Naughty Dog has proven there is nothing they cannot do!
They managed to wow me by blending all the right elements into The Last of Us and making a great survival horror/action/thriller. Now I know Naughty Dog is capable of much more than we all give them credit for.
I will start with the story. Joel is the protagonist. He is a normal guy living a normal life......well that is until the unthinkable occurs. *****SPOILERS**** Joel is spending time with his daughter when they are suddenly bombarded with catastrophic events. Gunfire, people running about, death and zombie apocalypse-type events begin to unfold and Joel and his daughter make a break for it. They meet up with Joel's brother to escape the madness only for Joel's daughter to be tragically killed. And as time goes by, the world as they know it has changed, now the military controls a quarantine zone filled with survivors who are only fed when the military decides to feed them. So, Joel and his comrade Tess are renegades who decide to take matters in their own hands and go on a quest to get guns and escape the misery of living like slaves.
For starters, if you are accustomed to the happy go lucky ways of Uncharted, don't expect the same from Last of Us. This game is for mature audiences, the language, the blood and the violence is brutal. It doesn't hold back and I believe rightfully so, cuz u cannot hold back in this type of genre with this type of serious vibe.
The graphics are as you would expect from a Naughty Dog game. Great. The character expressions are realistic and the lip synching are on point and from what I understand is hard to do (although I expect it won't be so hard to do as the game world evolves). There are glitches though, for instance sometimes while in battle the game may freeze or glitch up. But overall the graphics are on point although I would not put them on the same level as Uncharted.
The battle system is great. You choose your fate here. You have two options when it comes to battle. You can fight and engage your enemies in an all out war, or you can choose to sneak around unseen and pick your enemies off quietly and save your ammo. The game never forces your decision, it gives you the tools to do either. It is usually smarter to try the sneak and quietly kill route simply because the enemies are no pushovers and actually have an intelligent reaction. If they hear you shoot, their coming. If they see a body, they are searching for you. Now, the zombies are a different story. There are different classes. The runners (normal and most common type) can see and hear greatly and are very fast and agile. They react to sound and are very hard to disperse in groups. Do not engage battle when outnumbered heavily cuz they will rock your world. Then we have the infamous Clickers. Proceed with caution when approaching these because early off in the game they can kill you simply by grabbing you. The plus side is they cannot see. However, they have excellent hearing and react to ANY sound they might hear. So, when clickers are around, you best sneak and walk as quietly as you can. Next are the stage 4 (which for some reason I cannot remember the name), but you will know em when you see them and u wont see them till later in the game. But they are very deadly and are hard as hell to kill. You will also encounter hunters, sadistic groups of thugs who shoot anyone and everyone they see. They prove to give Joel the hardest fought battles and are usually in heavy numbers and prove to be a hassle.
Joel also has many chances to improve not only himself and his moves, but his guns at his repertoire. Spread out everywhere are gears which will allow Joel to improve his guns at a work bench. Also he can obtain locks which will allow you to improve Joel's health bar and other useful things like increase Joel's hearing distance. Joel can crouch and hear (by pressing R2) enemies nearby either through walls or up above floors of him as long as its not too far away. So they all come in very handy in the end. You can improve the clip size of guns, the kick of guns, add scopes to rifles, and even add extra abilities with your shiv aka knife that you otherwise would have been unable to do. So, exploration is a key to surviving. There are goodies spread out everywhere so leave no area unchecked.
To round this game off, it is not perfect by any means. But, for this to be Naughty Dog's first game that goes in this direction, we have to give props. Not only do they manage to blend the survival horror/zombie apocalypse/action shooter elements so well, but they do it along with a great story with believable characters and leave you enticed. Now, there are a couple of dull moments where you wish gameplay would speed up, but for the most part you wont have to wait long for it to. The game leaves plenty of ammo and supplies to make more bombs, ammo, health kits, etc. to keep you going but yet they do not overdo it. You wont be able to just walk around guns blazing at every enemy you see or at least you wont for long. And that is what original survival horror are supposed to be (although game designers seem to have forgot that these days). But that is my point, Naughty Dog seemed to grasp that and for me the game is a win. If you at all enjoy action games, survival horrors, or simply wanna good time with a good story and brutal environment, then look no further because this is one for the books. Kudos to Naughty Dog for a job excellently done!!