“The Last of Us” is deeper than you might think
By Diana Morales
The survival-action game “The Last of Us: Remastered” was released across all countries in 2014. I personally think the game has a deeper meaning with all the emotions it develops like survival, loyalty, love and action.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic America, during an outbreak of the fungal plague. Joel and Ellie are the main characters of the game who come together to survive a journey across the United States.
Joel and Ellie first meet through a mutual friend and Joel is tasked to go take Ellie to the fireflies. The fireflies are a revolutionary militia group against military oppression. They are stationed in many quarantine zones so they could restore government control.
The fireflies need Ellie because she is the cure for this fungal plague, she had been bitten previous times and never turned into one of those zombies. Ellie is the only person in the world who is immune to the Cordyceps virus. This virus is a type of fungi that attacks the brain leading to zombie-like characteristics.
Although Joel refuses to take a little girl he doesn’t know across the country at first, he decides to take her as a favor for their friend. Throughout the journey their relationship blossoms into a beautiful friendship. Towards the end of the game, you see a huge change in these characters, and I would say one of the main strength of “The Last of Us” is character development.
From my experience, the game achieves its goal on the themes. The story mode is fantastic. When you’re towards the end of the game, you realize you’ve become attached to Joel and Ellie’s characters.
The game is designed to have the player experience a lot of emotions. “The Last of Us” is a heart-tugging story that is a rollercoaster for many reasons, like Joel and Ellie’s relationship and the violent action. As the player, you have the urge to protect Ellie and grow a relationship with her.
Joel and Ellie grow a father-daughter bond as the game goes on. Before Joel’s daughter passed away, he would always call her “baby girl”. The more Joel’s and Ellie’s relationship grows, he starts calling Ellie “baby girl” and begins to see her as his lost daughter.
At the beginning of the game, Joel lost his daughter when the virus broke out. After being shot by a military guard, his daughter passed away in his arms. You see that Joel carries this loss with him the entire game.
Jacob Minkoff is the lead designer of “The Last of Us”. Minkoff is a game director at “That’s No Moon” in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated with a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and has been a part of 7 games in total.
Minkoff joined Naughty Dog where he designed and developed different games, eventually becoming the Lead Designer of “The Last of Us”. He was one of the three founding members of the gaming company Blue Omega Entertainment.
I would say the strengths of the game are the emotions it creates for the player, especially at the end when the fireflies tell Joel the only way to get the cure from Ellie is to kill her. Joel goes out of his way to save Ellie and take her with him. When Ellie asks him why they had to leave, Joel lies and tells her the fireflies didn’t need her anymore because there were other cures.
A weakness of the game used to be the graphics. When it was released on the Playstation 3, it played at a meager 30 frames per second on 720p resolution. On the PS4, they had upgraded the frames and resolution to 60 frames per second and 1080p.
Although it has its faults, when I started playing I became attached to the idea of finishing the game. I felt connected to Joel and Ellie’s relationship. I loved the rollercoaster of emotions, the horror, violence, love and loyalty that I experienced while playing the game.
I fully recommend those who like a heartfelt game to give “The Last of Us” a try because I guarantee you will not want to stop. If you like a good story, “The Last of Us” will captivate you from start to finish.
Featured Image (at the top of the post): “The Last of Us” game scene PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr