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Feb 06

The Last of Us

Hands-On With The Last of Us

Sid Shuman's Avatar Posted by Sid Shuman on Feb 06, 2013 // Senior Manager, Social Media

The Last of Us on PS3

I’ve finally played a chapter from Naughty Dog’s eagerly awaited post-pandemic survival tale, and the first thing I want to say is this: The Last of Us is not a shooter. Well, not exactly. Though Joel packs a pistol, you’ll count yourself lucky to be holding more than 10 bullets at any one time. Most times you’ll want to avoid fights by sneaking and hiding. In other, more desperate times you’ll pull the trigger with a feeling of great reluctance — all the while praying that you don’t miss. The ultra-tight ammo supply imbues the game with a primal, high-stakes tension that brings uncertainty to every decision you make. One thing’s for sure: this is one mess you won’t be able to shoot your way out of.

“The Last of Us is not a shooter.”

As I guided Joel’s group around the dilapidated fringes of post-pandemic Boston, I saw constant reminders of Naughty Dog’s legendary attention to detail. Step under a trickle of water and Joel will raise his hand to keep his head dry; knock an enemy near a wall and Joel will pin him there to deliver a staggering punch. The environments also bristle with detail. Peer through a derelict car’s filthy window and you’ll see an interior modeled down to the steering wheel and gearshift knob. Shine a flashlight in a dark room and you’ll project your companions’ shadows softly and realistically against the wall and floor. Peek around a corner and you might spy a mouldering poster for “Fever Dream,” one of several fictional movie references dotted throughout the world.

The Last of Us - Concept Art
The Last of Us - Concept Art

With Tess and Ellie taking up the rear, I quietly entered a sagging skyscraper, my exploration accompanied by the ominous groans of tortured steel and a series of unsettling chirps. That’s when I spotted my first Clicker, a late-stage infected human with obscene fungal growths sprouting from its eye sockets. The Clicker is one of the deadliest enemies you’ll face, but it’s functionally blind, relying on a form of echolocation to navigate and hunt its prey. I hurled a glass bottle to distract the monster, then quietly guided Ellie and Tess further into the building, scooping up ammo and supplies along the way.

“Crafting is a necessity, not an optional sidequest.”

You’ll quickly learn that crafting is a necessity, not an optional sidequest. As you collect spare parts in order to craft gear and weapons, you’ll face tough choices on where to allocate scarce resources. Use a rag now to make a much-needed medkit, or save it for a molotov cocktail — just in case? You can also combine blades and bindings with improvised weapons (pipes, two-by-fours) to craft a powerful anti-crowd weapon. Or you can opt to make a short-range shiv that can instantly and silently dispatch one enemy. Whichever you choose, the game’s crafting interface provides a wealth of information in a lightweight and accessible UI. Despite the range of options I was able to find and craft anything I needed quickly and efficiently.

The Last of Us on PS3The Last of Us on PS3

The Last of Us - Concept Art

Based on the chapter I played, Naughty Dog doesn’t seem to be leaning on jump scares, fakeouts, or cheap tricks to gin up fear. Instead, The Last of Us develops a deeper, more oppressive dread by surrounding you with palpable decay and loneliness, turning off the lights and bombarding you with amygdalae-melting audio effects. Creeping through the filth-streaked corridors scrounging for scissors and tape didn’t make me feel like an all-powerful supersoldier, only a desperate survivor fighting to draw another breath. That bleakness permeates and propels the gameplay: No matter how bad it gets, you’re always worried that it’s about to get much, much worse.

Visually, the game is a knockout. The intensely detailed interior nooks and crannies contrast vividly with the massive scale of the outdoor scenes, such as the vine-choked skyscrapers of an abandoned Boston. The control scheme felt natural and intuitive, and Ellie and Tess felt less like advanced NPCs with great A.I. and more like companions on a dark, desolate journey.

And those were my experiences with The Last of Us! Have any questions? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer any questions I can.

//Add Your Own

62 Comments   12 Replies

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+ Chaoz on February 6th, 2013 at 7:52 am said:

As far as crafting goes do you know they number of supplies they will have in the final game?
How many different crafting options will there be?
Will there be other types of infected or just “Runner’s” and “Clicker”s?
What are you most excited about for the final porduct?

Brandon from Idaho

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Sid Shuman on February 6th, 2013 at 10:20 am said:

    Hi Brandon! I noticed around 8 crafting components in what I played, from tape and bindings to explosives, blades, alcohol, rags and more. There are more than two types of infected…what I’m most excited by is the story and the relationship between Joel and Ellie.


+ Soliduss_hun on February 6th, 2013 at 7:53 am said:

This new IP in this long console generation is what we need. True hardcore game, from one of the best inside team :D

Instant get the Survival Joel Edition.


+ JDSSLP on February 6th, 2013 at 7:56 am said:

Are you upset that the new Die Hard movie stole this game’s font?


+ likeanobody on February 6th, 2013 at 8:00 am said:

Now that looks like a REAL old school survival horror, maybe Dead Space 4 could learn a thing or two with Naughty Dog (and yes, I say only Dead Space because I already gave up on Resident Evil, it’s more likely that thing becomes an FPS than a Survival Horror again).


+ LABARONX on February 6th, 2013 at 8:05 am said:

human enemies, infected human creatures (not zombies) a scavenging crafting system

the multiplayer for this game could turn out to be an interesting gem


+ MakiKurrino on February 6th, 2013 at 8:34 am said:

Cannot wait for May 7th! Gonna go pre-order the survival edition sometime this week :D


+ boboMELOSHE on February 6th, 2013 at 9:05 am said:

Cant wait for the game! couldnt preorder due to blowing all my cash on Sly and GoW:A but I will definitely be picking this up :D


+ cool_trainer on February 6th, 2013 at 9:05 am said:

Game’s looking good, can’t wait. NAUGHTY GODS.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Sid Shuman on February 6th, 2013 at 10:21 am said:

    Hah! I like that ;)


+ GhostMachine1 on February 6th, 2013 at 9:19 am said:

Other reviewers talked about LIsten mode. Did you like it? :)

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Sid Shuman on February 6th, 2013 at 10:21 am said:

    Yeah, it seemed like a good way to take stock of exactly what’s around you. I didn’t use it a ton but I can see how it would be vital in the full game.


+ SolduNuts on February 6th, 2013 at 9:23 am said:

Sid, I was wondering if there is anything to collect or view throughout the game for replay value kinda of like Uncharted has the treasures? I did notice the movie poster in the game play video and you also mentioned one, so I am curious if the movie posters will be something to find throughout the game. Uncharted was my favorite new IP to come out this generation as I own and have beat all of them (2/4 platinum, the others coming soon) so I have high hopes for this game. Sony, keep bringing me awesome games and I will keep giving you my hard earned cash.


    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Sid Shuman on February 6th, 2013 at 10:22 am said:

    Yes, I did find collectibles in the form of notes (all hand-drawn and modeled in 3D in your inventory) that fill in bits of the backstory. Glad you’re digging the game!


+ TomatoDragon on February 6th, 2013 at 9:27 am said:

By far one of my most anticipated games this year. The design, especially sound, is just amazing.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Sid Shuman on February 6th, 2013 at 10:22 am said:

    Wait til you hear this bad boy on the Pulse Elite. Booyah!


+ nYcFrEeWiLL82 on February 6th, 2013 at 10:13 am said:


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