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The Six Best Moments From The Last of Us

Our favourite moments from The Last of Us

top 10 last gen games

In celebration of Outbreak Day, we take a look back at when the contamination first happened, and reflect on the six best moments from The Last of Us.

Released in 2013, no one was ready for the outbreak of emotion that The Last of Us caused. Naughty Dog’s take on the horror and action genre took storytelling in the gaming world to a new high.

Five years on and The Last of Us is just as incredible as it has ever been. Everyone is looking ahead to The Last of Us 2 and speculating on Joel and Ellie. But this Outbreak Day, take some time to reflect on the six greatest moments in The Last of Us.

Be warned that the next zone is infected with spoilers: only proceed if you’re fully prepared and immune to being spoiled.

The death of Sarah

The start to The Last of Us brilliantly sets the tone for what was to follow. The opening moments, when the player took control of Sarah, are so dramatic and are really added to by playing as such a young character. Looking for Joel seemed important from the very beginning.

Sarah’s death was shocking. It revealed how harsh and brutal the world in The Last of Us was going to become. It also turned Joel into the protagonist we all grew to love. At that very moment we bonded with Joel more than we’ve bonded with pretty much any gaming protagonist. What an opening.

Taking control of Ellie

When Joel gets injured about half way through The Last of Us, the focus turns to Ellie. It’s a chance to understand more about her character through her eyes. It also revealed her bond with Joel, and how much she was willing to go through to save him. It showed how far their relationship had come.

Ellie’s gameplay also changed the formula we were getting used to with Joel. There was much more of a focus on stealth with Ellie, and those moments were some of the most tense in the game.

The inclusion of Sam and Henry

The Last of Us adds many interesting characters to the journey of Joel and Ellie, but perhaps none are as memorable as Sam and Henry. The two brothers provide a sense of normality in the world of The Last of Us and present a strong brotherhood between the two.

Sam is also the only character within the full game (not including DLC) who is near the age of Ellie. This allows us to see how Ellie interacts with those her age, and their dialogue together is incredibly emotional at times. Sam’s speech where he wonders if the people are still alive and sentient when infected brilliantly shows his caring side, while also foreshadowing what’s to follow.

Sam’s death is almost traumatic to see. Not only is he a young boy, but he’s a character we’d grown to understand and appreciate. Sam’s death highlights how bleak the story can be at times, with Henry’s suicide adding to this tone. It may be a shocking moment, but it’s one that’s brilliantly written and is one of the highlights of The Last of Us.

The famous giraffe scene

In the middle of Joel and Ellie’s harrowing adventure, one of the most pure moments in any game was created by Naughty Dog. The harshness of the previous moments is completely opposed by the innocence of the giraffes, and the simple childlike awe that Ellie shows towards them.

The giraffes allow the player to see the child within Ellie. She’s comfortable swearing and discussing pretty much any subject, but the giraffes highlight her age, and that’s incredibly endearing. Ellie no longer has to be the survivor she’s been throughout the The Last of Us.

Ellie’s initial shock makes us suspect that there’s more clickers or enemies; after all, we’ve come to expect that from The Last of Us. This adds to the surprise of seeing the herd of giraffes, and creates one of the most memorable moments in The Last of Us.

Ellie’s reaction to seeing an ice cream van

“Man, you lived in a strange time.” To Ellie the notion of a truck delivering ice cream (and happiness) seems completely alien. Ellie has grown in the world of The Last of Us and has never known normal life. The ice cream van is a clear reminder of this.

It’s also a chance for Joel to be more lighthearted and joke with Ellie about how things used to be. It’s a side to Joel which is rarely shown by Naughty Dog; used only when it will have the most impact.

Joel and Ellie’s bond realistically grows throughout The Last of Us and each obviously cares for one another. Their actions prove they’re willing to make sacrifices for each other. But the ice cream truck moment is a chance to see their relationship outside of the harsh world they inhabit, and it’s the best portrayal of the bond they’ve formed.

When Joel saves Ellie from the Fireflies

Throughout The Last of Us the relationship between Joel and Ellie built in a highly realistic and endearing manner. The plot was also progressing towards finding a cure, which we all knew would involve Ellie. Joel was given the terrible moral dilemma: find a cure and sacrifice Ellie, or save Ellie and and stop the research for a cure.

Joel did not accept this research and went on a tirade to save Ellie. In one of the most dramatic shootouts in the game, Joel battles through countless fireflies and horrendous odds. It was an incredible sight to see Joel care so much about Ellie that he would risk everything.

Joel’s lie to Ellie also showed how much he cared. He obviously did not want to burden Ellie with the fact that his actions doomed so many. A perfect ending to a brilliant story.

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