The Last Of Us makes it 5 weeks at #1

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros. enters UK chart at 2

The Last Of Us

This week’s UK number 1 is still The Last Of Us, making it five weeks on the top for Naughty Dog’s fungal adventure. If it can last six weeks it will match Call Of Duty: Black Ops II and FIFA 12.

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros. was the only new entry in the top 20 this week, at number 2, but expansion pack Civilization V: Brave New World entered at 39.

UKIE Games Charts courtesy of GfK Chart-Track

Last Week This Week Title
1 1 The Last Of Us
4 2 Animal Crossing: New Leaf
New entry 3 Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Bros.
3 4 FIFA 13
2 5 Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
10 6 Far Cry 3
7 7 Call Of Duty: Black Ops II
5 8 Assassin’s Creed III
6 9 Tomb Raider
Re-entry 10 Aliens: Colonial Marines
15 11 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Legendary Edition
13 12 LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes
12 13 Need For Speed Most Wanted
19 14 Luigi’s Mansion 2
8 15 The Sims 3: Island Paradise
9 16 Deadpool
Re-entry 17 Grand Theft Auto IV
16 18 God Of War: Ascension
11 19 Injustice: Gods Among Us
20 20 LEGO Lord Of The Rings

Nolan North Doesn’t Know Anything About Uncharted 4

Yeah, and we’re the offspring of Sir Francis Drake

Naughty Dog may have only just finished lapping up the plaudits for its latest release The Last of Us, but already the industry’s attention is turning to its next title. And given that it’s been almost two years since Nathan Drake’s last globe-trotting adventure, it’s commonly accepted that the studio’s next outing will be Uncharted 4. Nolan North, protagonist Nathan Drake’s popular voice actor, should know a thing or two about the sequel then, right?

“I have no idea [about it],” he told “I really don’t. Naughty Dog is busy with The Last of Us, which is supposed to be fantastic, but they’ve been really, really busy with that. Maybe, once that’s finished and the dust settles from all of that, maybe we’ll know more about the possibility of [Uncharted 4]. I’m hoping, but I really don’t know. The fact that I don’t know is always disconcerting, but we’ll see.”

Hmm. Why do we get the feeling that Mr. North is telling us Shambhala-sized porkies? We know that the Californian developer has grown since the release of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, forming two full teams. As such, there’s a second group within the company that’s been working on an unannounced project ever since it deployed Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception in 2011. Would anyone like to bet against a fourth entry in the smash hit series?


Ellen Page: The Last Of Us “ripped off my likeness”

Inception actress displeased by her lookalike Ellie

Ellen Page: The Last Of Us

Actress Ellen Page has used a Reddit AMA session to express her displeasure at similarities between herself and The Last Of Us heroine Ellie.

“I guess I should be flattered that they ripped off my likeness, but I am actually acting in a video game called Beyond Two Souls, so it was not appreciated,” she said in post about the Naughty Dog title.

If anything Naughty Dog toned down Ellie’s likeness to Page between reveal and launch, but put the change down to wanting to better reflect the actress playing Ellie, Ashley Johnson.

“After delving further into the game’s narrative over the past few months, we decided to modify Ellie’s model to better reflect Ashley’s personality, and also resemble a slightly younger teen more fitting to the story,” said creative director Neil Druckmann last May.

“We’re happy with the final result shown in the cinematic we have released today, and hope the fans like her too.”

Page is currently the star of Quantic Dream’s latest title, Beyond: Two Souls, and spoke about the game during her AMA.

“We did do our own motion capture. The suits are not that bad actually…it is sort of nice to not sorry about wardrobe. Willem is an incredible actor and I loved working with him,” she said of the project.

“I played video games more when I was a kid. I had Sega Genesis and was a HUGE Sonic fan. I also love the NHL games and played them with my brother all the time. Then I was super into Playstation and loved the FIFA games. I recently played my first video game in a while. I played the latest Tomb Raider and really enjoyed it, finished in about 12 hours.”

The Last of Us


The Last of Us review: A bright moment in gaming, shining through a dark world

The last Of Us

It is obvious right from the start that The Last of Us is not your typical game. Naughty Dog has earned a reputation for creating transcendent experiences that are simply presented as games. With the Uncharted series, the developer created an interactive adventure, designed to keep your heart pumping. Those games are high octane, playable versions of Indiana Jones, with all the tropes that come with that style, including the death-defying escapes and the underlying romance. The Last of Us shares some of the same storytelling mechanics, but offers a very different experience.

Where Uncharted wanted you to believe in the adventure, The Last of Us wants you to believe in the relationship between the gruff and weathered Joel, and the young and still relatively innocent Ellie. That might seem like a predictable formula for storytelling, and in some ways it is, but adding the playable component elevates it to a level that has rarely been seen before in gaming, and makes for one of the most emotionally charged stories ever seen in video games.

Don’t Call Them Zombies

It all stars with a fungus known as ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a parasitic fungus from the Cordyceps family. The fungus is parasitic, and can take control of the host’s nervous system in order to move it in a direction that will ensure further dissemination of more spores. Basically it can take over a host and force it to attack others. And the pant-soiling truth is that it is real thing, found in insects, generally in South and Central America.

The last Of Us

The game takes that concept just a single, terrifyingly believable step further. In the game, the fungus evolves to the point that in can infect human hosts. Those hosts then become mindless carriers, hell-bent on passing the infection on through any means possible, most commonly through a bite. This may sound like a zombie outbreak, but there is one key difference between the enemies in the game and zombies: the game’s enemies are called “Infected.” Beyond that, they are pretty much zombies.

The story begins 20 years after humanity has been forced into small quarantine zones, and scattered communities fighting to survive. Civilization is a memory, and survival is almost all there is. There is a war brewing as well, although to call it a war with scant few survivors left to fight it may be giving it too much weight. On one side are the forces controlling the quarantine zones, a militaristic faction that believes in order at all costs. On the other hand are the Fireflies, a militant group dedicated to bringing back an elected government. Stated ideals aside, there are no good or bad guys in the new world, just shades of despair.

The last Of Us

It is in this gray world we meet Joel, a smuggler and a survivor. After a botched weapons shipment, Joel takes a job to smuggle a 14-year old girl named Ellie out of the Boston quarantine zone to the Firefly camp outside the city. That plan falls apart quickly, and the pair are forced into a cross country journey across the ruins of an America quickly being swallowed back by nature.

Trust No One

What sets The Last of Us apart from other post-apocalyptic games is the emphasis on the high quality of the writing. It is not just the driving force of the game, it is very, very well done.

Joel is not a good man. Thanks to some cleaver writing and the unavoidable connection you typically form between yourself and any playable avatar, you find yourself rooting for him. But he can be unlikable, and every time you think he will redeem himself, Joel will surprise you. Ellie, on the other hand, is just innocent enough that you can’t help but feel protective of her. From her inability to whistle to her fiery nature to her optimism, the writing for Ellie is so deep and layered that you will forget that she is basically just an occasionally helpful AI NPC. Thankfully, as an AI she never becomes a hindrance.

The last Of Us

Ellie’s story arc in particular is endearing and even moving. She is a child of the new world, and the simple pleasures of the old, things like watching movies and sleeping a night in perfect safety are so foreign to her that can be heartbreaking.

There are deep themes at work here, and dark story threads that really cast a pessimistic, but not unrealistic picture of humanity as a whole, many of which center around Ellie. You will want to see her safe, although Joel’s intentions are often more complicated.

Even when you think you’ve seen the story laid bare, it can surprise you and drag out a surprising emotional response. From humor to shock to an incredible conclusion that you probably won’t see coming, the story is not just good for a video game, it is good for any medium.

A Minor, but Familiar Complaint

The story is so strong and powerful that it is easy to overlook some of the more flawed pieces. The Last of Us is a fantastic game, with moments that border on brilliant. The combat, however, is not one of them.

This is a complaint Naughty Dog has heard before, and it is apt here as well. The combat isn’t bad by any means, it is just wholly unremarkable.

The last Of Us

You face two enemy types throughout the game: humans and infected. Both have their own AI systems that are typically very good and can even react on the fly to you. This helps to alleviate the sense of repetition that would otherwise certainly set in. The game introduces a stealth element that helps with this, but unless you plan to restart repeatedly until you memorize locations and patterns, opening fire is generally easier, and is almost always a faster solution.

The gameplay also lacks some of the moments that made the Uncharted series so memorable – those “big” moments, like when a ship would suddenly begin to sink, a train derails, or an attack helicopter chases you across rooftops. The gameplay just becomes a funciton of the story, and one you’ll typically race through to discover the next plot point.

That Old, Familiar Feeling

The multiplayer component offers an interesting twist, but it is very much a secondary feature to the campaign – and a limited one at that.

The last Of Us

After choosing one of two nearly identical factions, Hunter or Firefly, you begin a 12 week mini-game. While playing in one of the two 4v4 modes offered -Supply Raid which has limited respawns, or Survivors, with no respawn – you attract survivors to your personal clan (who are represented as numbers only). The bigger your clan, the more supply parts you will need to find lying around in the game, or by looting enemy bodies. Do well and everyone is happy; fail to find the parts and people become sick and infected. After a 12 week cycle (12 weeks in the game, not real time), the more clan members you have, the better your reward. You then “prestige” and start over.

As for the gameplay, you are limited in resources, from your bullets, to the pieces you collect to craft items like medicine or Molotov Cocktails – a mechanic the campaign shares. Because of the limits, a run-and-gun approach is impractical, leading to a more tension filled hunt.

The last Of Us

It is a fun addition, but an ancillary one. And with just two modes, it isn’t likely to carry a crowd for too long.


Minor quibbles with the combat aside, Naughty Dog proves once again that it is among the best in the business. It also once again pushes the envelope of what a video game can be. The writing and the story of The Last of Us are not just good by gaming standards, but good by the standards of any medium. It is a dark and mature tale, and while the obvious comparison is to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, the better comparison might be The Walking Dead. It is a brutal story that will continue to push your conception of what a video game story can be, and it is easily among the year’s best releases thus far.




Critical Consensus: The Last Of Us

Naughty Dog’s apocalyptic adventure slays the critics

The Last Of Us

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally something comes along that is so brilliant that critics have no choice but to swallow their cynicism, choke back their snark and write about why something is just so goddamned awesome. The Last Of Us, Naughty Dog’s newest IP that focuses on human relationships through the prism of a deadly fungal infection, seems to be one of those times.

Official PlayStation Magazine UK’s David Meikleham was certainly not shy in declaring his love for the game, suggested readers sell their kidneys to get a copy of the ten out of ten, “peerlessly tense hide-and-seek sim crafted around thoughtful stealth and devastating gunplay.”

The Last of Us

Of course until now Naughty Dog’s flagship franchise has been the macho, Indiana Jones style adventures of Nathan Drake in Uncharted, but Meikleham reported that The Last Of Us is a Drake beater, and a new high for the studio.

“A better game than any of the Uncharted titles,” he wrote, but added later that “it doesn’t handle like Uncharted, it doesn’t pace itself like Uncharted, and it’s certainly a damn sight scarier than your favourite fortune-hunter’s feral yetis.”

While he praises strong combat, well balanced AI and ability to use different tactics, enemy design and behaviour, it’s the emotions that are the star here. Reducing your reviewer to tears is usually a sign you’ve missed a game breaking bug in hour 17 of your game, here it’s a testament to “a tender maturity that boils the apocalypse down to the touching cross-country journey of a surrogate father/daughter pairing.”

The more cynical among you might dismiss this as a PlayStation publication cheering for the home team, but it should only take a glance at the rest of the scores to see that’s not the case. Veteran reviewer Oli Welsh at Eurogamer handed out the same score, and made a lot the same points to back up the double digits, clearly in love with the death of a nation theme he saw in The Last Of Us’ narrative.

“This melancholy twist is just one of several things that lifts The Last of Us far above its clichéd basis. The others are the outstanding engineering and art and sound design, the fine direction and performances, the touching relationship of the two leads and the tough, tense action gameplay.”

“Empire went as far as to call it ‘gaming’s Citizen Kane moment'”

Pacing was praised, with the puzzle sections offering the player a chance to drink in the “peaceful desolation” punctuated sparingly by a score from Brokeback Mountain composer Gustavo Santaolalla.

And it’s not just the industry sites that have gone giddy over The Last Of Us. One of the most complimentary reviews (and one that broke the embargo earlier this week for a few awkward hours) was from film site Empire, which went as far as to call it “gaming’s Citizen Kane moment.”

Reviewer Matt Kamen gave the game five out of five and the sort of quotes a PR can only usually dream of, “a masterpiece that will be looked back on favourably for decades.”

“The gameplay itself could easily have been a disappointment – broadly a mix of stealth and action, with innumerable sections of waist-high cover shooting, it doesn’t immediately offer anything new. Played with a shooter mindset, it doesn’t, in fact. However, it’s in avoiding combat when possible, incapacitating foes and only killing when absolutely, unavoidably necessary that the game stands apart.”

Of course even Citizen Kane had its haters, and here it’s Polygon that drags the metascore down, with Phil Kollar bestowing a lacklustre 7.5 on the game. For comparison, that’s the same score he recently gave to Resident Evil: Revelations, and a full point lower than his score for Metro: Last Light.

While others saw the game’s emotional storytelling and at times depressing world as signs of greatness, Kollar was clearly hoping the apocalypse would be a bit more, well, fun.

The Last of Us

“It’s not a fun place to be, and likewise, the game isn’t really a fun thing to play.”

He still praised the characterisation of Ellie, something other reviewers had mentioned, and the relationship she has with the other lead character, Joel, but was less happy when the AI of other characters failed.

“AI partners often attempt to follow you and stay behind cover nearby, but sometimes they screw up and get stuck out in the open. These moments don’t result in detection by enemy AI, which is a wise concession to the stealth gameplay. But it looks ridiculous and shatters the atmosphere Naughty Dog works so hard to build.”

And while others had praised the deliberately difficult gunplay as a clever design move, Kollar finds it’s “messy” and “frustrating” at first, and then finds killing the game’s non-zombie foes morally uncomfortable. Ultimately, the storytelling and design that dazzled other reviewers seems to have left Kollar unmoved.

But the low score is, in these post-embargo hours, in the minority. Overall it seems that not only is The Last Of Us proof that the PlayStation 3 is still a force to be reckoned with, even as its little brother steps into the limelight, but that Sony still knows how to work with a AAA studio to make sure it can produce top quality titles that make its console shine.