Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
If you have even the slightest interest in video games and provided you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve heard about how good this game is. I got a chance to play the demo (that was available for owners of God of War: Ascension) before any of the reviews were released. I’m glad that I got that chance as I was able to try the game out without any real expectations. I enjoyed the short demo but I feel that it didn’t do the game any justice at all which is something I realised once I had played the actual game for a few hours. So I just got done with it this morning and here’s what I thought!
Naughty Dog is the same developer who made the Uncharted series and if you’ve played any of them, your high expectations in the graphics department will be met 100%. Admittedly, during the darker indoor levels it’s difficult to tell but once you get to the more vibrant areas, you will be blown away. The PS3 is a powerful beast and it’s not going to make way for the PS4 without making a few more major impacts on the gaming industry and this is definitely one of them.
I really don’t want to spoil anything with the storyline of this game because it would really take a lot away your individual experience should you choose to play through the game. Within 15 minutes of playing the game, I was almost at the point of shedding a single manly tear. I barely knew anything about any of the characters and yet I was already emotionally attached to them!
To summarise the plot, you play as Joel who has lived in an zombie-like infested world for much of his life which is now controlled by the (mostly hostile) military. They have safe and infected zones which are separated and guarded at borders. His main task in the game is to take a teenage girl called Ellie to a lab run by a rogue group called the Fireflies. I won’t say why he’s doing this as that would spoil part of the plot but Joel, Ellie and other “friendly” characters run into many roadblocks on their way to this lab. The story will captivate you; I guarantee it (unless you’re one of those “I only play COD and FIFA” dudes).
I was often asked if the game was anything like Uncharted. The answer is no. It’s nothing like Uncharted at all. This is a survival horror game. Think old school Resident Evil where you had to conserve ammo and think about how to approach certain situations. It’s just like that but more modern. It has third person shooter mechanics but that isn’t its primary genre.
Most sections of the game allow you to choose if you want to go commando and try to take out all the enemies in the area with your guns OR you can play the game properly and take the stealth approach to clear out the hostiles. The pace of the game is great allowing short “breaks” between cutscenes and set-pieces so you never feel overwhelmed.
Items such as health packs and Molotov cocktails can be crafted but must be done in real time. There’s no pausing the game to sort stuff out and it adds so much more suspense during sections of the game.
There are a fair amount of interesting weapons that you get to utilise against infected and human enemies. Joel has the ability to go into “Listen” mode which allows him to visualise where enemies are based on the noise they are making e.g. footsteps or speech. This can be used to see through walls and helps when trying to sneak around.
Kills involve brutal animations which were clearly not created for those of a weak disposition. Heads explode, bones crack and there’s generally a LOT of blood!
Ellie is usually one step behind Joel and definitely proves to be useful. If Joel is grabbed by an enemy, she will often jump on them or even throw a brick or glass bottle at them! She is definitely one of the best companions in any game I’ve played.
The game took me around 16 hours to complete. There is a multiplayer mode which I have not tried yet (I’m not a multiplayer guy) but from looking at it, it retains many of the survival horror aspects (e.g. on the fly crafting) of the single-player mode.
There’s a new game plus mode which allows you to retain your items and upgrades when starting the game again. I definitely plan on playing this game again and that’s a great feature.
I would class this in my top 5 PS3 games and that’s out of so many great games. The story is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in and that even includes films. They should make a film out of this, it’s that good.
If you have a PS3, this is a game you HAVE to play. If you don’t have the money to buy it, go and borrow it from a friend!
My Score: 9.5/10