Post-apocalyptic games have never been this beautiful, gripping.

Joel+and+Ellie+traveling+through+Pittsburgh
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Post-apocalyptic games have never been this beautiful, gripping.

Joel and Ellie traveling through Pittsburgh

Joel and Ellie traveling through Pittsburgh

Photo courtesy of destructoid.com / Creative Commons

Joel and Ellie traveling through Pittsburgh

Photo courtesy of destructoid.com / Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of destructoid.com / Creative Commons

Joel and Ellie traveling through Pittsburgh

Reynaldo Garcia, TSV Interium Sports Editor

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“You’re going to be okay, baby, stay with me.” A few seconds later, the wailing stops. Joel, the main protagonist, holds his dead daughter in his arms, sobbing. That’s how The Last of Us begins: you witness the death of a little girl. The next segment shows the opening credits while news broadcasts blare into your ears and vaguely explain the game’s backstory. During this time, the player is treated to visuals of what appears to be fungi growing.

Right from the beginning, The Last of Us grips you emotionally. From the creators of the acclaimed Uncharted series, Naughty Dog delivers on all expectations a gamer could have. The opening sequence is a beautiful and an excellently executed primer of what the game is going to be. There is action and a whole lot of drama. Before you even get into the meat of the game, you’re already invested in it.

In The Last of Us, you assume the role of Joel, decades after the prologue. He is now a smuggler working with his partner Tess in a quarantine zone in what is left of Boston. The game takes you through his struggles to escort Ellie, a little girl apparently immune to the epidemic, across the country to a base in Salt Lake City operated by the Fireflies, a mysterious militia-like group.

The game plays out like a post-apocalyptic television drama. It feels intricate, in that it is a well-executed game with a top-notch story. But the game can be jarring; it affects you. Whether it’s through the tongue smacking of the clickers or the cut scenes, the game takes a toll on you. In one particular scene, you witness a suicide, and lo-and-behold, it affects you. I know it made me tear up. That’s how invested you get.

The game uses the universal first-person shooter control in a third person perspective. The front shoulder buttons are for aiming and firing, along with the sticks to move. But the gameplay is not simple. There is an immersive crafting system in the game. Throughout your adventure, you’ll gather materials to create items such as medical packs, Molotov cocktails and knives, just to name a few. The game encourages you to play stealthily, since supplies are scarce. There is a cover system that looks great; if you and Ellie are taking cover and you move towards Ellie, you’ll see Joel take cover over Ellie.

The multiplayer is a fun addition to the game and adds to its replay value. There are two multiplayer modes: supply raid and survivor. Supply raid plays like a normal team deathmatch; Two teams of four duke it out until the number of respawns runs out. Survivor is rounds-based, where you and three other players try to finish off the other team completely to win the round. First team to win four rounds is the ultimate winner. By contrast, the objective of the multiplayer modes is to gather enough supplies to feed your clan and eventually branch out and grow. You see, in multiplayer, you’re either the Fireflies or the Hunters, and you have to survive 12 weeks to level up. You’ll encounter events which can be helpful or detrimental, where you have to complete certain objectives. There is even a cool little feature where you can import your Facebook friends into your clan. Occasionally, small messages pop up in the menu and tell you of what your friend is doing in your camp. Although, it can be a bit disturbing when a message appears that says your friend has died. But don’t worry! The game won’t be spamming your friend’s wall telling them they died in your game.

The Last of Us is without a doubt one of the best games ever made, not only for the PlayStation 3, but of all time. It is a monumental achievement for Naughty Dog. I might even say that it is better than the Uncharted series. If you want a Game of the Year candidate that will hold you captive to its quality and emotional depth, then look no further than the magnum opus that is The Last of Us.