We checked out The Last of Us back at E3 with a showcase that completely blew us away. This year at PAX East, I had the chance to play a 30 minute demo of this excellent upcoming third person action game. This being the first time The Last of Us has been playable, it was a mystery whether or not this game would be as dynamic as the video previews led on. I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint in the least.
The demo starts off with an unfamiliar woman named Tess. Along with Joel and Elly, Tess seems to have an unspoken bond with Joel. I wondered if maybe they had a relationship that crumbled prior to the epidemic that’s taken place which has left these survivors fending for themselves in the breadth of this infection, but that so far is unclear.
What most of this demo showed was the survival tactics you’ll be using throughout the desolate city. Lying everywhere are wraps, wine bottles, rags, scissors, and many more random items that for a while seem useless, but soon prove crucial. With these materials you’re able to craft a shiv, a molotov cocktails, medicine, bandages, and much more within the confines of the crafting menu. It’s an easy process figuring out what you’re able to craft, and every item is key. Once an item is crafted, the application can also take time, e.g. applying bandage to restore health. You won’t be able to heal on the fly, so your timing on using these health items is crucial, making some moments extremely tense.
The infected people that attack you during the demo are… frightening, to say the least. There were two types: one being the runners (who had become recently affected and still have their vision) and clickers (who rely solely on sound, as their vision is completely impaired). Runners, as their name clearly suggests, are able to quickly approach you, but the ability to melee them away is tremendously helpful. One good shot to the head will usually take any runner out immediately as well. Any time I had a clicker running towards me, I tensed up, and ran as fast as I could. One tactic is to throw either a glass bottle or brick to create a distraction a ways away, but there are times when your running’s sound far surpasses the sound of your distraction attempts. With these horrifying enemies combined with the scarcity, it’s tempting to call this a survival horror game, but it’ll take more gameplay to fully decide on that.
Attacking with any weapon packs a serious punch. I picked up the shotgun, and in a panic shot a runner sprinting towards me. The blast pierced my eardrums and the recoil left me about 45 degrees higher than I was previously. Even the pistols, both a 9 mm and revolver, each have their own personality. The melee weapons, mainly pipes, bats, and more, are also seriously powerful, yet seem to break quickly. Once you’re able to whack an enemy enough times, the camera zooms in on Joel with each consecutive hit, with the final one smashing their skull, finishing them off. It’s just unbelievable the amount of power they’ve been able to pack into each attack. Every move matters, and they seriously just feels so fuckin’ good.
From the moment that the Naughty Dog name has been on it, there has been no doubting that The Last of Us would not disappoint. I’ve seen countless behind-closed-doors demos, trailers, interviews, and after finally getting my hands on this game, I can safely say, it will not disappoint in the slightest. It’s worth noting we awarded The Last of Us as ‘Best PS3 Game’ of PAX East 2013. We look forward to playing The Last of Us this summer, June 14th.