The Last of Us

Common Sense Media says

Exceptional storytelling, but lots of violence, profanity.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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

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.

 

Violence

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.

 

Sex

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

Language

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Creates serious privacy and safety concerns. The game can be played online with others, with full dialogue support, if desired. Therefore, players might hear unedited and unmonitored comments that might be offensive. Strangers can solicit personal information.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • using supporting evidence

Science

  • ecosystems
  • electricity
  • plants

Social Studies

  • events
  • exploration
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • solving puzzles
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • personal growth
  • work to achieve goals
  • achieving goals

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering
  • handling stress

Collaboration

  • teamwork
  • meeting challenges together

Responsibility & Ethics

  • learning from consequences

What Kids Can Learn

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

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • using supporting evidence

Science

  • ecosystems
  • electricity
  • plants

Social Studies

  • events
  • exploration
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • solving puzzles
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • personal growth
  • work to achieve goals
  • achieving goals

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering
  • handling stress

Collaboration

  • teamwork
  • meeting challenges together

Responsibility & Ethics

  • learning from consequences

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

This Learning Rating review was written by Marc Saltzman

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Platforms:PlayStation 3
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:June 14, 2013
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Science and nature, Wild animals
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language (PlayStation 3)

This review of The Last of Us was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bychristian2011 June 15, 2013
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

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 characters with their own personality, great voice acting, and how you develop your own sense of survival and strategy after each encounter with the infected. It's a great game, no doubt, and I highly recommend it to anyone (well...over 17) due to the M rating. The violence is very graphic, bloody and gory - where infected and people get killed in numerous gruesome ways (shot, beheaded, stabbed, gutted, limbs cut off, blown to bits, etc.) and never shies away from the screen. Language is frequent and strong - multiple uses of f**k, godd**n, sh*t and other derivatives including crude anatomical terms (c**k, d**k, c**t). There's some sexual themes but nothing graphic or strong, and there's drug use also in game (pill popping, use of alcohol). Kids under 17 shouldn't play this game due to graphic bloody violence and gore, and pervasive strong language.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 7, 10, and 12 year old Written byTre_C June 24, 2013
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

A "must" play--when the kids are in bed!

The Last of Us is an incredible story-driven video game that, while definitely not for children, is one that will be known as the highlight of the PS3. The game play and linear story are intertwined in such a manner as to not know where one ends and the other begins. The motion capture and voice acting are superb and you definitely feel for the characters as the game progresses. In the single-player game, you play a character, Joel, who is trekking across a post-apocalyptic United States in 2033, in order to escort a young teen named Ellie to a resistance group called the Fireflies. Along the way you have to contend with zombie-like creatures infected with the cordyceps fungus and hostile humans such as bandits and cannibals. The game play rewards stealth over typical firepower. You also craft weapons or medical items by combining items scavenged in the world. On easy setting it took me approximately 20 hours. The gameplay itself is very violent, although the gore setting can be turned off in the options which reduces some of the problem. Note that it is possible (for the most part) to avoid killing, but I doubt that many players utilize this option. I know I didn't, except when it was the prudent method to stay alive. The game is suitably violent enough that I would not allow my kids to play it or watch it being played. The most problematic element for me, however, is the almost continual use of profanity. I wish there was a setting to turn THAT aspect off. Since the game is so dependent upon the characters' interaction (and indeed, that is one of the shining features of the game), it is a shame that the authors of the script relied upon profanity so heavily. The game deserves its MA rating. As for the online multi-player, what little in-game dialogue that exists is not objectionable. The online game does allow for player chat, but it is not a requirement. It can easily be muted to avoid with any profanity, although to be fair I haven't heard much at all during my many hours of online gameplay. One nice thing about the online game is that it is not solely a twitch FPS, but actually rewards a more tactical style of play. You'll need to plan ahead when capturing supplies, etc, and teamwork is necessary. Because of the complexity I don't think it lends itself to the typical teen smack talk that one often finds in online games. In sum, if you have a PS3 and are wondering what the fuss is about video games, then this is a great one to play. Just make sure you play it when the kids are in bed. --An edit: Naughty Dog, in an update to the multiplayer game, thought there wasn't enough "f-bombs" in the scant language used in the MP game so they "remedied" the problem. So be sure to keep the volume down.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byNo Name, for real. July 2, 2013
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

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 cleared the bleachers, soared across town, and landed boldly through someones glass house. This is not your typical third person shooter. This is an excellent and well woven story, filled with themes of love, loss, and redemption. All its characters are emotionally compelling, putting them in virtually unpredictable situations. Much like video games version of Cormack McCarthy's The Road, and with such high exceptions the last of us meets, time and time again. Like the road, the Quest isn't so much about what happens to humanity, but the tale of two people and there journey. This game is not for kids. Its emotional and filled with sometimes shocking violence and profanity, most of the profanity from the mouth of a 14 year old girl. This game's situations are sad, like the unexpected and tragic death of a young girl at the beginning of the game, made me cry... Like seriously I was crying. It's a interesting and character driven story, I seriously recommend playing it for that. However it's violence is sometimes startling, with many jump scares and various shootings and killings, with blood pooling on the ground below characters who've been shot, as well as at least close to 70 F words. This game messes with your emotions, it makes you fell, sorry, sad, amazed, and confused yet engaged all at the same time. It's a game that puts in the shoes of a character who does not know if your doing the good or bad, and more leaves it to you to decide once it's all said and done. Naughty dog... I almost forgive Uncharted 3 because of this. Almost.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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