I could talk about this game all day. It feels like I have actually; I just finished a long list of favorite apocalypse/dystopian stories for Screen Invasion with The Last of Us being one of them. Naughty Dog has done it again, you guys! They made a game that no one can stop talking about. After the Uncharted series, Jak & Daxter and Crash Bandicoot games, Naughty Dog decided to go a much darker route this time with an age-old zombie story, only…it’s not.
A sudden outbreak quickly spread across the country, infecting humans and turning them into violent, fungus-covered creatures. 20 years later, these things still exist and the human population is scarce, mostly living in militarized quarantine zones. Here we meet Joel, a smuggler by trade, who has just been tasked by the Fireflies (militia group fighting a losing war against the military) to smuggle a young girl out of the city. This girl is Ellie, our other protagonist. On their journey we meet all sorts of horrors such as the Infected and the Hunters. Hunters are the worst of the worst of all. They’re just regular, uninfected humans living outside the QZs within abandoned cities. They set up traps and wait for any passersby to wander onto their turf. Then they kill, rape, pillage, brutalize, and maybe even cannibalize all that is in your possession.
Aside from the horrors, which we discuss on the podcast, the game is absolutely beautiful. As soon as the game starts, you immediately notice the attention to detail that the developers have put into the scenery alone, right down to the shadows that follow you and move as it should when hit by light at a certain angle. The look of the cities are gorgeous well. Instead of designing deteriorated buildings with rusted cars in the middle of the street, someone actually asked the question, “What happens when all power to a major city shuts down?” Every city is different, depending on the geographical location, For instance, a city like New York City is surround by water, which is constantly being regulated and pumped out to keep the streets and underground tunnels from flooding. Grass and trees, and other miscellaneous plant life are constantly being tended to so they won’t overgrow. Take away all of that and more, and you have something like this:
You know what else is beautiful? The Infected. I know they are absolutely disgusting, but at the same time, the design of these guys are truly mesmerizing…when they’re not tearing out your neck.