With stunning graphics, a compelling narrative and tense action, The Last of Us is winning five-star reviews from critics across the globe.
Due for release on June 14, The Last of Us is, rather alarmingly based on a non-fictional virus, called cordyceps, killer fungi that invades the body of an insect to grow and diminish the insect population.
Affecting the host’s behaviour in order to spread the virus, The Last of Us poses the question: What if it could spread to humans.
The answer, it seems, is humanity brought to its knees by a zombifying infection, with governments the world over having collapsed and cities having been abandoned to Mother Nature.
But it’s no run-of-the-mill zombie drama. The Last of Us is especially designed for those who love a road trip.
You play as Joel, a world-weary Texan smuggler who has survived for 20 years by moving weapons and supplies between quarantine zones that have become the last stranglehold of humanity.
He’s a hard character to love as he’s both violent and selfish, having had to develop a tough exterior to survive. But, he’s a fascinating character to play and the caring fatherly relationship he forms with a young girl he is tasked with transporting adds complexity to what could be a one-dimensional portrayal of a wizened veteran of survival.
Joel and his partner Tess must escort Ellie, a 14-year-old girl who is harbouring a secret you discover as you play. Born after the deadly outbreak, Ellie has lived her whole life in one quarantine zone so, while your gameplay is done through Joel’s eyes, you see the fascinating world that developers Naughty Dog have created through Ellie’s joy and despair at her first glimpse of life outside her compound.
The Last of Us succeeds in both the broad brush strokes of the storyline and the finer details like the detritus of human life – the desperate notes scribbled to loved ones, the burst basketballs as games are abandoned midway – that you find along your journey
Unflinchingly violent, The Last of Us does not glorify the gory. Rather, it portrays the violent scenes as a grim necessity. And survival is not just a matter of shoot-em-up, but of careful planning and putting together the pieces of a puzzle.
It’s no wonder then that The Last of Us has won such rave reviews across the board. Tom Hoggins of The Telegraph goes as far as to say The Last of Us is “Naughty Dog’s finest work,” adding it is “one of the best games of this generation”.
The new Playstation release has so impressed gaming critics, it has become one of the highest-rated video games ever on scoring site Metacritic.
And the Mail’s critic, Talul Musa, simply says: “There are not enough words or pages on the internet to describe just how good The Last of Us is. All I am going to say is this: why waste time reading about The Last of Us when you could be playing it.”