Developer: Naughty Dog
Platform: Playstation 3
Genre: Third-person action adventure
As the PlayStation 3-era draws to a close, developers Naughty Dog have delivered one of the greatest videogames ever to grace the console. Right from the opening scene, it's all too clear just how fantastic this game is, from the incredible visuals, to the intuitive control system, and especially the perfectly paced and nuanced script and performances within the story itself.
We control Joel, a survivor in a post-apocalypse America which has been destroyed from the inside out by a fungus that turns all those infected into murderous zombie-types. You have been tasked with making sure a young teenager Ellie is brought safely to another safe-zone, but the reasons why aren't made clear to you immediately. The plot and setting automatically bring to mind the likes of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, TV show The Walking Dead and dystopian sci-fi classic Children Of Men, and the fact that this game is compared to these classics is no accident. The story of The Last Of Us is so thoroughly emotionally involving that it will stay with you for days afterwards, putting most videogames (and even the majority of movies) to shame.
The presentation is immaculate, and The Last Of Us may be the most graphically impressive and all-round-beautiful game ever on the PS3. From the dingy, near-dark subways to the vast vistas of deserted, destroyed cities, there is a jaw-dropping image to be found around almost every corner. The sound design is also amazing, especially when it comes to a particular form of the infected that has developed a bat-like echo system to locate you; oh yes, prepare to dislocate your entire spine during these particularly tense sections.
Weapons are scarce in this world, and ammunition for them even scarcer, and it's up to you to do the best you can with what you've got. For example, you might find a bit of a scissors, some tape and a bat, and combine them into quite an effective hand-held weapon. But you'd better do it fast, as the action doesn't stop just because you need to defend yourself, or top up your energy, everything is done in-game, in-the-moment, adding even more to the already unbearable tense atmosphere.
There aren't enough superlatives to describe The Last Of Us, and if there's any negatives, it's that there's nothing here that's particularly original or innovative. You've played games like this before, but never at a quality of this level, and never with a story this involving. In short, this is an absolute must-buy.
Rent or Buy: Buy
Presentation: 5 out of 5
Gameplay: 5 out of 5
Replay: 4 out of 5
Overall: 5 out of 5