PS3 post-apocalyptic masterpiece “The Last of Us” demands avid play

Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” hit store shelves earlier this summer on June 14.  Heavy advertising, glowing reviews and rapid word of mouth quickly boosted the game to one of this year’s must-owns for the PS3.

The game kicks off on a quiet night in which main character Joel and his daughter Sarah are resting at home.  A zombie-like virus is introduced, and it sends the game into a rapid quest for safety.  Within the first few minutes, a serious death occurs, causing players to latch onto Joel immediately.

“The Last of Us” jumps into the future twenty years, taking place in a rather unrecognizable United States. Playing as Joel, gamers must make their way through a post-apocalyptic society filled with quarantine zones in an effort to care for Ellie, a young girl who may be the key to curing the epidemic. In battling the infected, Joel and Ellie must also battle the remaining humans eager to harm both of them.  Missions are completed through major cities including Boston, Massachusetts, Lincoln, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.

The first noteworthy element of the game is the story line. The cut scenes build up the story, and the story and gameplay mesh together seamlessly.

The character development throughout the entire game is, for lack of a better phrase, mind blowing.  Few characters in other games can capture and hold the emotions of the player like Joel and Ellie can.  Each of their victories is the gamer’s victory, each frustration just as personal and complex.

“The Last of Us” pushes the PS3’s graphics, sound and effects capabilities to their ultimate potential in a way unmatched by almost any other game.

“The Last of Us” can’t be boiled down to being categorized as a “shooter”- the game exceeds any one genre label.  It’s a survival game.  It’s a horror game.  It’s an adventure game with RPG elements.  It’s a drama.  The brilliance behind “The Last of Us” is its ability to target all players and build an obsessive addiction, an extreme attachment between gamer and game.

Early talk already suggests “The Last of Us” will snag Game of the Year, and the immaculate reviews it has received support the speculation.

 Selling for a whopping $59.99, the game doesn’t come cheap.  However, it’s worth every single penny.  If you can’t afford to purchase it, rent it for a week.  You’ll play until your eyes feel they’re about to fall out of their sockets.  Once you pick up that controller, you won’t be able to put it down.  And you shouldn’t.  Let your heart feel like it’s about to slam out of your chest.  Let yourself be completely sucked in and pulled along for the graphic, brutal, beautiful ride

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