Even if you don't own a PlayStation 3, it's hard not to get excited about Naughty Dog's latest project, The Last of Us. The upcoming platform-exclusive aims to be the quintessential mix of thrilling zombie apocalypse survival adventure, heartfelt story, and innovative gameplay.
We can't say for sure how it will all turn out - the game's release date is currently cordoned off until at least the last quarter of 2012 - but the information Naughty Dog continues to pour out shows the game heading in an intriguing direction. After a rousing debut trailer at the 2011 Video Game Awards and further details on story and multiplayer in The Last of Us, it's hard to blame anyone who's adding the game to their year-end wishlist.
That being said, the majority of our knowledge about The Last of Us still stems from a comprehensive GameInformer feature back in February. When Naughty Dog opened its doors to the magazine, they were able to run a 15-minute demo that produced some beautiful screenshots of an overgrown downtown Pittsburgh and the gritty violence that protagonists Joel and Ellie partake in. Only now are all of those screens coming to light, however, and they shed a new focus the balance of weapons in the game's combat.
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The screens depict a nail baiting scene in an abandoned grocery store, where Joel and Ellie are approached by a group of unfriendly survivors. Joel, after fighting one enemy off in a brutal melee encounter (which ends up, presumably, with a plank being used as an execution device) gets pinned down by a pistol-wielding foe until Ellie can sneak up and stun him with a brick. This gives Joel enough time to finish the deal through more melee combat.
"This is where the gameplay begins — a very tense, deliberate overview of the unique AI for The Last of Us; how the balance of power between weapons creates an atmosphere of extreme tension in combat, exploring the environment and scavenging; and the relationship between Joel and Ellie — both in combat and out of combat."
Indeed, while pistols are quick to be disregarded in most games once a submachine gun or assault rifle falls into our hands, imagine the position Joel and Ellie are in when their best over-the-counter counterattack is a brick toss.
Naughty Dog revealed how combat in The Last of Us is introducing this "balance of power" system back in February, and how stealth and cunning are equally, if not more important than the weapon in your hand (partially, because that weapon may well be empty). It's nice to see how it all plays out on the screen, though, because visually, the game looks fantastic.
Ranters, how would you wish to approach combat and NPC interaction in the Last of Us? Does the blending of weapons with stealth and brutal melee fighting appear to be shaping up to your expectations?
The Last of Us is currently in development exclusively for the PlayStation 3.
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Source: PlayStation Blog