This has been a great year for gaming, from the next-gen announcements of E3 to releases such as Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider. Just when you thought things couldn't get any better, along comes the PS3 exclusive masterpiece from Naughty Dog - The Last of Us.
While it never loses sight of the fact that it is a game first and foremost, never before has a game been so cinematic, with characters so deep and real they invoke a wealth of empathy.
The zombie apocalypse scenario has been done to death, in gaming and film, so it defies belief that a new IP can make such a statement in an already saturated genre.
The Last of Us takes place two decades after the United States has been decimated by a viral outbreak, dividing the country between various levels of infected, ruthless gangs and heavily militarised zones where the remainder of society resides.
The game begins with a prologue that serves to give you a back story into what has happened and to emotionally connect you with your character (and believe me, you will). As hardened survivor Joel, you are tasked with escorting Ellie, a young girl with an important secret, through a world where survival relies on a combination of brutal combat, stealth, street-smarts and problem solving.
Though the gameplay itself is amazing, it's the characters and their developing relationships and the unparalleled musical score that make the game the work of pure genius that it is.
Not long ago I earmarked Bioshock Infinite as the game of 2013, but it looks as though I might have been a bit hasty.
The Last of Us
From: Naughty Dog
Rating: 5 / 5