Initially, I had planned to post a different Review on Wednesday, but I had to get this out before then whilst it is still fresh in my mind. It is currently 4 am in the UK as I am writing this, and I have just finished watching the first episode of The Last of Us. Something told me to check when it would be out, as all shows in America come out at regular times for them, but for us, it is at ungodly hours in the UK. I knew it was meant to be out this month, but I completely forgot that it was going to be the 15th – not to my surprise, it was the 16th for me as it was being shown at 2 am here in the UK, being shown on Sky Atlantic (shout out to my cousin Sammy for the hook-up)
The Last of us is one of my favourite video games of all time, and I have played it through more times than I can remember on the PS3 and PS4. I tried to get the platinum trophy on it, but it was impossible for me to complete it.
The Last of Us is an action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog based on two characters, a man named Joel and a teenage girl, Ellie. With the two characters, you travel across the post-apocalyptic United States. Some say The Last of Us is not a horror game and isn’t scary to play. Those people are incorrect and need to be checked out because, at 27, I still need to take a break while playing the game to gather the courage to continue playing.
I love horror, whether games, films, shows, or books; I love the feeling of getting scared. The game did just that for me – I found it more nerve-racking than any Resident Evil or Silent Hill games I played, which is bonkers because they’re both survival horror games through and through.
Over the years, news spread about a film adaptation of the game, which then fell flat. However, in 2020, it was announced that a television adaptation would be happening, covering the events that occurred within the first game. I have always been sceptical about adaptations of games because they are never good. – to be straightforward. They either give too much to the game’s fans and nothing to the new viewers, or vice versa, and there is never an in-between. The new Resident Evil series and the film that came out in 2021 can be two examples of that.
Once I heard that Pedro Pascal was cast as Joel, my doubts were slightly put at ease, as I love his performances in the majority, if not all, of the roles he plays.
The series starts differently from the game, with a time jump into the past of 1968 – and a talk show where the host has a guest speaking on a Fungal Apocalypse – and how the fungus can cause a global pandemic, informing everyone on the dangers of fungus being able to control the human body; eating the body from the inside out; causing people to lose the sense of themselves – essentially foreshadowing what is to come in the future.
The title sequence that followed was one of the first things that won me over – the similarity from the games of the fungal growth growing along the country, forming, attaching, along roots and trees, forming into two silhouettes of Joel and Ellie – sprouting into the title card ‘The Last of Us’. The music played with it is the same score from the game that brought a wave of nostalgia back to me whilst watching. This genuinely was one of my favourite takeaways from the series, and I found it took me back to the first time I heard it when I first played the game.
The show then proceeds with a time jump to 2003, starting just as the game did; however, it began exploring what went on during the day of the outbreak (Outbreak Day) rather than jumping straight into the night, where the game initially started. We are introduced to Sarah (Played by Nico Parker), her father, Joel (Played by Pedro Pascal), and his brother, Tommy (Played by Gabriel Luna). We follow Sarah throughout her day, seeing and feeling the tension building of what is to come.
I liked this aspect as it allows you to see the depth of the relationship between Sarah and Joel, causing you to feel more for them when they are forced into flight mode to save their lives. I also liked the dynamic of seeing the character of Sarah being developed for the brief time she was in the show – whereas, in the game, you only get a few minutes with Sarah and never get to see the relationship between Sarah and Joel fleshed out the way it was in the episode.
A 20-year time jump happens after the tragic events of 2003, and we are introduced to more characters, Ellie (Played by Bella Ramsey), Marlene (Played by Merle Dandridge) and Tess (Played by Anna Tory). With each character, you can tell on their faces that they all have their trauma and tragedies caused by the fungal apocalypse.
The main thing that sold me entirely on the show was the money shots from the game. It was done wonderfully; the different perspectives, camera angles and movement from different POVs from one character to another. Within the car scene, showing Sarah’s POV is plucked straight from the game and reminded me of the feelings I had felt playing it; the feeling of a young child wondering what was going on, the feeling of being worried and anxious filled my body as I watched it – the same feeling I felt when playing the game, watching the cutscene.
Many aspects of the game were introduced, from the scenery, the buildings, the checkpoints, clothing – and even the graffiti on the wall with the firefly quotes. The attention to detail the creators did in the first episode alone is enough to keep you watching, whether you are a game fan or a new viewer. Overall, this first episode has given me high hopes for what will come in the upcoming weeks, and I can honestly say that I am excited for each one to come out.
Will I be reviewing every episode? Who’s to say? Will I be watching it every week? Yes, without a doubt. I know this review almost turned into a game review, so I will stop here.
Episode 1 Rating: 5/5