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Review

The Last of Us Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

One unforgettable character proves humanity is worth saving in the bleak and brutal The Last of Us.

The downfall of civilization redefines moral boundaries. No longer do labels like thief and murderer mark you as a criminal; everyone must steal, must kill, must do whatever it takes to survive. Humans roam in packs like feral dogs, claiming their territory and killing anyone who encroaches on their turf. Paper-thin alliances link individuals together for mere flashes, their connections severed once their mutual needs are met. Life is bleak, brutal, and exhausting. Tomorrow doesn't exist when the stench of death lingers like a fog and hope was extinguished years ago. There is only today; there is only right now. Morals? Morals won't put food in your mouth or a roof over your head. Morals are for the weak. And you're not weak.

Fight for your life or wind up dead.

One night the heart of society beat loud and strong; the next it was silent. The outbreak happened so quickly that there was no quarantine plan in effect. Infected monsters crashed through their neighbors' windows, smashed the doors to splinters. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, dead before they could react, or worse. Maybe they became one of the infected. The virus spread through major cities and suburbs, and the military, with all of its training and weapons, was powerless to stop the epidemic. Joel is just one man amid a sea of people whose lives have been destroyed by the infection, but who still cling to life. Though he never asked for such power, he now holds the key to saving the world.

Joel is introduced the night society falls. He stays out late and works questionable jobs, all while his daughter waits patiently for his return home. He's distant, physically and emotionally, which makes it difficult to empathize with him. His actions are often repulsive, as inhuman as the zombies he must fight. The door to his heart is sealed shut. The Last of Us shines a light on the nastiness that only surfaces in humans who have nothing to lose. Rather than overcoming these limitations, Joel is crushed by them. He's unlikeable to his very core, a man who spits out angry words and appears to harbor even more sinister thoughts that remain unsaid. He kills because everyone must kill. But he kills with such fury that it disgusts even those who are used to this violence.

Joel, already accustomed to a life of brutality and focusing on his own needs, has partnered with a woman of a similar disposition. Tess is a badger let loose from a cage. To cross her path is to sign your own death warrant. She, like so many of the characters in The Last of Us, has a one-note personality that allows little room for a more nuanced interpretation. Her independence and ruthlessness are thrust to the forefront; empathy and humanity are nowhere to be found. Such flimsy characterizations erect an emotional barrier for the first few hours of this adventure. The postapocalyptic world is not interesting enough on its own to draw you in. Without any sympathetic characters to latch on to, you are left with little attachment to this pack of selfish animals.

Trees are as prevalent as zombies after the apocalypse.

That changes once Ellie joins your party. Unlike Tess and Joel, Ellie is easy to relate to. In this world of constant danger, she is scared. Scared to be ambushed by a zombie without a guide to protect her. Scared to meet a person who would rather kill her than talk to her. And her fear is not just for her own life. All of her loved ones have died or departed, so she's scared of losing someone else. Yet unlike so many others in this world, Ellie is not ruled by her fear. She talks like a girl in search of normalcy, whistling or humming during quiet moments, fantasizing about swimming lessons, and laughing about the problems that used to haunt girls before the outbreak. Boys? School? Problems that seem pitiful when your stomach has been growling for days and you have watched a zombie kill your best friend, yet Ellie remembers them. In her remembrance of the past, she exhibits a strength of will that most adults have lost. Ellie is both strong and vulnerable, smart and naive, and her humanity provides the impetus to push you through to the bitter end.

Ellie's maturity and resiliency make her an invaluable companion, but her worth lies much deeper than her endearing personality. She could be the savior humanity has been waiting for, and Joel has the privilege of escorting her away from the hostile city she now resides in to a faraway settlement desperate for her arrival. You travel through infested forests, dilapidated houses, and unnerving sewers, with Joel providing the brawn and Ellie the heart to brave the many dangers that stand before them. Confrontation is a last resort. Infected swarm with terrifying ferocity, clawing and snarling as they seek their next meal. The uninfected are just as deadly. With diplomacy not an option, they pursue and flank, firing high-powered rifles or swinging deadly axes, undeterred that they are trying to slaughter a middle-aged man and a young girl. Death is fast and bloody, so you slink through the shadows, staying out of sight to live another day.

Alcohol is more valuable as a flaming weapon in this world.

However, combat in such a violent land is inevitable. The Last of Us turns the crumbling ruins of a formerly healthy world into the landmarks of unceasing war. Filter the world through the lens of dystopia, and ordinary objects take on a new meaning. Overturned tables and file cabinets provide a modicum of cover; broken windows allow for a quick escape. The zombies' movements are a confluence of contrasting images. Their staggered gait lulls you into believing they are slow, weak. But once they smell fresh meat, their movement is blindingly fast and exact. Their heads snap to attention with unsettling, insectile speed, and the unholy guttural noises that issue from their throats sound like the song of humanity's death.

So you kill them, bashing them with a two-by-four with all your strength and pummeling them into a lifeless mess on the ground. When grabbed from behind, you shove a shiv into your attacker's neck, the force of your blow causing the makeshift weapon to snap in half. A close-range shotgun blast tears zombies to shreds, but there's no time for celebration. They keep coming, eager to quell the threat that stupidly revealed itself. Such confrontations are nerve-rattling, and yet there's a hollowness to these encounters. No one wants to die--even a virtual death is unwelcome--but The Last of Us refuses to punish failure in a manner befitting the harshness of its world. Become overwhelmed and you quickly perish, but with checkpoints only a few seconds apart, the danger of expiring never dissuades you from recklessness.

The biggest problem with combat in The Last of Us, however, is how often it breaks its own rules. Mutated zombies called clickers have finely tuned ears that hear your quietest movements. And yet, your companions speak all too loudly near enemies or stand blithely in the open, all while the grotesque monsters obtusely ignore them. In certain sections, locked doors cannot be interacted with until the threat has been eliminated, forcing you to act violently even though an evasive approach seems possible. In other places, a gang of savage monsters waits patiently for you to open a door to freedom, and watches ambivalently as you close it securely behind you. The Last of Us sets rules and then ignores them, removing you from the experience as you question the underlying systems.

A rare moment when Ellie and Joel aren't staring death in the face.

Healthy individuals are a bigger threat than the prowling infected. Military units and paranoid gangs hinder your escape to freedom, and are willing to gun down unknown strangers without so much as a word to figure out your motivations. Humans are more predictable than zombies, so you don't have to be scared that they're going to unexpectedly change direction. However, with guns at the ready, they can kill you just as quickly, and from a long distance away if you're not careful. Problems do exist that lessen the thrill of the fight. Your enemies are not the sharpest people around. Hide behind a corner and snap some poor sap's neck, leaving his lifeless body on the ground. When the next guard walks up, you might expect him to sound the alarm upon seeing his friend. But he often doesn't care, and so you kill again. Other times, you may be dramatically strangling a man only a few meters away from a living guard, and yet you remain unseen.

Despite the many small problems in combat, there's an undeniable tension. Vanquishing a horde of attackers is challenging, so you must fight intelligently. Combat flexibility lets you decide how each fight goes down: loudly or quietly, barbarically or cowardly, or maybe you avoid confrontation entirely. Environments are large, sprawling battlefields that allow you to move how you see fit. Hunker down behind an overturned desk and toss Molotov cocktails into the undead herd until the stench of burned corpses fills the air. Or throw a bottle at the back of a hostile foe, momentarily stunning it until you rush in with murder on your mind. Take a guns blazing approach to fill your unceasing enemies with bullets until their lives fade away.

If you take a bullet or two, your life trickles down, and you need a medical pack to regain your strength. To stay alive, you need to make use of the enticing crafting system. Scrounge materials such as scissors and alcohol, and then craft medical packs and shivs, or reinforce your melee weapon. You can only carry three of each item at a time, so you won't be able to load up on Molotovs and health packs. There are enough goods lying around to keep you well stocked throughout the game, so you never feel as if you're in over your head in a given fight. This system encourages you to search every crevice in the environment, forging a powerful connection between you and this broken world.

Property values have plummeted.

Aside from combat and surveying, there are puzzles to solve. These offer a quiet moment to analyze the environment, and are a welcome respite from the heart-pounding chaos of fighting. Unfortunately, you don't have to think too hard to be on your way. When deep water impedes your path, search for a wooden raft so Ellie can make it safely to shore. A ladder is needed to reach higher ground, and a plank can be used to cross a gap. The puzzles follow the linearity present throughout the adventure. There is only one solution, so you scan the environment for the button prompt that will whisk you to the next locale, never able to flex your creative muscle to find alternate routes through the wreckage.

The Last of Us offers a mundane visual representation of a postapocalyptic world. The overgrown foliage and run-down structures elicit deja vu more often than genuine awe. We've seen these images before, relayed in countless portrayals of society's end. There are a few instances of graphical brilliance, such as when Ellie and Joel are framed by a picturesque sunset, but the aesthetics are predominately ho-hum. However, the music and sound design are exceptional. Fear comes from hearing, but not seeing, your threats. Their creepy groans tell you everything you need to know about the virus that has consumed them. And though the music stays clearly in the background, it complements the emotional reactions perfectly: the hopeful serenade when Ellie gazes at escaped zoo animals, or the throbbing pulse when you're being pursued by a madman. It's a splendid soundtrack throughout.

Joel is well versed in various ways to kill a man.

With two teams gunning down each other, multiplayer appears to be a paint-by-numbers shootfest on the surface, but there's a refreshing feel to the face-offs. People in The Last of Us are not gifted with superheroic athleticism or regenerating health. They just want to survive. And that feeling is well translated here. Make too much noise, and you appear on the minimap, so you slowly crouch-walk through levels, trying to kill without being seen. It's tense in all the right ways, rewarding patience and thoughtfulness over raw speed. Your life is not disposable. The dread of having to craft and then apply a medical pack when a stalking enemy is in sight is tangible, and when you surprise your hunter with a shot from the bushes, you feel empowered. This feeling of desperation combines with a smart unlock system and strategy-altering goals (focus on executions or healing teammates, for instance) makes The Last of Us a unique and satisfying competitive experience.

Thrust in a lawless world, you feel the ache of a society gone to seed. The Last of Us stretches on for hours, forcing you to endure the suffocating atmosphere and unrelenting despair that citizens of this world have become accustomed to. And that time spent navigating the desolate wasteland draws you deeper inside. You read letters from people who have long since disappeared, meet groups who have created a rickety social structure to help them survive life's many threats. Most important of all, you watch Ellie grow. From feisty warmth to beleaguered exhaustion, her many moods are always twinged with a grounded levity. Her uplifting nature stands in sharp contrast to the people and events surrounding her, compelling you to protect her, shepherd her, and cherish her. The Last of Us is a singular adventure that looks the downfall of humanity in the eyes and doesn't blink.

The Good
Ellie is immediately likable and exhibits poignant growth
Tense combat encounters with plenty of flexibility
Crafting system demands environmental investigation
Slow-paced, rewarding competitive multiplayer
Excellent sound design and moving score
The Bad
Supporting characters are rarely sympathetic
Combat contains too many immersion-breaking exploits
8
Great
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Discussion

17543 comments
tipsyfreelancer
tipsyfreelancer

Saying that the characters were one-note shows a complete misunderstanding or disregard for one of the main themes of the game.

Joel, without any context, is just a generic stoic badass. But because we know his background, we understand what made him that way. And despite his hardened demeanor and great personal risk, he spends much of the game making decisions that go against his lone-wolf persona. Hardly "one-note".

Every (human) character had complex motivations. If you paid attention, you learn that even the Hunters are trying to feed their families just to survive. One group can even be heard questioning the psychotic tendencies of their leader at a one point, saying they are going to vote him down.

Even the main human "villains" had noble, relatable goals. One was trying to feed and protect his families and neighbors.

The other was only trying do what's best for humanity. Trying to save it, despite all the sacrifice and personal pain it would require.

I fail to see anything shallow about the characters. Quite the opposite, I found them to be quite complex by gaming standards. On par with movie characters.

You missed the mark GS. The game is a must-play for any gamer. It is the pinnacle of cinematic storytelling for the medium. Until this game, I had never cared or worried about a game's characters and I had never played with such excitement and anticipation of what would happen next.

The Metacritic score speaks for itself.

akram182
akram182

this guy makes the worst reviews ever, he sucked at skyward sword and now this? you just keep messing with master pieces... you should review games that no one cares. i don't believe in gamespot opinion because of you... please get a job at a cosmo magazine and leave the true game experts write...

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

Finally played. I agree, solid 8. The story is thin, the characters two dimensional, and the stealth does break it's own rules all the time. I would feel success after going through a whole area filled with baddies only to discover the games wants me to kill them all to proceed.

OKAY...geesh so much for deciding how I play through the game. 


I don't get how anyone can call this a masterpiece. If you've seen the road or the walking dead this story is old hat. Infected are just another name for typical zombies.


The stealth is odd...I wish take downs were quieter. The gameplay is okay. I really don't get the hype on this one. 

taco_paco
taco_paco

This is honestly one of the most emotionally engaging games I have ever played. Some of my favourite moments in this game (ironically) were the parts that I wasn't even playing. That being said, gameplay was solid, while stealth combat was challenging and fun on the difficulty I was playing (one up from hard). All in all, this is an experience that will make you forget, several times along the way, that you are playing and watching a game. Any piece of literature that can do that, in my opinion, is what true art is.


Also, this title deserves nothing less than a 9. It's so good, it's actually misleading to give it anything lower than that.

TheFodao
TheFodao

I get the feeling that Tom Mc Shea writes reviews not to tell us if a game is good or bad. I think Tom Mc Shea writes reviews because he loves to hear himself talk.


I get it, Tom. You like your literary flourish. You enjoy lovingly reading your prose to us with your dramatic stops, pauses, and nauseating poetic intonation. William Shatner would be green with envy.


But when I have to read between the lines of your paragraphs—which could double as the first chapter of a short story provided by Naughty Dog to set the scene for the game and its characters—in order to get a feel for how good the game is, then you're doing it wrong. For cripes' sake: you don't even talk about the mechanics of the game until halfway through the review.


Now I appreciate good writing as much as the next guy. But I don't come to Gamespot to get sucked into a story written by a talented writer. I come to Gamespot to find out where my money is best spent; then I let the game suck me into its own story. So please, Tom, leave the six-paragraph introductions for your novels and short stories. Your target audience just wants to know how the game plays, whether it's worth the $60 price of admission, and why.

samueladams4500
samueladams4500

Of course, you are gonna run into those problems if you play it on easy. He just nitpicked a few things that has absolutely nothing to do with the overall game. 

blackciti
blackciti

This is a phenomenal masterpiece of a game. I own both a 360 which I had for 3 years and a ps3 which I owned for a month. My very first ps3. NO GAME have I EVER played brought in so much emotional depth than the last of us. It feels more like an oscar winning movie than a game. Although its very violent, the game is well made. It has a few small glitches here and there but nothing major to distract from the gameplay. Love this game.

GameOn610
GameOn610

This should have gotten a 9 at the very least!

tcmentzer
tcmentzer

I couldn't disagree more with this. This game was an amazing emotional experience, it takes naughty dog's uncharted franchise engine and movie theme to the next level. This game is a truly brutal, brutal, realistic experience. I disliked the review because it seemed like they didn't really cover anything good about this game. He cites the AI pulling you out of the game or your comrades being seen but not setting off alerts... well if you actually played the game and recognize the amazing game design already here, I personally saw that and said, yeah well the rule is about them seeing ME and MY character Joel, not my AI allies, thus the only person to set off an alarm will be you, and thus overall less frustrating. And honestly this rarely happens its impressive how well the stealth model animation is for these characters while the game is running, and not merely a cutscene. 


*** If you only read one thing make it this***


This guy completely missed the point. The Last of Us was like an interactive movie, and a true technical masterpiece. I literally couldn't help myself from clapping at the end of this game as well as Uncharted 3. This game is more a work of art than a game, but its a 10/10. Also the best stealth / action game play that you're going to get until the Phantom Pain comes out. 

YouEnjoyMyFluff
YouEnjoyMyFluff

This game is way better than Watch Dogs and Wolfenstein.  This is a clear 9/10

jackkan82
jackkan82

It's pretty obvious at this point that Tom McShea let his personal character personality preferences get in the way of a fair review and botched up the feature review of one of the most significant and universally lauded games in years.

If you watch the gamespot video of "The Last of Us Developers Talk Movie Influences and Storytelling," Tom goes into detail about how he didn't like any of the characters and their actions in the game besides Ellie and how that frustrated him throughout the game.  He particularly hates Joel and says in the video that because of his personal experiences, he saw Joel as a bad father right off the bat.  


To me, Joel and Ellie present a juxtaposition of the human nature.  Joel is an old and seasoned man who has lost the biggest chunk of his heart and humanity through the outbreak.  He represents the harsh reality and the animalistic instinct to survive in it.  Ellie is a young girl who was born inside the quarantine zone and has lived in relative protection by the adults around her.  She represents humanity and innocence, which the other characters lack in comparison to her by suffering through the outbreak and having to make ends meet.  The entire game is a journey in which those opposing sides of human nature come together and make each other something more than before the journey started.


I find Tom's hate of Joel("bad father and asshole") and adoration for Ellie("pure beacon of hope and awesome")  to be an extremely childish interpretation of characters and the game's story.  But the real unforgivable sin is the fact that he, as a professional writer and reviewer, let his own personal experiences such as hating a "bad father" ruin a fair assessment of a significant game.  


So he finds that he absolutely cannot stand Joel and hates almost everyone in the game except Ellie, and therefore nitpicks the game with the most absurd "cons" to justify his score of 8/10, because no game that he personally dislikes could be a truly exceptional piece of work.


He then gives a 9 to the Left Behind DLC talking about how awesome the playful, kid-fun, non-violent gameplay was.  And his only gripe?  He couldn't actually finish the game without killing anything...

Suffice it to say that I don't think it's fair for the audience to get Tom McShea's review on any realistic game set in a violent world where the characters aren't fully comprised of playful children.

Foxhound1982
Foxhound1982

I don't normally care about the number at the end of a review. And as i own a 360, PC and a PS3 im no fanboy, but i think PS3 owners who are feeling aggreived at the score have good reason. I picked this up yesterday and i have to say this is a magnificent game, something a bit special, and i don't mean that in a retarded sense of the word. This is well worth a 9 or 10

ScottOakley
ScottOakley

At the E3 they showed this awesome AI that actually interacted the way you played, they made right choices depending on what weapon they where carrying. But when I played it the AI just ran towards me when they where carrying melee weapons instead of hiding behind corners like the E3 footage. The game was good, don't get me wrong, I'm just totally fed up with company's showing false footage of games to make it more appealing.

justazzas
justazzas

i wonder on which difficulty he played?

Pray_to_me
Pray_to_me

Can ya'll at least get someone to do a voice over for Tom MSshill's next review? The dude sounds like hipster Mike Tyson.  

zinn90
zinn90

I disagree with the combat exploit reasoning, making a friendly AI that doesn't aggro the enemies feels more like naughty dog's way of fixing the ages old issue of stupid AI partners either running in and dying, or doing something totally daft and getting you killed.

Think about all the places where stealth comes into play. Now imagine navigating those places with an AI that can be detected before combat. You'd have to eliminate the target before your partner(s) is/are seen. This would cut the possible play styles down significantly, I don't think the immersion benefit would be equatable to the strategical benefit.

I honestly liked Joel. Given the circumstances, his mental state is understandable, especially to those who understand familial loss and the depression it entails. Joel is a victim of manic depression that went untreated and uncontrolled for years and years on end. Ellie serves as a plot device in every significant twist or turn in the story, and part of Joel's development is thanks to Ellie.

You watch Joel slowly warm up to Ellie in a fairly cliche way, but, this is made up for by the development entwined with the cliche that so many other duos in games fails to include. The more Joel warms up to Ellie, the further she pulls him out of his depression- Ellie is Joel's tie to his daughter, and brings his paternal instincts back to life, which is a plot catalyst for his slowly but surely returning humanity.

I'd hate to sound like a fanboy, but TLoU truly deserved being game of the year. It's possibly one of my favorite games of all time. From a personal level it's a 10/10 and from a technical level it's not far behind. Some would argue, with reason, that it has the technical prowess of a top-tier production, making the last of us one of the gaming industries Crown Jewels, even if its a bit over hyped.

Hipsters and elitists will claim it's total shit as with everything, but the majority would agree that those hipsters and elitists are objectively incorrect- Ill happily say I'm part of that majority. No matter how you look at it, this game is a legend.

speedfog
speedfog

Getting this game next week. Played a bit of it at friends, and it had boring gameplay with bad AI. 

On the other hand I can't wait to play the game out for the story.

hikaruai
hikaruai

This game is so freaking overrated...Just picked it up bcus of all the hype and already thinking of returning it

swolid-snake
swolid-snake

It is because of your TLOU reviews that my loyalty has shifted from gamespot (gayspot) to IGN. I know you've heard this all before but I don't know how you can justify giving a game such as Darksiders 2 an 8.5 and TLOU an 8 (and yes I know they were reviewed by different people and Tom, who doesn't even lift, is probably just jealous of Joel's massive and perfectly animated swole). Goddamn I used to trust gamespot reviews as if they were religious documents written by Hercules himself. However it is closed minded reviewers such as Mrs. Mc Shea (AKA small arms Tom) that have shattered my trust. For God's sake in your review - which I felt mildly homosexual just reading - you state that Ellie meets Joel 'years after' the events of Left Behind when in fact it is only a matter of 3 weeks. You do this stuff for a living yet you're too lazy to clarify a few details before posting a review and having everyone laugh at your stupidity. Get it together gamespot, you're losing respect with every review.

mokalid
mokalid

the video review wasn't good, it didn't explain much

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

To all those saying how can this game get such a low score, the answer is summed up in one word: McSheala

crymore_noob
crymore_noob

Score 8 is just WRONG. I'd gladly give 9.5 for this game. Score 9 for battle field4? Get outta here.

TheCrystal9
TheCrystal9

I got the feeling that this one is slightly better than Unfarted 3 which is a dog shit in my eyes

bleedgreen2-1-5
bleedgreen2-1-5

This got an 8? Seriously? Call of Duty Ghost and Battlefield 4's score matched this? Wow, that's crazy, also Assassin's Creed IV got a 9?

This game was amazing across the board for me, satisfying gameplay, great characters, great visuals, just awesome. 

lacmetal
lacmetal

Just 8!? You're ridiculous!

MegaPhilX2
MegaPhilX2

I started playing this game recently. I'm not too far into it. I'm looking at comments and reviews just to see. So far I think it IS pretty overrated. So far I agree with the score on this review. I'm going to continue playing and we'll see. I've just got back in the downtown streets after facing the first 3 or 4 groups of monsters.

dani_i89
dani_i89

I don't like Playstation, and have never really enjoyed anything that Sony has been produced for it. Having just finished this, however, this game was stunning. I really have to disagree with this review, I would say a 9.5 would be more adequate. An 8 is just not justice enough for this piece of work, and while the puzzles are simple, and supporting characters are somewhat loud and random, docking this game to an 8 is pretty harsh. I have encountered  technical issue, which happened once, and all of the characters (not just Ellie) were great and fitting to the story.

I understand this reviewer is entitled to his opinion and so on and so forth, and I won't sit here and bash into his point, but I truly do think this game has been done a serious injustice by this review.

Now, I can give the PS3 I have back to my friend lol.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

What an extraordinary game. There's this wonderful sad/beautiful feeling you get while you play it, after you've finished it, and weeks after when you're inevitably still thinking about it.

marcopolo426
marcopolo426

Best game that I have played so far and I don't say that lightly. That honor went to KOTOR for almost a decade.


Not the first time I disagree with Shea's reviews. To me, he is the opposite of a person who should be reviewing games. His video reviews are monotonous. He seems extremely judgmental according to personal preferences. I remember him ripping 'The Forgotten Sands' Wii version to shreds without setting it up properly. As I can remember, his review for Dust: An Elysian Tail' was again lazy and misses the point.


Look, I enjoy divergent opinions. But a divergent opinion is something that has to be brought to light articulately so that it convinces people to think differently.  Shea seems incapable of that. He comes across as a person who disagrees for the sake of disagreeing and does so by nitpicking. Zero punctuation might be a sarcastic sod but at least he explains himself thoroughly and stacks his personal preferences against his opinions so people which is which. 


I feel that Gamespot is just happy for the controversial buzz that Shea creates.

Xenrathe
Xenrathe

Just finished this guy up - and it was superb.


I'm not sure I'd say this game deserves 'better than an 8.' It's just a number, and that is subjective to the reviewer's opinion. However, I would say it deserves a better written review because this one is frankly awkward. I actually get this vibe from a lot from Gamespot reviews... it feels so artificial. Like a corrupt politician's phony speech. Too many fingers in the pie would be my guess. All personality edited out. They all feel written by formula. But then I've been around Gamespot awhile, and I've found that Tom McShea and I disagree in other ways and places too. His Bioshock Infinite 4/10 review comes to mind.


Tom seems like a pretty smart dude, which is why I always find it so surprising when he misses the point. I like to read negative reviews, of both things I like and dislike, because they give me extra insight into why I liked or disliked a thing - that is, deeper insight into myself. But this review doesn't offer any insight. It just feels bizarre.


For example, Tom's description of the characters misses the point. He says Joel is unlikeable to his core and goes on to describe how this is a negative. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the fact that characters in a video game behaved like actual human beings for once. How refreshing! They're mad, desperate, and aim to survive at all costs. And loyal! Loyal to their friends, and to their ideals, justifying to themselves the horrible things they do. I wouldn't say this makes them 'one note.' David comes to mind, with his religious undertones and the fact that he behaves nicely toward Ellie up until she breaks his fingers. And then with hints that he's only doing what he must - with reference to children under his care. But then yes he's a crazy cannibal too. No room for a nuanced interpretation there? Okay Tom.


I appreciated the courage of Naughty Dog in writing this story the way they did. There's rarely a good choice. Usually Joel has to choose between bad choice A and bad choice B. The world doesn't just get magically better. People don't always get along and sacrifice isn't always redeemed. Little details like the note from Bill's partner kept things fresh. And the ending - man. What cojones to write an ending like that (which they kept even after it playtested poorly! Artistic integrity thank you!). Most video game stories aren't like - most are a bunch of Hollywood garbage. But Tom didn't seem to see that at all.


And he fails to note so many other excellent aspects of the game:
*The long stretches of empty desolation which truly bring home the loneliness and isolation. Few other games would have the courage to have so much 'white space' because (as these comments reveal) the ADD crowd starts foaming at the mouth if they aren't shooting things non-stop.
*The evolution of Joel and Ellie's relationship. And the fact that you (or least I) eventually ended up feeling exactly like Joel: protect Ellie, at all costs. And to see Ellie go from baggage to freakin' ninja.
*The complete lack of loading between or during stages. One load at the beginning and that's it. How come no one ever mentions this about Naughty Dog's creations? It's amazing.
*All the little notes you can find that tell a story - like Ish, in the sewers. These give context to the environment.
*Beautiful texturing, smooth animation. I agree that the post-apocalyptic environments weren't exactly original, but they were beautiful.


As far as gameplay complaints of it being too easy or forgiving or that AI companions should alert enemies, well, I just say: stop playing it on easy (or normal for that matter). On hard, even with a 70%+ accuracy, I rarely had enough ammo to rambo it up. I had to play carefully and meticulously, or I was toast. Usually a single mistake meant I was done for. If that's not tense and exciting, then *shrug* I really don't know what to say.


In summary, I respect Tom's opinion, but I wish his review had been better written. Frankly, it feels like it was written by a robot, who was attempting to analyze a piece of art and not understanding because art doesn't follow a formula.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@Bread_or_Decide I think the game is clearly a 10, but you have to set aside previous zombie tropes and other forms of entertainment. For instance me and wife and couple friends watched one of my favorite movies of all time shaun of the dead, and ed and his wife didn't like the film because it went against 'walking dead rules' - like if you die you become a zombie regardless. I tried to explain that zombies were around long before A&E and forms of zombies throughout history long before night of the living dead. The last of us enemies are just another metaphor for enemies where the question of humanity is in play. 

What made the LOU so good was the human interaction between Ellie and Joel and the world created by Naughty Dog. Was it as good as Game of thrones - no - but compared to other video games out now and before it - the characters that were built easily carried the game, and while the gunplay was no modern warfare it was still better then most any game using that over the top 3rd person perspective out. 

If i judged every form of entertainment by tropes of its genre before it - i would be that cynical kids on southpark who hears nothing but chit all day. 

tcmentzer
tcmentzer

@Bread_or_Decide I can't blame you for being jaded. But the story is an emotional thrill ride with perfect pacing. sorry :(

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@tcmentzer  as I already pre ordered it I think he has valid points but do not think anything more than a 9 for the none advanced AI used.

tcmentzer
tcmentzer

wall of text above. The truth is just watch the ign review.

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

@MegaPhilX2 Very over rated. Holy cow...I think gamers need to start reading more books if they think this story is original or all that interesting. 

bleedgreen2-1-5
bleedgreen2-1-5

@marcopolo426 I remember back on an NCAA football review there was a feature where the crowd noise would make the play outlines squiggle to simulate confusion, but according to this guy that was a "squiggly line glitch" in his review

robertcain
robertcain

@Xenrathe And what about the checkpoint system? Some reviewers say that there's no punishment for death or failure but I have to disagree. If Naughty Dog had spread the checkpoints too thin then the game would have been super frustrating and to me, having to redo large portions of a level is more annoying than anything else in terms of the game's design.

d_broken_soul
d_broken_soul

@Xenrathe Great comment! I also feels this review is somewhat off. And your comments more or less hit the spot! 

I like how Ellie grow in my heart from 'someone I need to protect', to 'someone I can rely on', and finally into 'someone that I really care'.

I played it on hard on my first play and damn it's hard. Shooting is an absolute last resort when I can't find a better way to get past one point. 

In any case, your comment here is a better fitted review for the game than the actual review in my opinion.

thecman25
thecman25

@tcmentzer ign review? dude you're so funny those guys suck so hard at reviews

The Last of Us More Info

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  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic action shooter game developed by Naughty Dog. Joel, a brutal survivor, and Ellie, a brave teenaged girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together if they hope to survive their journey across the US.
    9
    Average User RatingOut of 4212 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Naughty Dog
    Published by:
    SCEI, SCEE, SCE Australia, SCEA
    Genres:
    Adventure, Action, 3D, Open-World
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language