The last of us demo [Review]

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Jun 03, 2013 03:05 PM EDT

For all you God of War: Ascension owners, the demo for The Last of Us is all set to go, so I suggest you go give it a whirl. For the rest of you, however, you'll have to get your Last of Us kicks elsewhere, which is exactly why I've writter about it here. This, dear reader, is a sampling of the sample that is the demo for Naughty Dog's The Last of Us.

So nothing is spoiled too much, the demo begins later on in the Last of Us story, specifically "The Outskirts" level, which, judging from the golden domed building Joel and Tess refer to as the capitol building, seems to be downtown Boston. Or what's left of it anyway. After the bombings trying to take out the infected, mother nature's come forth to take back what she could. 

The game sports the same third-person view with the over the shoulder transition whilst aiming perspective seen in a dozen other shooter-horror games, but as that's become something of an industry standard, it's not a strike against the game. Likewise with the controls, with the ready your weapon with the left shoulder button, and fire or throw with the right shoulder button, which makes it easy for even the most novice to pick up and play with ease. Navigation is thankfully just as simple as well.

It won't be long into the demo before you come across your first "clicker," blind, mushroom headed "zombies" (for lack of a better term) that are a far cry from the goombas Mario had to battle. Thankfully, they're blind, so you don't have to worry about keeping your flash light on or off. But they're pretty good at hearing, but still easily avoidable. However, if they manage to sink their teeth in you, it's all over. Really, it's the infected runners that you'll have to worry about. Not as deadly as the clickers, they're considerably faster, and still retain use of their eyesight. And I'm sure there will be worse enemies down the line once the full game is released. 

The game's crafting system is a nice feature, allowing you to build new weapons, upgrade old ones, or even make medkits, provided you have the right materials. You dont need a workbench as everything can be done on the fly. 

You can see why the survivors have made it as long as they have, they're definitely resourceful. Got half a pair of scissors and some duct tape? Boom, you got a shiv. Little alcohol and a rag? Heath kit. As such, you'll want to check every desk drawer, every file cabinet, or anything else for whatever you can find. Chances are if you don't need it now, you can use it to make something later that you will. However, items still aren't plentiful, so item management is key. For example, you can use a shiv to pry open a locked door, but you won't have it as a last resort item later.

Since items are so few and far between (bullets in particular), enemies are better left alone then confronted, usually by way of a nice distraction. As clickers are attracted to noise, they're easy to send in the other direction by throwing a bottle, loose brick, or what have you. They can take a number of shots, but enough will send them staggering backward, allowing you to stick quick shiv in their necks, which seems to put them down for good. Still not the best strategy as far as item management goes, because you're not getting that shiv back.

Melee weaponry is another option still, but the pipes and 2x4's are quick to break, making it not the best option if you have to take on groups. But even when the weapons break, Joel is still one tough ombre, and his fists pack a wallop. But the chances of getting overwhelmed are pretty deep. You can break free and make a run for it when necessary, and a quick turn mechanic makes it easy to face your enemies once you have your wits about you.

There's nothing dramatically scary that happens in the demo, a jump moment or two here and there, but there is a great amount of tension. Overall, The Last of Us definitely shows promise. It should be interesting to see the difference between taking on the game's plague struck monsters and the game's more uncrupulous survivors. The dialogue between characters is well done, and you can really see the detail in their faces while preforming certain actions, even during actual gameplay and not just cut scenes.

Sending you right to the game's pre-order page at the PS Store once the demo is complete, it's hard to avoid shelling out the cash right then and there. Easily a day one purchase when the game arrives on June 14.

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