Zombie games are still alive and have a deep sated hunger for your spare time. If the three fleeting minutes of gameplay from Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us is any indication, then zombie games are only going to get better from here.
The eerie, atmospheric playthrough has us following The Last Of Us main character Joel, as he sneaks both quietly and not so quietly around cordyceps-infected zombies. His fellow survivor, Ellie, watches his back, whispering where the zombies are.
My first impression is that it is a refreshing change in the zombie genre. The thing about most zombie games is there is way too much focus on killing zombies, and not enough emphasis on the true horror these creatures can bring in the right condition. Naughty Dog does a great job with this by tempering the usual violence that comes with zombie games by arming a player with a myriad of weapons, yet making that player helpless with things such as limited vision and real time actions (as seen in the brief glimpse of the crafting feature). There seems to be a number of choices you can make such as going through the room guns blazing, which will draw attention to yourself and waste ammo, or sneak around zombies and save ammo by using anything you find in the dark as a weapon. Naughty Dog strikes a great balance between helplessness and power by giving the player choice.
The three minutes also made me realize how spoiled gamers have been with gameplay trailers lately. Sure, Bioshock Infinite has been delayed numerous times, but at the very least the developers give us a regular stream of gameplay footage. Three minutes of Last of us gameplay footage barely whetted my appetite for more. I look forward to seeing more snippets from the game towards its expected release in May 2013.