The Last of Us

The Last of Us is a cross-country trek across a post-apocalyptic America. 20 years ago, the infection outbreak occurred, and spread within the highly populated areas and then to the rest of America and the world. People had survived, but many didn't. In present day, a governmental military organization runs strict quarantine procedures in many urban areas. Though, many had fallen to uprisings or further outbreaks.

You play as Joel. As the outbreak occurred 20 years ago, he lost his daughter. But he continued to survive, doing anything that was necessary. In present day, he is tasked with bringing a young girl, Ellie, across the country in hopes of finding a cure for the infection. Throughout the journey, they experience loss and they gain trust and companionship with each other. Over time, Joel allows himself to love and be responsible for someone else again. Ellie as well, allow herself to trust someone unequivocally after being abandoned by everyone she's known in her life.

Originally released for the Playstation 3 in the fall of 2013, many people regard it to be one of the best stories of all time portrayed in a video game. After playing it for the first time, I thought it was okay. Zombies have been done to death, and this didn't really seem all that original. ESPECIALLY, when Telltale's Walking Dead game come out a year prior and roughly told the exact same story. I guess people liked Last of Us better because there was actual gameplay behind it, rather than only dialogue.

This year, 9 years after the release of the first game, HBO and Naughty Dog created The Last of Us TV show. The first season (of 9 episodes) covers the entirety of the first game. It is incredible how well the tension is portrayed in the show. Everything feels like it has weight. Pedro Pascal truly brings out how much Joel does not want to relive his daughter's death through having to take responsibility for Ellie. And Bella Ramsey perfectly portrays Ellie's care-free attitude that hides her true inner feelings. Their slow personality changes over their terrifying and horrific experiences feel authentic and help you identify with both of their situations and choices.

At the end of the TV show, I felt like I understood the characters better than I had before. Also, it had been long enough since The Walking Dead and the overexposure of Zombie media, that I was more open to paying attention to the finer details of the story, rather than quickly writing it off.

Because of the TV show, I decided to replay The Last of Us again. There are 3 separate versions of The Last of Us, plus a standalone story, plus a sequel. Almost a year after the Playstation 3 release, the game was touched up and remastered for the Playstation 4 in 2014. The standalone story was included in this. With the overwhelming success of the game, The Last of Us Part 2 was released in 2020. And, they've remastered the original game again for the Playstation 5. The Last of Us Part 1 was released in September 2022. I played Last of Us Remastered on Playstation 4 because I already owned it, and the Playstation 5 version was expensive.

Today, I finished it. It was very interesting comparing it to the TV show. There were plenty of parts that they changed to adapt the video game to television, but I was really surprised how much of it was identical. Same basic overall story beats, but with a bit more context added and a lot of action and fight scenes removed. I'm curious how much things changed in the Playstation 5 remaster.

Anyway, as I originally played the Playstation 3 version 9 years ago, I was very impressed with the environments. So much vegetation had reclaimed the concrete building over the 20 years since civilization had fallen. The Playstation 3 never had an option for screenshots, so I could never roam around taking photos in the game. Thankfully, screenshots became a standard addition with video games for the Playstation 4. As I replayed Last of Us Remastered, I was to take all of the screenshots that I couldn't before.

I think in some areas, the age does show in the game. If you look close enough, you can see the seams in the graphics. But, even though the game is 8 or 9 years old, the overall composition of level design and art direction is undeniable gorgeous. It still looks quite incredible today. All of my screenshots are included below, so take a look. :)

With Last of Us complete, I plan on planning Last of Us Part 2 next, mainly to get ahead of any spoilers for the next season of the TV show. Although, there is an absolute major spoiler that I already know about as it was unavoidable to know unless you played the game immediately upon release. Thankfully, that's all I know about it.

Anyway, I hope Last of Us 2 is just as beautiful as the first game.

Images (129)