I must warn you in advance this article will include FULL SPOILERS, so if by some chance you have not finished The Last of Us it is best to read our thoughts after your finish the games. You have been warned.
The Last of Us has released to critical and commercial success, providing gamers with one of the best games this year. Naughty Dog’s last foray on the PlayStation 3 has been on everyone’s mind since its release, some claiming this may be Sony’s best exclusive title yet. Analog Addiction’s George Sinclair gave The Last of Us a perfect 10 stating, “The Last of Us might just be the finest game of this generation and everyone with a PlayStation 3 or at least access to one, owes it to themselves to play this game.”
In this 3 part series of ‘Analog Analysis’ we hear thoughts from George Sinclair, Ryan Livingstone, Rob Gisbey and Jamie Briggs as they analyse every aspect of the game.
In part 1 we discussed the emotional start of The Last of Us and if it was effective at establishing the world, how combat worked and if it successfully implemented, our thoughts on the real-time crafting system and their use of environmental story telling. Then in part 2 we will now discuss the relationship between Joel and Ellie, our thoughts on the game’s conclusion and our multiplayer impressions.
In the third and final part of this series we took about what improvements could be made to the game, the possible future of the franchise and the question everyone has been asking – Is this the PlayStation 3’s greatest exclusive?
We all know the game has received unanimous critical acclaim but did it have any shortcomings? If so what improvements could have been made?
Jamie Briggs: The only real thing I disliked about the game was the multiplayer aspect, apart from that finding flaws in The Last of Us is a hard task. I personally would be fine with the multiplayer taken out completely, but aside from that I loved everything about The Last of Us
Ryan Livingstone: It is difficult to find faults in this game, but there are a few little things with the AI that annoyed me. Ellie occasionally got in the way like companions do in Skyrim, she often pushed me out of my hiding spot and forced me to go into a gun battle I didn’t want nor could afford. The enemies ignored Ellie and other companions but I would much rather that than getting angry every time they walked out in the open. These issues are nothing that undermines the overall gaming experience though. Every game has its faults, regardless of how good it is.
George Sinclair: There are a few AI issue’s I had with the game. Nothing that broke the tension but a few times Ellie would run right by an enemy and said enemy wouldn’t even see her. As good as any game is, even the best have their flaws.
Rob Gisbey: I feel almost bad for criticising such a masterpiece and any problems I had with the game were really very minor in the scale of things. The fact that enemies couldn’t see your AI companions was mildly distracting, but I appreciate that it would’ve made gameplay infuriating if your partner had constantly given away your position. Also the puzzle sections did get quite repetitive after a while and mostly consisted of positioning ladders or planks and ferrying Ellie over small bodies of water. Other than that I thought the game was near perfect, although I would have liked one or two sections where you had to fight human AND infected enemies at the same time. I kept waiting for it to happen and it never did. Still, an amazing title in every regard and must-have experience for any self-respecting gamer.
Do you think The Last of Us should be established into a franchise. If so would you like to see Ellie and Joel return or would a new cast of characters be preferable?
Jamie Briggs: I definitely think we are not done experiencing the world The Last of Us has to offer, and I am very happy for it to continue. I wouldn’t mind experiencing new stories, if they can make a strong narrative between new characters then I am all for it. I also wouldn’t mind seeing our original duo again, but I am still mixed on the idea. I love where the game left our protagonists, but I would also love to see the fallout from the series of events during the games conclusion. Either way, I want more.
Ryan Livingstone: It is a tricky thing. If Ellie and Joel were brought back for another full game, it would have to be equal to the first, and that is a big task. I have faith that Naughty Dog could deliver, but it is very risky. I really want to experience another journey with Ellie and Joel, but perhaps a DLC would do. I don’t think it should top here, Naughty Dog has created such a fantastic setting, there just has to be more. With that said I would rather see a new cast of characters, and in a different side of America. I want to see how the whole country is doing, there is so much I want to know and see within the game that one game is not enough. It should definitely be pushed further.
George Sinclair: I’d like to see what other stories Naughty Dog can tell in this dark world they’ve created. We have 20 years of the Cordyceps fungus wreaking havoc on the world, Naughty Dog would easily be able to make something this good again, I have no doubt.
Rob Gisbey: I’m hesitant to agree that The Last of Us should be turned into a franchise simply because I think the experience is so perfect as it is. I like the fact that the ending is bitter-sweet and doesn’t tie everything up, answering all our questions. I’m worried if Naughty Dog were to make a sequel that they’d just be repeating themselves, which would in turn cheapen the first entry and that would be a shame. That said if anyone could pull it off, it would be them. If it was to happen however, I think returning to the characters of Ellie and Joel would be a huge mistake. Their story is done and should be left well alone at this point. In my opinion the introduction of new protagonists would be a much better proposition, and exploring the comprehensive universe that’s been established from an alternate perspective, I’m sure would make for another excellent adventure.
The Last of Us is the single best PlayStation exclusive. Do you agree? Tell us about your experience.
Jamie Briggs: Simply, yes. I love Uncharted 2, I loved InFamous 2 and the LittleBigPlanet series but although I would recommend these games to fellow PlayStation 3 owners. The Last of Us is the only game I feel I could recommend a purchase of the actual console itself, just to play the game. PlayStation has a mighty array of exclusives, and The Last of Us is easily the prized jewel in the over-sized crown.
Ryan Livingstone: Without a doubt it is the best PlayStation exclusive and arguably one of the greatest games ever. The Last of Us has everything a game should have; enthralling story, immersive world, and exceptional characters. You know a game has conveyed its characters and stories so well that you are happy to watch cut scenes, and still want more. Each time characters had a personal cut scene it was incredibly detailed, the facial movements, the voice tone and what was being said. You could use thousands of words to detail the experience you feel during The Last of Us and it still might not cover it. I even know people who bought a PS3 just to play The Last of Us. It is a masterpiece for gaming.
George Sinclair: The Last of Us is not only the best PlayStation 3 title on offer, it might even be the best game of this generation. If you want to know why I think that, you should check out my review.
Rob Gisbey: I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment; The Last of Us is irrefutably the best PlayStation exclusive and in my opinion probably the best game of this generation. Until recently Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was likely my favourite title of this console cycle, but amazingly Naughty Dog have managed to top themselves – creating something that once again elevates what is possible within the games industry, blowing everyone away in the process. Of course there are several other great PlayStation exclusives out there, with Heavy Rain, inFamous 2 and the other two Uncharted games being particular highlights for me. But they all pale in comparison to what Naughty Dog’s newest project has to offer. Stunning visuals, fantastic gameplay and a compelling, character-driven story that will capture and engross you; The Last of Us is a masterpiece you simply cannot afford to miss.
We hope you have enjoyed this three part series and will be doing more in the future. Until then let us know your thoughts on The Last of Us below and if you agree or disagree with our thoughts so far.
You can find George on Twitter and his blog on IGN. Jamie Briggs is on Twitter @JamieAA and on YouTube. Rob Gisbey can be found on his BandPage and on the VxM Videogames Podcast. Ryan Livingstone is part of the contributing staff at Analog Addiction. You can also follow his blog on MyIGN.