So, summer’s officially with us, and that in theory means we’ll all be outside soaking up some rays and getting some much-needed vitamin D. However, thanks to the release of a little-known title called The Last of Us, I doubt that’s the case for many of you, even if the month of June does signal a traditionally dry spell in the game release calendar. Yep, aside from the odd gem, the next couple of months are going to be pretty lacklustre in terms of triple-A software releases, though fortunately that gives us ample opportunity to take our backlog for a spin – and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have more than enough games to keep you distracted (speaking as someone who’s only just got around to playing Assassin’s Creed III).
In terms of releases, they don’t get any bigger than The Last of Us for June. Developed by Naughty Dog, the PlayStation 3’s post-apocalyptic adventure romp is a master class in storytelling, boasting a gritty backdrop populated by compelling characters and jaw-dropping visuals. The gameplay’s just as strong too, blending stealth with cover-based shooting as you scavenge for supplies across a U.S. devastated by a deadly fungal plague. To be fair though, The Last of Us wasn’t the only game worth a punt; Deadpool is an enjoyable, irreverent stab at the comic book-‘em-up genre, with the ubiquitous Nolan North’s sarcastic hero poking fun at various game design trappings such as QTEs while cussing out his enemies in the process. It's flawed, yes, but there's something here for fans of the genre.
Racing fans meanwhile had their annual does of MotoGP to tuck into, with this latest entry proving just as competent, throwing in the usual barrage of teams, tracks and trinkets to make it worth the upgrade. Sadly it doesn’t get much better than that though, with Ubisoft’s long-delayed biker bash Ride to Hell: Retribution proving to be one of the worst titles of this generation, let alone 2013. Quite how a game announced in 2008 can resurface five years later and create such a stink is almost incomprehensible, but there you go – avoid this one like the plague, folks.
Okay, we’ll admit the winner of June’s Game of the Month won’t be a surprise, but we love any excuse to sing its praise: yep, the vote goes to The Last of Us, and with good reason. Naughty Dog has created a stunning video game in Joel and Ellie’s adventure, with the title not only raising the bar from a technical standpoint, but in terms of narration, you’ll won’t find anything as emotionally engaging this side of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Aside from the aforementioned single-player campaign, Naughty Dog has managed to capture the essence of the main quest with the multiplayer component, as teams of survivors fight for survival across destroyed landscapes in hopes to secure essential supplies and expand their base. Simply put, The Last of Us is one of PS3’s finest entry to date and a fitting swansong for Sony's seven-year-old work horse.
Check out our full review here, and read a quick snippet below.
"The Last Of Us is a game that offers an engaging and emotional journey that shifts in tone and pace, from quiet and poignant moments of reflection between characters and their situation to action-packed sequences that can leave you emotionally drained or grinning from ear-to-ear. Quite simply, Joel and Ellie are the best pairing to have graced this console generation and The Last Of Us is a fitting tribute to PlayStation 3 in the year when we usher in the next generation of consoles."
Do you think The Last of Us deserves our accolade for June's Game of the Month? Let us know in the comments section below.