After an emotional opening sequence we are placed 20 years after the viral outbreak where survivor Joel is set the important task of helping Ellie across this harsh terrain. Joel is withdrawn from the world and holds his emotions back not allowing people, especially Ellie to get close to him. Ellie is the opposite, she’s joyful, amusing and captivated seeing the outside world. Their relationship is the main focus point as we continue through this story.
The characters work together favourably and they are brought to life by some believable voice acting. As a player I could understand them and their detailed facial expressions communicated the characters real feelings.
Ellie constantly tries to communicate to Joel, to get an understanding of the man she is travelling with, through much of the experience he won’t talk about his past, for obvious reasons and clearly doesn’t really want to be stuck in this position. But as the situations develop and the story unfolds he begins to accept her and you can see how Ellie is beginning to rub off on him. In the end their attitudes seem to change and they become opposite again – Joel being the more enthusiastic of the two stating after a fight with the infected “Endure and Survive” and Ellie becoming more withdrawn and quite.
The fights allow you to play around with different tactics, some situations are best matched for stealth as Joel can take quite some damage, running head first into an enemy will usually turn out to be a bad idea. One gunshot will stop Joel in his tracks and push him back, slowing you down and causing you to take even more hits. Joel comes across as being middle aged, his running is at a fairly slow pace when out of battle, his movements are very cumbersome and he lacks the ability to jump long distances, but this just makes his character more believable and genuine.
Ellie is beneficial in fights, early in the game she will warn Joel as to where enemies are, once Joel gives her a weapon she will then begin to fire at them which will allow you to have extra time to consider your options in battle, she can also help Joel when he’s in a severely bad situation such as when he’s been grabbed by an enemy and sometimes she will even finished them off using her knife.
Sometimes there are long stretches where there is little to no combat at all which allows the player to look and experience the environments around and scavenge for useful pickups to “craft” items which will be vital in continuing the game, such as medi packs, smoke bombs, shivs (etc.etc.) while you search for supplies Joel will also occasionally come across training manuals, these will upgrade your weapons capability which are certainly useful.
I found very little to complain about with The Last of Us, there are some points in the game where Ellie clearly walks into an enemy’s line of sight and they either walk into her or just ignore her existence, which took some or the realistic experience away. But if she’s just planning on running in fount of them, I’d rather they ignore her than call out my position every time she’s spotted. But I didn’t let that bother me while playing the game and it had no real effect on my experience. Oh and the ending. There was nothing wrong with it, I was just left wanting more, which is good and bad I suppose.
The Last of Us is a realistic representation of a catastrophic viral outbreak with characters to match, with very little flaws included.