GOTY: A new contender has arrived!

Naughty Dog, you have done it again.

OK so my last blog I actually wrote for this game erased itself. (Yes yes, I copied it prior to posting, I even hit the save button at the top of the screen but that still managed to mess up… x_x … that being said, I am going to attempt to duplicate what I had written up about this masterpiece.) At any rate, I must stay that I am already giving this game praise, even though I am only an hour and a half into the actual game play.  The opening cinematic was enough for me to know that I was absolutely going to fall in love, and with each passing minute can honestly say that it keeps getting better.

Ever since this game was announced in 2011, I have been patiently waiting its arrival.  Spike Video Game awards was the place Naughty Dog had chosen to drop this bomb, showcasing a brand new IP for the already successful development company. Speculation was that ND was going to bring out some new material for their flagship title, Uncharted, but onlookers were surprised to see a brand spanking new title come to light.  The Last of Us, it was called. A man. A girl.  A post-apocalyptic United States, torn asunder by a fungal plague that wiped out many lives.  These two, called Joel and Ellie are voiced by Troy Baker (*faint*) and Ashley Johnson.  More speculations: Tons of people made a point to say that Ellie resembled actress Ellen Page, who was recently cast to star in Quantic Dream’s new title Beyond: Two Souls, and her design was since changed slightly to fend off these rumors.

Fast forward to present, the title has released, and something rare has occurred: the game has absolutely lived up to the hype.  The game design has very minor flaws, if you can even call them flaws.  The motion, all captured by the actors themselves and/or stunt persons, has no rival from what I have seen.  It has only improved upon the already fluid mo-cap from its sister-title, Uncharted.  Watch as the little girl gets out of her bed, stretches out, wipes her eyes and stumbles for a couple of steps as she regroups.  See Joel reach out for a wall to brace himself in cover.  As technology lunges forward, games are seemingly taking a leap beside it. 

The lack of music suits the atmosphere, immersing you in a realistic sense of emptiness.  The darkness instills fear; use your keen senses as Joel to find a way through the pitch black room instead of giving away your position with your flashlight. The music that is played throughout the game, however, is gorgeous.  I honestly don’t think that the composers get enough credit for game scoring/soundtracks.  The voice acting is superb (As said above, Troy Baker! *faint*), the environments are wonderful and everything seems so fluid.  

Naughty Dog did a phenomenal job at creating a very realistic and horrifying reality within this game.  Darwinism at its’ finest, survival of the fittest.  I’ve seen some pretty gritty games in my day, and the Last of Us deserves to be called one of them.  It is so balanced in capturing the true essence of gaming.  Emotional grasp, well written story (as I have heard), wonderful sounds – voices, music, effects all in one, beautiful to look at and smooth control.

Is this game worth the money you have to shell out for a Playstation 3? YES.
Only 4 games have made me actually say that.  Heavy Rain, God of War, Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted.  The Last of Us has now become a part of those ranks.  I’ve only struck a tip of the iceberg with this game, but I am hooked.  I am looking forward to seeing how far this rabbit hole twists and turns and essentially ends.  This has definitely joined Bioshock Infinite on my list of Game of the Year nominees so far.

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