The Last of Us is mostly likely the most critically acclaimed title of 2013 with many publications giving it a perfect score. This third person action adventure survival horror game is set 20 years after a global fungal infection destroyed society as we know it and triggered a zombie apocalypse. Joel, the playable character, is a hardened veteran who ends up with Ellie, a 14-year old girl on a dangerous cross-country journey.
Developed by Naughty Dog, creators of the very popular Uncharted series, it is another PS3 exclusive that has succeeded in capturing near universal acclaim from major game publication outlets. It is currently holding metascores of 96 at Metacritic, 96.25% at Game Rankings and Excellent at GameTrax.
Colin Moriarty at IGN gave it a perfect score and states in his review: “The Last of Us seamlessly intertwines satisfying, choice-based gameplay with a stellar narrative. It never slows down, it never lets up, and frankly, it never disappoints. It’s PlayStation 3’s best exclusive, and the entire experience, from start to finish, is remarkable. I lost myself in Naughty Dog’s vision of a pandemic-ridden United States, in the characters that populate this unfortunate wasteland, and in their individual stories. The 17 hours I spent playing through the campaign are among the most memorable I’ve ever spent with a game.”
Patrick Klepek at Giantbomb gave it a perfect score and concludes: “The Last of Us is not simply Uncharted with zombies, but it couldn’t exist without Naughty Dog having made Uncharted first, either. It’s a dark adventure, one rarely filled with laughs or joy. There are bitter pills to swallow along the way, and nothing is taken for granted, not even characters. People live, people die. Sometimes it’s fair, sometimes it’s not. It’s still a zombie game, but a sobering one. Take a deep breath.”
Philip Kollar at Polygon has written the most critical review to date and gave it a 7.5/10 concluding that “[t]here are hints of a nuanced message in The Last of Us, but convention wins out too often to easily find them. Naughty Dog commits to a somber tone that affects every piece of the game for better and worse. It achieves incredible emotional high points about as often as it bumps up against tired scenario design that doesn’t fit its world. Survival in the post-apocalypse requires compromise, but The Last of Us has given up something vital.”
The Last of Us was released on 14 June 2013 for Play Station 3.