I’ve been looking forward to playing The Last Of Us and imagine my surprise when Sony sent me a code to play a short demo featuring two scenarios on my trusty retail PS3 from the comfort of my own home. After a hefty install I fired it up and was instantly grabbed by this bleak survival game telling the story of big hairy Joel and small Ellen Page lookalike with attitude, Ellie.
The first area I explored was a short scenario in Lincoln where Joel and Ellie happen upon an abandoned town and search the area for supplies and a car to get them on their way. As with Uncharted, Naughty Dog have gone to the trouble to make the world and characters believable, with Ellie singing and stopping to look at some fireflies as I mastered the basics of movement and looked out over the breath-taking surroundings. This is one beautiful looking game. Problem solving didn’t amount to much, namely picking up a plank and moving it about to cross a gap, something repeated later on and hopefully, not the only mechanic when it comes to using the old noggin. I then got to explore an interior, raiding it for supplies which can be put together to craft more deadly melee weapons, for example, attaching scissors to a pipe with some duct tape to make it extra stabby!
Now equipped with a way to defend myself, I was then treated to my first infected, a shrieking, feral human with things sprouting from his head. They take a good few shots to put down and certainly make you jump when the serene abandoned quiet of the town is interrupted.
In Pittsburgh, I was treated to a high quality cut-scene where Joel and Ellie are ambushed by bandits thanks to a trap involving a road block, and then got to fight humans who fire back from a distance. Joel can duck behind cover and switch shoulders with a tap of R2, pick up objects to throw to distract enemies and even grapple with them hand to hand. It’s really heart-thumping stuff as you not only have to stay alive but also protect Ellie who I know I’ll start to care for and want to protect even more when the game’s eventually out. We then get to meet Bill, a ‘friend’ who owes Joel a favour – that’s after we avoid one of his many booby traps and get string up like a pig at a slaughterhouse and have to fend off infected from an upside down position while Ellie tries to free me.
I’m really looking forward to The Last Of Us. It doesn’t have quite the same ‘action movie buddy’ vibe of Uncharted, instead this is replaced by a more delicate relationship where I get the feeling the sense of jeopardy could be the most I’ve ever felt in a video game.
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