At this year’s Fan Expo Vancouver, I was able to try out The Last of Us for the first time and it was an exhilarating experience but what worries me is how clunky environmental triggering is.
Firstly, The Last of Us feels much more reserved than Uncharted. There is very little music being played, movement is much slower and you have to make every bullet count. Even with the little time I played with the game, it was incredibly tense as you tried to sneak up on the Clickers. You aren’t gunning enemies down while explosions are happening at a constant rate and that is why I love The Last of Us. Another factor of The Last of Us I like is the fact that Joel cannot rush in and fight multiple clickers because if he’s left open, they will kill you in an instant. As a result, the demo encouraged stealth gameplay with a focus on attacking your enemies from behind. An additional way Naughty Dog encourages methodical play is the crafting system which allows you to create items (medical kits, Molotov cocktails, and shivs). Without a shiv, for example, you cannot take out specific Clickers while with normal clickers, you can use items such as bricks or bottles. The final feature of the gameplay system is the ability to throw objects onto a wall to distract these undead creatures a-la Far Cry 3.
Despite the amazing atmosphere of the game, there are issues I had during my experience. For a minute, I could not trigger an event to lift Ellie up to a higher ledge and the game made it hard for me because I had to get Joel to stand at a specific point. Plus, in the game, it is difficult to access where to go next in the level. Both of these circumstances were jarring and took me out of the world. Interacting with the environment overall feels clunky and may detract from the game further down the line but I have been told by a PlayStation rep that this demo was pre-alpha so these issues can be fixed.
On the convention floor, it was difficult to follow the story but from what I heard, the voice acting was as impressive as you would expect and despite the horrid atmosphere the story puts the player through, the team at Naughty Dog were able to bring out some great comedic moments between Joel and Ellie.
Overall, the demo of The Last of Us has impressed me with its fantastic atmosphere, excellent voice acting and in depth gameplay mechanics but interacting with the environment is clunky with this pre-alpha demo. We will have to wait and see if Naughty Dog takes improves upon what is positive about the demo and fixes the issues the game has.
The Last of Us comes out June 14th 2013 and our review will come shortly afterwards.