Thankfully, it’s just an newspaper ad which a Redditor found while playing the game.
The newspaper, which was found while playing the single-player campaign of The Last of Us, features the usual news which is to be found in an apocalypse scenario, but one thing really stood out; Justin Beiber playing the role of Nathan Drake in a Uncharted movie.
Imagine Naughty Dog making a surprise announcement of a Uncharted movie completing production and releasing the very next day all across the world. Now imagine Justin Beiber playing the lead role. That’s a recipe for an apocalypse in itself we would assume.
The Last of Us has entered the UK charts at first this week, after receiving a raft of near-perfect scores across the board at review. Twee 3DS sandbox romp Animal Crossing: New Leaf has entered at second place.
You can look back at all The Last of Us review scores here to see what the critics thought. As Animal Crossing just came out during a busy E3 week we’ll have a score round-up for Nintendo’s game shortly.
Here’s this week’s chart in full:
- The Last Of Us
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- Grid 2
- Tomb Raider
- Fifa 13
- Injustice: Gods Among Us
- Far Cry 3
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Legendary
- Luigi’s Mansion 2
- Assassin’s Creed III
- Dead Island: Riptide
- Rugby Challenge 2: Lions Tour Edition
- Lego Batman 2: Dc Super Heroes
- Call Of Duty: Black Ops II
- Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
- Bioshock Infinite
- The Walking Dead
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- Lego The Lord Of The Rings
- Remember Me
The Last of Us players have run into a bug which keeps the game from auto-saving. This causes all progress can be lost if it’s not manually saved. Naughty Dog has tweeted that it has addressed the autosave issue, and it was related to servers on its end. “Please quit to XMB and restart the game,” the tweet said. “SP and MP are OK to play!” The issue was not specific to any version of the game, with or with out the day one patch, and further update to the game is needed.
The Last of Us is out this week worldwide and Sony has released the game’s official launch trailer. It shows Joel and Ellie walking the barren streets after humankind’s collapse.
The game has earned near-perfect scores across the board at review. We’ve rounded up all the scores here for your pleasure.
Jack Tretton said on stage tonight at E3 during the Sony press conference that the firm has plans to release a robust set of games for PlayStation 3. New trailers for The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Gran Turismo 6 accompanied this announcement – although there’re plenty more games inbound.
With PS4 coming out, the firm remains committed to the console. A trailer for The Last of Us was shown, and one for Puppeteer. Japan Studio’s Rain was also shown alongside Beyond: Two Souls and Gran Turismo 6.
Batman: Arkham Origins was also shown, it’s out October 25 you know. Knightfall (nightfall?) downloadable content and the 1960′s TV Batman costume will be exclusive to PS3.
These are just some of the 300 titles by the end of the year. “Not too shabby for a seven year old platform,” said Tretton. No kidding.
Developers teasing new games in current games is nothing new, and something Naughty Dog did with The Last of Us in Uncharted 3. It’s possible the developer is doing it again with Savage Starlight, a comic/movie poster which shows up in The Last of Us. Then again, it could just be that – a comic and a movie implemented into a game which takes place in a world where movies and comics were once, well things. You decide. It could be nothing. Via: NeoGAF,AGB.
The Last of Us reviews have begun, and we’re compiling all the scores here for your reading pleasure.
Stace has delivered a superb write up of Naughty Dog’s bleak epic here, check it out.
Now then, on to those all-important scores:
OPM – 10/10
Eurogamer – 10/10
CVG – 10/10
IGN – 10/10
Kotaku – ‘Yes’
TheSixthAxis – 10/10
Shacknews – ‘No Score’
Destructoid – 10/10
NowGamer – 8.5/10
Videogamer – 10/10
Polygon – 7.5/10
Digital Spy – 5/5
Edge – 10/10
Gamespot – 8/10
GodIsAGeek – 10/10
Push Square – 10/10
New Game Network – 83/100
GamingBolt – 10/10
GiantBomb – 5/5
Zing.cz – 8/10
ShopTo – No Score
We’re adding scores as we go, but if you have one we’ve missed please add it below.
The Last of Us stands as the culmination of the developer Naughty Dog’s journey from the creator of Sony’s erstwhile bandicoot mascot to a master of interactive story-telling. You really should play it.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is developed by Naughty Dog, the developer responsible for Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter and Uncharted. It is set for release worldwide on Friday June 14 and is exclusive to PS3.
Protagonists Joel and Ellie are voiced by seasoned voice artist Troy “Booker DeWitt” Baker and video game debutant Ashley Johnson. Other seasoned-hands also make an appearance.
The musical score for The Last of Us is composed by Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla, who won two film Oscars for his work on Brokeback Mountain and Babel.
A piece of concept art from The Last of Us has been included in the tenth annual Into the Pixel exhibition. It’s one of over two hundred pieces that can be unlocked upon completion of the game.
Towards the end of The Last of Us there’s a short, seemingly incidental conversation that takes place between Joel and Ellie as they walk a ruined highway into a dilapidated city.
Pragmatic survivalist Joel is in a rare wistful mood and, buoyed by a fresh spring breeze, he briefly reminisces about a time back before the outbreak.
Ellie is only half-listening. Born post-outbreak, Joel’s old-world is alien to her and she’s ruminating on more recent, still-raw, memories of a harrowing winter.
It’s a quiet moment and one that’s easy to overlook because, like Ellie, you too are preoccupied with the events of that harsh winter and are replaying in your own mind recent interactions and confrontations.
Still, the onset of spring along with Joel’s uncharacteristic whimsy and Ellie’s unusual disquiet marks an important milestone in the pair’s relationship; one that serves to highlight where the two of them have come from and what they’ve had to endure to get to where they are.
You’re given time to reflect on this as you guide Joel through the wreckage of long-abandoned cars, following a routine that has become second-nature.
You scavenge for useful components that can be combined to create tools, weapons, healing aids and makeshift bombs; you find more examples of the damning and desperate actions of the city’s long-dead inhabitants.
While this moment marks a turning point for Joel and Ellie, there are many more momentous events and poignant exchanges than this to be found throughout Naughty Dog’s PS3 swansong. Neil Druckmann’s script, the performances and voice work of the actors, the vision of Naughty Dog’s designers and artists, and Gustavo Santaolalla’s evocative score all come together on numerous occasions to mark The Last of Us as a stunning example of interactive storytelling.
More important than any of these because of the nature of the medium is the way in which your own actions contribute to the experience and lend meaningful continuity to the story and setting. It has long been a staple of the medium to collect things: essential things, useful things, and just plain shiny things.
Here the gathering of items, equipment and trinkets fits perfectly within the context of scavenging and survival. Friendly NPCs even subtly acquiesce to your kleptomania, thus ensuring that your inevitable raid on their supplies is tacitly acknowledged and does not to jar with the narrative.
Throughout, Naughty Dog ensures that your constant desire to search the darkened rooms of abandoned buildings for supplies and trinkets is balanced with the role that such spoils play. Some enhance the story, enrich the relationship between Joel and Ellie or contribute materials for use in the streamlined crafting system, while still others add a handful of scrap that can be used to modify firearms or grant Joel basic ability upgrades.
Sometimes these items will be collected from quiet areas that are designed to let you explore spaces that were once heavily populated or structures that served functional, everyday purposes, such as bars and office blocks.
At other times, there’s an elegant risk and reward system at play, as you traverse areas crawling with infected or hostile human survivors and have to balance taking down lone sentries or wandering stragglers with the potential pay-off of scoring more supplies or uncovering additional secrets.
Often, something will go wrong and you’ll be spotted by someone or something. Sometimes you’ll move too noisily and attract the attention of the blind but fearsome clickers. In yet other areas you’re being actively hunted. Whatever the reason, sometimes you have no choice but to fight your way out. It’s at these times that you’re likely to expend your supply of makeshift explosives and ammo as you’re forced into tense fights in which the AI will attempt to flank you and catch you unaware.
It’s here that the ability to craft items on the fly using the clean UI comes into its own as you constantly move from one location to another, scavenging for that last component in order to create a healing aid or offensive tool to give you the edge. It’s at these times that you’re thankful for Joel’s substantial arsenal, but the sheer number of weapons at your disposal is otherwise conspicuous within the context of a survival experience.
By the end of The Last of Us you’ll have amassed an abundance of firepower to which you’ll have added dozens of upgrades. Its elements such as this, when Naughty Dog is making concessions to standard video game tropes, that The Last of Us is at its weakest. A constant trickle of new weapons that add to, rather than replace, older ones certainly offers an open approach to combat but it also undermines the otherwise excellent sense of authenticity.
Similarly, Joel’s ability to ‘listen’ grants the tired super-power of being able to see through walls and while its use is entirely optional – and is in fact denied to you on the hardest difficulty level – it feels like an eleventh-hour addition for the sake of accessibility.
Elsewhere, the otherwise excellent companion-AI that governs Ellie and other NPCs occasionally gets caught out and shatters the carefully constructed illusion. The worst example of this is that nothing happens when a friendly NPC is caught in two minds of where to hide and bumps up against adversaries while you’re stealthily moving through an area.
In a bid to avoid frustrating fail states, Naughty Dog has programmed the enemy-AI to respond in the first instance to your actions, and so it will only acknowledge the existence of your companions if it has spotted you first. It’s a rare occurrence but one that’s impossible to excuse or ignore if and when you witness it first-hand.
The Last of Us keeps things fresh throughout by providing numerous varied environments to explore and a changing of the seasons that mark the passage of time; the pacing of the narrative ensures that you always feel like you’re moving toward something and not simply being shifted to a new area in order to collect another set of goodies. Despite just a handful of enemy archetypes, combat never feels stale thanks to the variety of scenarios into which Joel and Ellie are thrust.
All of this pales against the achievements of the excellent script, nuanced performances, beautiful score and the overall level of continuity and rich context that the setting provides for your own actions. While individual elements of The Last of Us can be picked at, as an overall experience it is memorable and, in some respects, peerless.
Thank goodness, then, for the long console cycle that has provided Naughty Dog the time and opportunity to create The Last of Us. It serves as a fitting and worthy culmination of the developer’s work on the current generation of hardware and an exciting and emotional precursor of what it can achieve on the next.
The Last of Us arrives on PlayStation 3 on June 14.
The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog has published a rather neat live-action trailer for its post-apocalyptic romp, that segues into the harsh reality of life after the fall. It comes ahead of the game’s June 16 launch on PS3.
What do you think?
Meanwhile you can also check out this footage of The Last of Us multiplayer in action, and check out some of the game’s online features here.
The Last of Us has a multiplayer video available, and you can watch it below courtesy of God is a Geek. It was leaked earlier, but was pulled. Now it’s available again. A list of previews for the mode can be found here. The Last of Us hits PS3 worldwide on June 14. Thanks, Gekidami.
The Last of Us multiplayer previews lifted yesterday, along with a batch of new screens, but now some footage of the game’s online mode has surfaced. Watch it here.
The footage comes from HobbyConsolas and shows a faction of survivors fighting against a rival group.
We’ve also got a batch of multiplayer screens and gameplay information here that explains how ‘Factions’ mode works.
The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog has revealed at long last the game’s multiplayer mode and screens. The first wave of previews and images has gone live now. Check out the details here.
One preview by TheSixthAxis explains that The Last of Us multiplayer is called ‘Factions’ and is split across two game modes.
The online component lets players choose one of two human factions seen in the game’s single-player campaign, and your survivor can be decked out in a variety of clothing, gear and hats, similar to Uncharted 3. You can also design a player emblem.
Your chosen clan also comes with AI survivors and matches play out across many days and weeks. Every match played counts as a day and as you progress your survivor count grows. You can also craft items online and gather resources to help your clan’s survival.
There are four pre-set load-outs called assault, sniper, support and stealth, each with four slots. You can fill slots with a small weapon, a large weapon and two special skills. One confirmed skill is called Covert Training 2, which renders your character invisible when other players are in listen mode, which lets people look through walls.
We’ll have more on The Last of Us multiplayer soon. The game’s out exclusively on PS3 from June 14.
Here are the screens. What do you think?
Curious gamers claim to have pulled a stack of details from a recent The Last of Us demo regarding the mysterious multiplayer mode.
According to an unverified post on the Pastebin if you’d like to investigate further.
The Last of Us arrives exclusively on PlayStation 3 on June 14 and we’re all a bit puzzled as to why the promised multiplayer still hasn’t been fully detailed. Naughty Dog has promised that it isn’t tacked on and even boasted that it is the best ever conceived. A reveal has been promised for sometime in the next few weeks, and presumably reviews will have something to say on the subject.
If you’re happy to view a few spoilers, you can watch The Last of Us demo in video form.
The Last of Us demo is now available for those who own God of War: Ascension on disc, and loads of people have been playing it. CVG is just one outlet which has posted a 20-minute look at the demo, and it’s posted below alongside of some review screenshots which were leaked earlier in the week. If you wish to remain pure – don’t meander through the page break. You’ve been warned. The Last of Us releases worldwide on PS3 June 14.
Ashley Johnson, the actress who plays Ellie in The Last of Us sat down with the PS Blog recently to discuss what it was like working with Naughty Dog; how wearing a motion capture was “difficult at first” when it came to getting into character; and how she hasn’t played the full game yet. According to Johnson, she wants to wait: “I want to experience it as a whole. I don’t like spoilers and I don’t like watching trailers – I like to play something from start to finish,” she said. Head on through the link for a quick read. The Last of Us hits PS3 worldwide on June 14.
When the PlayStation Store updates later this evening, those who purchased of God of War: Ascension will be able to access the demo for The Last of Us through the disc. According to the PS Blog, instructions for installation came with a voucher code, but if you have lost it, no worries: just insert your Ascension disc and navigate to the “Launch The Last of Us Demo” option on the main menu. Still need more information? Hit up the link. The Last of Us hits PS3 worldwide on June 14.
A UK-based alternative to E3 will take place in London during the US event, and it has been sponsored by PlayStation.
Per TSA, the event is co-organised by Keith Stuart of The Guardian who came up with the idea along with Hotsauce Interactice’s Georg Backer after “sulking on Twitter about not being able to go to E3.”
Jimmy Dance, the owner of Loading Bar in Soho, stepped forward and said the event could be held at his establishment.
Developers, publishers and games confirmed for the event include New Star Games with New Star Soccer, Hello Games, Mediatonic with Foul Play, Nyamyam Games, Big Robot is bringing Sir You Are Being Hunted, Simon Roth, Tom Francis, Tiniest Shark, Alistair Aitcheson, Curves Studios and Projector Games.
Capcom will also be bringing playable demos of Lost Planet 3 and Duck Tales, while Sony will be bringing The Last of Us, Rain and “some surprise extras.”
GameStick will also be on hand.
More mainstream publishers are to be announced at a later date and more information can be found on the event through here.
EToo will take place at the Loading Bar in Soho from June 10-13.
The Last of Us reviews aren’t due yet, but movie mag Empire published its own appraisal of Naughty Dog’s PS3 farewell this morning. The article has since been pulled but not before the internet got its grubby paws all over it.
It’s an “easy contender for the best game of this console generation”, they said, and added, “The Last of Us is not just the finest game that Naughty Dog has yet crafted and an easy contender for the best game of this console generation, it may also prove to be gaming’s Citizen Kane moment, a masterpiece that will be looked back upon favourably for decades.”
The Videogamer article kindly reminds readers that The Last of US demo that was bundle with God of War: Ascension will go live later today, but as you can see in my hands-on with it, you shouldn’t let it give you the full picture of the game. I personally thought it was weak.
But be sure to let us know what you think later today.
The Last of Us hits PS3 worldwide on June 14.
Naughty Dog has confirmed it will retain its game engine from PS3 releases Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and The Last of Us moving forward onto PS4.
Speaking with Digital Spy, The Last of Us game director Bruce Straley explained why the studio wasn’t starting over with a new engine, “We learned a big lesson coming from PS2 to PS3. There was a lot of hype over what next-gen was going to be.
“It was all going to be like movies, like a pre-rendered cutscene-style fidelity. That turned out not to be true. Granted, what we’re able to do now is pretty damn close, but it took Naughty Dog four games to get there – one of the top developers in the industry with some on the most amazing scientists working in our programming department.”
“We scrapped everything at the beginning of Uncharted 1, and we had a perfectly good engine with the Jak & Daxter franchise. We could have started with something there and then built off of it and only changed the pieces and parts as we needed, when we needed. And that really caused a lot of turmoil.”
Straley added that Naughty Dog will retain its existing engine moving on to PS4 and explained that it’s easier to change parts of the framework to meet the studio’s needs as and when new challenges arise.
“We learned our lesson in saying, as we move into development into next-gen, we want to take our current engine, port it immediately over as is and say, ‘Okay, we have a great AI system, we have a good rendering system’.
“We have all these things that already work. Only when we hit a wall will we say, ‘When do we need to change something? When do we need to scale it? ‘When does the gameplay, when does the story, when does the world that we need to create – when does this engine hit the wall? Right, now we need to change this part of the engine.’”
What do you make of the Naughty Dog engine at present? Does it need work, or is it fine as it is? Let us know below.
The Last of Us releases worldwide on June 14, and the game’s single-player trophy list has surfaced online, with multiplayer trophies to follow
IGN published the single-player list this morning, and it goes as follows:
- It Can’t Be For Nothing
- Firefly – Complete the Firefly Journey.
- For Emergencies Only – Fully upgrade all weapons.
- Hunter – Complete the Hunter Journey.
- No Matter What (Survivor) – Complete the game on Survivor.
- Scavenger – Found all collectibles.
- The Last of Us (Survivor+) – Complete the game on Survivor+.
- Everything We’ve Been Through – Fully upgrade Joel with supplements.
- I Want to Talk About It – Engage in all optional conversations.
- It Was All Just Lying There – Find all Artifacts.
- Look for the Light – Find all Firefly Pendants.
- No Matter What (Hard) – Complete the game on Hard.
- No Matter What (Normal) – Complete the game on Normal.
- The Last of Us (Easy+) – Complete the game on Easy+.
- The Last of Us (Hard+) – Complete the game on Hard+.
- The Last of Us (Normal+) – Complete the game on Normal+.
- Endure and Survive – Collect all Comics.
- I Got This – Find all Training Manuals.
- Knowing the Basics – Win a game of Supply Raid and Survivors in Find Match.
- Let’s Gear Up – Craft every item.
- Master of Unlocking – Unlock all shiv doors.
- No Matter What (Easy) – Complete the game on Easy.
- Populace – Build your clan to 40 people in Factions.
After a planned reveal for The Last of Us was delayed, Naughty Dog forgot to remove an Easter Egg in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception that nearly ruined its big reveal.
The Last of Us was teased with a viral marketing campaign before being revealed as a Naughty Dog title, under conditions of utmost secrecy. Unfortunately, when the reveal was pushed back from E3 in June 2011 to the Spike Awards in December 2011, the developer had already implemented an Easter Egg in Uncharted 3, which released in November 2011 – several months after the originally scheduled reveal.
Speaking to Kotaku, The Last of Us creative director Neil Druckmann admitted that the team forgot to take the little nod out of Uncharted 3.
“We ended up pushing when we announced it and forgot about the newspaper. We just completely forgot about it,” he said.
The team didn’t remember until it was too late – somebody else had already made the connection.
“We were in a meeting and we get a text from one of the designers saying, ‘Cat’s out of the bag.’ We were like, what f…? We’ve held it this long,” he said.
“We walk back to the design pod, and the designer who put it in comes up to me and he’s like, ‘I just want you to know, you approved it! You approved it.’ And I’m like, ‘Approved what?’ And then we went on NeoGAF or something and someone’s like, ‘There’s the newspaper there.’ I’m like, ‘Oh no, we’ve been found out.’”
Luckily, the general consensus among commenters was that naughty Dog could not be behind the new game, as it was known to only have on development team, which had been hard at work on Uncharted 3; it was assumed the Easter Egg was a nod to another Sony studio.
Turns out Naughty Dog does have two teams, and the rest is history. The Last of Us arrives next month and is the studio’s first new IP since Uncharted.
Naughty Dog has opened digital pre-orders and detailed a Season Pass deal for The Last of Us, outing plans for story DLC.
Naughty Dog has announced it has plans for three DLC packs at this stage: one is a single-player story pack, and the other two offer additional multiplayer content, including maps.
You can pre-order all three packs in a $20 Season pass, which represents a 30% saving on the price of the individual releases.
The Season Pass also includes a number of bonuses:
- Increased Crafting Speed
- Increased Healing Speed
- 9mm Reload Speed Upgrade
- Rifle Clip Capacity Upgrade
- Grounded – exclusive 90min “Making of The Last of Us” documentary
The Season Pass will also be available via select retailers on launch day.
PlayStation Store pre-orders for the June 14 release opened today. Naughty Dog has promised more details regarding multiplayer in The Last of Us will be provided shortly.
What Remains is the independent live-action web series inspired by Naughty Dog’s impending release The Last of Us. Creators Manifest Film have published the series’ first episode for all to see.
What do you think? Does it capture the vibe of the game so far?
Meanwhile, you can read my hands-on impressions of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us beta demo here.
The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog has released a new dev diary, which shows the team discussing the importance of death and choices in its post-apocalyptic game.
Excited yet? You can check out my hands-on impressions with the game’s latest beta build. Although the demo was weak, the ideas behind the game are solid. Let us know what you think below.
The Last of Us launches June 14 exclusively on PS3. We’ll have more on it soon.
Thanks PS Blog EU.
In more The Last of Us news, the game’s soundtrack is heading to Sony’s Music Unlimited. It will be made available in a “few weeks,” meaning you should probably expect it when the game releases. To get a taste of what to expect, Naughty Dog has released a video featuring Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla who created the soundtrack. It’s the first time the composer has worked on a video game, and you can get an idea of what his process was like below. The Last of Us is out worldwide on June 14.
The Last of Us is only weeks away. Classically, the press have been lucky enough to play some segments before the big release. After the break, we have some new gameplay to go along with all the coverage.
The footage is taken from a sequence in the game where you visit an empty town called Lincoln. We’re assuming it’s Nebraska, but considering there are 29 states with a town called Lincoln, we won’t assume anything for the moment.
Still, it looks a lot like Nebraska, according to Steph.
As well as the above gameplay, Dave has been playing a small chunk of the game, check out his thoughts on it through here.
Naughty Dog’s actioner releases June 14 worldwide exclusively on PS3.
The Last of Us has multiplayer, we know that much and not much else about it to be honest. But Naughty Dog lead artist Nate Wells has been touting it as something rather special.
Wells made his comment over on Twitter last night, ahead of this morning’s wave of The Last of Us previews.
If you missed my hands-on impressions, you can play catch up here. We’ll surely have more on multiplayer soon, seeing as the game’s out June 14.
Meanwhile, Sony has registered trademarks for The Last of Us 2 and 3. Check out the details here.
The Last of Us publisher Sony recently sent VG247′s Dave Cook a demo build. He genuinely didn’t enjoy it, but could see greatness forming. Was it just a bad demo, or is there cause for concern?
The Last of Us
Developed by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us launches on PS3 worldwide from June 14.
The game recently received a new TV spot ahead of its release. You can watch the commercial here.
Naughty Dog released a ‘Meet the Infected’ trailer that shows off the game’s freaky mutated bad guys in action. Give yourself the chills here.
Back in December I had a big chat with the game’s voice actors and the team at Naughty Dog about how they acted out and recorded the game’s cut-scenes. You can read it here.
The game will launch with two special editions. See what you get in each of them here.
Right now I feel like a kid who wanted some LEGO for his birthday, only to discover that his parents had bought him Mega Blocks instead.
I think I was expecting one thing in my mind, thanks to being excited for the game for so long, that what I eventually got felt almost entirely out of sync. It was a rookie error on my part.
Recently I had the good fortune of playing Naughty Dog’s beta build of The Last of Us, and although I’ve been seriously excited for the game for many months, I came away disappointed.
I’m not even remotely convinced that The Last of Us is a bad game, but I do think that the studio has come down with a case of the ‘shit-demos’. To me, it didn’t feel like an effective showcase of the title’s potential
There’s no doubt that this is an emotional game. The strained father-daughter relationship between Joel and Ellie made that abundantly clear from day one of the marketing campaign.
If I were a betting man I’d predict that the plot is going to pull the rug out from beneath you many times across its span, making you think that the pair are going to get separated for good, fall out irreparably or get themselves killed. It’s going to be a heart-breaker that’s for sure.
The opening scene takes place in a forest by the abandoned town of Lincoln, and the eerie calm, coupled with a hazy sunset, the sound of a lazily plucked guitar and Naughty Dog’s trademark lush visuals made the apocalypse look almost beautiful.
You forget for a second that you’re playing a game about the remnants of humankind, but then the reality starts to flood back to you once you enter Lincoln. It’s a fairly open area, and as Joel you’re free to scavenge for crafting ingredients, ammo and food at your own pace.
There are two sections that see you faced with an impasse, so off you trot in search of a big plank of wood to bridge the gap. There’s a slight puzzle vibe to these sections, but I use the description loosely as they really were monotonous in their simplicity. The same goes for giving Ellie a boost over fences – something I’m utterly sick of doing in games.
Where things get interesting is when the infected enemies show up. You usually hear them before you see them thanks to the creepy clicking sound they make, and in most cases you can skirt around them without triggering a fight, or distract them with hurled debris.
I tested their ferocity by firing my gun randomly at a wall. Within seconds a pair of infected spawned in nearby and ran towards the sound. Panicking I fired off my remaining bullet and barely dented one of them, which then killed me instantly with one bite.
There’s potential for these insta-deaths becoming a real issue for some players, especially once the enemy count rises. I’m guessing that there’s a bit of Dark Souls mentality at play here, in that you must pick and choose your fights. If true, then it’s something I could really get in to, but I just didn’t get enough evidence during this section.
One neat scene saw Joel snared in one of his friend Bill’s traps. Hanging upside down you have to shoot advancing infected while keeping them off Ellie. I’m not a fan of escort missions, so there’s another potential problem right away. It raised the tension of the scene at any rate.
Ellie doesn’t die instantly either, so you do have time to protect her once cornered. This really became important in part two of the beta build, which sees Joel and Ellie ambushed by a gang of raiders in Pittsburgh. You have to fight your way out of a derelict shop swarming with them.
I just found the encounter to be really scrappy in parts. When creeping up behind enemies you can break stealth unexpectedly, while you can murder a man right behind one of his mates without alerting him. The rules felt inconsistent throughout.
As an immense fan of the stealth genre, I’m all for being sneaky instead of going in guns blazing, but this felt weak compared to the likes of Mark of the Ninja or even Tenchu. Stealth is dependent on Joel slinking around cover in a low stoop and hurling bricks and bottles to confuse enemies, similarly to Rockstar’s Manhunt games.
But ultimately, it felt like I was playing a cover shooter with only four bullets. Joel can also enter a focus state that lets him hear his attackers and visualise where they are, which is essentially Instinct Mode from Hitman: Absolution, letting you see through walls. I’m expecting many a debate about this at release.
People will likely say that The Last of Us is not a stealth game. But if that’s true then what is it? It’s certainly not a shooter, and it’s not an action game in the same way Uncharted was. Perhaps Naughty Dog wanted to make it unique and beyond pigeon-holing, but I genuinely felt the demo was spread thin across all areas.
Where the Pittsburg stage succeeded was in Ellie. She’s a great companion even if I loathe escort games, thanks to her contextual chatter flagging up enemy positions, or for her ability to batter enemies with any debris she finds lying around.
She’s helpful like BioShock: Infinite’s Elizabeth, and occasionally an encumbrance like Resident Evil 4′s Ashley, but ultimately she’s a brilliant character whose tough exterior melts away as she becomes enamoured by the wider world. Chances are you’ll want to save her throughout the plot, instead of simply feeling obliged.
Both sections of the demo weren’t that long but they give a baseline understanding of what The Last of Us is all about. Superb visuals, plot, acting and cut-scenes aside, I’m now cautious that Naughty Dog has cobbled together mechanics and several genres without making sure they fit first.
We’ll know more about how well the formula has worked out once The Last of Us launches on PS3 worldwide from June 14.
You remember how Sony said it wanted to make PlayStation 4 games playable as you download them, so there’s less waiting around? That’s a thing PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last of Us can already do.
Naughty Dog told GameInformer that the digital release of The Last of Us available on the PlayStation Store will be playable before its finished downloading.
You’ll have to wait till the download is half way done, but it’s still a significant bit of techno-wizardry.
The digital release will hit the PlayStation Store day and date with the retail release in North America, on June 14; that’s not a PlayStation Network update day, so it’s possible this applies to the rest of the world, too.
Pre-orders for the PlayStation Store version have not yet opened.
Sony has filed some domain registrations for The Last of Us and more for its mysterious The Order: 1886.
According to some sleuthing from Superannuation, domains theorder1886.com, theorder1886.net, theordergame.net, theorderps4.com, and theorderps4.net were privately registered through SCEA’s domain registrar, meaning the title is likely being made in the states.
Funnily enough, it was also trademarked in Europe in the Netherlands, where Guerrilla Games just so happens to be located and is working on an new IP.
Network Solutions is the private registration company mention above.
Super speculated the domain could be for God of War boss Stig Asmussen or Ready at Dawn’s new PS4 action-adventure IP.
However, on May 8 a shot of character renders on a Naughty Dog PC showed two gents dressed a bit piratey. However, on closer inspection, they could be dressed a bit more like military men on the US frontier. It’s too blurry to make out really, plus, the Indian Wars pretty much ended that year with the surrender of Geronimo.
If it is a Naughty Dog title, I owe deathm00n a drink.
Speaking of Naughty Dog, though, Sony has also registered numerical domains for The Last of Us, indicating it either plans on sequels for the June actioner, or is readying domains just in case for the future.
Who knows, really.