The Last of Us is an action–adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 3 in June 2013, and for the PlayStation 4 in July 2014. Players control Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting a teenage girl, Ellie, across a post–apocalyptic United States. The Last of Us is played from a third–person perspective. Players use firearms and improvised weapons, and can use stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus. In the online multiplayer mode, up to eight players engage in cooperative and competitive gameplay.
In combat, the player can use long-range weapons, such as rifles, shotguns, and bows, and short-range weapons such as handguns and short-barreled shotguns. The player is able to scavenge limited-use melee weapons, such as pipes and baseball bats, and throw bottles and bricks to distract, stun, or attack enemies. The player can upgrade weapons at workbenches using collected items. Equipment such as health kits, shivs, and Molotov cocktails can be found or crafted using collected items. Attributes such as the health meter and crafting speed can be upgraded by collecting pills and medicinal plants. Health can be recharged through the use of health kits.
In September 2013, an outbreak of a mutant Cordyceps fungus ravages the United States, transforming its human hosts into aggressive creatures known as the Infected. In the suburbs of Austin, Texas, Joel (Troy Baker) flees the chaos with his brother Tommy (Jeffrey Pierce) and daughter Sarah (Hana Hayes). As they flee, Sarah is shot by a soldier and dies in Joel’s arms. Twenty years later, civilization has been decimated by the infection. Survivors live in heavily policed quarantine zones, independent settlements, and nomadic groups. Joel works as a smuggler with his partner Tess (Annie Wersching) in the quarantine zone in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts. They hunt down Robert (Robin Atkin Downes), a black–market dealer, to recover a stolen weapons cache. Before Tess kills him, Robert reveals that he traded the cache with the Fireflies, a rebel militia opposing the quarantine zone authorities.
The leader of the Fireflies, Marlene (Merle Dandridge), promises to double their cache in return for smuggling a teenage girl, Ellie (Ashley Johnson), to Fireflies hiding in the Massachusetts State House outside the quarantine zone. Joel, Tess, and Ellie sneak out in the night, but after an encounter with a government patrol, they discover Ellie is infected. Full infection normally occurs in under two days, but Ellie claims she was infected three weeks ago and that her immunity may lead to a cure. The trio make their way to their destination through hordes of the infected, but find that the Fireflies there have been killed. Tess reveals she has been bitten by an infected and, believing in Ellie’s importance, sacrifices herself against pursuing soldiers so Joel and Ellie can escape. Joel decides to find Tommy, a former Firefly, in the hope that he can locate the remaining Fireflies. With the help of Bill (W. Earl Brown), a smuggler and survivalist who owes Joel a favor, they acquire a working vehicle from Bill’s neighborhood. Driving into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Joel and Ellie are ambushed by bandits and their car is wrecked. They ally with two brothers, Henry (Brandon Scott) and Sam (Nadji Jeter). After they escape the city, Sam is bitten by an infected but hides it from the group. As his infection takes hold, Sam attacks Ellie, but Henry shoots him dead and immediately afterwards commits suicide out of grief.
In the fall, Joel and Ellie finally find Tommy in Jackson County, Colorado, where he has assembled a fortified settlement near a hydroelectric dam with his wife Maria (Ashley Scott). Joel decides to leave Ellie with Tommy, but after she confronts him about Sarah, he decides to let her stay with him. Tommy directs them to a Fireflies enclave at the University of Eastern Colorado. They find the university abandoned, but learn that the Fireflies have moved to a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Afterward, the two are attacked by bandits and Joel is severely wounded while escaping.
During the winter, Ellie and Joel shelter in the mountains. Joel is on the brink of death and relies on Ellie to care for him. Hunting for food, Ellie encounters David (Nolan North) and James (Reuben Langdon), scavengers willing to trade medicine for food; despite initially appearing friendly and cooperative, David turns hostile after revealing the university bandits were part of his group. Ellie manages to lead David’s group away from Joel, but is eventually captured; David intends to recruit her into his cannibal group. Refusing the offer, she escapes after killing James, but David corners her in a burning restaurant. Meanwhile, Joel recovers from his wounds and sets out to find Ellie. He reaches Ellie as she kills David and breaks down crying; Joel comforts her before they flee.
In the spring, Joel and Ellie arrive in Salt Lake City. Ellie is rendered unconscious after almost drowning, before they are captured by a Firefly patrol. In the hospital, Marlene tells Joel that Ellie is being prepared for surgery: in hope of producing a vaccine for the infection, the Fireflies must remove the infected portion of Ellie’s brain, which will kill her. Unwilling to let Ellie die, Joel battles his way to the operating room and carries the unconscious Ellie to the parking garage. He is confronted by Marlene, whom he shoots and kills to prevent the Fireflies from pursuing them. On the drive out of the city, when Ellie wakes up, Joel claims that the Fireflies had found many other immune people but were unable to create a cure, and that they have stopped trying. On the outskirts of Tommy’s settlement, Ellie expresses her survivor guilt. At her insistence, Joel swears his story about the Fireflies is true.
My Personal Thoughts
Adolescents have it particularly tough in the zombie apocalypse. Everyone around them is obsessed with survival–which is certainly understandable–but every ounce of a teenager’s instincts is pushing him or her toward goofing off. The psychological toll of burying your most basic desires must be exhausting. Left Behind presents this unique point of view through Ellie, the extraordinary heroine from The Last of Us, and it’s hard to resist laughing along with her when her childlike nature is on full display. Don’t expect this prequel to ignore the dark cloud that hovers ominously overhead, though. By examining Ellie’s plight through the lens of such a bleak existence, we grow ever closer to her, and realize how devastating one’s life in such a world would be.
Riley sneaks into Ellie’s room before the sun rises, pouncing upon her sleeping body while mimicking a hissing neck bite. Obviously terrified that an infected is eating her alive, Ellie tosses Riley to the ground before pulling a knife from beneath her pillow. Jokes aren’t quite as funny when there are monsters lurking. We soon learn that these two best friends had a falling out a month back, and while Ellie is going through training in a military school, Riley has joined the rebel Fireflies. Grievances quickly forgotten, the two risk punishment from their superiors by sneaking into the dangerous city they call home.
There’s a relaxed back-and-forth between Ellie and Riley that’s a marked change from the uneasy chatter that dominated The Last of Us. Ellie is playful and open with Riley, always ready with a quip and eager to experience everything that life has to offer. A few years older than Ellie, Riley soon takes charge, though her direction is subtle. She’s more of an older sister than a guardian. Their destination: an empty mall without any electricity. Or so Ellie thought. When Ellie flicks the power generator, the lights come on, and the two girls are free to explore the shattered remains of what was once a rich and wasteful society.
Watching these two characters interact is heartwarming. As they try on masks in a Halloween shop, their joy is infectious, and I was nodding along with Ellie when she remarked how much junk people used to buy. Such bric-a-brac must be difficult to understand if you live among people who cherish only the bare necessities. Still, Ellie doesn’t turn her nose up at the novelties around her. As you wander through that store, there’s a Magic 8 Ball that looks like a skeleton’s head. Sure, you could shake it just once if you’re in a hurry, or bolt right through the door to the next area, but once I realized that Ellie had a lot of questions in mind, I kept going back to it until she ran out of things to say. Such moments made me happy. To see Ellie in her own element, acting like the kid that she still is, was so real and genuine that I didn’t want to see it end.
Much of Left Behind is composed of these playful scenes, but there’s more going on beneath the surface. As you explore the many stores of the mall, Riley and Ellie keep up a running dialogue. Having the emphasis placed on wandering around the desolate environments is a welcome change from the tense combat encounters that dominated the main game. The focus is primarily on getting to know Riley and understanding more of Ellie’s motivations, so it’s a relief not to have their bonding interrupted. You want to know more. You want to find out what caused them to fight, what Riley’s future plans are, and how they’re coping with their depressing reality.
Interspersed between these scenes of Riley and Ellie is a hectic situation that takes place a few years in the future. Here, Ellie has already begun her journey with Joel, although she is by herself during this time. And any thoughts of aimless discovery have been banished. Surrounded by roaming zombies and deadly mercenaries, she must use all of her survival abilities to make it through unscathed.
It’s here that Left Behind more closely resembles the mood that permeated The Last of Us. Ellie lives in a terrible place where every living thing could be considered an enemy. Death is her only companion, always painfully present as she moves slowly through the tattered environments. Going between the lighthearted early days and the foreboding doom years later is so jarring that it’s almost too much to bear. When she’s with Riley, Ellie laughs so loudly that I would hold my breath, scared that a clicker would hear her. Even though no infected were around, I couldn’t forget their terrible wrath. She’s so young, so naive, that she hadn’t yet learned to be cautious at all times. And when you’re alone in the sections without Riley, you feel the weight of the change of the last few years. Now she realizes that death is one loud noise away. I wanted her to stay young forever, ignorant to the threats lurking, while understanding that she needed to grow up fast if she was going to survive. Of course, such different mindsets are impossible, and I was sad to see how quickly her carefree disposition was ripped away.
So I cherished those scenes with Riley and Ellie. When they happen upon a photo booth, they make faces and shriek giddily when their silly mugs are captured. But they can’t print out the pictures. And that goes along with the major theme of Left Behind. We see a brief, happy snapshot from Ellie’s life with Riley, but we can’t take it with us. Her childhood has to come to an end at some point.
When you’re playing as Ellie alone, there are threats around you. There are no jokes here, nothing to distract you from the dour proceedings. When the first fight erupted against the zombie menace, I recoiled. Extreme violence was the norm in The Last of Us, but after spending so much time in peaceful tranquility in Left Behind, I had forgotten how harsh this world was. And I hated that Ellie had become accustomed to her role so quickly. Though Ellie must kill many times during the course of this three-hour story, it’s always uncomfortable. It’s never accepted that this is just the way things are. It’s to the game’s credit that you’re placed on the defensive in combat. Ellie doesn’t want to fight–she has to–so you reluctantly kill your foes because that’s the only option.
Still, it’s disappointing that one section can be completed only when every enemy has been exterminated. As the fight was wearing down, a few zombies were quite a distance away, well out of sight, and yet I could not open the door that stood locked before me. Forcing Ellie to systematically kill everything felt dirty, as if the game were pushing Ellie down a violent path that’s opposed to who she is during the somber cutscenes. Or at least who I wanted her to be.
In many ways, the fights are identical to what The Last of Us offered. The crumbling wasteland of the postapocalypse serves as your battlefield, and you must make smart use of the overturned tables and smashed windows if you’re going to survive the stalking threats. Ellie is quick with a bow and pistol, and can craft smoke bombs, nail bombs, and Molotov cocktails if you need something more explosive. The most important items aren’t traditional weapons at all; rather, they’re bottles and bricks. Ellie has little health, and there aren’t many items scattered about to craft a surplus of medical packs, so you need to stay out of sight. That’s where the bottles and bricks come in. Instead of letting your position be known by firing a gun, you can stun infected and humans by tossing an object at their face and then rushing in to finish them off with a knife. Disturbing? No doubt. But very effective.
There is one addition to the combat that fundamentally changed how I approached fights. In The Last of Us, zombies and mercenaries never mingled. Here, the mercs may be in for an unpleasant surprise when they’re hunting you. You see, infected don’t like any humans at all, so they’re just as happy to go after a gun-toting soldier as they are a teenage girl. If you toss a bottle toward the armed guards, you can draw the attention of the diseased monsters, and then watch from a safe distance as the two sides fight. I admit that I found pleasure in hearing the mercenaries cry for help when surrounded by infected. They were trying to kill Ellie, after all, so they deserved a violent end. Plus, the mercenaries would undoubtedly kill at least some of the infected, so it made my job much easier once their fight was over.
Left Behind is a hugely successful add-on to The Last of Us. When I played through the main game last year, I had trouble connecting to Joel, because his rough demeanor and questionable choices left a bitter taste in my mouth. So it was a relief that his desperation was nowhere to be found in Left Behind. Instead, the story focuses on love and hope. Seeing how Ellie acts with a peer, a friend, gave me new appreciation for her, and Riley offers another strong character to latch on to. The focus on exploration also lets the well-realized environments breathe, and gives you plenty of time to take in the current state of the world. And when a combat encounter surfaces, it’s so much more impactful considering how rare fights are and the exhausting tension that accompanies each battle. Left Behind is an excellent addition that gives further insight into the chilling world of The Last of Us and its most interesting character. As you know in 2019 Last of us 2 Part coming. As you guys must be excited and me too for this game, because after long time Ellie got big girl and in trailer, we also seen that how much more realistic graphics and more fighting scenes. We will able to see and i will highly recommend this game to play and I will rate on its first part is 9/10.
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Director(s)||Bruce StraleyNeil Druckmann|
|Programmer(s)||Travis McIntoshJason Gregory|
|Artist(s)||Erick PangilinanNate Wells|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 3PlayStation 4|
June 14, 2013
PlayStation 4NA: July 29, 2014PAL: July 30, 2014UK: August 1, 2014
|Genre(s)||Action–adventure, survival horror|