The Level List for Uncharted 4 Might Have Been Leaked

Uncharted 4 is scheduled for a worldwide release on May 10 exclusively for PlayStation 4 consoles, and even though we already know quite a bit about the game’s gameplay and graphics, not much is known about its individual levels. However, during a GDC 2016 presentation named Technical Art Culture, Lead Technical Artist Andrew Maximov might have leaked the title’s level list by accident. The list appeared briefly at the 36:10 mark in the video, and fortunately for us, a gamer managed to take a snapshot of the moment, which you will be able to see below.

It’s probably quite difficult to make out the exact level list in the image, so we’re going to tell you exactly what it says:

  • Boat Intro
  • Orphanage
  • Prison
  • Dive
  • Home (or Nose, it’s hard to make it out, but Home makes more sense)
  • The Prison
  • Auction
  • Scotland
  • Madagascar
  • City
  • Open Water
  • Island
  • Colony
  • Saner (or perhaps Manor)
  • River
  • Sunken Ruins
  • Passage
  • Ship-Graveyard
  • Cave
  • Epilogue

As you can see, the list was put together using code names, and since Uncharted is usually split into multiple chapters, we can’t know for sure how many chapters there will be in the game and how many levels will be included in each of them. This level list could very well be incomplete, but it still gives us a decent idea of what to expect from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Uncharted 4 to Include Stealth Features Borrowed from The Last of Us

Those of you who played and maybe finished The Last of Us should be very glad to hear that Naughty Dog’s upcoming Uncharted 4 title will actually borrow certain stealth features from The Last of Us. Obviously, nobody wants to play an action game in which the enemies are ridiculously easy to take down, which is why the developers have implemented smarter AI-controlled enemies in Uncharted 4, all in the effort of giving gamers a proper challenge. This “smart” factor relies on a series of stealth elements originally seen in The Last of Us, elements that definitely add a touch of realism. Actually, it looks like Uncharted 4 will feature the most reactive and precise AI seen in a video game so far, which sounds very promising.

Apparently, the developers don’t want players to just sit around and wait for the action to come to them, which is why some of the game’s mechanics and AI behaviours will force them to innovate their playing style as they progress. Uncharted 4 Lead Animator Jeremy Yates has stated the following:

“We didn’t want a game where you sit behind one piece of cove and sit there with the ‘stop and pop,’ you’re shooting. We really want you to move through the environment, to outsmart them, to flank them, for them to be able to chase you around and just have that constant motion.”

Overall, Uncharted 4 is shaping up as a very promising title, and I definitely can’t wait to see what it has to offer on May 10 when it is scheduled for an official launch on PlayStation 4 consoles.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Has Its Release Delayed Again

Uncharted has become one of Sony’s largest series with the fourth game in the series looking to be released this year. Following a treasure hunters search, the game features everything you could want to play, but you may have to wait a little longer for the experience with Sony announcing that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End release will be delayed.

Originally set for a March 18th release, the game has already experienced a push back but with the latest delay the launch date is now looking as the 10th May. According to Sony, this is to allow for “extra manufacturing time” before release.

Even with the delay, they seem confident, with the post continuing to say that “the good news is the game is phenomenal”.  This news comes just after it was revealed that inside their initial story trailer they used some artwork from Ubisoft’s Assasins Creed series, something that caused them to pull down the trailer and re-release it without the offending artwork.

Are you looking forward to the game? Does a delay matter to you or would you prefer that they released the game as soon as it was done and ready? We seem to get delays every other week, with some games being delayed so much they seem to almost never happen.

Naughty Dog Used Assassins Creed Concept Art

People are protective over their work, they care about the fact that if they spend time making something then they should at least have their name on it, being rewarded by recognition at least for their efforts. So imagine the surprise when Ubisoft noticed their work in Naughty Dog’s trailer for Uncharted 4?

The mistake was first noticed by none other than the head of content for Assassins creed Azaïzia Aymar.

The trailer has now been taken down but not before the creative Director of Ubisoft Montreal managed to get a quick tweet in regarding the matter.

In a comparison of the two images, you can see the only difference being a slight difference in colour and the lack of a pirate (why would you remove a pirate from a picture?)

The image in the Uncharted 4 trailer

The Assassins Creed Black Flag concept art

Naughty Dog has since responded saying that they messed up, with Neil Druckmann treating a link to a statement from the company.

In the statement NaughtyDog state that they “didn’t thoroughly vet the artwork used” for their story trailer. They go on to apologise to everyone at Ubisoft, who worked on Assassins Creed, the original artist and even their fans.

VG247 Journalist Mistakes Uncharted 2 for Uncharted 4

Video gaming journalism isn’t the most trustworthy of professions and consumers can be incredibly skeptical of any professional critique from mainstream outlets. There can be a stark contrast between press review scores and user opinions, as shown by Mad Max. However, this is nothing compared to the absolute incompetence and tomfoolery which occurred in an Uncharted 4 preview by VG247.com. Despite being one of the gaming industry’s major websites, the article’s writer staggeringly mistook Uncharted 2 HD for Uncharted 4. Even more hilarious, the original article contains a sentence which reads:

“….Uncharted veteran in me immediately shimmied a sign post and leapt through a hole in a nearby wall.”

It does seem a little bit suspect that an “Uncharted veteran” couldn’t distinguish between 4’s press demo and the most successful game in the series. VG247 has removed the original article, but the internet never forgets so here is an archived version. Throughout the piece, there are criticisms about the game being “too formulaic” and overly similar to the previous games; the amount of irony here is just unbelievable.

VG247’s Editor Matt Martin, issued a statement and apologized for the misleading information:

“We’d like to apologise to Naughty Dog for a massive mistake we published last month.”

“On September 30 we published an article titled “Is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End too formulaic?” based on what we thought was a hands-on session with Uncharted 4 at the Tokyo Game Show.”

“We didn’t realise it at the time; what we’d played wasn’t Uncharted 4, but the remastered Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, from the recently released Uncharted Collection. We were not aware of this until after the article went live.”

While some very loyal readers are defending this absurd situation, it’s one of the largest blunders I’ve seen in a long time. Surely, anyone who has invested time in Uncharted 2 can instantly recognize certain levels, voice acting or gameplay segments (or the title at that start – Pete). The traditional gaming press is struggling to compete with YouTube personalities and community media is becoming more popular via streaming. Honestly, this gives the impression that the writer is clueless and hasn’t actually played any of the Uncharted franchise. Also, the editor should have noticed this fairly quickly which shows a lack of care.

Thank you VG247 for providing us with this information.

The Myriad Of Facial Expressions For The Announced Uncharted 4

The Uncharted series is Sony’s version of being able to market something right for a change, not Pixels or Jumanji 2, these are or will be dreadful. The recently announced Uncharted 4 “A Thief’s End” which is due to be released in 2016 promises to be an exciting adventure for your PS4.

An interview which was conducted with Naughty Dog’s Eric Monacelli and Arne Meyer spoke about how the game’s characters will emote in different ways. According to the discussion, the dev team are able to push the PS4 past the limit of the previous generation of consoles to achieve “a higher benchmark in rendering tech with the aim of increasing the fidelity of these characters, this is with the aim of more realistic character movements”. They went on to say that Uncharted 4 is likely to have “nearly endless facial expressions” which will no doubt add to the realism and immersive nature of the game.

An interesting note to this is the intricate details which could be captured within Uncharted 4, for example, in real life a human being constantly moves their eyes and lips without thinking. It’s not all about graphics but the general human feel which draws players in. (Writes “it’s more to games than graphics”, gets a graphics card chucked at the head).

Other news to glean from this interview includes the length of the game which will be “roughly of the same length. We have gone a bit longer in recent times so I would expect somewhere in that ballpark.” which sounds as if it will be consistent with the last titles. Another note which was revealed is that there is going to be “pacing between the intense moments to give you a little bit of rest.” Which is good considering a game is more than a series of nonstop set pieces which allows the player to have a richer experience

Uncharted 4 will not surprisingly be PS4 exclusive, this should be certainly a game which excites and enthralls players; unless Sony has another moment.

Thank You Gaming Bolt channel for providing us with this information

Uncharted 4 Gameplay Video Revealed!

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gameplay was shown at this weekends PlayStation Experience, and it was certainly one of the best things to come from the event.

The game is still in pre-alpha development and is running at 1080p with a 30Hz refresh rate. The developers have said “we still have quite some time to optimize and refine our technology to make this the best looking and playing Uncharted game to date.” Although I’m fairly confident they’re talking about graphics fidelity rather than upping the refresh rate.

There’s lot of cool plot details in the video, the new locations look superb and Nathan Drake is his usual self. No solid release date just yet, but the game will be out in 2015.

Thank you Playstation for providing us with this information.

1000 Precursor Orb Replicas Go On Sale For Naughty Dog’s 30th Birthday

Big fan of Naughty Dog? Celebrate their 30th birthday in style with a Precursor Orb!

The Last of Us developer is offering 1,000 of these polystone replicas for $120 US each, with the Orbs being a big part of the Jak & Dexter series, which Naughty Dog made. The replicas are around 10″ tall and 5″ wide, with an Orb at the top of the base, which is made of stone. The base features the Jak & Daxter logo, and a 30th anniversary Naughty Dog emblem.

Naughty Dog will be selling them between now and when they sell out, which I don’t think will be long for Naughty Dog’s legion of fans, with it estimated to ship in March 2015.

Source: Joystiq.

The Last of Us: Remastered PlayStation 4 Review

The last of Us has proven to be one of the last generations crowning achievements since it launch in mid 2013. It had been a while since the team at Naughty Dog had departed from the much-loved Uncharted series and while it did borrow some elements from that series, it really pushed the limits of story telling in a market that has rapidly become a combination of cut-scene riddled corridor shooters and generic quest open world titles.

The game went on to sell over 7 million copies in its first year, which is hardly a surprise given that the game got a vast amount of 9/10 to 10/10 scores from the mainline gaming media and many independent review sources. Now the developers at Naughty Dog are back once again to re-release the game and likely hope that most of those 7 million customers are eager enough to buy the game all over again. Sounds silly, but I’ve been eager to replay this game for months and the promise of massively improved graphics, 60fps frame rates and a solid 1920 x 1080 resolution meant I chose to wait a little longer and spend a little extra to play this game again in all its glory, and I suspect I’m not the only one.

The game is still every bit the great game it was, none of the core elements have been changed. I could whittle on and review these aspects, but in all honestly this is ground already well trodden in literally countless reviews, including the one I wrote myself!

“The game is well crafted, the story is simply mind-blowing and it’s got a musical score and direction on par with a blockbuster movie. While some games fail to strike the balance of story and gameplay, The Last of Us delivers on both in one of the best executed gaming experiences I’ve had in years. I managed to get through the game in 20 hours on hard mode on my first play through, something that was no easy task, especially on the last section. You can go for a play through+ mode afterwards and progress your weapons further, but the impact of the story is lessened greatly the second time around, fortunately the thrilling gameplay loses nothing of its charm.” – Me, 1 year ago eTeknix

My opinions of the core gameplay after yet another play-through haven’t changed one bit, the game is still incredible to play through and the story is as griping as it ever was. Of course it’s not the same for those re-playing, but the impact of the story still carries a lot of weight for new comers, especially the opening sequence which I know left many a little choked up.

Aside from the core gameplay, the general experience of The Last of Us has been upgraded in a big way. The changes to the game engine are huge and even the numerous smaller details add up in a big way. On the PlayStation 3 the game used to drop below 30fps in the frantic scenes, LOD used to drop off details in the larger environments, antialiasing effects were basic, textures were colorful, but often a little on the blurry side and lighting effects were limited, these are no longer issues.

The framerate is now a smooth 60fps, I’ve noticed it drop a couple of times in the larger environments, but these moments appear to be in larger none action areas as the game streams lots of texture data and only lasts for a second or two. Interestingly the game can be locked at 30fps for those who love the “cinematic” effect this gives, but once you see a side by side and you’ve played at 60fps, you’ll realize why people kick up such a fuss about it and you’ll never look at the 30fps setting again, which is a juddery mess in comparison. LOD and antialiasing are massively improved, which is no surprise given that the game now runs at 1920 x 1080, not the 1280 x 720 it ran at on the PlayStation 3, also thanks to much faster hardware and a considerably increased memory pool for rendering. Textures are also a lot more detailed and it is safe to say that while the Last of Us was one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 3, it is now also one of the best looking on the PlayStation 4.

So there we have it, a lot of improvements big and small, but overall this really is an aesthetics thing. The game looks better than ever, the game sounds better than ever and little tweaks like using the speaker in the controller for playing back audio tapes and a few sound effects is a nice touch. Overall it’s the same game, but for fans of the original the changes here make it feel well worth playing through it all over again.

“As far as awards go, I’m sticking with my original judgement on this game, it won our editors choice award last time and that is something I stand by. For those who have yet to enjoy the game, this is the definitive edition (it even comes with the Single player and multiplayer DLC included) and well worthy of purchase for any PlayStation 4 gamer. For those who played the original, this is a superb overhaul that makes returning to the title a grand experience, but it couldn’t hurt to wait a little while longer for the price to drop before picking it up again.”

Pros

  • Massively improved graphics
  • Improved sound quality
  • All current DLC included
  • Use of the light bar and speaker on DS4 is cool

Cons

  • Paying full retail for a second time just 12 months after buying the game on PlayStation 3 does feel a little strange

Natural

  • Inclusion of a 30fps mode seems pointless but does add an interesting comparison for those confused by the FPS debate

The Last of Us PlayStation 4 Review

Thank you Sony for providing us with this sample.

Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is Coming to the Big Screen

This is either going to be the best film of all time or the biggest let down of the 21st century. This seems to be the opinion of those I personally have spoken to about the news, others may think differently but i’m assuming the vast majority are extremely happy it’s going to be a film but are scared that Hollywood will destroy every good thing about it, they haven’t got an exactly good reputation for making good movies based on games.

My personal experience with The Last of Us is one I’m proud to say I will never forget, yes it’s on a PlayStation 3, yes it’s only 720p but who cares when a game can bring actual tears to a mans eyes more than once in a single play through. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who shed a manly tear or two, am I right!? The game has won over 200 game of the year awards, anyone who has played through it at least once, or even just played it at all for that matter, will know why. Incredible story telling, scripting, voice acting, animation, you name it, it’s probably won some form of award about it.

Hollywood has a huge standard to meet, but they won’t be doing it alone. Neil Druckmann, who wrote the game, will be writing the script for the film, at least me know that part is in good hands. As for a director of the film, there isn’t one yet, Druckmann says it’s still very early days and that “nothing’s been signed”.

I shall leave you with a quote from Neil himself, hopefully it will make you feel better about the film adaptation.

“There’s never been a great video game adaptation for film,” said Druckmann. “We’re going to work our asses off to make this thing great. Why wait? We have a great opportunity here. Go for it.” 

Let’s just hope it’s out before 2017!

Thanks to Empireonline for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of eTeknix.

First Gameplay Footage of The Last of Us Remastered Leaks

Looks like someone has grabbed their copy of The Last of Us Remastered for PlayStation 4 a little early, and for those who are eager to see just what this massively overhauled edition looks like, you’ll be happy to hear the gamer in question shared plenty of footage.

By now you’ll likely know that the game has been given a big graphical overhaul, bringing the resolution up to 1920 x 1080p @ 60fps, and there is even an optional 30fps toggle for those who love motion blur over clarity. Textures have been improved and even the sound has been given a tweak to really take advantage of the significantly more powerful hardware of the PlayStation 4 compared to the PlayStation 3.

With Sony and the games developers Naughty dog yet to release any footage of the gameplay, this is a big leak  and with over 18 minutes of footage in one go, this should more that satisfy your appetite until the game is release on the 29th of July (US) and 1st August (EU).

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/kT3Ba1MNgtA[/youtube]

Thank you ThePapigfunkmobile for providing us with this information.

The Last of Us Announces its Theatrical Performance

It looks like the casting crew from the popular survival adventure title, The Last of Us, a production made by Naughty Dog, are reuniting next week to perform a special theatrical show. The Last of Us: One Night Live show is said to feature Troy Baker (Joel), Ashley Johnson (Ellie), Merle Dandridge (Marlene), Hana Hayes (Sarah) and Annie Wersching (Tess), having Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann directing the whole thing. News has it that even Gustavo Santaolalla, the Oscar-winning composer, will be also performing parts of his work put in the game.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo4fItgzUHQ[/youtube]

The location of the even is said to be at Broad Stage in Santa Monica. having a date set for Monday the 28th of July. The show’s date seems to be in accordance with the upcoming launch of The Last of Us Remastered for PlayStation 4, which is no surprise. We have seen many companies do the same thing for their products in the past. Also, even if you can’t make it there (which you really can’t even if you wanted to unless you have pre-ordered your ticket ages ago), the performance is said to be streamed live via Twitch, YouTube and PlayStation Network. Having that said, the show is said to start at 7pm Pacific Time / 10pm Easter Time or 3am here in the UK.

Thank you PushSQUARE and PlayStation Blog for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of PushSQUARE

The Last of Us 2 Confirmed By Naughty Dog

The Last of Us was nothing short of a sensation when it launched on the PlayStation 3 last year. I was lucky enough to get to review the game myself and absolutely loved it, so even the slightest news of a sequel makes me very happy.

Naughty Dog, the developer behind the game has now confirmed that they’re currently ‘brainstorming ideas’ for the game’s follow-on, but it’s obviously very early days, so I wouldn’t expect to hear quiet some time. Especially since the game’s writer and creative director Neil Druckmann revealed that it follow-on title would be many years away, especially since nothing concrete has been decided about what the game might be like.

“We just wrapped up [upcoming The Last of Us DLC] Left Behind, and Bruce Straley, the game director, and I have been doing this for over four years now. So it’s just time for a break, and to recharge the batteries,” Druckmann said in a recent interview.

“So we have to get some good steps and see… It’s kind of like how we approached Left Behind. Can we tell people a story that’s really worth telling, and that’s not repeating itself? And if we can’t, where can we get inspired – what is something that’s really going to challenge us, and push storytelling in this medium forward?”

Left Behind is just a few days away now, set to release as the single player expansion to The Last of Us on February 14th. It’s great to hear that they’re at least looking at the future of The Last of Us, but for now we’ll just have to wait out for Naughty Dogs next title, Uncharted 4.

Thank you Trusted Reviews for providing us with this information.

Teaser Trailer For Uncharted PS4 Released

Sony have been teasing many big announcements this week, but up until now all we could do was speculate on what they could be. With the launch of the PlayStation 4 this week it seemed Sony had little else to say this year that would help sell their new console, but it seems we were wrong.

The new trailer shown at the PlayStation 4 All Access Event featured a fairly vague videos of a camera panning over a map, these could be hints at locations from the game, they might not be, who knows. We took a look at the map and can see Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, resting place of The Flying Dutchman, a ship of many legends.

Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells teased, “if you pick through the trailer you’ll find some hints,” which I have done.

If what he says is true, then sunken ships could be the right guess given that there are various crashed ships on the map, but of course we will have to wait and see.

The trailer features a familiar voice too, but older and heavier, could this be Nathan Drake or can we expect a new hero in these adventures?

[youtube]http://youtu.be/_SnJPTkrD7o[/youtube]

Thank you Analogue Addiction for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Analogue Addiction.

The Last of Us: Abandoned Territories Map Pack and Patch 1.05 Available Now

The first DLC for The Last of Us launches today when the PlayStation Store updates. You can buy the Abandoned Territories Map Pack for $9.99 stand-alone or, or as part of the ‘The Last of Us Season Pass’. The Season Pass will be available for a limited time and via the PlayStation Store and retailers for $19.99.

The development team have been working have and many aspects of the game have been patched. If you want to see all changes they’ve made to the game, we have a full run down below, expect these updates to roll out over the next 24 hours.

MULTIPLAYER

Abandoned Territories Map Pack DLC 

  • DLC playlist added for each game type.  This includes both the retail maps and the DLC maps, but the DLC maps should appear much more frequently in the vote.

Gameplay

  • Fixed an issue where players on the winning team would occasionally get fully crafted items or machetes from caches, while players on the losing team would get incorrect items.
  • Players should no longer get comeback weapons (pre-crafted molotovs / bombs / purchase weapons) when they are winning by more than a small margin.
  • Fixed the consistency of comeback weapons spawning – there should be less comeback weapons in close matches and more consistent spawning in severely unbalanced matches. Once a player receives comeback weapons, however, they will not receive them again until a certain amount of progress has occurred in the match.
  • 2×4 Spawning logic has been adjusted in Supply Raid and Interrogation:
    • Fixed a bug where it would occasionally be impossible for a player to receive a 2×4 in a game.
    • Reworked the initial 2×4 spawning logic to make the first 2×4 spawn a bit later to balance the escalation of the match.
    • Lowered the overall number of potential 2x4s that could spawn in a match by including weighting based on match progress.
  • The additional hit on modded melee weapons has been moved from Brawler Level 1 to Level 2, and the health gain from melee hits moved from Level 2 to 1.
  • Added a Parts bonus for late joiners, based on when you join a match in progress. This bridges the gap between players who started from the beginning of the game and might have a Parts advantage over the late joiner.
  • When late-joining beyond the first 2 minutes that match will no longer count towards any clan progress or missions.
  • Fixed an issue on Checkpoint and Lakeside that had locations where some items could not be picked up.
  • Made a fix to prevent players from being able to climb the tilted flag pole on the High School map.
  • Fixed an issue with level graphics dropping out on The Dam.

Interrogation Mode Fixes

  • Games no longer end in ties unless both teams are on the same section of the unlocking process.  If one team has more interrogations than the other, that team will win the match.
  • The additional parts bonus for winning by a large margin is only awarded when the lockbox is fully unlocked.  Otherwise only the standard win bonus is awarded.
  • Killcard now correctly describes whether your character was executed or interrogated.
  • Fire on the ground (from a Molotov) now damages the player when they attempt to unlock the lockbox and will properly interrupt the unlock process.
  • Sounds have been added to the Interrogation animation
  • Fixed a bug where the end-of-match music was not playing in Interrogation mode.

Technical Fixes

  • Intro speech should no longer occasionally be heard twice at the start of the game
  • A flashing exclamation mark will be shown on DLC option for when new items are added

SINGLE PLAYER

  • Tweaks to a couple of art assets in the game.

While this may seem like a lot of tweaks, the team is already hard at work on the next patch and I’m sure it won’t be long before they bring further refinements to the title. Lets just hope we don’t have to wait too much longer for the Single Player DLC that has been promised!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/K5SdmPklvZ4[/youtube]

Thank you The Last of Us for providing us with this information.

Phone Number For Sex Hotline In Playstation Game The Last Of Us

Last week Peter gave us his review of the PS3 game The Last of Us by Naughty Dog. And it seems like they have been very naughty. Apparently unknowing graphic designers placed advertisements within the game for “Pest Control”, unlike in the movies having a phone number such as 555-555-5555, they placed the area code for the phone number as 800. Dialing one of the numbers will give you a notice informing you that the phone number is “temporarily unavailable” though, if you call the other number you get a woman letting you know that you are trying to reach a sex hotline.

Of course I needed to verify the facts for myself and call the number, this is what I heard… “Welcome to 800-666-1234,” moaned a woman’s voice. “Mmmmmm. We’re spread, wet and ready for you right now. Come on baby, let’s play!”

According to CVG Naughty Dog has their tail between their legs now, and has stated that they will be working to take it out. Not sure if they are going to remove the advertisement entirely or just the phone number.

Kotaku contacted creative director Neil Druckmann for a statement.

“That was an artist’s mistake,” he said. “What happened was, they put some phone numbers in the game and then they thought they could just change the area code to 555, then it’s invalid because it’s what they do in movies. But I guess that doesn’t work when you have a 1-800 in front of it. “We’re now working to take it out,” he added. “It was just an honest mistake.”

Personally, I don’t mind that the phone number is there, I find it kind of funny. According to ESRB The Last Of Us has a Mature rating, and by keeping the phone number in the game, could give it an Adult rating. Retail value of this Playstation only game is currently $59.99.

Do you feel that Naughty Dog should leave this advertisement in game, or should they remove it? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of CVG.

The Last of Us – PlayStation 3 Review

The Last of Us has been one of this year’s most highly anticipated games, literally millions of gamers have been waiting patiently and impatiently for what has been tipped to be one of this generations greatest digital experiences, no small amount of hype surrounded it and that often spells impending disaster for any title as living up to the hype can usually be an impossible feat in itself.

The Last of Us comes from the legendary development team at Naughty Dog who have crafted some of the greatest gaming experiences not only on this generation but on multiple PlayStation consoles. Crash Bandicoot on the PS1 was all their work, Jak on the PS2 was all their work and Uncharted on the PS3 was all their work, all in all an impressive career. Yet the one that really stands out is of course Uncharted, since people were drooling for more Nolan North led Tomb Raider style adventures, but instead we got The Last of Us, question is, can it be better than the Uncharted series?

The biggest and most important factor of this game is its story, it’s what it is all about. While yes, the game does have weapons, adventuring, exploring, some light puzzles too, it’s really about the people within the game and their survival. So with that, if I were to utter certain things about “what” it is that happens in the game, you’re going to kill me because this game could be spoilt with relative ease, so forgive me if I try not to.

The game takes place in a pretty ruined America, infection has taken over and wiped out vast amounts of the population, if you were not killed in the carnage that ensued, be that by a scared and panicking civilian, or a gun crazy soldier trying to keep the peace and/or contain the virus, then there was a real chance you would get infected, turn into a monster and start running around biting people, thus infecting them. In short, everything has gone to hell.

The game sees you take control of Joel, a single father of one, looking after his daughter and generally living a relatively happy life all things considered. Then infection breaks out and before long you find yourself on the run, literally trying to do nothing more than survive for the next twenty years, by any means necessary. Now I don’t want to lead you into a false direction as this is for the most part just the introduction to the game, you play a few parts but it’s mostly just a warm up. The real gameplay starts in the “20 years later” section as you go about your day in one of the military controlled blocks, walled off from the infection ravaged lands beyond.

Gameplay is super tight, there is a razor like focus on what needs to be done, but how you complete the tasks laid out is completely up to you. The game mixes stealth elements with gun play quite well, just don’t expect to be taking down enemies like your Nathan Drake any time soon. It doesn’t take long to realise that your fragile, you need to heal, you need to conserve ammo, and you need to run away. Many other games you think “Ah, a room full of enemies, easy!” but not here, this game is more like “oh c**p there are three of them and I only have two bullets”. The end result is you’re going to get your face bitten off and you will die, a lot.

Yet this comes with a stark contrast, where games like Resident Evil will throw enemies at you every five bloody seconds, there really aren’t that many at the best of times here. It’s more about the feel and the intensity of each encounter and for every monster that crosses your path, you’ll also find just as many unfriendly humans, albeit most of them liars, scavengers, murderers and cannibals looking for a couple of lost people to torture.

The game blends all this with a simple to use, but highly effective crafting system. This allows you to create healing bandages, petrol bombs, shivs and more, all vital to your survival and a stark reminder of just how much duct tape and pairs of scissors you can find lying around. Crafting is essential and it comes complimented by a gun upgrade system, as well as some perks that see you able to improve your health, reloads speeds, ammo clip size and more at the few work benches you find scattered around the game world.

The absolute 100% best feature of this game is one that they don’t advertise, it’s not even something that is in the game, more something that isn’t. There are no waypoints, no “go this way” arrows, no “hey, maybe if I do that thing, I can do that thing” dialogues and there is no radar or map for enemies, doors, hidden items, nothing. This is awesome because when you have a large, multi-path section of the game world, enemies trying to find you, limited supplies and you start running, that sense of “OMG I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I’M GOING” feels real, Joel doesn’t know where he is, so why the heck should you!? This makes many moments of the game feel full of fear and suspense, brilliant. The game makes you want to explore, then makes you think about the risk of doing so, is it worth wasting your last few bullets to try to find the health you need, or should you try to sneak past?

Of course, you are not alone on your adventures and you’ll find a small selection of people take your side throughout the story, some more than others, and while your counterpart is not only going to help you by calling out enemies, throwing you items and generally watching your back, they will also entertain you with story based, contextual conversation, or just mumble and sing to themselves, either way it’s clear than Naughty Dog have created a well-balanced AI that doesn’t get under your feet and that actually makes working together a most enjoyable experience. Not to mention the 2nd person is often the biggest focus of the game’s story.

The Last of Us will see you traveling across multiple American states and cities and while many of the environments are overgrown buildings and streets, they are a joy to explore and a visual treat for the eyes, it’s like no one told Naughty Dog that the PlayStation 3 has limitations as with all the Uncharted games, The Last of Us is by far their best looking game to date. Voice acting and animation is also, without a doubt, best in class and Naughty Dog has a high reputation to uphold on that front, they don’t disappoint.

The game is well crafted, the story is simply mind-blowing and it’s got a musical score and direction on par with a blockbuster movie. While some games fail to strike the balance of story and gameplay, The Last of Us delivers on both in one of the best executed gaming experiences I’ve had in years. I managed to get through the game in 20 hours on hard mode on my first play through, something that was no easy task, especially on the last section. You can go for a play through+ mode afterwards and progress your weapons further, but the impact of the story is lessened greatly the second time around, fortunately the thrilling gameplay loses nothing of its charm.

This is a must have game in your collection and when you’re done with the story there is a highly entertaining multiplayer that offers up many of the modern classic game types for you to tear around with your friends. One thing is for certain, the game hasn’t been out a month and I already want more of The Last of Us.

Pros

  • Gripping story
  • Edgy and exciting combat
  • No way point markers or hand holding tutorials
  • Genuinely engrossing characters
  • Enjoyable multiplayer

Cons

  • 16 hours isn’t short, but your still going to be wanting more
  • Last section is a bit over the top hard

eTeknix says: “This is one of the defining moments for PlayStation 3 and one of the best stories I’ve played through in a game of this type. It’s great to see that the current generation of games consoles haven’t run out of ideas yet and that there is more to the console gaming scene than endless stereotypical shooters like Call of Duty.”