The Last of Us: Gameplay Impressions [Photo]
For anyone who hasn’t been following this game “The Last of Us” is a 3rd person action-adventure title set on a post apocalyptic earth where a hazardous plant fungus has infected the majority of the population with a zombie-like virus. The remaining survivors have managed to keep alive by setting up strongholds in the remains of large cities. Your character Joel is a smuggler of some sort who travels between these locations delivering all manner of items for pay. His latest cargo is a young girl named Ellie and the reasons why she needs to be escorted out of the city are a mystery, but you get the feeling that it may be very important to either the history of the outbreak or humanity’s fight for survival.
The demo starts in the ruins of a large city outside the confines of one of the strongholds. Joel and another older female named Tessa argue about something concerning young Ellie, but it’s not entirely clear what the fight is about. The first thing that left an impression on me was the voice work followed by the detail in the character’s faces. Naughty Dog is known for exceptional character design and animation and this game is no exception, there will be no issue believing that these could be real people. Once control is handed over to you the high visual fidelity you witnessed in the cut-scene is pretty much exactly how the world looks when you can interact with it. The trio is attempting to make their way through the collapsed buildings and bridges on a rainy night and as they do foliage and vines creep through cracks and wrap over building sides, moss covers most surfaces along with large puddles of crystal clear water. These ruins have been left to nature for a very long time and it shows.
While making their way through a creaky building ready to collapse at any moment, they find the dead bodies of soldiers who apparently were patrolling the perimeter to exterminate infected and were overrun, this leads them to the conclusion that the area isn’t safe and sure enough you run into some problems. There is an overwhelming amount of tension that lords over every opened door and every dark corner you look around hoping that something isn’t waiting in the wings. The first enemy type encountered was referred to as “Clickers” people who have progressed so far in the infection that it has rendered them blind as the infection starts to grow out of their face. They send out clicking noises as a sort of sonar to identify you so hiding from them is tantamount. I was able to pick up objects like bricks and bottles in the surroundings to throw and try to lure them away, as they followed the sound it allowed us to sneak around and get to higher ground on the opposite side.
In the various office building rooms I was able to find random items that can be crafted together to make things that are actually useful. Like a rag and rubbing alcohol can be used to make a makeshift med kit, a pair of scissors and duct tape binding can create a shiv. Guns are around but ammo is severely limited and the loud shots would surely alert anything in the area to you location if you were to use them. We end up stuck on a higher level with a collapsed floor that shows us several enemies roaming aimlessly below. People who have been infected more recently don’t really resemble anything more than a crazed human but they are still very dangerous. These enemies do have sight and will run directly towards you to attack should they see you, which is why they are referred to as “Runners.” There were about 3 or 4 and one was clearly one of the soldiers who was likely with the earlier squad that was killed. We could not progress any further until I dealt with them so I dropped down to engage and was immediately overrun, my attempts to fire into the crowd didn’t stop nearly enough of them and alerted a Clicker in the area who promptly grabbed Joel and bit into his neck finishing him off. My second attempt went marginally better. I managed to drop down out of sight and hid behind an overturned desk. I was able to sneak behind an unaware Runner and used a shiv I crafted earlier to quietly take him out. Things went downhill from there, while trying to sneak up on another with a pipe I found I was spotted and got two good shots in with the melee weapon before noticing another two Runners heading right at me. I knew what was coming so I turned and ran. I got to the other side of the room where I was able to climb debris and get to an elevated position but apparently Runners can also climb. While they tried to get to me I switched to my revolver and took head shots at them as they approached I downed all but one as my gun ran out of ammo. As the last one got up the debris and started to run towards me I met him head on with the pipe I was still carrying and bashed his head in. He luckily had a few rounds on him and I was able to reload. I knew the Clicker was still around and sure enough the ruckus had alerted it to the area, but it couldn’t see that I was at a higher elevation. So I took the time to aim for what was left of the creature’s head and took 3 shots to bring it down. With the area all clear Joel called for Ellie and Tessa to come through and the demo concluded there after along with the very cinematic trailer released a few months back.
The demo is available for anyone who bought “God of War: Ascension.” Access to the demo was locked up until this past Friday so if you have a copy, look for the option to download it on God of War’s title screen. It’s not very long and doesn’t tell much at all about the story but it does give you a nice piece of the atmosphere and the mechanics you’ll be using for what I assume is the majority of the game. The Last of Us is one of the most anticipated games for the PS3 at the end of this generation so if you can give the demo a try for yourself don’t hesitate to do so, but we won’t be waiting much longer to play the whole thing. The Last of Us releases June 14th.