Scavenging for ammo and supplies is another key component of "The Last of Us." You'll search through abandoned houses and buildings for basic items that can be combined to make health packs, upgrade your melee weapons, create Molotov cocktails, etc. These supplies are limited and many of the items you craft require the same ingredients, meaning you must often choose how to use your supplies to fit your immediate needs. You can also upgrade Joel's basic skills, though it's impossible to fully max out his abilities in a single playthrough.
While I've already touched upon the brilliant voice acting, the rest of the audio presentation is equally superb, from the bone-chilling sounds emitted by the Clickers to the eerie silence that engulfs Joel and Ellie as they walk through abandoned buildings and deserted city streets.
Graphically, "The Last of Us" is among the most gorgeous games I've even laid eyes upon. Seeing the remnants of modern civilization reclaimed by nature after two decades of lying dormant is simply breathtaking. And the amount of detail in the environments is stunning, whether you're walking through a dense forest or an empty house. While not technically an open-world game, there are plenty of opportunities to venture off the path to explore and scavenge.
Other games have attempted to create an emotional bond between the player and its characters, but none have succeeded quite like "The Last of Us." It will pull at your heartstrings, fray your nerves and test your mettle. And after you've completed the single-player campaign, a full multiplayer suite awaits. "The Last of Us" is a once-in-a-generation masterpiece that demands to be experienced. It may not be especially fun, but it is certainly unforgettable.
"The Last of Us"
Developer: Naughty Dog
Available for: PlayStation 3 ($59.99)
Rating: M for mature
Reach Jeff Rider at 304-348-5122 or jri...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/gazette_gamer.