For many avid gamers out there, the release of Naughty Dog’s most recent game, The Last of Us (TLOU), was heralded as an amazing achievement in gaming. Many (including myself) were amazed at the game’s thoroughly emotional story and how everyone had a different experience while playing the game. Aside from the compelling and brilliant single player campaign, TLOU features an exciting and different multiplayer experience from anything I’ve played this generation.
With so many games being pressured into featuring competitive multiplayer modes, it’s no wonder that many were hesitant when it was revealed that TLOU was to feature multiplayer. In recent years we have seen great single player games suffer from poor multiplayer modes such as Dead Space 2, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Tomb Raider and Bioshock 2.
Some will argue that some of these games multiplayer modes were well thought out but, in all honesty, none of them made a huge difference to the multiplayer scene on consoles. What seems to have stemmed from the powerhouse Call of Duty, every game now it seems has to feature multiplayer of some sort looking to tap into the popular first-person shooter’s fan base.
As much as I was looking forward to TLOU, I couldn’t help but wonder what impact the multiplayer would have on the game as a whole. I had played the game on a pre-alpha demo and thought at the time the single-player game was brilliant but I couldn’t see where the Multiplayer would fit into it. After playing a lot of the single player campaign, I had really hoped that Joel and Ellie wouldn’t feature in the multiplayer as it would tarnish the relationship which the gamer had developed with these two characters and potentially ruin the single player for many.
I had feared that the multiplayer modes would be an afterthought and something which was rushed at the last minute to please the bankers at Naughty Dog to appeal to the COD generation. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Although the multiplayer mode does feature a poorly narrated story, which isn’t really a story, it feels much like parts of the single player campaign. You are driven with more ambition to survive as you are playing against human opposition and you also have more people to look out for and support. The two different “campaigns” in multiplayer aren’t really relevant to the online experience as you choose a side and the only real difference is which side you’re on. You will still have a similar experience whether you pick the Fireflies or the Hunters.
The main aspect of the multiplayer which I enjoy is looking out for my teammates. Throughout many years of online multiplayer with shooters, adventure games, sports and fighting games, I have never had the urge to look out for my teammates as much as I do in TLOU. In most online shooters you are part of a team but, you do anything to try and get as many kills as you can in one match. While those numbers are still important here, it seems to me that these come second behind your team winning the match.
Supply Raid and especially Survivors are both great modes and in all honesty, you don’t need any more game modes than that. So many multiplayer games are spoiled by modes such as Capture the Flag and “Horde” modes on anything but Gears of War but the lack of variety in TLOU suits the game and no match is ever the same.
Similar to the game’s main campaign, the motivation you need to have for multiplayer is to survive at all costs. In order to do so, you need your teammate’s help and you need to revive them if they are ever in trouble. After playing around 13 hours of the multiplayer, I have never encountered someone in my team who was wishing to opt for a “run and gun” style of play. The gameplay begins slowly in the multiplayer but when you find the enemy’s location, it turns into an all-out shooting match.
Like many multiplayer games, you are seen on the radar if you shoot without a silenced weapon or sprint around the map. Stealth, much like in the main campaign, plays a major part and often pays off to great dividends. The weapons are basic and there is nothing major to give more experienced players an advantage over new players. After playing each map a few times, you begin to learn them (like most multiplayer games) and you learn where the enemy will most likely attack from. Unlike the single player, it is easier to decide if you will use your crafting items to use on first-aid kits or Molotov cocktails as the maps normally have a few first-aid kits littered throughout them.
As I have already reviewed The Last of Us and said that it was the “best game of this generation” and I still say the same. As I have been able to play more of the multiplayer now it seems as though this is the perfect all-round game. With so many great features taken from the single player campaign being successfully implemented onto the multiplayer, it is essential to play the multiplayer. It cannot be compared to the single player story but the gameplay reflects brilliantly onto multiplayer. If you are a gamer that doesn’t play games too often or are someone who is heavily involved with competitive gaming, The Last of Us multiplayer is for everyone to enjoy and I’m sure you will enjoy it.