The Last Of Us (LOU) was definitely the game of 2013. With its scarily ‘could happen’ psuedo-science and dystopian broken society 20 years in the future, ravaged by the infected.
You see, on the surface – LOU looks like any other zombie survival horror game you could name. Left For Dead, Dead Rising or even Resident Evil. But Naughty Dog – the developers behind it, did their homework.
In LOU the good people of Earth have been struck down by a plague of epic proportions – a fungal infection called Cordyceps.
In real life, Cordyceps affects insects in and causes them to be overtaken by growths and the wish, to go die somewhere dark, damp and quiet – so that the fungus can seed. Its not known to strike humans – but who knows?
And in LOU, this happens to the people – as the fungus mutates and strikes down humanity. But not before turning the infected into hordes of running – and insanely bitey zombies.
Its the second stage of the infection, (again based on the real science) that makes the most horribly memorable baddie in LOU – the “Clickers”.
With the fungus having grown out of the victims brain and through their eyes and faces. They now turn into blind, echo locating stalkers – nicknamed :”Clickers”, due to their bat-like echo location.
Behind this is a story, which like a good page turning novel means – you keep needing to play a bit more; to see what is going to happen to grizzled survivor – Joel; and his young teenage protege – Ellie.
As far as characters in a game go, I’ve never played a game where they are so well fleshed out and developed and when later events take them over you are genuinely hoping they make it.
So Naughty Dog had quite the hit on PS3 last year, a shot in the arm for the usual boring zombie-fare gaming – (Resident Evil series take note!). There expansion DLC pack; LOU : Left Behind – fearuring Ellie’s backstory prior to meetig Joel was good aswell.
Naughty Dog are more than well known for another massive hit series – Uncharted – featuring the Indiana Jones fir the new generation – Nathan Drake. Expect a movie cross over soon.
I was more surprised to learn that Naughty Dog were also behind the PS1 classic – Crash Bandicoot.
Released in 1996, Crash was the closet thing PS ever got to a Sonic spokesman, for the PS1. It spawned a trilogy, over the next three years.
It shows how things have come along in (almost) 20 years. From the tentative PS1 years, upto present day with LOU – which boasts some of the best story, graphics, voice acting and gameplay – ever commited to programming.
So will there be a sequel to LOU? Most likely, its too good to leave alone. Generally games are bit like movie franchises, they do get better with the next. Not always but usually…