Back in 2006, author Cormac McCarthy released a book called "The Road" that realistically told the tale of a father and son traveling through a post-apocalyptic world. It was depressing, but haunting - the kind of story that sucks you in and leaves you emotionally winded. Fast forward to present day, and game developer Naughty Dog has crafted a similar tale of apocalyptic woe with "The Last of Us" - but time time featuring the pairing of a man and a 14-year-old girl and their attempts to outlast the dangers of a collapsed society.
Whereas "The Road" had a world upended due to some cataclysmic event, "The Last of Us" revolves around a United States plunged into chaos after a fungal outbreak kills millions and turns many more into humanoid zombies. It also takes place two decades after the downfall of society - thrusting players into cities and towns largely abandoned and quickly being reclaimed by nature. For fans of post-apocalyptic shows like "Revolution" or "Life After People," you'll likely agree that a good real of research went into crafting a world at the mercy of Mother Nature for twenty years. Even better, you get to move and participate in it. From some reviews:
Digital Spy: "The narrative is complemented by the game's hauntingly beautiful landscape. While most post-apocalyptic games are dirty, grey and bleak, post-pandemic America is lush and green, but ripe with danger."
UK Telegraph: "The Last of Us is a road trip at heart, as Joel and Ellie travel cross-country, witnessing how different pockets of humanity have survived or crumbled, built up areas giving way to untouched forests and abandoned settlements."
Canada.com: "Every caved in roof and highway full of broken cars, tells a story and makes sense. From a tree sprouting in the middle of an apartment building to vines growing up a crumbling wall, nature is taking over the world in the Last of Us."
So graphically, yes, this game is a stunning representation of a world gutted by chaos - but it's also a violent one. Make no mistake, just like "The Walking Dead," survival doesn't just mean killing zombies. The living are just as ruthless and dangerous. This should, of course, come as no surprise to anyone that's ever given serious thought to just how frightening a post-apocalyptic world would be. Just to be clear, however - this is not a game you buy your kids.
Check out a video below on the science behind the outbreak featured in "The Last of Us," as well as it's post-apocalyptic setting.
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