Early previews for Naughty Dog‘s survival horror game, The Last of Us, are up now. A select of media and press were given the opportunity to go hands-on with the game for the first time. Below are some of what they had to say:IGN:
I don’t know if I’ve had a demo where sound was as crucial to the experience as this go with The Last of Us. Like I said at the start, this is a game about survival. You creep into rooms and listen for trouble — it’s how you survive and progress. The little music found here is for mood. Naughty Dog clearly thinks it’s more important to use sound effects — or the lack of them — to set players on edge, to keep them engrossed.
It feels like a big departure for Naughty Dog, far removed from the linear shootouts of Uncharted. “We’re very ambitious sometimes, to the point where we drive ourselves mad,” says Druckmann. “And we thought at an early point that we’re going to go very systemic here, and probably beyond our experience. We do that with every game, we want to leave our comfort zone. But again, it felt like this game required it – if I’m going up against infected and humans, they have to all have this very robust behavior.”
Seeing that title screen was a relief. The Last of Us is a cruel sequence of high tension horror moments, a puzzle of ruined architecture where no structure feels safe, where every howl and footstep could mean death. It’s a beautiful, disgusting, horrifying thing to behold.
I expected a lot of things from The Last of Us, but what I didn’t expect, and what I was pleasantly surprised by, was that it scared me more than any recent survival horror game. I don’t know that Naughty Dog would classify it as a straight up survival horror, but between the time I spent scrounging to survive, and the rest of the time I spent scared sh?tless, it definitely fits under the classification.
A new gameplay footage can be watched below: Some details collected from the previews:
Combat in The Last of Us is stealth oriented, but Naughty Dog have created combat systems that are unique. There are three stages of the fungal infection, and in the demo we faced two of them, the Runners (stage one) and the Clickers (stage three). The important thing to remember about these enemies is that Runners can’t see too well, and so their vision is based on movement, like a tyrannosaur, and the Clickers can’t see at all and must use echolocation in order to get around.
- Early in the game the player will travel to a place called ‘The Outskirts’ in Boston.
- The Outskirts is a quarantined zone home to a human settlement living under martial law.
- In quarantined zones rations, weapons and medicines are heavily regulated.
- As black market smugglers, main character Joel and his partner Tess pick up a job to escort Ellie out of the quarantined zones and to the Fireflies, a militia group.
- Unlike the previous action-heavy demos, the new areas involved facing off against the infected, which has a distinctly survival horror feel to it.
- As previously detailed, savaging is a core gameplay element, players will be grabbing rags, scissors, tape and anything else useful to combine and use later.
- Tess name checks an enemy type as a ‘Clicker’, fortunately it happens to already be dead. Its skull has been cracked open and mushrooms are growing out of the wound and its eyes. Clickers can’t see but use echolocation by making clicking noises.
- Clickers have reached Stage three of the mysterious virus’ infection. In combat, being grabbed by these monstrosities is a one-hit-kill. A stage one infected called ‘Runners’ are much more like the traditional zombie, quick on its feet and very dangerous in packs.
- Players will have to plan their assaults using Joel’s handy ‘Listen’ mode. This highlights any enemies making noise in the field of vision, essentially letting players see enemies through walls and plan the best course of action.
- Throwable weapons include lead pipes, shivs and guns, but these have limitations. Ammo is sparse and weapons break. Throwing them takes some time and precision, so it’s always a good idea to have a plan B.
- The best way to dispatch the infected is one-on-one, using stealth to get a jump on them. A shiv is the quick and silent option, but players can also throw a brick at enemies to force a stagger and then close the gap and bludgeon them to death or – provided they have the resources to make one – use a scissor spiked two by four.
- Scavenging and crafting is essential. The world is peppered with blades, batteries, alcohol, bindings, rags and many other resources. By combining these Joel can be armed with weapons or support items like medpacks. Resources can also be used to modify weapons.
- Recipes can be discovered to create new items. For example, a bottle of alcohol and a rag results in a molotov.