Last of Us is first-class experience
A JADED hard man and a sarcastic teen girl seem an unlikely combo to star in any kind of gaming experience, let alone an apocalyptic survival tale that's tipped to be among the best of the year.
But the relationship between grizzled smuggler Joel and 14-year-old Ellie is one of the many reasons for gamers to fall in love with The Last of Us, a gripping survival- adventure from developers Naughty Dog.
You will lose sleep during the 14-hour-plus story mode. You may find yourself googling survival tips in your lunch breaks. You might sneak around your office looking for scissors to turn into shivs (knife-like weapons).
It is as addictive, as rewarding, as jarring and as grotesquely vivid as the pre-hype led us to believe.
Set in a post-apocalyptic 2033, 20 years after most humans were turned into zombie-like creatures, Joel's mission is to escort Ellie across abandoned wastelands to deliver her unscathed to a group of friendly freedom fighters.
Their relationship drives the story, but don't be put off by the heart beating underneath.
The Last of Us
Platform: PlayStation 3
Review: Chris Schulz, Timeout