If you like this article, let others know!

The Last of Us is a descent into the deepest areas of the human mind, where actions swing suddenly from the tender and caring to the brutal and animalistic. It is a masterpiece. One of the best video game stories of all time is combined with competent and effective gameplay and a brilliantly realized world to produce a game that is not a “game”, but a profound and immensely emotional interactive experience.

The premise of The Last of Us is the journey of a grizzled, rough man named Joel and his companion, a young girl named Ellie. It is the story of their struggle for survival in a world obliterated by a terrible apocalypse. The vast majority of humans have been infected by a fungus that hijacks their minds and renders them blood-crazed zombies. The game follows Joel and Ellie as they travel across the United States, meeting others along the way who both help and hurt them in their quest to elude the infected.

Incidental dialogue reminds the player every so often of the oft-forgotten youth and innocence of Ellie, and her constant questioning of life before the apocalypse enhances immersion every few minutes. Naughty Dog’s stellar dialogue and environmental cues reassert the engagement that the game so brilliantly weaves.

The gameplay is a third-person mix of action and stealth. The shooting is fine, good enough considering the emphasis on sneaking and not running-and-gunning. The stealth is superb, and the human AI reacts realistically to the player’s noise and movements. This is stressful, nerve-wracking gameplay designed to keep the player on edge.

The music in the game fits perfectly with the overall tone of the story, eerie and resounding. From the title screen to the end credits, the music scarcely accompanies the gameplay and cutscenes but in such defining ways that it plays a pivotal role in conveying the themes of the game.

The Last of Us is a game, but it is also an interactive novel and a huge, rich, realistic world. This game is the story of a destroyed America just as it is the tale of a man’s relationship with a girl, and how between the two, some small part of the emotional, irrational, and magnificent side of humanity survives. It is sad, it is bleak, it is desperate, but The Last of Us is, unequivocally, a work of incredible art.

The Last of Us review info: