The PlayStation 3 exclusive title “The Last of Us” definitely has a lot of people talking. The survival horror/adventure game being developed by Naughty Dog, takes place in a post apocalyptic world where most of the population has been infected by some sort of virus that turns them into zombie like beings. Like most post-apocalyptic games and movies, the infected attack the uninfected. The survivors live in heavily guarded quarantine zones, but even these have begun to fall apart as the infected grow in numbers and breach the barricades. The game opens up in one of the last quarantine zones, in a large city, 20 years after the outbreak of the virus. The two protagonists are Joel and Ellie. Joel is a middle-aged man who works in the quarantine zone’s “Black Market.” He was around before the apocalypse and remembers life when things were normal. Ellie is a teenaged girl who has spent her entire life in the quarantine zone. To her, this world is normal. Players control Joel, who has been tasked with smuggling a young girl out of the quarantine zone. This girl happens to be Ellie. Naughty Dog has not released why she is being smuggled out. Once the two leave, everything goes awry and they become trapped outside, now having to fend against the horrors of the post-apocalyptic landscape. The game is said to be story driven, and full of twists. Creative director Neil Druckmann says, ”Being a Naughty Dog story, things aren’t always what they seem.”
Naughty Dog has told us that players will fight both human characters and the infected. Fighting will be a lot more primal and realistic than Naughty Dog’s action adventure series “Uncharted.” The games director, Bruce Straley says enemies will act as “realistic opponents” that are also trying to survive. Combat will therefore be fierce and brutal. Like many survival horror games, the characters being controlled are not formerly trained in firearms or fighting. Stealth and strategy is going to play a huge role in this game. Straley says he wants players to feel a “sense of reality” and a “sense of Lethality” when they are engaging in combat. Getting injured in combat is going to have real consequences, healing will take time, and death will come quickly for players who do not take care of how they approach enemy encounters. This sounds like a breath of air in a gaming market where adventure games and even survival horror games have combat that doesn’t strongly emphasize strategy. Straley mentions that if a player gets shot, their health will not simply regenerate. They will be stuck with the wound and the inconvenience it causes until they find away to fix it. This will motivate the player to think twice about running into encounters haphazardly. This all sounds promising because the term survival horror seems to have been thrown around way too much today. Many “survival horror” games have simply lost the feeling of fighting tooth and nail to “survive.” Hopefully with this challenging combat system, player will really feel just how dangerous the wasteland is.
From recent articles and trailers, “The Last of Us” looks like it has awesome potential, from an in depth story to intense and complex action. Lets hope that Naughty Dog lives up to what they have said so far, and that “The Last of Us” is an challenging and unique survival horror/adventure game that will make players truly feel like they are trying to survive in a terrifying new world.