Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Last Of Us: First Impressions

I only got the game today, and have played for several hours. Obviously my views are only on the initial part of the game, and I’ll post a proper review when I’ve played rather more. I’ll keep spoilers in this post to a minimum.


It’s a zombie apocalypse - with a twist. They’re not ‘zombies’ but infected, and the disease is a real thing. It’s a fungal infection, although in reality it only affects creatures such as ants. Civilisation has collapsed in the main and only a few quarantined areas remain (mostly) free of infection. However, democracy has fallen by the wayside and the military now run the show.

Joel and Tess are a pair of smugglers who get hired to take an unusual cargo, Ellie, out of the quarantine zone. But things don’t go quite to plan…


Joel, the player-character, will face both other humans and a range of infected. Approaches can be stealthy, Rambo-style or a combination of the two. As well as a variety of guns (and a bow, I’ve just discovered) there are shivs and Molotov Cocktails, and probably more weapons besides. Generally this works well, and the enemies can often be quite difficult.

However, I have a couple of gripes. The guns are surprisingly inaccurate. I’m not a crack shot by any means (in fact, I’m a bit shit at this sort of thing) but early on I got a headshot when the scope was pointing at my enemy’s chest. Given that the only way to take down a clicker (excepting stealth kills) is with a shot to the head, this is a strange and slightly irksome oversight.

In addition, the clickers. One hit kill enemies are not something of which I’m a fan (Bushido Blade aside). I think it’s a cheap mechanic.

The menu stays open when you’re combining items or using a medkit, and I think this works well. It adds a little bit of tension, and the system for combining items (what I’ve seen of it so far) works well.


The graphics are excellent. Rain and water effects, wet-clothing, character animations and facial expressions, sunrises, they’re all brilliant.


The voice-acting is very good indeed. Sound effects, including the echo-location clicks of those in an advanced stage of pestilence, are also very well done. The music’s ok, although there doesn’t seem to be much of it so far.


My biggest single worry was that Ellie’s AI would be screwed up. Escort quests aren’t exactly the favourite of most gamers, and there was the risk that Ellie would be a blundering moron who would get herself and/or Joel killed. Happily, this seems not to be the case. Ellie and Joel not only work well together in a gameplay sense (he takes the lead, she can sometimes help out) but they also have some nice moments of banter.

As an aside, this is probably the first zombie game I’ve played since Resident Evil 2, about 15 years ago.

(Preliminary) Conclusion

I’ve played twice today. The second time I forgot what time it was and ate tea later than usual, and had a crick in my neck. Can’t remember when the last time that happened was.

So, one-hit kills and dodgy aiming aside I’m really enjoying The Last Of Us. The difficulty will be finishing it without ruining my neck. When I do, I’ll post a fuller review.


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