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Of the few minor flaws in this gem, it’s worth noting that developers seem too concerned with players finishing the game. Dying can happen often and plays out in a grotesque scene of being chewed on or beaten to death with really no penalty for biting the dust.

That sudden and repeated closure sucks the emotional momentum out of the suspense and too often reminded me that I was part of a game and not an event.

I’ll also mention the game offers a concise but wonderful multiplayer option tied to becoming either a member of the Hunters or Fireflies factions in a pair of complex variations on Team Deathmatches called Supply Raid and Survivors.

Each requires that faction members work together to keep the clan well supplied and alive as they forage and fight across many of the game’s environments.

Developers Naughty Dog could have easily concluded its acclaimed Uncharted trilogy in late 2011 and taken a break to bask in the glory.

Instead, it gives us a thrilling gift with The Last of Us, an awesome reminder of the evolution of the PS3-powered video game and its ability to tell an impactful story of hope and horror.

Parental advice: The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), after watching a friend of Joel’s embed a machete in head of one of the infected and then chop it off while the blood flows like a faucet out of its torso, decided to label this game “M” and that stands for mature — gamers only 17 years and older need only take part in The Last of Us. So don’t let your 14-year-old convince you that “I’m just preparing myself to survive a zombie apocalypse, Dad. Wouldn’t you want me to live?” A player must make horrendous decisions leading to the very bloody and violent death of human characters across an interactive horror show lasting more than 20 hours.