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The Last of Us Demo Breakdown

Posted on June 4, 2013 AT 01:30pm

One of the most hotly anticipated titles coming out before the launch of the new consoles this holiday season is Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. This being the first new IP they’ve put out since their wildly successful Uncharted franchise, the pressure is certainly on for this new game to be a hit. Lucky for you, if you purchased a copy of God of War: Ascension, you can now download the demo for the upcoming game and see for yourself.

Naughty Dog is calling this game survival horror and after having played the demo, it’s hard to say how I feel about that classification either way. For a good survival horror game you need atmosphere, limited resources and a feeling of helplessness. Each of these things are arguably represented in this demo, but let’s break them down one-by-one to make sure.

Atmosphere -

If the Uncharted series is anything to go by, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about here. Naughty Dog has proven time and again that they have the ability to not only create an amazing atmosphere, but to keep them varied and interesting. From what I’ve played in the demo, the ruined city streets and post-apocalyptic office buildings fit the tone of the game quite well. Time will only tell, but what I’ve seen of the game looks beautiful.

Limited Resources -

Limiting the resources of the player is a very fine line to tread, but this game seems to do it pretty well. In a similar survival game, I Am Alive, they tried limiting you to the point where you had less than one bullet per enemy. While I admire their gusto, this takes the concept a little too far and makes the game no longer fun. The Last of Us takes it one step above that and makes items such as bullets and health not terribly common, but common enough that you can miss now and then. This keeps the pressure on while preventing it from feeling unfair for players.

Helplessness -

The thing that is screwed up most often in aspiring survival horror titles is giving the player a sense of helplessness. Too often we’re put in the role of a seasoned warrior that’s armed to the teeth. Once again, the best place to be is a happy medium between this and swatting at enemies with a twig. The Last of Us puts you in the shoes of Ethan who, in spite of know his way around a weapon, does not feel all-powerful. The weapons I had during the demo were pistols and my ammo box was never very full. healing from damage was also near impossible if you’re being attacked. In most cases, it seemed as though sneaking was the far better option, which does a great job of mounting tension. There are even some enemies that will almost-surely take you out if they get their arms around you, which adds an extra strategic element to clearing out a room if need be.

I certainly can’t call anything for certain until the full game comes out, but it looks as though this game is shaping up pretty well. The demo only gives you a brief taste of the action, but we’ll all get to see the full picture when the game launches on PS3 June 14th. Until then, make sure to watch out for mushroom zombies lurking around every corner.

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