Playing through more of the single-player adventure revealed that The Last of Us can be as much a blockbuster as it is a thriller.
If there's one thing I learned from my previous hands-on with The Last of Us, it's that it's not Uncharted. Approach the game like Nathan Drake, and you'll find yourself staring at a Game Over screen in no time. Rushing towards armed baddies will get you shot and killed instantly; trying to take a clicker head-on will get you bitten; trying to make giant leaps of faith will have you plummet to your doom.
But, it is a Naughty Dog game, and playing through more of the single-player adventure revealed that The Last of Us can be as much a blockbuster as it is a thriller.
For example, in one scene, Joel ends up walking into a trap that lifts him, leg up, dangling as bait on the ceiling. Ellie attempts to cut him down, but a horde of infected swarm the area. As you swing upside-down, you must fend off the infected, making sure that both you and Ellie can get away unscathed. When one of the clickers shows up, you know you're in trouble: a single bite means game over.
It's a scene that wouldn't be out of place in an Uncharted game. But this time, the threat seems so much more grave. Not only is health a commodity, but bullets are as well--so you're trained to make every bullet count. As your aim sways from side to side as you view the world upside-down, it's scary just thinking "maybe my clip is empty" as a clicker races towards you.
Later on in the game, an ambush from a gang of human survivors has you rushing for cover, trying to figure out the best way to get out alive. It may be missing the (literal) explosiveness of a typical encounter in Uncharted, but it's no less gripping. I remember taking someone hostage, putting a gun to his head, and walking out so that his gang could see me. I pulled the trigger--not because I thought it would be an effective strategy, but because I wanted the rest of the group to fear me.
The Last of Us masterfully weaves between moments of tranquility, tension, and terror. There's a clear craftsmanship in every aspect of the game: whether you're fighting off infected, outsmarting human enemies, or simply navigating the environment, scavenging for supplies. As Naughty Dog slowly unravels more of their latest adventure, I'm excited to say that not only does it hold up, it gets even better.