least a good many of them, before starting a direct confrontation. And thanks to the "disordered" movements mentioned above, it is even harder to follow the same plan with each move, since your enemies can appear from where you least expect it.
Simple and not so interesting multiplayer
The multiplayer mode of The Last of Us shows that it just came to add. Just like in Uncharted, mode works much more like a way of sharing the game with your friends, than to spend hours and hours in battles against opponents from all over the planet.
Limited to clashes between survivors divided into factions, the fighting does not have anything so relevant that some players get the game just for fun online. The great news is the ability to share your information in a ranking that synchronizes with your Facebook. The game also brings a system of evolution in which at each level your character acquires new skills, as well as points to enable more items.
Perhaps if The Last of Us relied on a cooperative mode that could be embedded in his campaign, it would be something more appealing than the one presented. Just like in Tomb Raider, the impression remains that the mode is a way to extend the life of the game. However, this would hardly be a title to dust on the shelves even without any multiplayer interaction.
Beautiful, but not perfect!
To look closely at the look of The Last of Us, is to admire how much the current generation of consoles still has to offer. There's no shortage of game scenarios that can replicate an apocalyptic atmosphere in a totally devastated urban setting. From ruined buildings that threaten to crash at any moment, to roads taken by destroyed vehicles, we can understand - or not - the reason for the delays in launching the game: Naughty Dog wanted to show a game with a perfect look!
And she almost did it. However, some slips were made in the graphics part of the game. What bothers you most is the fact that the game counts on small falls of frames during well-loaded scenes, mainly in scenarios that count on many effects of light. If the game receives a PS4 version in the future, this problem is sure to be solved.
The Last of Us meets all expectations of the most anticipated game of 2013, and becomes a major competitor the best game of the year. With a plot worthy of a literary work and a gameplay shaped upon a well-dosed difficulty, the title is a great example of which there are simply striking games. The best of all is to observe what the current generation of console still has to offer in terms of visual and, mainly, of innovations. A title almost mandatory for any player.