Well, it's safe to say that Naughty Dog have just become my favourite developers of this generation. They are the creators behind the Uncharted series, which was mind blowing in itself, but this game is a master piece. They managed to get everything perfect and show just how a post-apocalyptic story can and should be done. The game hits you at every emotional level possible and, trust me when I say, this game will show you how grim survival could actually be and how damn sad it would be, were it to happen. Now let's head onto the review.
Wow is the best way to sum it up. In no game, other than Mass Effect and Uncharted, have I ever felt such compassion towards characters. This game makes you believe in the characters, and their stories, to the point you do feel for them, including their pain, sadness, and just how dismal life has become for them. The main focus of the game is around a character named Ellie, a 14 year old girl who is immune to the disease infecting everyone. Joel, who you play, takes her under his wing to get her to a certain location in order to possibly save the world. The story between them gradually unfolds throughout the game. The horror of what is happening around them brings them closer together and, ultimately, saves them both. By the end, she actually saves him. Joel becomes a shadow of himself and you can see the change in him from the start to the end of the game.
Ellie has to do some pretty horrendous stuff to survive, as does Joel, but that's the point. The story isn't about being all nice and making you think "aww that's cute". She can handle herself and will kill to survive which, for a 14 year old girl, is bleak but she handles it. However, the emotion on her face shows that she doesn't enjoy what she is doing, or even wants to do it, but she has to. Ellie does have her happy moments, like the time when she finds an adult magazine is very amusing. She loves comics but also likes to hum and tell the odd bad joke. Heck she has a potty mouth, but when she swears it's oddly appropriate.
The story will take you to a variety of different locations, but all with a point. Never do you feel that you have gone somewhere for no need. The single player of the game doesn't drag on and it’s a perfect length; by the end you will want more, but it does end in a way that, in my opinion, I think no sequel is needed.
You meet other characters, such as Tess, who is with you from the start. She has her own story to play out, based around guns being owed to your group, which is how you end up being on an escort mission. In this game though, even if you meet a character briefly, it will leave you wanting to know more about them, or even liking them. On the other hand, they're not afraid to kill them off in quite emotional ways, to the point I did feel a tad upset for them. It just leaves an even bigger impact on you and you want to play on, as no other game will affect you this way ever.
Hard, challenging, and stealth is a must in this game, if not you will die. Most of the enemies, in particular "the clickers", will hear you easily and unless you have a shiv, you’re dead. I started this game on hard and as I suck at everything stealth related, I had to turn it down! Even on normal I struggled so I chickened out and played it on easy mode. In all honesty, I only died a couple of times but it did help me enjoy the game even more.
As the game is all about survival, it is best to only use your weapons when they are needed. Therefore, wherever possible you should try get by without, as there are some locations you could just use a metal pipe or the shivs, which you can craft and it’s worth always having at least one with you.
Collect everything; check every room and every chest of drawers as you will need tape, rags, scissors, pins, alcohol, etc. Having these items allows you to make equipment such as shivs, molotov’s and med kits. The game has an upgrade system, which uses metal bits found for upgrading weapons, a bit like a mini RPG system.
Now, you would think the infected enemies are the most deadly, but they’re not. It's the human enemies and it shows how horrible a race we can be. If they spot you, they will try flank you and they will chase you down and pin you, in which case, the best way is to shoot your way out.
The way you interact with the environment is also good as the game doesn't pack in too many QTE (Quick Time Events) so it helps keep you in the game so to speak. Games that usually have you play alongside a partner also tend to get a bit annoying, but with this game it's not the case. Ellie handles herself and is a constant help as she gets you through certain parts of the game. There is also a section called "Winter" where you play as Ellie and its very gripping. She makes Lara Croft look weak, plus with Ellie the bow is much more fun.
Naughty Dog have used every bit of power the PS3 could give them and it shows. The environments and characters all look very real and the animations on them on all seem very life like. It helps you to be immersed in the game that much more.
You can tell they have put in a lot of effort as, even all the little details such as simply laying around has been done to perfection. The character designs themselves are all unique and you would think you are watching a film at times, it's that impressive.
Whilst it is easy to do a post apocalyptic design, they have made this their own and you won't see anything like this elsewhere. I would say they have maxed the PS3 ability though, as occasionally it may appear like it's slowing down but it's never appears to do so in combat. However, I only noticed this a couple of times and it lasted only for a second or so, if that.
Is this the best PS3 game visually? For me, it's up there with Uncharted 3 and, unless you're playing on a PC, I doubt you'll see better elsewhere.
Perfection not a word I use often to describe any game, but this nailed it. Everything about it was a masterpiece. The story was told in such a way you felt every emotion and feeling they were trying to portray and made it believable. This is a game you must go buy right now and not leave the couch until you have finished.
Naughty Dog has done well, as I sense this will be their last PS3 game as they now focus more to the PS4. I can only imagine how well they will do on that system and I'm thoroughly looking forward to their games in the next generation.
THE VERDICT: 10/10
P.S There is a multiplayer component but, as I have only played it for an hour, I didn't find it fair to write a review on that part, which is why I have only gone over the single player part of the game.