This is part two of my weekly review for The Last of Us, where I will break down it’s level design, gameplay, and give some conclusions of my own on how I feel about the game.
The levels in The Last of Us are absolutely beautiful, giving a really immersive and realistic surrounding that really helps to immerse oneself in the world. Forests are wonderfully built to allow a bit of exploration, whilst also being linear to make sure a player does not get lost and stays on the right path. The level design can be a bit predictable at times, meaning if you’re exploring with Ellie and you all of a sudden see some bottles and bricks scattered around, you know that an enemy encounter is about to go down. I found this annoying to my game experience, as it broke my immersion whenever I would be happily exploring the beautiful environments. This immersion breaking level design would also happen when you started levels, for example having just drove hundreds of miles, you can control Joel to walk back at the start of a level, only to find there’s nothing but rocks or a bus blocking your path. It’s a bit gimmicky and takes away from an otherwise good design.Overall I would say these are some of the most well realised cities/worlds I have ever seen in a game, which really help to portray the fact that humanity has been on the edge of extinction for 20 years.
As for how you play The Last of Us, it’s classed as a survival Action Adventure, meaning that it’s a third person adventure game but it employs survival elements where you don’t get much ammo or resources. During the game you’ll come across cloth, alcohol and many other miscellaneous items hidden throughout the world. You use these items to craft better items such as molotov cocktails, or medkits. This does result in a management of materials, as the examples I just used require the same materials, so you really have to decide whether to go on the offensive with molotovs, or to make medkits to survive for longer. During my playtime on normal difficulty, I didn’t have any of these problems as resources seemed to be plentiful. That isn’t to say it’ll be the same on harder difficulties, but from my experience, survival wasn’t problem. Most encounters you have in the game allow you to bypass by staying in stealth mode and making your way past the enemies. I found this great to start off with, but as the game went on and I got closer to the end where it was just bandits galore, sneaking past just took too much time and effort, so I took them on with guns. Overall the action in The Last of Us is effectively no different than Uncharted 3’s combat, the only difference being that ammo isn’t chucked at you willy nilly, meaning you have to ration resources a bit more. It’s ok, but definitely could of been done a lot better. Ellie may be your companion, but you don’t notice her at all through your playing, she has no influence on the game, and is merely there as a plot device. If you’re sneaking around men or infected, they will literally walk right through Ellie, which is both jarring and silly for such a serious game.
- Gorgeously realised world that really looks and feels like 20 years have passed.
- Fantastic characters that really do evolve throughout the main story.
- Too many human encounters for my liking.
- Ellie has no impact on the game mechanics of the game.
Overall, The Last of Us is definitely a step in the right direction for action games, I just worry about whats happening at the same time. This game feels like a re-skinned Uncharted, but where Nathan Drake would kill hundreds of people and in the cutscenes he’d brush it off, The Last of Us has changed the main character to be immersed in this world of violence, making it so your character has no other choice. It seems that developers are no longer trying to justify the actions of their protagonists, and are now just allowing them to be violent for the stories sake. By all means play The Last of Us, the whole world is raving about it, but I don’t think it deserves all the 10/10’s its been getting. Maybe it’s because The Last of Us was hyped as the game of the decade, but something about it didn’t sit right with me, it’s not different than any game that came before it, it just had a good story and characters. I was hoping the story would effect the game mechanics, which it didn’t.