The Last Of Us was that very game that I was looking forward to, in this console expiring year. My love for Uncharted and its cinematic experience always told me that this was the game that could perhaps bid a righteous goodbye to the Playstation 3. As always, count Naughty Dog to create magic out of nowhere. With this conviction, this was the first time I travelled through the Single Player story without trying out anything in the multiplayer. And it did serve a purpose, I was first blown away by Joel and Ellie’s struggle through the epidemic America and then as I gradually dived into the uncharted multiplayer territory, I was blown away once again. Literally and not so literally.
The Multiplayer mode in The Last Of Us is called Factions, that would probably give a hint of what exactly is wanted from you in the online mode. You are a fighter, not just an ordinary fighter, you are a part of a regime, and you continuously fight to bring home supplies and feed your clan of survivors. You are not Joel or Ellie, you are yourself. I think that’s the beauty of The Last Of Us Factions, it establishes you as the survivor who needs to deal with the opposition to feed your survivor friends. And guess who these bunch of friends are? Hell yeah, your Facebook friends. TLOU online mode connects to your Facebook account and shows your friends catching rabbits, telling stories by the fire and saving little girls from drowning. It is an imaginable world being torn apart by the fungus infection.
You choose whether to side with the renegades called Fireflies or the rustic group of civilians who have taken to arms called Hunters. There are two modes that you can play to build your clan and provide room for more people – Supply Raid and Survivors. The key to fame in TLOU Factions is to accommodate a larger group of survivors than others and survive through the phase until a rescue team reaches you at the end of your 12th week. It will determine your clan strength and your leaderboard standing in the world. The survivors will repeatedly fall ill and die unless you keep their chain of demands coming regardless of anything. The more survivors in a group, the more are their demands.
Moving on the other aspects of the online gameplay, there are 2 modes to play in online:
Supply Raid: You work your way up with your teammates. You finish off your opponents the most number of times (20 lives per team) and steal their supplies or discover inside the world. When you die, you respawn. At the end of the round you and your teammates are given supplies according to whosoever’s team won the game. The losers also take home sufficient supplies to feed the families.
Survivors: This is not your generic deathmatch. Your major objective is to push your opposition off the cliff and steal their supplies. However, there are no respawns available. If you die, your team suffers. So there isn’t any reason to be a hero here. Teams are judged according to rounds. There is a countdown that justifies a winner based on whose group has more survivors, or you can simply hunt them down, all of them.
The online mode doesn’t have its roots in the multiplayer mode of Uncharted 3 as most gamers predicted. The game owes its simplicity and yet powerful assault style gameplay to Counterstrike 1.6. The look and feel is more or less the same, using the maps from the SPM of TLOU itself. Counterstrike gives you the ability to buy weapons after every respawn based on kill points. In The Last Of Us Factions, you find supplies inside boxes located in various parts of your map. When you open them, you either find supplies, crafting items or points. Trade these points for better weapons and maybe an armour jacket too?
Like most game sets you up, you select your strike style in TLOU Factions, you can choose to be an Assault, a Sniper, a Stealth Cat or a Healer. While avenging for a lost co-patriot is fine, the key to finishing on top is by reviving team-mates. This game adds that bond between two online partners unlike any of today’s games, with the healing option. Once a person has been shot down, he doesn’t eventually die, and at times it takes more than just a smart headshot to take him down. So the next move is to totally make sure that he’s dead, by executing him and removing him from the fray. While you can execute him by shooting him again or snapping his neck, his partners will always make it a point to reach him and heal him. Healing gives you an upper hand on the leaderboard.
The UI is minimalist like in the single player mode and it shows you enemy movements on the map only if they shoot or sprint/jump. If they are crouched, you need to use your hearing ability. You need to hold the Right Button key for a second or two to focus and spot your enemy. And pray that they aren’t doing the same. There are certain bonuses that you can choose before heading into a match, for a more stealth approach, try to select the Listening Mode add on as it really gives you a longer listening scope and a quick revival of the same.
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Try to stay crouched as much as you can, as every step will show up on your enemy’s map, including a quick jump across a broken window. One of my favourite aspects of The Last Of Us would be the real time crafting that makes the game even more challenging. The Multiplayer mode has the same throughout, instead of discovering smoke bombs and molotovs, you will need to arrange a few items and create them while the enemy is still clueless about your hiding spot. “Make every shot count,” that’s what Joel and I would be teaching you before you go online. You can pass any of your created items to your partner who might be needing them. Opening supply boxes or raiding dead enemies will always give you ingredients and readymade arsenal.
Play the Single Player Story to discover the emotional fool in you or test your skills in the very subjective survival multiplayer mode.
Survival at its very best, that’s the key to The Last Of Us, be it the dramatic single player mode or the exciting online mode. Even a noob can stick around and not get hunted down so easily in The Last of Us Factions. The game developers did a fantastic job to give in-game perks that sort of counters other games that give a majority of the players an existing upper hand to hunt you off. Of course with experience you get cool upgrades, but you are also tested with some 70-80 mouths to feed. Your stats in every game would have to be really high, to make each of them survive. The level designs are pure fantastic as you can leap through a balcony or a damaged bus and quickly run into a safe position to heal yourself or buy an upgrade and stay in the fight forever. Gamers all across have given The Last Of Us a thumbs up, and I would not differ from them in any way.This is a game that is worthy of owning. Play the Single Player Story to discover the emotional fool in you or test your skills in the very subjective survival multiplayer mode. Saluting Naughty Dog for a fantastic work of art in the dying hours of the Playstation 3.