2013 has some big hitters coming out next year, and so far a majority of what’s been announced is coming in the first half. There are exciting titles such as BioShock Infinite, God of War: Ascension and Grand Theft Auto 5 leaving us all eagerly anticipating the day we can rip that brand new seal off the case and load up the game. So, which title takes the coveted spot of Most Anticipated Game of 2013? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a sequel.
That’s right. The most anticipated game isn’t a sequel or even an established franchise. Oh, no. This title belongs to something innovative, something fresh. For these reasons, the title goes to The Last of Us. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey! It’s just another bland zombie game!” Au contraire. The Last of Us breathes new life into the typical “zombie” and with it, the salvation of the survival horror genre. Did you get a chance to play Resident Evil 6 this year? If so, you may have noticed that it’s new direction took it down a path that was far less scary then its iconic origins. And then we have the new Dead Space 3 which, in its defense, still has a chance. But it’s more action-oriented focus and cooperative campaign have led many to believe that it, too, will result in a minimal fright factor. The Last of Us continues to sound more and more like the complete survival horror package, thus earning it this title.
The Last of Us takes the idea that a fungus, one that is also airborne, can turn people into these disgusting and agile creatures that crave, you guessed it, the living. But the fear doesn’t stop there. The Last of Us adopts a theme similar to that of The Walking Dead; people are just as dangerous as the undead. Unlike the shambling corpses of those once alive, survivors are intelligent, resourceful and will do anything to remain just that, a survivor. This makes them just as scary as the fungi monsters, especially when you walk into a group of them and you have a single shot left.
Naughty Dog knows how to do cinematic. Hell, they’ve been the very inspiration for many developers ever since Uncharted hit the scene. The Last of Us looks to further raise the bar by adding a sadistic sense of realism to the characters. Have you seen the in-depth animation of simply choking someone out? Nathan Drake makes it look too clean and easy. You, and Joel, have to watch another man, a surviving man, struggle in your arms as the life slowly fades from him. This display of violence only serves to remind the player of the necessary evils they must commit in order to see another day. The picture below doesn’t do it justice, but if you don’t feel like watching trailers, this should give you some idea of what I’m talking about.
The characters, Joel and Ellie, are quite compelling as well. This isn’t a young girl you’ll have to babysit and save every two seconds. She grew up in this grim, new world. She’s hardened and battle-ready. She’ll gladly knock a guy’s head in with a brick to help out Joel on their journey together. The dynamic between the two looks like it could end up being one of the most intriguing relationships as we watch it develop from their distant beginnings.
So, here’s what we have: a game with a bold direction, a fresh take on an overplayed style, great narrative and character potential and the possible revival or the survival horror genre. This is but a quick overview of what The Last of Us has promised and shown and because of the aforementioned reasons, The Last of Us is easily one of the most unique titles to come and our most anticipated game of 2013.