TSA’s Top 100 of 2013: 4 – The Last of Us

4. The Last of Us

It probably comes as a surprise to no-one that a game from Naughty Dog is ranked so highly on our list. Even if that was the only fact we knew the game probably would still have done well; a new game from the studio behind Uncharted was always going to be a pretty easy sell.

[drop]However, don’t let it be said that Naughty Dog take the easy route, as The Last of Us seems to stand quite some distance from the Uncharted series. Sure, it may still have a semi-realistic setting and style, and the male protagonist, Joel, may look an awful lot like an aged Nathan Drake, but that’s where the similarities stop.

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No, The Last of Us is a very different style of game, with the most prominent difference being the setting. The game’s world is probably best described as post-apocalyptic, being set twenty years after a fungus takes over, killing millions in the process. When the fungus infects someone it turns them into a carrier, their only purpose in their undead state being to spread the infection further. It’s you general zombie story, although with the fungal infection adding a different spin to things.

With the origins of the fungal outbreak twenty years in the past and leaving so many dead in its wake it’s obvious that the world will have changed, and from what we’ve seen so far it looks like nature has reclaimed many cities. Some human settlements remain though, in the form of quarantine zones that are under apparently brutal martial law. It’s clear to see why’d you want to escape such a regime, even if it meant having to take your chances in a land infected by a fungal plague.

This escape scenario is the game’s central plot, with Joel, who’s been making a living via the black market, promising a friend that he’ll help a young girl called Ellie. It’s Joel who you’ll be playing as though, with Ellie remaining AI controlled throughout the game.

[videoyoutube]Given that Ellie is such a core character, and one of the driving forces in the narrative, it’s surprising that she underwent a variety of changes between the game’s announcement at last year’s VGAs and May this year. However, Naughty Dog did have good reason for these changes, saying that they wanted Ellie to better reflect the personality of the actress playing her, Ashley Johnson, as well as making her a little younger to fit in with the game’s plot more.

One of the other big announcements about the game this year was the news that it’s set to feature multiplayer, although there won’t be any campaign co-op. This lack of co-op may frustrate some, particularly as it seems like a relatively obvious inclusion. However, I feel that Naughty Dog are right to keep Ellie computer controlled, making her a co-op partner would completely change the game’s dynamic and probably have a significant effect on the narrative.

In terms of gameplay, The Last of Us is set to be a third-person shooter, and will feature dynamic gameplay which will allow you to take different approaches to situations. While the game’s going to feature shooting mechanics and a cover system, presumably using lessons learned from the Uncharted series, it’ll also feature deeper stealth than Nathan Drake’s adventures. In particular Naughty Dog have been talking about the game’s dynamic stealth AI, which should mean that the AI reacts more naturally if, for example, you take out one of them.

The game’s certainly looking interesting so far, and with Naughty Dog’s expertise behind it it may well be a hit. If you can’t wait to get your hands on the game then it’s set for a worldwide release on the 7th of May.

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21 Comments

  1. So which 3 games are left? Bioshock:Infinity,Watch dogs and ???

    • Oh yeah Tomb Raider probably.

      • Cannot wait for Tomb Raider, awesome game but if I had a guess at what no. 1 will be on this list then I reckon it would be Watch Dogs because it not only looks awesome but is also a new IP.

    • if i had to guess the order it has to be:
      3: Tomb Raider
      2: BS Infinite
      1: Watch Dogs

      personally:
      1: The Last of Us
      2: Dead Space 3
      3: Watch Dogs
      then probably GTA V and Star Wars 1313 =D
      can’t wait to see in what order the top 3 is in!

      • haven’t seen until dawn in the list, a horror game from Sony which is also coming somewhere next year. and i thought tomb raider w.as already on the list somewhere between 10 and 20.
        i’d say nr. 2 would be until dawn an nr.1 would be watch dogs

    • I’d say Watch Dogs will be a 2014 release tbh.

  2. My personal No.2, only beaten to No.1 by Bioshock. 2013’s gonna be pretty…rad.

  3. Passing on this until it’s cheap. This just isn’t generating the interest in me that it might regardless of many gaming publications and sites apparent attempts to ram it down our throats. Or perhaps it’s because of that.

  4. I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it! :-D

  5. May seems so long away :(

  6. Ugh.
    I do hope Watch Dogs hasn’t managed to win the no. 1 spot based off next to no info and a good looking trailer. The gameplay itself didn’t look that special.

    I thought the Last of Us might have taken no. 1, but I’m guessing the top 3 are Tomb Raider, Bioshock and Watch Dogs.

    Two of my highly anticipated titles and one which turn into one yet.

    • Same here. Watch Dogs looks like little more than next GTA with some sci-fi feel to it. It has everything to prove.

  7. This is my most anticipated game of next year.

  8. This wasn’t on my radar at all until a month or so ago, now it’s all very exciting! The gameplay footage of a deliberate out of ammo situation looked fun and tense. No doubt that’s not the only trick up Naughty Dog’s sleeve!

  9. Last of Us looks ok but it doesn’t really excite me much. Sure its a Naughty Dog game and it certainly showed up at the graphics department. I guess its the gameplay that will decide its fate for me. I hope the main character can walk. Thats important.

  10. LOU looks excellent but i can’t help but think it is Uncharted with Zombies. But i suspect i will change my current opinion of it when TSA reviews it. I suspect the girl will have decent AI thus we won’t throw the game out of the window when she dies for the millionth time due to shoddy AI. They could have used someone other then Nolan North though as everyone will think of Drake instead of the bloke everytime he speaks. Unless Drake caused the outbreak of zombies. :O I really hope ammo is very hard to find thus forcing us to decide if we want to risk wasting a bullet on that enemy ahead or sneak past. I wonder if ND will make fun of other zombie games via easter eggs?

    As usual, i doubt ND will let us down as it’s ND. :)

    • They did use someone different to Nolan North for Joel.
      He’s going to be the new Nolan North though, what with him voicing Joel, Booker in Bioshock Infinite, Jake in Resident Evil 6, Batman in Lego Batman, Ryu in Ninja Gaiden 3 and loads more of prominent recent work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Baker#Video_games

      I’m seriously beginning to wonder if the video game industry is particularly short on voice actors?

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