Balance Of Power: Gameplay In The Last Of Us

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Balance Of Power: Gameplay In The Last Of Us

February has been a month flush with new information about The Last of Us trickling out from a variety of websites, magazines and more that have visited the Naughty Dog studio over the past three months. One of the more in-depth looks at The Last of Us came from the US publication Game Informer, who put together a cover story hub for all the OTHER information they managed to squeeze out of us from a very, very short visit.

The most important part of their visit, for me, was that we were able to show a well-polished, nearly fifteen minute game demo of The Last of Us.

Ellie checks dead body

The gameplay demo starts with Joel and Ellie driving down a highway congested with abandoned vehicles, eventually encountering another survivor who looks hurt and is limping towards their pickup truck. Surprisingly, Joel hits the accelerator and just before he barrels into the survivor, he pulls out a gun and shoots at Joel – missing Joel and only breaking the windshield. With this immediate threat behind them, Joel doesn’t have time to react as another survivor in the group rolls a bus downhill towards Joel and Ellie, broad-siding them and sending the truck careering into a long-abandoned convenience store.

This is where the gameplay begins – a very tense, deliberate overview of the unique AI for The Last of Us; how the balance of power between weapons creates an atmosphere of extreme tension in combat, exploring the environment and scavenging; and the relationship between Joel and Ellie – both in combat and out of combat.

Joel and Ellie talkingJoel hit with plank

Joel grapplingJoel uses weapon as plank

Ellie throws brickEllie throws brick_ALT

Joel and Ellie are immediately besieged by the group of survivors, leading to a brutal melee sequence with Joel, before other survivors reveal that they have a gun and start shooting. This tips the balance of power until Joel can draw his own gun and then both sides are taking cover and moving around to try to get a good shot off. When Joel’s pistol clicks, revealing he has no ammunition, the remaining survivor thinks he’s got the upper hand and moves much more aggressively since he still has a gun with ammo. Just when he thinks he’s got Joel, Ellie whips a brick at him, stunning him long enough for Joel to take him out via melee attacks.

Joel and Ellie on the run

But this was only the first wave of this group of survivors coming after Joel and Ellie. A new pack arrive in the convenience store, carrying a variety of weapons and Joel and Ellie duck out through a broken window to reassess the situation and figure out how they can get out of there alive. What ensues is several minutes of cat and mouse, and Joel and Ellie diligently work to take out each of the survivors one-by-one until none remain.

Joel points out bridge

With the combat behind them, Joel and Ellie banter back and forth while they explore the environment for anything that they can scavenge that may be useful to them. The exploration takes them through an abandoned building where the survivors apparently were camped out (and killing innocent people) to another roadway choked with abandoned vehicles – strangely beautiful as nature has overgrown everything – as they head towards the bridge that is their only way out of this city, away from any other survivors with less than noble intentions.

ALL of the screenshots were taken directly from our gameplay demo – yes, actual gameplay. I think they do a great job of representing a decent slice of the beauty and destruction present in the environments, and of the exploration and brutal nature of conflict in the world of The Last of Us.

The team has been cranking away at building more to the game and story of The Last of Us since we last hosted visitors – we can’t wait to pull back the curtain just a little more when the time comes.

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  • Looking forward to giving this a go. There aren’t many games coming out that interest me but the beautiful graphics on this plus the fact it’s Naughty Dog (so bound to be high quality in every department) certainly has me tempted.

  • you naughty dog you ;)

  • Not many games of this type around so am looking forward to pre ordering this which I dont normally do. keep it up naughty dog.

  • I would rather play as Ellie! That would be a change in this gruff bearded man industry! Plus it would fit the game more in my eyes because Ellie has no memory of the past before the “infection” so it would be perfect to play as her to discover everything with her!

  • Why did you make your main character look like that girl from Inception?

  • will there be a demo on psn at some point? not my usual kind pf gameplay but looks too interesting to ignore completely

  • hey hey

    I noticed you said demo.

    I believe there has been a glaring oversight by naughty dog in that I am currently unable to play this demo.

    there is no demo on the store
    there is no demo on my ps3
    my special demo invite seems to have been lost in the post

    If i don’t have the demo by next friday I will be sending my zombie army to santa monica

    Screen Shots – Good, Video would be better, demo next week or zombie army gets released

  • it looks awesome :)

  • can’t wait, hoping for a heavy emphasis on survival.

  • “nearly fifteen minute game demo of The Last of Us”

    I WANT TO PLAY THAT DEMO NOW PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P (sorry for shouting that) :D

  • I’m really impressed with what we’ve seen of this game so far. It’s about time we had a new survival horror with a bit more atmosphere and tension.
    It reminds me very much of The Omega man / I Am Legend and I hope the game carries through the feeling of isolation and loneliness.

    Can’t wait to play it.

  • Really glad to read that you won’t just fighting those infected zombie type things, the zombie things has been done to death to I am very glad to see it won’t just be about fighting of wave after wave of zombies.

    Hopefully the game doesn’t just devolve into another zombie game as the story progress. I am really looking forward to seeing some actual gameplay footage though.

  • Not making Ellie playable would be such a huge wasted opportunity.

    …indeed, if she was made the main character of the game it would really help The Last of Us differentiate itself from Uncharted. There are many people already saying that Joel is just a older Nathan Drake.

  • I hope you can play as Ellie. At least in situations that Joel can’t do that Ellie can. I can’t wait for this. Hopefully I can get it a few days before release so I can do a review on it.

  • This game looks delicious

  • I’m greatly looking forward to this game, honestly I really cant wait, it looks amazing and the quality ND has with their games is so unreal. ND has to be one of my favourite developers, and if there is to be a CE, I’ll be the first to get it ^.^

  • Release the video! :p

  • please naughty dog show us some gameplay footage this game looks ace

  • also where the last of us avatars that were released in US and were also supposed to be released in europe ?????

  • On reviewing these screenshots I’m somewhat reminded of the overgrown greenery of Enslaved. But whereas that game’s verdant colours resembled green porridge(thanks to the Unreal engine(similar green porridge can be seen all over Hunted The Demon’s Forge as well, thanks again to that Unreal engine)), Naughty Dog looks like they have made us a fine job of an albeit badly weathered genre… that of post catastrophic games set in decaying cities “after the fall”, usually in America, namely the same large slice of North America. I’m all for well crafted and scripted games that are fun to play and stun me with visuals and wrench my emotions with canon, and I shall most likely be getting this when it ships, but I think it is time that we start to base our emerging earth-human world culture on more than what is happening in just one relatively small swath of this planet.
    We are all of us in or on this together, so lets start to see more representation in our new culture from other parts of this diverse world.

  • Looks like a lot of spoilers, didn’t read. But really looking forward to this game!

  • any idea of a relese date

  • I hope it’s a mix of the movie I am Legend meets Heavy Rain (ps3) or a touch of Fallout 3 (ps3).

  • This is just amazing.
    Naughty Dog never fails in delivering the gameplay mechanics and the visuals in their games.
    Just look at UNCHARTED3, well it does look rushed but WOW THEY HAVE REALLY OUTDONE THEMSELVES!!
    Can’t wait to experiences this master piece once it comes out….Heck, maybe I’m gona get the advanced copy of it just like how I did with UNCHARTED3.
    Game of the year? Absolutely.

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