Safe to say, Naughty Dog is a master in the genre of story-driven action/adventure games. We first saw their brilliance with the Uncharted series, in which they strung together an incredible four-game series based around profound treasure hunter, Nathan Drake. Then they somehow managed to outdo themselves with their latest and greatest, The Last of Us series. This gritty and emotional pandemic-ridden dystopic story was curated so finely that big-name production studio HBO couldn’t help but make a tv series spin-off based on the game’s narrative. It is now out, and for those who are curious, this is how HBO’s The Last of Us tv series compares to the likeness of the original game.
What is The Last of Us
The Last of Us is a two-part action/adventure story game first published by Naughty Dog in 2013. The setting for the game’s narrative kickstarts when a fungal infection has spread throughout the world, taking over the minds of people and turning them into crazed-mutant-like savages. Referred to as “infected” in the game. You play as and follow the story of Joel and Ellie, who are bound together through unlikely circumstances.
That is, Ellie has been bitten by an infected, but she’s the only person to not turn into one. Thusly, making her immune to the fungal disease and a viable source as a possible cure for humanity. Through a series of unlikely events, Joel crosses paths with Ellie. He is tasked with smuggling her across the country in order to bring her to one of the only medical research facilities still functioning in the world. As you can expect their journey is an emotional and chaotic masterpiece.
What is HBO’s The Last of Us
HBO’s The Last of Us will follow the exact story of the game, of course with some slight variations, but for the most part, they’re going by the book on this one. This is a huge relief for those of us who know and love the game. As we’ve seen before just how bad studios can be when it comes to remaking original game stories in film spin-offs; *cough* *cough* Resident Evil.
HBO Show VS Games Story
As previously stated, HBO’s The Last of Us aims to recreate the show’s story as closely as possible to the original games. We watched the first episode, and to be honest, it made some great first impressions. Not only does it follow the same sequence of events as the game, but the show’s writers even went so far as to feature lines from the original game’s dialogue in the show’s script. That shows a great deal of consideration for respecting and honoring Naughty Dogs’ storytelling.
In HBO’s The Last of Us, Ellie is being played by Bella Ramsay (yes, the same actor as Lyanna Mormont from Game of Thrones for all you HBO fans). Pedro Pascal, another familiar face from Game of Thrones, plays the older, more hardened Joel. Based on the first episode, their acting is right on par with the original game characters’ personalities. This may have something to do with the fact that both actors played the game. This helped them get a sense and feel of the characters they are portraying.
HBO Show VS Games Environment
Another key feature in making HBO’s The Last of Us just as memorable as the original game, is re-creating its environment and atmosphere. Once again, we are quite impressed by the first episode. Right from the start we see Joel going about his business in a F.E.D.R.A camp that strikes a strong resemblance to the game’s portrayal. But, it’s the small things that do this for us. Such as seeing the opposing militia group, the Fireflies logo tagged throughout the camp. Or, sayings that are written on the walls such as “When you’re lost in the darkness look for the light”. This is the Fireflies saying from the original The Last of Us game that you see just about everywhere.
It’s small details like these that go a long way in getting the show to be as immersive and gripping as the games. That’s also why it’s important the episodes follow the same sequence as the games. This way, fans can resonate with the game’s environment while they are watching the show. Thusly making for a much more engaging and tailored experience.
The Final Verdict
If we had to choose between HBO’s The Last of Us or the original game, as a gamer at heart, of course we’re going with the latter. Now, that’s not at all to say anything against the show. Because from what we can tell from the first episode so far, is that it appears to be on the same level of prowess as the game. So we expect great things to come down the line as more episodes are released weekly. One thing we can say for sure is that this is already HBO’s “best show”.
According to IMDB, HBO’s The Last of Us is already sitting at a 9.4/10 rating after the first episode. To put that into perspective, the world-famous tv show Breaking Bad sits at a comfy 9.5/10. We’re not the best at math, but that’s just one tenths off from tying the record-holder. So, as we said, don’t knock the TV show at all as it’s completely worth a watch. With that being said, if you haven’t played the games and are deciding to watch the show, do yourself a favor by playing and experiencing the games first.