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The Last of Us

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
The Last of Us Game Poster Image
Exceptional storytelling, but lots of violence, profanity.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 81 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

The Last of Us wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive Messages

While this game has quite a bit of violence, you're only protecting yourself in this post-pandemic world. You don't want trouble and try to avoid it by stealthily sneaking around environments -- but you shoot to kill when you have to. You're also protecting a young girl from harm, and escorting her across the country.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Joel, a middle-aged man, begins to take on a father figure role to a 14-year-old year, Ellie, whom he protects as they travel across a decimated world. Joel does kill enemies using a number of weapons, but he doesn't want to -- it's out of self-defense, and he doesn't seem to take pleasure in it. Joel has a troubled past, as we learn, but is a good person who wants to survive and accomplish his goal while protecting Ellie.

Ease of Play

The controls for The Last of Us are very easy to pick up and master after a short while. The PlayStation 3 controls feel good and Joel reacts quickly to commands.



The Last of Us has plenty of violence as Joel and Ellie fight their way across the U.S. in the near future, and face off against bandits and mutated attackers. Players will use a number of firearms, explosives, and blunt weapons (such as steel pipes) to kill enemies -- in order to stay alive -- and there's some blood and gore in the game, too. Some cutscenes are also gory, including some decapitated and dismembered bodies. Joel can also snap an enemy's neck or stab him from behind.



There are some sexual references in some dialogue sequences, usually spoken by survivors and overheard by Joel. One remark involves a pornographic magazine.


The game has some strong profanity, including words like "f--k," "f--ker," "s--t" and "a--hole." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last of Us is a "Mature"-rated video game with plenty of violence, blood, and gore. There is quite a bit of combat in this game, including dramatic scenes that might also be scary to the gamer. Joel and Ellie will shoot to kill, blow up, stab, or smash enemies -- many of whom are dangerous bandits or zombie-like mutants -- so they're trying to stay alive. Parents should also know there is strong profanity, sexual references, and online gamers can talk without moderation.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySh0ck_13lade May 15, 2014

Naughty Dog Staff

I am a game designer at Naughty Dog. I worked on this game with several others. Now don't turn away from this review. This isn't marketing. I loved ma... Continue reading
Adult Written bychristian2011 June 15, 2013

The most authentic third-person interactive game of the year.

The Last Of Us is a third-person game with incredibly realistic interactions with the environment, weaponry and combat; widely compelling story, genuine charact... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byNo Name, for real. July 2, 2013

Sad, brutal, and excellent.

There are very little chances to experience something like this now days. Naughty dog has it another home run, but unlike other naughty dog games, this game cle... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySevares99 March 29, 2015

This will be an important review to read.

First off, the last of us is a fantastic game. However if you are looking on Common Sense Media this is likely not what you are looking for. So is this game alr... Continue reading

What's it about?

From Naughty Dog studios – best-known for its Uncharted, Jak & Daxter and Crash Bandicoot series – THE LAST OF US takes place in the near future, after most of the earth’s population has been decimated by a deadly viral outbreak. Mother Earth has reclaimed much of the planet, growing over many of the streets and buildings. The player must try to survive in this post-pandemic world. You play as a hardened middle-aged man, Joel, who vows to protect a 14-year-old girl, Ellie, from a number of threats –- including bandits with no regard for human life and zombie-like mutants who attack unprovoked. Joel protects Ellie as they make their way across the United States. Along with a lengthy and gripping single-player campaign, The Last of Us -- a PlayStation 3 exclusive -- can be played online in well-designed multiplayer modes, as well.

Is it any good?

This game is by far the best title to debut in 2013; and possibly one of the most engaging, entertaining and emotionally-invested title in a very long while -- but be aware it's rated "Mature" for graphic violence. Naughty Dog's talented designers and developers crafted a thrill-ride that fuses clever combat, puzzle-solving, and exploration -- all tied together by a great story with well-written dialogue, excellent voice acting, and characters you genuinely care about. This is no easy feat for a game to nail all of these points, not to mention others like great pacing, tight controls, and high production values including near-photorealistic graphics and top-notch sound effects and music. When you've finished the solo campaign, multiplayer options add to the game's replayability. If you're 17 years of age or older and enjoy story-driven action games, don't pass on The Last of Us -- you won't find a better disc to sink your time and money into.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence. Naughty Dog's The Last of Us might have a lot of violence, but it's clear the protagonists don't want to engage in these confrontations if they can avoid them. Does that make the violence more palatable? Does it matter Joel is protecting young Ellie from harm? Or is the game as bad as others that let you kill, virtually, for enjoyment?

  • What do you think the impact of violence in media is on you or your kids?

Game details

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