Packed with breathtaking gameplay, staggering depth and a vivid presentation, there's no game like it this generation.
It's hard to believe what Naughty Dog has accomplished in just about 20 years' time. I still remember their first game, the 3DO brawler Way of the Warrior, rather well. Even with its cheesy production values and somewhat offbeat gameplay, there was a certain charm to it, and I knew that the developer would eventually find its footing and get something better rolling along. But little did I know just how much better the team would become.
After the release of the Uncharted trilogy, Naughty Dog announced its latest project, The Last of Us, a year and a half ago at the Spike Video Game Awards. Built around a post-apocalyptic Boston, where a plague has managed to wipe out most of mankind (with the rest being under the watchful eye of the military), the game looked like something spectacular, and the wait for its eventual release – first in early 2013, then eventually summer – became increasingly difficult.
But now, it's finally here – well, finally as in arriving in about a week and a half's time, sorry – and I can safely say that Naughty Dog has matured beyond belief. The Last of Us manages to somehow top the excellent Uncharted series with its own level of emotional depth, one where you feel the harrowing downfall of humanity with each new corner you turn, yet still keeping some kind of hope with the game's main "hero", Joel, and his young charge Ellie.
Joel, a weapons dealer trying to make ends meet, finds himself in a difficult situation with a lost shipment. He and his partner Tess eventually locate it (after dealing with one of their rivals in the harshest of ways), and make a trade to get it back – though it involves escorting young Ellie across Boston, which is hardly an easy trek.