The Last of Us screenshot
The Last of Us screenshot

There has been a lot of buzz about The Last of Us' multiplayer. From grand statements that it will 'change gaming forever' to more than a fair bit of intrigue from the wider community, Naughty Dog has deliberately remained quiet on what it had planned. The time has now arrived for the developer to lift the lid.

Tying into the single-player, The Last of Us' online offering sees you choose a clan and then join in the effort to stay alive in the game's post-apocalyptic world. In order to introduce a sense of tension, though, you're only given 12 in-game weeks to do this (each match corresponds to a single day).

It's not just as simple as shooting people in the face so you don't succumb to the worst fate possible, either. Above all else, securing and protecting supplies is imperative to the survival effort. These resources become yet more important as your group grows. While lodging a bullet between someone's eyes will help in your quest, so do assists, revives, crafting items and physically picking up supply drops, obviously. It expands further than this too: members of your posse can suffer from sickness or get mauled by a pack of infected between matches. Overcoming such obstacles requires you to engage in specific missions you'll be set in upcoming rounds, such as achieving a certain amount of melee kills or headshots.

It is, to be frank, a very intelligent and well put together idea, and one that – unlike many multiplayer modes – actually connects to what you've experienced with the game's core narrative. Whether or not the premise is as good as the execution is another thing, mind.

While short, I did enjoy what I played, and the survival-based concepts are far more fascinating than blasting someone in the skull. You can jump into a game of Survivor – essentially an all-out deathmatch but with no respawns – or Supply Raid – where you scavenge for items and have a pool of 20 lives - each restricting team sizes to four versus four. It's nice to have a new focus in terms of what you're usually asked to do in a shooter, and the foundations here do work. I just can't see it gripping me in the same way, as say, Gears Of War has managed to do on multiple occasions.

The Last of Us screenshot

With that said there are mechanics in place that make for a more refreshing environment. Crafting items, for instance, plays a huge part in The Last of Us' blueprint. A constant battle against the odds as you desperately try to stay alive by fashioning a makeshift health pack, the panic that is rife in the main game has been transferred to online extremely well. During (and between) rounds you're able to upgrade your weapons, or add to your inventory as long as you have the right tools. Given that Naughty Dog has seen fit to be quite restrictive with the amount of ammo that's dished out, it adds a new layer to proceedings, one where if you try and rely on nothing but running and gunning you'll be killed.

This premise is largely a reason why sneaking around will serve you well. Full-on stealth would be taking it too far, but being able to activate Joel's 'listen mode' - which enables players to see enemy silhouettes through walls - for a set period (the gauge is recharged depending on how successful you are) means those who balance both will come out best.

To try and capitalise on this, Naughty Dog has made the maps quite large. Unlike your more traditional gun-inspired contests, there's an advantage to be gained from being patient - a bigger playspace gives you more room to be slightly more strategic. If you're smart enough, you can actually hunt opponents down, using the many buildings and pathways to creep up on foes without them having a clue you're there. It may be a tactic that appeals to less individuals, but those looking for a change may lap it up.

There are certainly smart, slight twists on the usual formula here but, much like the Uncharted games, The Last of Us' multiplayer feels like a pleasant aside rather than something you desperately need to involve yourself in. It's definitely an extra you should experiment with – I imagine a small, yet dedicated community will spiral out from this – but it's certainly the curtain jerker rather than the main event.

Still, it's hard to argue with an extension that wouldn't be missed if it wasn't there (such is the quality of the single player) and for all intents and purposes, it's not half bad.

Check out our The Last of Us review this Wednesday at 3pm.

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6 Comments

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guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

Honestly couldn't care a toss about MP on this game - I'm in for the SP experience!
Posted 12:56 on 04 June 2013
Wasp's Avatar

Wasp

I'm really excited after reading this. I wasn't expecting it to be how you described it there, seems to be different and let's hope it will work in practice. But the problem is that I feel like everytime a game tries to bring something new as for multiplayer, people often stay away from it. Most of the time it will be popular in the first few weeks/months before being rapidly deserted. I hope it won't be the case for The Last of Us. Seems people are not willing to play something new in multiplayer and just want their usual CoDs.

Anyway looking forward to the full review!
Posted 22:22 on 03 June 2013
SimonMiller's Avatar

SimonMiller@ Los_VALOS

Your wish is my command! Updated :)
Posted 21:53 on 03 June 2013
Los_VALOS's Avatar

Los_VALOS

But more importantly, WILL THERE BE CUSTOMIZATION??? Or is it all skins, like uncharted multiplayer? I really don't get the complaints about clunkiness though, I've always been fine with the feel of the uncharted controls.. Why would their gameplay design degrade like that?
Also what's the player count of the multiplayer, the size of the maps.. We NEED HARD NUMBERS SIMON!!
Some people say clunky controls is a necessary evil for survival horror though haha.
Posted 20:28 on 03 June 2013
SimonMiller's Avatar

SimonMiller@ Warrior

I won't say much, man, but I felt kinda the same after playing a different demo. All I'll say is, the finished game is MUCH better. Check out the review Wednesday at 3pm, but safe to say it won me over and then some.
Posted 19:51 on 03 June 2013
Warrior's Avatar

Warrior

I've actually cancelled my pre order after playing the demo. I've got serious concerns about the single player game. What I played was as dull as watching paint dry, I found the controls clunky, unresponsive, dead zones on the aiming, trying to get the main character to vault over certain objects was a nightmare, I had to reset the demo twice as two times it would not let me advance as button context situations like press triangle would not appear when needed. I've got the feeling this game is going to be buggy, it felt unfinished as I kept running into situations where the controller would not respond the first time, and it's not my controller, it's a new dual shock, works great.

I did not connect with the characters who seemed lifeless, no personality. I don't get it to be honest, I did not get the tension walking around that this game was going for, all I got wandering the halls of these buildings was complete and utter boredom, and I did not like the stealth sections either. It all felt like a cross between Manhunt, Resident Evil and Uncharted, Max Payne 3, Fallout, dead space, and it left me cold to be honest. It doesn't know what it wants to be, and is just a jumbled mess

The graphics are sharp, but the design is boring, the clickers?, looked stupid.

I am very surprised as I was pumped to play this game, I am shocked at the blandness of the whole thing. I hope reviewers tell the truth and are not blinded by hype when reviewing this game, unless the full game is a whole lot better than what I played, this is a very ordinary game. Uncharted had far more fluid gameplay, more exciting gameplay, and more atmosphere, this game feels dead to me, totally lifeless in all the wrong ways.

I know a lot of people are looking forward to this game, and my post is full of negativity, so I'll end on a positive. I've played bad demos of games that turn out to be great, that do not represent the full game well, such as Monster Hunter on Wii U, and Dragons Dogma, for some reason developers have a bad habit of picking dull sections of games to include in their demos. If what I've heard is true and this game is 15-20 hours long in single player, then there is hope for this game to be great, but what I've played, and what I've seen of the so called "best mutiplayer ever" I got to laugh as it's so bland it hurts.
Posted 19:32 on 03 June 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 14/06/2013
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 112 4
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