I could not stop playing Last of Us this weekend until I had to stop because I ran out of game. SUCH a good game, definitely the pace I like my survival horror stories - lots of tension but then a few cut scenes/talk scenes to let you relax again. Plus, Ellie and Joel were so great, fantastic characters that stay with you long after the game ends. Tim just got me this game for Christmas and I don't think I've just sat down and played through something in a long time.
If you haven't played it, the plot line is what you might expect - a world ravaged by a virus that turns people into zombie-like creatures (it's all plant based, they look like creepy exploding flower things). Joel is a rough guy, just surviving, resigned to his existence now that everything has gone to hell. Then circumstances happen and he ends up having to escort Ellie across the country. Ellie has grown up in this world but her life became extra complicated when she was attacked by one of the creatures but did not become infected. Together they hope to get her to a renegade group called "The Fireflies" and hopefully find a cure.
The story is so well crafted. Naughty Dog Studios does tend to make more cinematic games. They are famous for another Playstation exclusive - the Uncharted series. The first two games of that series feel like interactive movies at time, with long cut scenes that can sometimes slow things down a bit too much. But with Last of Us, they writers and developers found a perfect balance of cut scenes, interactive dialogue scenes, action and stealth sequences.
By the end of the game, you care about Joel and Ellie and you want them to survive.
I played the Remastered edition for the PS4 which also included Left Behind, which includes flashbacks for Ellie and also a story that we "missed" in the regular game. As if my heart wasn't broken enough at the end of the game, this went ahead and jumped up and down on it.
And not only is the story well done and the gameplay fantastic but the game itself is just beautiful. Even as you are sneaking through derelict buildings and fighting monsters in abandoned schools, you find yourself looking at the rays of sunshine reflecting off the broken windows.
Last of Us: Part II has been announced and is expected to be released in 2018. From the brief trailer we see, time has passed, Ellie is now a true young adult and Joel is far more grayer. I cannot wait to find out about their lives and their new stories, even though I fear for the worst with the trailer featuring a blood stained Ellie swearing revenge.
If you have a PS3 or PS4, I HIGHLY recommend picking this up. It's dropped down to about $20 now and it is more than worth it. 5 stars.