Four Stars for HBO’s The Last of Us: Exciting Game Story Beautifully Transformed into Series | Games

series reviewSony’s most cinematic game now has its own TV series, whichfollows the original game story extremely faithfully. Game adaptations usuallyturn out very badly, but The last of us is an exception to the rule.

The last of us

    • Star rating★ * Star rating★ * Star rating★ * Star rating★ * Star rating★

Drama Series (HBO Max)

The last of us follows 56-year-old Joel (Pedro Pascal), who must travel tothe western United States with young Ellie (Bella Ramsey). The world as weknow it has been devastated for decades after a fungal plague turned much ofhumanity into zombies in 2003. If Ellie is found to be immune to that fungus,that would seem to be the key to a potential vaccine.

The stakes are high, but the story soon fades into the background to focus onEllie and Joel. The latter lost his daughter at the beginning of the zombieoutbreak and is still struggling years later, and Ellie is about the same ageas she was then. He is reserved and defensive, but as the series progresses,their bond grows closer.

“They’re not actually zombies”

The last of us is essentially a zombie story, although the series does itsstinking best to convince you that the zombies are not zombies. The firstscene, in which a fictional professor explains the difference between a virusand fungal outbreak, puts an end to the “zombie fatigue” that came aftereleven seasons of the successful series The walking dead.

Fortunately, the viewer is treated to an army of monsters that slowly wanderthrough the world and bite around them. Those who are bitten slowly turn intosuch a wanderer. The exception to the rule are the blind, dangerous’clickers’, who search for targets with a kind of radar. The terrifyingcreatures look crazy, with brightly colored fungi that have grown throughtheir skulls and almost replaced their entire head.

Good chemistry

Clever writing and good chemistry between the actors make the growingrelationship between Joel and Ellie a joy to watch. Pascal frowns a lot andtalks little, but still manages to portray a vulnerable character. Ramseyartfully balances on the border of a foul-mouthed adolescent and an insecuregirl. Both actors portray their characters in a more nuanced way than in thegame on which everything is based. That seems obvious, but is neverthelessclever. Also in the game version of The last of us is, with motion-capturesuits and professional actors, an emotionally layered story.

Follows the game doggedly, with a few exceptions

The game’s story is followed doggedly, to the point where dialogues are oftentaken one-on-one. Striking for gamers, but it won’t easily ruin the experiencefor newcomers: the game was already written as if it were a movie or TVseries, so the script fits well here.

There are a few moments where the game does deviate from the original. Joel,for example, is looking for his brother as extra motivation, which urges himto take Ellie to her destination so that he can get a car there as a reward.It makes the story a little less game-like. In the original game, Joel was alittle more guided, simply because he was a controllable character withoutmuch urgency of his own.

There is also one major change later in the story, which is difficult toexplain without spoilering the series. Fortunately, that change also does notaffect the red line, which remains largely the same as the game. There aretimes when that becomes clear The last of us based on a game. Joel andEllie, for example, are always very goal-oriented, just like how a game playeralways goes from point A to point B. There are few times of aimless wandering,while such moments of rest can help to further explore characters.

Here and there, the two even have to solve simple environmental puzzles, forexample by moving crates or finding keys for the right doors. During shootingsyou can also hear the villains screaming simple one-liners. This is useful inthe game, because players always have an idea of ​​​​where the enemy is. Inthe series, it’s a bit weird. A strong story about parenting in a time ofimmense sadness remains intact, a theme that is addressed in differentcreative ways every episode. It is well written and often looks beautifuldespite the sad situation – the world has been overgrown by nature over theyears.

Just a good series

The last of us is ultimately ‘just’ a good series, which we enjoyed watchingfor nine episodes. Given that most films and series based on games come outpoorly, that is good news. It may be another zombie story, but this time onethat looks a lot nicer due to its high production values. And the fact that asmall, intimate story between two characters is central makes the end producteven stronger.

For non-gamers it is an excellent way to get the story from a previouslyacclaimed game in a different form. Have you already played the game? Then itis especially nice to look at the differences. Don’t expect to get anythingfundamentally different here than in the game.