The Last of Us Game Play Demo E3

One of the biggest games I’m looking forward to playing this year is definitely The Last Of Us.  Since the announcement trailer that was released last year nothing new has really been released except for a few screen shots and another video that made an appearance on the net.  At E3 however, Naughty Dog was kind enough to allow everyone to view the game play demo at E3 and too be quiet frank, it looks stunning.

Besides the graphics looking top notch especially the urban jungle setting, what really adds depth to this game is the emphasis on survival.  Going back to the old PS1 survival horrors like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, it seems like med packs and ammo will be scarce to come by.  When watching the video, you will see three boxes at the top left corner of the screen which are your slots for med packs.  Only three though.  Joel has a health bar as well which isn’t as gracious as most other games out there.  That health seems to drop quickly if you don’t approach a situation with caution.  In one instance another survivor hits Joel through the face with a lead pipe and you see quiet a substantial amount of health decrease.  Joel also has a limited inventory in which he can keep items.  For example you see Joel taking out a molotov cocktail, hiding behind some cover and then (BOOM!)  a guy goes up in flames.  The melee combat is exciting to watch and probably even better when you play it.

Ellie, your AI companion is a breath of fresh air.  When Joel runs out of bullets, Ellie happily chucks a brick at his opponent causing him to fall off balance then Joel reacts with lighting speed dashing towards his enemy and then bashing his head a few good times against a counter top before falling unconscious.  Ellie seems like she has brains.  She doesn’t walk in front of you, in fact, she almost always hides behind cover when enemies approach and helps out when she can.  The perfect AI companion.

Towards the end of the demo Joel gets into another scrap but this guy is tough, huge and looks crazy.  Ellie assists by stabbing crazy guy in the back.  Crazy guy gets rid of Ellie but now he’s distracted.  Joel kicks him off, hits him with the shot gun and takes aim right at this guys face.  Joel pulls the trigger as the crazy guy begs for his life and face goes everywhere.

OK, that last part is quiet dramatic I must admit and a few people were horribly offended by this display.  For me personally I wasn’t offended.  I thought, what has happened to this character that he is able to do the the things that he does.  During the course of the Demo you  even hear Ellie questioning Joel in his methods.

Naughty Dog has created a realistic, dark, gritty game based in a world without rules and without mercy.  I for one am looking forward to exploring this rich and dynamic story.


The Last of Us

The Last of Us is the newest IP created by critically acclaimed studio Naughty Dog, Inc.  Set in a post-apocalyptic world, (similar to I am Legend) survivors Joel and Ellie must stick together in order to survive.  Ok, this sounds like a typical Resident Evil type shtick but being a Naughty Dog game, things aren’t always what they seem.  Instead of following the over the top action such as their award winning game Uncharted or blood-fest mayhem like most zombie based games this survival-horror piece of art is opting for a new direction. “It’s a love story.  Not a romantic love story, a love story between these two characters”, says Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog.

BBC’s Planet Earth series showed an episode a few years back about a fungus called Cordyceps.  This fungus had the ability to infect the body of an Amazonian bullet ant and started taking over this poor ant’s mind, sending the insect into the open.  Eventually the ant dies and the fungus uses the corpse as fertile ground in order to grow new spores.  This is the main idea for the game.  What would happen if this fungus, which is totally real, could infect humans and transform them into a zombie-fied, plant, looking hybrid of a man?

Well, Joel and Ellie are going to find out real soon.  What sets this game apart though is that the narrative is from the characters point of view.  The emotional struggle of being put in this kind of position and making difficult decisions.  Not only will Joel and Ellie have to defend themselves against cordyceps zombies but also against other survivors who are trying to cope in the world as well.

From the trailer you see Ellie gathering up bullets from a guy that Joel kicked the crap out of so I think it’s safe to assume that there will be limited resources through out the game.  Also from the trailer you see Joel firing a shot at plant-man but he looks kind of hesitant when he pulls the trigger.  Me personally, I like that.  Playing a reluctant killer who probably was just an average Joe before the whole world went to hell.  Must be tough on him because he knew what the world was like before all this.  Ellie on the other hand was born into this chaos so she knows nothing about the old world.

Naughty Dog insists on raising the bar yet again though.  Always exploring new options and genres they definitely know how to diversify their creativity.  Moving away from the cartoon-ish styles of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, to a gritty adventure like Uncharted and now to a seriously dark setting like The Last of Us.  I have the utmost confidence in this company.  How many game developers can confidently say that just when their company logo appears on the screen, before any real reveal, a room full of people and critics alike will applaud with excitement and that is exactly what happened when they released the trailer at the Spike Videogame Awards, last year.  That’s power that you cannot buy, that’s earned.

Release  Date:           End 2012-Beginning 2013


Platform:                    Playstation 3