Building (Critical) Consensus: The Last of Us
As the current console generation slowly grinds to a close, the quality of games has gone up a notch this year as developers are able to get every last bit of performance out of the technology. The result is games that are visually stunning while still having a compelling narrative and fun gameplay.
While we’ve had couple of early game of the year contenders in Tomb Raider and BioShock Infinite and a couple more coming up later in Grand Theft Auto V and Beyond: Two Souls, this week’s big release just vaulted to the top of the list. Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us came in with massive hype because of who was developing it, even if it could have ended up being just another zombie game.
Instead, as seems to be the case for Naughty Dog releases during this generation, The Last of Us may not just be the game of the year but the best game released on the PlayStation 3 and one of the greatest games ever made.
Edge Magazine (100%): Naughty Dog has delivered the most riveting, emotionally resonant story-driven epic of this console generation. At times it’s easy to feel like big-budget development has too much on the line to allow stubbornly artful ideas to flourish, but then a game like The Last Of Us emerges through the crumbled blacktop like a climbing vine, green as a burnished emerald.
Destructoid (100%): There is more to The Last of Us than just combat and “emotional” story tropes. To touch on its setpiece moments, to detail its beautiful changes in pace, would be to spoil too much. It cannot be said enough, however, that Naughty Dog’s new best creation is complete, and when I say complete, I mean it to pay the highest of compliments. I do not want more from The Last of Us: I do not need more. As the last line was uttered and the credits ushered in the close, I was done. The Last of Us had achieved everything it needed to achieve in order to provide me with everything I wanted.
Giant Bomb (100%): The Last of Us is not simply Uncharted with zombies… It’s a dark adventure, one rarely filled with laughs or joy. There are bitter pills to swallow along the way, and nothing is taken for granted, not even characters. People live, people die. Sometimes it’s fair, sometimes it’s not. It’s still a zombie game, but a sobering one. Take a deep breath.
Game Informer (95%): The Last of Us is a deeply felt, shockingly violent game that questions what we’re willing to sacrifice and, more disturbingly, what we’re willing to do so save the ones we love. The conclusion offers no easy answers. You won’t forget it.
Polygon (75%): There are hints of a nuanced message in The Last of Us, but convention wins out too often to easily find them. Naughty Dog commits to a somber tone that affects every piece of the game for better and worse. It achieves incredible emotional high points about as often as it bumps up against tired scenario design that doesn’t fit its world. Survival in the post-apocalypse requires compromise, but The Last of Us has given up something vital.