Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Game review: The Last Of Us

A scene from The Last of Us.
A scene from The Last of Us.

A jaded hard man and a sarcastic teen girl seem an unlikely combo to star in any kind of gaming experience - let alone an apocalyptic survival tale that's tipped to be among the best of the year.

But the relationship between grizzled smuggler Joel and 14-year-old Ellie is just one of the many reasons for gamers to fall in love with The Last of Us, an unnerving, gripping survival-adventure from developers Naughty Dog.

You will lose sleep during the 14-hour-plus story mode. You may find yourself googling survival tips during your lunch breaks. You might find yourself sneaking around your office looking for scissors and binding to turn into shivs (knife-like weapons).

It is a game that is as overwhelming, as addictive, as rewarding, as jarring and as grotesquely vivid as the pre-hype has led us to believe.

Set in a post-apocalyptic 2033, 20 years after most humans were turned into zombie-like creatures, Joel's mission is to escort Ellie across abandoned wastelands to deliver her unscathed to a group of friendly freedom fighters.

Their relationship drives the story, but don't be put off by the heart beating underneath The Last of Us because it's also a violent rollercoaster of a ride that will have you on the edge of your seat. You may want to hide under your duvet during some of the game's more horrific moments.

Most of those come from erratic half-zombie creatures called Runners, and the blind but deadly Clickers, who sport heads as attractive as a burst boil and use their super-hearing to locate victims. If you're smart, you'll use stealth mode to creep around them, or sneak up and dispatch them using a homemade shiv.

If you're not, you'll find your innards spraying across the screen.

The dedication to delivering terrifying scares, coupled with a sinister score by Oscar-winner Gustavo Santaolalla, is what really stands out, and it's a beautiful game to look at, with a graphics engine that pushes the PlayStation 3 to the edge of its limits.

If you get a break from dispatching Clickers, it's worth pausing at the top of buildings or gazing out of windows just to check out the view.

Yep, the apocalypse may never look this good again.

Stars: 5/5
Platform: PlayStation 3
Rated: R18
Click here to buy The Last of Us for Playstation 3.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 27 May 2017 13:20:27 Processing Time: 590ms