The Last of Us – Preview


Last night, Brendan and Kochie attended the Black Beta event for The Last of Us, which was jointly organised by IGN and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia. Kochie writes about his thoughts on the event, as well as his hands-on experience with Naughty Dog’s long anticipated title.


If you haven’t heard much about The Last of Us, then let me fill you in. You follow the smuggler known as Joel, who was around when the first outbreak of infection occurred 20 years ago. Joel is given a job to smuggle a 14 year old girl, named Ellie, out to a resistance group known as the Fireflies. Both Joel and Ellie are the key protagonists throughout the game. As Ellie is 14, she has only grown up in the derelict and crumbled world, and is always in constant amazement of what the world around her used to be like, before the events of the infection outbreak. While Joel may not see something that is so normal through Ellie’s eyes, it’s a nice contrast of characters and hopefully it works well throughout the entirety of the game.


The event was hosted by IGN, and there were a bunch of set ups to play, along with drinks and food to partake in. The entire venue was set up in a theme that was from into the game world, with quarantine zones, graffiti, and shrubbery. Even a camouflaged army guy, walking around the floor and accompanied by his dog was on-hand to emphasise the feeling. Ricky Cambier (The Last of Us’ lead game designer) from Naughty Dog got up on stage and explained some of the new features within the game. From what was seen, Naughty Dog have put a lot of focus on the character interaction, as well as the AI behind enemy functionality. After The Last of Us was in 3 ½ years of secret development, they are said to be creating a new genre with this game, dubbed ‘survival action’. It describes the story well, but I’m not sure if it needs to be summarised as an entirely new genre.


There were two demonstration levels on hand for everyone to play, one based in the city of Boston and the other in Pittsburgh. Each level was played through to get a feeling of what’s in store for everyone when it releases, and I have to say, I had quite a bit of fun. There is a decent balance of slow stealthy elements and fast scampering gunplay, which was excellent to see. There are some difficult parts in the game where you have to face a room of enemies, with only two rounds in your shotgun and a bare basic shiv. In this circumstance, you have to use your wits and positioning to successfully make your way through each objective, while staying alive.


The Last of Us portrays a very high emphasis on scavenging for items. The items you pick up can be crafted and reused in a number of ways, with making a bomb or a first aid kit to name a couple. Seeing that ammo and crafting materials are highly scarce, it automatically makes you want to explore as much of the areas as possible, which gives you a realistic sense of the world that you are currently in. One issue I noticed happening most of the time was the armed human enemies not dropping their guns after you killed them. The ones that are armed with melee weapons, namely a bat or a 2×4, drop their respective weapons so they can be used, but not when they were carrying rifles or pistols. This could possibly be an issue with the beta, and we’ll be sure to check up on this in the final release.


We’re certainly looking forward to what the rest of The Last of Us has to offer. Come back and check out Progress Bar for the full review and other news relating to the game. The Last of Us releases on 14 June, exclusively to the PlayStation 3.


*Event photos courtesy of IGN