The Last of Us Review: Part I (5/8/19)

[Originally published on 5/8/19 on my previous site,]

Chapters 1 – 4: Prologue through Bill’s Town

Warning: This post has spoilers for both the PlayStation game The Last of Us and the tv series Game of Thrones. Proceed at your own risk!

I know I’m a few years behind on this, but oh my god oh my god how incredible was The Last of Us!? I just recently made the switch from Xbox to PlayStation after being an Xbox boy for, oh I don’t know the last 16 years of my life. So far I am definitely regretting the last two or three years on Xbox. There hasn’t been one game on the same level as The Last of Us In that time frame! Anyways, one of my friends suggested a few games for me to buy when I finally made the switch. He said no matter what I did I absolutely had to buy and play The Last of Us before any other game though because it was such a staple in the PlayStation community. Long story short, I just finished the campaign the other day and had to write about how incredible the game actually was.

I’ll start at the beginning, when Joel’s daughter died in the opening mini chapter I was instantly thrown back to when Ned Stark died at the end of the first season of GoT. This game hooked me so quick. I hadn’t even really played a reasonable amount of the game yet and I was in love. Then, you’re thrown into a post-apocalyptic world with the main character having aged twenty years and having a new partner in crime, Tess. I realize I was playing on a remastered, post original release game… but man did Naughty Dog nail Joel’s older look. If I could describe how I wanted my worn down, zombie fatigued main character to look I don’t even think I could’ve gotten anywhere close to how perfect this was.

After I explored and wandered for about 30 minutes and things settled down, I was still wondering where the crazy zombies were. As the first chapter unfolded, I found myself battling against a man who not only stole my weapons but who also already sold them! Even though I hadn’t really fought any undead yet (other than the three “runners” they give you right off the bat), I was still all in on the game.This is where the plot thickens. The fact that you not only run into the Firefly leader (Marlene) who has your guns, but that she’s injured and needs your help was a nice touch. Come to find out, the package that needs delivering is a teenage girl named Ellie, but why is she so important? The two of you then ship off to the outskirts of town in what turns looks like an insane attempt to get to the Firefly group at the capitol building.

If I wasn’t all in already, this next chapter was when I realized this would be one of my favorite games of all time. You don’t get very far before you get a cut screen where the three of you get jumped by armed soldiers. Ellie spazzes out and attack’s one thinking that the three of you would knock them unconscious, but Joel and Tess end up killing them. And then the bombshell, Ellie got bit two weeks ago! Yet somehow she is immune, which explains her importance to the fireflies and the entire human race. The rest of this chapter turns into sly fox as you sneak by guard after guard collecting ammo and preparing yourself.

Once you escape all the armed guards, the voyage through the city begins and the first new type of zombie appears, The Clicker. These hideous creatures can’t see but have incredible hearing, making it difficult to sneak by them in some instances. Their heads are split into two, or maybe they just exploded I’m not sure. All I know is they’re super creepy and make an even stranger clicking noise as they walk around. This is where the crafting aspect shows up for the first time and you learn to make a shiv, a health pack, and a Molotov. The only way to kill the clickers is with bullets or a shank to the head, which makes for some dope stab and kill graphics as you make your way through ruined building after ruined building. Right before you make it to the capitol building, the three of you get separated while in an old run-down Museum. This was probably the first moment the game started elevating my heart rate. You’re plopped on one side of a broken-down wall as three clickers are walking around the rooms outside. As you sneak (or shank) your way by them, you ascend to the top floor where you find the two girls being attacked by what seemed like an endless horde of zombies on my first play through. It turns out it’s only like six runners, but still an epic battle for being so early in the game.

As you climb out of the top floor you finally set your eyes on the capitol building and make your way to the firefly group waiting on Ellie. The only problem is, when you get there they’re all dead! More armed guards are here and it looks like they killed Ellie’s ride to save all humanity. As you go through the building you come across a dead man with a hunting rifle, which at first was not my favorite weapon but by the end of the game it was one of my go-to weapons. After killing all the guards and sneaking out of the capitol building, you sprint off to a subway station filled with spores. Of course I thought I was finally safe, but then more guards show up shooting at you. They follow you down into the subway and then you get a nice little interaction between Joel and Ellie where Joel basically asks, “How the fuck are you breathing all these spores?” As you exit the subway station you get a cut scene explaining where you’re off to next, Bill’s town.

This was one of my top two favorite areas/chapters in the game, and one of the most nerve-wracking. You start off sneaking your way through the forest surrounding the town. The goal here is to find Joel’s friend Bill so he can fix up a car, which Joel then plans to take to see his brother Tommy up in Jackson city. Once you’re in the small town there isn’t much to do besides explore and pick up materials. Eventually you come across one of Bill’s traps, and as you do a clicker sprints around the corner and BOOM a homemade scissor pipe bomb goes off and you see the clicker slam against the wall. You come across a few more of these as well as a bow and arrow, which is mighty helpful for dispatching clickers. No more wasted shiv’s stabbed into evil zombie cerebellums!As you enter the warehouse at the end of this area a cut scene triggers and you see an elaborate rope trap snag Joel’s ankle and sling him up into the air. This was where things got quite interesting. While you’re still hoisted and Ellie is attempting to cut the counterweight, runners and clickers start climbing over and through the fences surrounding you. I’m not sure if it was the camera angle from hanging upside down or simply my fear, but I reallllllllly struggled with this part. After a few deaths I finally get past the attack and lo and behold Bill comes to rescue. The three of you escape to one of his hideouts where you restock and hatch a new plan. Bill says a military vehicle crashed into the school on the other side of town and that if he can get the battery he will be able to fix a car up. So you leave almost as soon as you get to safety, just to get bombarded by 8-10 undead when you get to the parking lot outside. No tricks here though and after a few Molotov’s and some headshots you’re on your way to the armory. Once inside Bill tells you to stock up again, then shows you how to make his cool scissor bomb thingamajig and gives you a shotgun!

The next area is a spooky graveyard filled with clickers, but it’s light work with your new(ish) bow and arrow. After about 12 more kills, a doggy door, and a treehouse, you finally get to the schoolyard. Surprise surprise… another 15 runners waiting for you. I tried sneaking here to conserve ammo, but it seemed pretty much impossible and I ended up shotgunning some zombitches. As you get to the truck you’re ambushed by even more zombies but luckily you get to just run and slide through a window this time. Now in the garage, Bill runs straight to the truck just to find out that someone else has already taken the battery. The door then gets busted down and you’re chased into the school, which eventually leads to the intro of The Bloater. A massively chunky zombie that rips off chunks of his spores to throw at you, as if the weird split head clickers weren’t creepy enough. These guys take lots to kill, but like all the rest of ‘em they gots to die.

You climb up some bleachers and hop a fence to a random house, but you get a big surprise once inside. There is a truck is waiting for you with the stolen battery in it! Apparently, Bill had a “friend” in his town who eventually got fed up with Bill’s antics, so he left him. Seems as if he gets bitten and then commits suicide though which is unfortunate. This brought forward for an interesting reaction from Bill, in which he seems upset but also pissed and then tosses the note explaining all of this to him. From here you begin your journey to Tommy (Joel’s brother) but end up making an unexpected stop while driving through Pittsburgh.Stay tuned over the next few days to see the rest of my breakdown! As I go through my replay I’ll be adding more details on the chapters I didn’t cover here.

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