The Last of Us is a survival horror action-adventure game published in 2013 that follows Joel, a smuggler, as he attempts to escort teenage girl Ellie through a post-apocalyptic world overtaken by a disease that mutates humans into horrible monstrosities.
The game was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and the remastered version launched a year later in 2014 for the PlayStation 4. Numerous improvements were made that allowed the game to take advantage of the newly released console.
The game’s world is overrun by a fungus modeled on Cordyceps, which is known to grow into the brains of ants and causes them to behave strangely.
This fungus creates what is known as the Infected, transformed human hosts who are aggressive and dangerous. Most humans in the world are suspectable to the virus and a single hit from one of the Infected leads to a horrible fate.
In the beginning of the game, players learn that Ellie is one of the few humans in the world – possibly the only one – who is completely immune to the fungus. As a result, Joel is tasked with escorting her to a bunker filled with doctors and scientists who have been working on a cure.
Survival horror in a world overtaken by mind-controlled fungus monsters
TLOFU is a survival horror that plays in a third-person perspective with mission where Ellie’s safety is paramount. As an escort participant, she works with Joel to avoid detection and help him when he attempts to overcome enemies both human and Infected alike.
During many of the encounters, stealth and careful strategy is required to overcome human opponents. Groups of uninfected humans are difficult to fight together, but taken one-on-one from stealth Joel is very capable of taking them down.
Worse, the Infected, operate on their own set of rules that make them even more difficult to fight. These creatures detect movement through the sounds the player’s make as they move around and are relentless in their attacks. A single bite can mean the end of the mission.
In combat, players can use a large number of weapons from rifles, shotguns, and bows. It is also possible to scavenge limited-use melee weapons in order to strike at close range. Bricks and glass bottles can also be thrown to stun or distract enemies, which can be very useful for stealth.
Workbenches scattered around levels can allow players to upgrade weapons with collected materials or craft health kits and Molotov cocktails.
Surviving in a post-apocalyptic world also involves understanding humanity
As players stealth through missions, or take enemies head on, they can also listen to numerous conversations. This component of the game develops a rich story about what happened to humanity after the fall of the United States, and the rest of the world, to the Cordyceps fungus.
Many of these conversions between humans reveal puzzles, or tactics, needed to resolve the current segment of the game. Included in this, players will be tasked to scavenge and discover more clues in the ruined cities that they pass through.
The Last of Us began scavenging on PlayStation 3 in June of 2013 and its remastered version launched in July 2014 for the PlayStation 4.