Every piece of media has its gems. Movies hav titles like Star Wars (1977-present day), The Matrix (1999), Ghostbusters (1984). Books have Harry Potter (1997-2007), To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer (1884/1876). Well, video games have titles like Half Life (1998-2007), Mario (1981-present), and the gem of the new century: The Last of Us (2014).The beginning of The Last of Us takes place the day of poo hitting the fan in any zombie apocalypse setting. Joel Miller, the protagonist, his daughter Sarah, and his brother Tommy, escape the ordeal, only for *SPOILERS* Sarah to get shot and killed by military, who are on a kill on sight order. Her death scene is pretty disturbing. Keep in mind this game is rated Mature 17+ and not for the squeamish/faint of heart.

It switches to 20 years laters where the disease has taken over the world and most people with it. There aren’t undead zombies, but just infected people like in World War Z (2013). The government is still intact, contrary to many zombie franchises, but controls the citizens with iron fists of authority. There is a rebellion group called the Fireflies who combat against the totalitarians. Fast forward, you (Joel) and his partner in crime (Tess) sneak out (as usual but severe consequences if caught) to the Firefly camp for business where their leader Marlene, arranges a deal: to get their guns that they respectfully deserve, they must transport a young girl named Ellie to a drop off point in the city.

Soon enough, they find out that *SPOILERS* Ellie is immune to the disease. The Fireflies have a hospital on the other side of the country where they will use her to develop a cure for the disease.

The situation goes sideways when the pick-up team has been killed by the military, and *SPOILERS* Tess is killed, but before she does, she begs Joel to continue on with the mission. So, Joel and Ellie traverse the United States; from the East Coast to the West. It’s from then on, that the game starts to become an experience. 

You feel really warm and fuzzy inside, seeing how the two were extremely distant with one another in the beginning, as it was just a job, but slowly, they begin to develop a father-daughter relationship, which Joel keeps trying to suppress because of his late daughter. The game is impactful for many reasons: Naughty Dog Studios creates a beautiful world portraying that Mother Nature has taken Earth back through the green overgrowth of vegetation, with reasonably excellent graphics, creating an immersive experience in the ruins of Earth.

The game references some serious issues with human society that even though the world is gone, they still translate into the apocalypse, such as suicide, rape, and especially human morals when placed in danger (because there is a lot of killing in the game) which makes it exponentially deeper than your average Triple-A title nowadays. All of this though is balanced out with the underlying theme of the importance of having someone when everything goes to hell.

Lastly, the game makes you care about the characters. Every one of them. I’ll admit, I’m cold when it comes to character deaths (most of the time, I love when beloved characters die, because I’m a cruel pitiless monster), but in this game, the characters, interactions, and bonds they share make their deaths feel unnecessary and a waste of a good human life. Telltale: The Walking Dead is still to date the only game that legitimately made me cry from a character’s heartbreaking death, but The Last of Us is the only game that made me think about those deaths on a deeper level. Why did that soldier shoot Sarah, even though he didn’t really want to? What would Sarah be like if she hadn’t died? Would she be like a big sister role model to Ellie if they even met Ellie? Why did Tess suddenly want to become the good guy, even though they spent probably around a decade or more murdering people for their own benefit? Why did Sam’s brother chose to just give up and not tell anyone about his bite before he died? Why did Sam chose suicide over the death of his brother even though he blamed and wanted to kill Joel? The game takes death, whether it be a beloved character or antagonist, and asks you, the player: Was it worth it?

Moving onto the main topic of discussion. The Last of Us: Part II. My heart melted in nostalgia and joy when it was announced at E3 2016. It was good to see that the community was still existent as they all cheered through almost every scene of the trailer.

Ellie is seen now as an adult, and begins to plays the guitar on a bed. Joel walks into the house to reveal dead men lying about in positions that would imply that they were killed on defense. He walks in as she finishes her song and finds her beaten and battered, with a dead man on the ground in front of her, and he asks her, “you really gonna go through with this?” With fiery eyes filled with hate she replies, “I’m gonna find and I’m gonna kill every last one of them.”

I have so many questions for this trailer that can’t really be answered with good evidence. I want to say that I’m positive that she has killed Fireflies, since they do show a Firefly insignia on an old stop sign in front of the camp. What happened to Ellie? What happened to Joel? Who are they? Why does she want to kill them so badly? Is there a new enemy aside from the Hunters and the Fireflies? Will there be new infected?

If the case is that they are combating the FIreflies, I could assume that Joel brainwashed her as he easily lied to her when he kidnapped/saved her from the Firefly camp.

Naughty Dog has yet to announce a release date, but we can assume, as a lot of release-dateless games presented at E3, that the game will release by the end of this year or early next year.

Written by Nifa Kaniga

Entertainment Editor