The Last of Us – zombies, evolved

Never mind all the big new games being shown off at E3. This week sees the release of two new titles that you can play now. Well, from Friday officially.

The Last of Us and Animal Crossing: A New Leaf couldn’t be more opposite, but both are essential purchases. Late to the PS3 party? Have yet to buy a 3DS? These are two worth owning systems for.

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The Last of Us is a very different experience from the zombie games we’ve seen before. This is partly due to the setting – 20 years after an outbreak. Ellie, the girl that lead character Joel has been ask to protect, was born after the infection started and as you explore what’s left of our civilization she asks questions of what life was like before. Indeed, narrative is strong throughout. Those who just simply want to shoot stuff are well catered for too – combat has been tinkered with until perfection, with some pleasing shades of realism. Joel may be a hardened survivor but even so his hands still tremble when faced with something monstrous.

Review scores…gosh, where do we start with this one? It’s the highest rated game of the year so far, beating even Bioshock Infinite. The Metacritic currently stands at a lofty 96% from 61 critics including 10/10s from EDGE, Eurogamer, IGN and more. Not everybody has given it full marks, of course. GameSpot thought it was worth an 8 while Polygon caused a bit of a stir by giving it 7.5, especially as they’d given XBLA zombie game State of Decay a higher score just one day prior. Both of the reviewers highlight why they thought it wasn’t a 10/10 in their eyes, so they’re worth a read.

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Nintendo’s colourful time-waster hasn’t been short on glowing reviews either. “Every time you open your 3DS to play New Leaf, you know you’re almost certain to experience something new or surprising. And how many games can you say that about?” said the Telegraph in their 5/5 review. EDGE meanwhile handed it a 9 – “As ever, Nintendo pays extraordinarily close attention to minutiae, and New Leaf’s many tiny visual details and animations help to make its world – your world – all the more convincing.”

The 3DS also gets Girls’ Fashion Shoot – courtesy of Rising Star Games – this week, at a knock-down price of £20-or-so. Don’t expect us to be reviewing it any time soon.

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Rugby Challenge 2: The Lions Tour Edition for PS3 and Xbox 360 finishes the week off. The first one arrived to a barrage of 6/10 and 7/10 review scores, and although this sequel is said to include several nips and tucks it’s hard to say if they’re significant enough to elevate the experience. Most of them sound pretty trivial, but then again we’re not exactly masters of the sport.

With the big three publishers clocking up the overtime at E3, there’s not much going on in the world of downloads. XBLA gets the arcade-style shooter Thunder Wolves for 800 MSP while four Sega Game Gear games arrive on the 3DS eShop – Sonic the Hedgehog (£4.49), Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (£2.69), Shining Force: Sword of Hajya (£3.59) and Columns (also £3.59).

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If you’ve never played the 8-bit Sonic then you really should – it was leaps and bounds over what was available on the Game Gear and Master System at the time and still plays well. It’s also pleasing to see Shining Force: Sword of Hajya – this wasn’t released in Europe, despite it being one of the system’s finest role players. Also: it stars a centaur called Eric.

Next week: Ride to Hell: Retribution (PS3, 360, PC), Ashes Cricket 2013 (PS3, 360, Wii U, PC), MotoGP 13 (PS3, 360, PS Vita) and LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (3DS, PS Vita).

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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