The Last of Us screenshot
The Last of Us screenshot

It's difficult to suppress a feeling of dread when listening to creative director Neil Druckmann and game director Bruce Straley talk about pre-release mock reviews for The Last of Us. These early verdicts called for boss fights, government conspiracies, and super-weapons, as if the reviewers had been told to craft a list of additions that were utterly at odds with Naughty Dog's dystopian adventure. If it had contained these elements, it almost certainly wouldn't have been our game of the year.

Why? Because The Last of Us is a game where no-one has all the answers, nor all the power. There are no easy decisions, or deus ex machinas to save the cast from a world gone utterly sideways. Joel and Ellie's year-long journey is marked by conflict both internal and external, mindless clickers and mindful questions from both members of this surrogate father-child team.

It's an action game at heart, of course, and there is the usual array of guns, explosions and combat to sate anyone with a bloodlust. But it's the moments in between the combat that mark it out (indeed, the game could have comfortably lost a couple of hours of firefights and been better off for it.): a feeling of hopelessness and despair that's not usually found in third-person shooters (usually because certain devs think that 'growing a beard' is as emotional as games get).

Like its protagonists, however, you'll drive on despite the odds, even when in the back of your mind – and in front of your gun barrel – you know all hope is probably lost. It's a shooting game where shooting is never really plan A, a zombie apocalypse without the fun, and a game where you'll actually care about the people around you, and not just because they've got the health packs.

We gave it a 10. It's not flawless, by any means. But it gets so much right in ways games often get them wrong, as well as excelling in many other areas, and as such it's our game of the year.

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User Comments


I see a lot of people online claiming that TLOU is too on-rails, and comparing it to games like Beyond: Two Souls. I really don't understand why; it seems like game mechanics like the crafting and stealth get completely forgotten.

The crafting mechanic in TLOU is amongst the best that I've seen. It's very simple, but forces you to make tough decisions. The way that crafting ingredients are spaced can make them even tougher - I always found myself needing one particular item despite having a decent amount of the others. It forces you to think tactically, which is something many games with similar ideas don't do.

The stealth was also great. It was easy to take down a few guys stealthily at the start of any conflict, but to take all of them down without being spotted was tremendously difficult in most cases.

I absolutely agree with VG's decision to make TLOU #1 this year, I'd be hard-pushed not to make it my game of the entire generation. Struggling to think of anything which comes close; not just in terms of storytelling, but in terms of gameplay too.
Posted 22:26 on 05 January 2014
essex1212's Avatar

essex1212@ Goofiestchief

What are you on about? There are upgrades in the game with guns and gradually unlocking other weapons and traps as you progress making the game easier if anything.

Also I said
I was playing the same level over again
nothing about the same character, why that was brought up I don't know, and if you can't see it's the same mechanics rinse and repeat then you are daft!

And if I want mp I go on Battlefield personally cheers, didn't personally buy it for multiplayer.

The game we are talking on this article is The Last of Us which I completed on normal btw, just wanna make sure we are talking about the same game.
Posted 19:18 on 05 January 2014
WhatISayGoes's Avatar


YES number one is the last of us for game of the year, where are your exclusives that are game of the year Microsoft, your exclusives SUCK BALLS, and your xbox one is a piece of crap that doesn't work correctly.
Posted 12:49 on 04 January 2014
Goofiestchief's Avatar

Goofiestchief@ essex1212

That's an incredibly ignorant way to look at that. Obviously you didnt play the game seeing as your descriptions make no sense. There are no "upgrades" and obviously you didn't play the first 3 chapters since you don't even play as the same character in those 3 chapters let alone have the same GP. And to say its just story is to ignore half the game(mp).
Posted 21:22 on 01 January 2014
CaptainMellow's Avatar


TLOU was a great game .... However best Console game i've played this year is DMC, it is criminally overlooked. Ninja Theory's best game so far.
Posted 00:08 on 01 January 2014
CharleSketch's Avatar

CharleSketch@ skidoosh

This is why I disabled trophy notifications the moment Sony gave us the ability to do so.

Excellent game, without a doubt among my favorites this year. That scene in the house in Autumn still gives me chills and makes me all teary-eyed, not to mention the beginning of Winter. All in all, I gotta say 2013 was a pretty great year for video games. Here's to 2014 not falling behind. Cheers!
Posted 19:13 on 31 December 2013


The only thing that let this game down was when I got a trophy. You forget half the time you're playing a game.

It's quite rare that a game that doesn't dodge hard decisions to deliver the gamer an option to leave them feeling all heroic and fluffy.

I hope David Cage plays this at some point, so he can see what an "interactive drama" should be.

This game, it's writers and it's voice actors deserve oscars for this game. Everything just came together nicely to become one of the games you'll be talking about in 15 years like "Link to the Past".
Posted 11:59 on 31 December 2013
essex1212's Avatar

essex1212@ Tomhap

I wouldn't worry too much about missing it.

Yes it's good but not the best of this gen or year even that some have been saying. Felt after 3 chapters I was playing the same level over again with the game getting easier if anything due to all the upgrades.
If you just wanna play it for story then fair enough, just don't go into it expecting a game. The game's production, music and attention to detail is fantastic though.
Posted 10:58 on 31 December 2013
Tomhap's Avatar


If you don't mind, I'll take this article, put it in a nice binder with the other game of the year articles about TLOA and dump that sucker into the big pile of my regret of not buying a ps3 in lieu of an xbox 360 those years ago.
Posted 10:52 on 31 December 2013
Metricos's Avatar


Fabulous choice. Really enjoyed this one!
Posted 10:16 on 31 December 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 14/06/2013
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 188 8
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