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post #1 of 38 Old 07-25-2013, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Overall rating:
5/5




Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
90




Platform(s): Playstation 3
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Third Person Adventure/Survival Horror
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Length: 12-20 Hours
Difficulty: Easy-Very Difficult (Optional)
Game Modes: Single Player Campaign, Competitive Multiplayer

Full Game Size: 26 GB
Disc Install Size: 50 MB
Resolution: 720p (2D)
Frame Rate: 30fps (with rare slowdown)

Audio Format(s): PCM 7.1, PCM 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic II, Stereo Headphones, Stereo Speakers
Spoken Languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Ashley Johnson, Troy Baker

Director/Lead Designer: Bruce Straley
Music by: Gustavo Santaolalla
Written by: Neil Druckmann

Release Date: June 14, 2013



Synopsis:

20 years after a pandemic has radically changed known civilization, infected humans run wild and survivors are killing each other for food, weapons—whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a violent survivor, is hired to smuggle a 14 year-old girl, Ellie, out of an oppressive military quarantine zone, but what starts as a small job soon transforms into a brutal journey across the U.S.


My Take:

After reading the synopsis, you could be forgiven for writing off The Last of Us as just another zombie game, but it wastes no time in separating itself from the pack. Naughty Dog has outdone itself once again, although this is a far cry from the lighthearted adventures of "Uncharted." The introductory sequence is particularly riveting—it makes the effort to earn your suspension of disbelief through unwavering attention to detail, before launching into one of the most genuinely frightening sequences I've ever played. Progressing through the full spectrum of fear, from creeping anxiety all the way to sheer terror, it's exceedingly rare for a game to be so utterly engrossing from the very beginning. After such an intense intro, I needed to take a step back for a few minutes—where other games expect you to lose yourself in the experience without laying the proper foundation, The Last of Us swallows you whole from the first moment and never lets you go.

Joel, the protagonist and player character, initially comes off as distant and cold. Ellie serves as a counterweight to his detachment, and is easily one of the most lovable characters ever to grace a video game. Having never known the world before the apocalypse, she still exhibits the playfulness of an outgoing teenage girl, with occasional bouts of outright naiveté. But far from a damsel in distress, when backed into a corner she bares her fangs and displays a ferociousness that betrays her innocent exterior. Strong female characters in video games are as rare as diamonds, but she easily makes up for three decades of neglect. Although it is quite apparent that manners have slipped since the apocalypse—Ellie has a way with words that would make a sailor blush. Although it's frequently extremely violent, the typical over-the-top bloodbath is replaced by an unglamorous brutality. It's quite effective in making you feel uncomfortable more often than heroic, but the body count is still unreasonably large by the end. Outright filler content is fortunately absent, but a few unnecessary chapters and battle sequences dilute the experience, and the occasional poorly designed level may leave you at a loss of how to proceed.

Overall, there are very few ways I could imagine how the game could realistically have been improved—this is a must-play for anyone who can stomach the brutality. Without relying on heavy-handed exposition and an excessively complex plot to drive the narrative, The Last of Us is refreshing. Although the moment to moment gameplay holds up its end of the bargain, it's the characters and human drama that will stick with you. It may especially strike a chord with gamers that have children of their own, but this is definitely a game for adults only.


Parental Guide:

Extreme and realistic violence, frequent graphic language.




AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 90-100 / EXCELLENT = 80-89 / GOOD = 65-79 / AVERAGE = 55-65 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 55

**Ratings are judged against the state of the art in contemporary games. As technology rapidly improves, standards will raise appropriately.**


Audio: 100

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low Frequency Extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Positional/Environmental Cues: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Detail/Realism: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue/Mix Quality: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Easily the highlight of the A/V experience, TLOU sets a new high watermark for audio in video games. With dynamic range set to maximum in the options menu, the soundscape is given ample room to breathe. Turning up to reference level allows dialogue and ambience to shine through clearly at a comfortable volume, while saving plenty of headroom for louder effects. No other game has come so close to capturing the frightening and awesome power of firing a rifle or shotgun. Environmental modeling is top notch, with layers of ambience blending seamlessly with positional cues, allowing your theater to melt away and fully absorbing you into the experience. Low frequencies are employed with restraint to give a satisfying weight and authority to effects without crossing the line into the ever-present rumbling that tends to plague most action games. The score displays a similar restraint, with simple and evocative pieces that evolve throughout the course of the game. Mixing of all the various elements is flawless with dialogue always clear and intelligible—Naughty Dog has mastered the art of keeping sound effects from trampling all over dialogue. If you have the gear to make it shine, TLOU will not let you down.


Video: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Aliasing: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

  • Frame Rate: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Calibration Adherence: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Technical Quality: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Art Design/Production Values: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


In the twilight of a console generation, expectations for visual fidelity are running high. In most respects, TLOU doesn’t disappoint. Facial and character animation is simply phenomenal in the cinematic sequences. Naughty Dog's performance capture technology is second to none, capable of capturing the slightest facial twitch of genuinely gifted actors. Ashley Johnson (Ellie) steals the show, although the rest of the cast carry their weight. The world feels truly alive; no detail was spared in recreating a believable post-apocalyptic U.S., from the authentically modeled locations torn apart by 20 years of neglect, all the way down to the realistic pattering of rain against a dirty window.

Unfortunately, the ambitions of the developers clearly exceed what the Playstation 3 is capable of delivering. Most of the power of the PS3 was turned towards rendering the detailed environments, leaving the core presentation somewhat lacking. 30 frames a second is already barely adequate for games of this type, and only a light touch of motion blur is present to smooth it out. Occasional dips in performance during complex sequences further degrade the presentation. Resolution is a native 720p—standard for the platform, but heavy aliasing frequently rears its ugly head and severely hinders the overall appearance. Still, Naughty Dog deserves credit for treating well calibrated displays with respect, no tweaking is necessary to produce a balanced and rich picture. Although they've squeezed every last drop of performance out of the PS3, a game of this caliber deserves better. I can't help but feel that TLOU would be more at home on next generation hardware.


Recommended In-game Settings:

  • Audio—Dynamic Range: Maximum

  • Audio—Center Speaker: Large

  • Video—Brightness: Default



Game Design: 76

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Overall Gameplay: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Controls/Feel: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Interface: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Stability: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Load Time: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692


TLOU exhibits excellent pacing, with frequent shifts between action, stealth, exploration and exposition. But far too many collectables distract from the pace of the narrative, which all too often feature essential story elements that can be easily missed. Combat feels tight and satisfying, with remarkably unpredictable enemy AI. Controls are tight, but the low frame rate and mild input delay can lead to a somewhat detached feeling. The basic interface is intuitive and checkpoints are frequent and well placed, but a few glitches popped up during my play through, with enemies spawning or disappearing right in front of my character, leading to several untimely deaths. The initial load time takes an eternity, measuring at a full three and a half minutes—but reloads after death are near instantaneous, a tradeoff I'm more than happy to make. The multiplayer modes are rather forgettable, but the campaign is reason enough to purchase the game.


Bonus Features:

  • Cinematics Gallery (Acquired upon chapter completion)

  • Character Uniforms (Unlockable)

  • Concept Art Gallery (Unlockable)

  • Alternate Render Modes (Unlockable)





Final Thoughts:

The Last of Us is the full package—a story with subtlety and depth, which rarely falls back on taking the easy way out. Even though familiar genre tropes manage to sneak in from time to time, they rarely play out as anticipated. Solid gameplay and an excellent A/V presentation round out the experience—where it falters, it's difficult to hold it against the developers. Judged against its peers, TLOU is a front-runner for game of the year, if not the entire generation. It's an incredible way to send off the Playstation 3, but we can only hope a Playstation 4 edition isn't too far behind.



Mark D'Aria
AVS Forum Video Game Reviews


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post #2 of 38 Old 07-25-2013, 09:19 PM
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Great job on the review! Such a fantastic game.

I had one glitch early on where my character was half way in the floor, but it only happened once and was fixed by reloading.

I agree on the collectables as well. I enjoyed them on previous Naughty Dog games Uncharted 1 and 2 but in this game a bit much.

There are a couple times where some of the darker scenes don't look that great on my plasma, could be my settings but overall I'm very impressed with what Naught Dog has pulled off on PS3 hardware.
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post #3 of 38 Old 07-26-2013, 04:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freemeat View Post

Great job on the review! Such a fantastic game.

I had one glitch early on where my character was half way in the floor, but it only happened once and was fixed by reloading.

I agree on the collectables as well. I enjoyed them on previous Naughty Dog games Uncharted 1 and 2 but in this game a bit much.

There are a couple times where some of the darker scenes don't look that great on my plasma, could be my settings but overall I'm very impressed with what Naught Dog has pulled off on PS3 hardware.

I did notice that in some darker scenes, the minimum black level would raise a bit. But because it was triggered in engine, I took it as artistic intent, like using white noise for silence. You would hit a point at the end of the sequence where you'd see it drop back down to normal.

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post #4 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 09:58 AM
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I have been waiting for a feature like this for a very long time. Gaming on a high end system is a unique joy that can be more fulfilling than the best-mixed blu rays; this niche certainly deserves attention. This is a great review and I look forward to reading more game reviews. Thank you!!!

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post #5 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 10:16 AM
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I will definitely buy this later this year once they fix the bugs.
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post #6 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 10:22 AM
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Very good review. The game was very well done. It has everything. It really set itself apart from other zombie games in an outstanding way. Enjoyed it a lot.

I found funny that there are several situations that the overwhelming numbers were done to kick in your stealthy mode, sneak your way out, but many times you ended up just eliminating them all. Stealh mode FAIL. It was easier to eliminate all obstacles LOL. Many many times it was against humans not infected. Just random gangs fighting to survive. It made you feel that you are reducing humanities numbers just to survive. LOL

Love the game. Hated the language. The sad part is it did not need it. Voice acting was awesome. But the foul language was not needed. They need to include a feature to hold back the language. When I started to play i was in the main room with a 7.1 full blown system, it sounded awesome until F*** this and F*** that and M**F*** became part of every sentence. ( well at least it felt that way). Anyway two babies in the house, they didn't get to see the gore cuz they were in the other room but with a 7.1 there is no place in the house it cannot be heard, so.....had to play this with headphones the rest of the game. Again it did not need it. The game was awesome without it.

Fully recommend this game to test out your system and your survival skills.
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post #7 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 10:40 AM
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Great review - makes me want this game even more than i did already eek.gifsmile.gif
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post #8 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 11:19 AM
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As a Xbox 360 owner, there are a handful of PS3 games that I wished I had played and this one tops the list. I pre-ordered the PS4 and I hope The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, Journey (to name of few) will be available/playable in some capacity. If not, I will pick up a used PS3 early next year.

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post #9 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 12:41 PM
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I just got my copy from Gamefly yesterday. Can't wait to play it.

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post #10 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 12:59 PM
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This has been in my wish list for a while now. I think it's time to pay a visit to eBay.
Quote:
Originally Posted by properbostonian View Post

As a Xbox 360 owner, there are a handful of PS3 games that I wished I had played and this one tops the list. I pre-ordered the PS4 and I hope The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, Journey (to name of few) will be available/playable in some capacity. If not, I will pick up a used PS3 early next year.
You didn't miss much with Heavy Rain.
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post #11 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MPMorph View Post

Love the game. Hated the language. The sad part is it did not need it. Voice acting was awesome. But the foul language was not needed. They need to include a feature to hold back the language. When I started to play i was in the main room with a 7.1 full blown system, it sounded awesome until F*** this and F*** that and M**F*** became part of every sentence. ( well at least it felt that way). Anyway two babies in the house, they didn't get to see the gore cuz they were in the other room but with a 7.1 there is no place in the house it cannot be heard, so.....had to play this with headphones the rest of the game. Again it did not need it. The game was awesome without it.

Hmm....you know, I never thought of that. I can definitely see that being a problem with kids in the house. It shouldn't be too hard for them to have an a setting to bleep or silence those words. I guess not enough people are complaining about it.
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post #12 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 01:20 PM
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I think a game developer who makes a game involving the brutal killing of other humans is safe in assuming its product will be reaching a mature audience. If I buy a game rated Mature I assume the responsibility for making sure the 12 year old in my house doesn't see or hear anything inappropriate. That's the compromise I have to make when I, a middle aged adult, play video games aimed at a much younger audience.

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post #13 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 01:41 PM
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Great review for one of the all time great games.
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post #14 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Hmm....you know, I never thought of that. I can definitely see that being a problem with kids in the house. It shouldn't be too hard for them to have an a setting to bleep or silence those words. I guess not enough people are complaining about it.

So true maybe not enough. I remembered that Gears of War had it. I guess it depends on the audience the developer is aiming for.
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post #15 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Hmm....you know, I never thought of that. I can definitely see that being a problem with kids in the house. It shouldn't be too hard for them to have an a setting to bleep or silence those words. I guess not enough people are complaining about it.

I just wait for my kids to go to bed before playing any of my violent games (or one's with heavy language)
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post #16 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 06:57 PM
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A triumphant last hurrah for the PS3. Highly Recommended!

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post #17 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 07:19 PM
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This is such a fantastic game. I would love to see this game done in 1080p60 on the PS4 with all the smooth-y goodness the PS4 can muster.
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post #18 of 38 Old 07-30-2013, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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This is such a fantastic game. I would love to see this game done in 1080p60 on the PS4 with all the smooth-y goodness the PS4 can muster.

I really don't think it's a matter of if, but when. Sony has rereleased all the great PS2 games on PS3, I see no reason why they wouldn't do the same for PS3. Might take a few years...but it'll happen.

The real question is whether or not the graphics will still hold up in a few years, even at 1080p/60. I'm sure the story will, so it will definitely be worth playing again...but I have to imagine what Naughty Dog will be able to do with a PS4 will blow TLOU away.

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post #19 of 38 Old 07-31-2013, 06:30 PM
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I have been waiting for a feature like this for a very long time. Gaming on a high end system is a unique joy that can be more fulfilling than the best-mixed blu rays; this niche certainly deserves attention. This is a great review and I look forward to reading more game reviews. Thank you!!!


Glad you like the idea! I've been very impressed with your gear reviews, so perhaps you'd be interested in writing game reviews as well? We have a new section for user game reviews here:

 

http://www.avsforum.com/products/category/video-games

 

Or perhaps you'd be interested in becoming an official AVS game reviewer? If so, please PM me and we'll talk. That goes for anyone else as well; I'd be delighted to have members write game reviews in the user section linked above, or contact me if you're interested in becoming an official AVS game reviewer.


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post #20 of 38 Old 07-31-2013, 09:10 PM
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This one one of the best games I've played in a very long time. The atmosphere was amazing, game play was very good and sound was really good. My favorite game of the last few years at least.

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post #21 of 38 Old 08-01-2013, 09:55 PM
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I'm enjoying the game only problem i have is sound leaning to the left speaker figure it's cause the the camera is more over that way but when on horses it comes center on rocks that is.
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post #22 of 38 Old 08-03-2013, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Glad you like the idea! I've been very impressed with your gear reviews, so perhaps you'd be interested in writing game reviews as well? We have a new section for user game reviews here:

http://www.avsforum.com/products/category/video-games

Or perhaps you'd be interested in becoming an official AVS game reviewer? If so, please PM me and we'll talk. That goes for anyone else as well; I'd be delighted to have members write game reviews in the user section linked above, or contact me if you're interested in becoming an official AVS game reviewer.

I'm very much looking forward to what the reviewers have to say about the huge amount of quality titles out now / upcoming, however I jumped to the link and see no category for PC games.

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post #23 of 38 Old 08-03-2013, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post


I'm very much looking forward to what the reviewers have to say about the huge amount of quality titles out now / upcoming, however I jumped to the link and see no category for PC games.

Good point! I hadn't notice that before. I'll get that added ASAP. Thanks!

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post #24 of 38 Old 08-04-2013, 08:51 AM
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Heard a lot about last of us. Infact was sold out in my local Best Buy Store.
Anyone recommend a rental place in Canada !. yup Canuck.
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post #25 of 38 Old 08-05-2013, 07:31 AM
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I agree with this review wholeheartedly.

Note: I will add that I have not purchased a Console Game for many many years. My Playstation 3 has been nothing more than a blu ray player / media hub most of the time, and even that gets rarely used now a days with the ways the rest of tech has progressed. Still, I had heard so much about this game and since I love things like "The Walking Dead", I decided to make it my first PS3 game. I used to play tons of games on the PC, but don't have a lot of time for it anymore.

This game did not let me down. In fact, it was even better than I expected. It is also the first game I ever played in my theater, and it seems like it was made for that venue. The 7.1 LPCM audio option is phenomenal. I have to agree with the "100" score given by the reviewer. The surround field and LFE was amazing. The game seems like it is able to project every sound exactly where it is in the game. My subs were booming, and every little environment sound was rendered in a beautiful 3D soundscape. The reviewer was also spot on with the video. The game is obviously using the maximum capabilities of the PS3. It would be incredible to see how the game could look on a PC port allowing max settings, and the story was good enough to make a much better and intense movie than many of the survival movies I've seen. I've only spent a single afternoon playing, but these things were obvious from the beginning. The whole introduction had my heart racing, and when you "run" in this game, you really feel like you are running, and if you took just a moment to look behind you, you feel like it might cost you your life.


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post #26 of 38 Old 08-16-2013, 11:39 PM
 
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Heads up to those on the fence:

The Last of US - $40 @ KMART

Thats a steal. Run to get it!
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post #27 of 38 Old 08-19-2013, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by TyrantII View Post

Heads up to those on the fence:

The Last of US - $40 @ KMART

Thats a steal. Run to get it!

Heh.... there's a better deal.

I can sell mine for $20!! lol

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post #28 of 38 Old 08-20-2013, 08:48 AM
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Agree with the review, definitely a must have if you own a PS3. Very challenging on the higher difficulty levels. Surround sound during some of the more intense scenes totally adds to the impact of those pieces. Hearing zombies chasing you from behind is quite unsettling to say the least! Maybe it was just me but I felt the ending was lacking. To me the story ended but didn't conclude per se. Maybe it was because I still wanted it to continue so I could keep playing.
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post #29 of 38 Old 08-20-2013, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kayvan79 View Post

Agree with the review, definitely a must have if you own a PS3. Very challenging on the higher difficulty levels. Surround sound during some of the more intense scenes totally adds to the impact of those pieces. Hearing zombies chasing you from behind is quite unsettling to say the least! Maybe it was just me but I felt the ending was lacking. To me the story ended but didn't conclude per se. Maybe it was because I still wanted it to continue so I could keep playing.

I thought that was one of the things that made it so great. It actually left you with something to think about, rather than neatly tying up all the loose ends. Most gamers aren't used to that.

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post #30 of 38 Old 08-20-2013, 12:13 PM
 
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I agree with Naughty Dog that any other ending would have been too easy on, and a cop-out to Joel. Might feel better for us players, but it wouldn't have been true to the 12-20 hour adventure in that world you just took.
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