The Last of Us

 

Learning(i)

Exceptional storytelling, but lots of violence, profanity.

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

  • using supporting evidence
  • following directions

Science

  • plants
  • ecosystems
  • electricity

Social Studies

  • government
  • events
  • exploration

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • analyzing evidence
  • solving puzzles

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

  • using supporting evidence
  • following directions

Science

  • plants
  • ecosystems
  • electricity

Social Studies

  • government
  • events
  • exploration

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • analyzing evidence
  • solving puzzles

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

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?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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK 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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Adult Written bychristian2011 June 15, 2013
age 17+
 

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
Adult Written bySh0ck_13lade May 15, 2014
age 14+
 
LEARNING

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 making this game and I love playing it as well. I'm proud to be part of the project. Trust me, I would say the same even if I am just your everyday consumer. This game is brilliant, a true masterpiece. I hardly believe that I myself had help make it. It was a milestone in my young career (I am only 28). Neil, the producer, did an excellent job. First off, the morals of the game is good for younger teens. It helps them understand a world unfamiliar to them yet familiar as well. It helps them understand that every fight and every fall is mutual. There is two sides to everything in this game. It helps them understand that they aren't the only ones trying to live another day in this game. We want them to know sympathy (though they aren't the intended audience) when they kill someone. Also, we want them to understand teamwork. In the fictionalized world we crafted and imitated from real life, you can't go without another person. It also shows you that morals are different for everyone. It shows them that there is no actual good or evil. When they wipe out a group of bandits, they are wiping out possibly a community or devastating them. This lets them feel the true repercussions of their actions. We reinforce this with realistic characters and realistic "enemies". The game also teaches conservation of materials, planning ahead, and making decisions that could lead to heavy consequences or a safe way out. Second of all, the game's story line is brilliant. It is just as interesting and meaningful as a book that earned the Newberry Medal. If your child loves to read or just loves a good story, this is a go-to for them. At an E3 Convention following the release of the game, I got comments from players stating that the single player got them "reaching for tissues". It's unbelievable and unforgettable. Third of all, the game may be brutal but it isn't very gory. As a matter of fact, we held back on the gore.There are some scenes that may send shivers through your spine. However, we are getting good reviews about the game play. Not to toot our own horn, but our reception included it being "smooth, easy to pick up, satisfying and fun". However, we did not make the game with the intent to make them kill. We want them to make choices on how they deal with their situations. Is violence necessary in the scenario? That is up to you. We want them to simulate the fact that the protagonists, Joel and Ellie don't want to fight or kill but they will do what is necessary. Fourth of all, the multi-player is regarded as one of the best online experiences. We balanced the game to the point that teamwork is a MUST, not a want. This goes the same for planning and strategic play. We want your child to solve and deal with problems so that they will lead the team to victory. Failure means defeat. Our "Factions" system guarantees that they learn from their mistakes fast, and hopefully this becomes a habit of theirs: learn from your mistakes quickly and never make them again. Just as there is no "i" in The Last of Us, there is no "i" in team. This is regarded as a must-have and one of the best experiences of the 7th console generation (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, etc.). It won over 75 "game of the year" awards. Many of our fans and staff members adored the game. We hope you do to. I only leave you with one question: What would YOU do to protect the things you value and the ones you love?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byNo Name, for real. July 2, 2013
age 16+
 

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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