The Last of Us Season 1 on HBO is nearly over (Season 2 is coming!) and I think it’s safe to say that the show has defied the trend of video game adaptations being terrible. It’s gotten the gamer seal of approval too– as IGN puts it, the show is “a brilliant retelling of one of video games’ most beloved stories.”
But if you haven’t yet played this nearly decade-old game yet, the upcoming release on PC may be raising one important question for you: “Should I play TLOU before watching the show?”
For the long answer, keep reading. Below are 5 reasons why you should play Part 1 of The Last of Us before watching the TV series.
The Last of Us Part 1 – A PlayStation Exclusive No Longer
PS3, PS4, PS5.. and now Windows-based machines.
On March 28th, the winner of over 200 Game of the Year awards will become more accessible than ever before. The Last of Us is finally releasing on PC, and will include new features and remastering. The original game is nearly 10 years old, but it has received numerous next-gen updates over the years. The PC copy will be based on the newly released PS5 version and will include the DLC prequel chapter “Left Behind”.
Grab your PC copy (while it’s on sale) from the CDKeys store.
You’re in Control
The special thing about video games, the thing that sets them apart from other artistic mediums like film and literature– is that they’re interactive. Joel and Ellie’s survival is literally in your hands when you’re playing The Last of US; and the buttons you press (or don’t press) determine their fate. We argue it’s more fulfilling to enjoy one of video games’ most beloved stories actively first, before you sit back with your popcorn and enjoy it passively on HBO.
It’s the Little Things That Count
The Last of Us on HBO was written and produced by Neil Druckmann– the same person that was in charge of the writing (and creative direction) of the game, and the same person who is the co-president of the studio that developed the game. As a result, you end up with a TV series that’s both true to the original creative vision of the game, and also full of references, easter eggs, and hidden surprises for all the gamers watching.
Some of the similarities between the show and its predecessor are subtle, some are not so subtle. And some of the consciously chosen differences are glaringly obvious. Play the game first, and then go argue ad nasuem on Twitter about the creative decisions that we’re made. Trust me, you’ll love it.
You Can Play It on Easy Mode
Are you not really much of a gamer? Worried about not having the gaming chops to make it all the way through a survival/horror game when you usually play Stardew Valley? Don’t worry, you can turn the difficulty level down to “Easy”; providing you with “a lot of ammunition, crafting supplies, melee weapons, and healing items are spawned in the world. Also, the enemies are quite easy to kill.”
Plus, that little bit of effort (or lot of effort if you’re playing on “Survivor” mode), will make Joel and Ellie’s journey that much more riveting throughout and fulfilling in the end. That’s the magic of video games!
The Creators of the Show Played The Last of Us… a Lot
You know how whenever a movie based on a book comes out, everyone always says you should read the book first (and then proceed to brag about how they already read it). Well, it’s the same for video games. The Last of us on Playstion/PC is the source material for the show. It’s the original story. The show is based on the video game– and not the other way around.
The creators, writers, and executive producers of The Last of Us on HBO are two gentlemen by the names of Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin. The former was the creative director of the game, and the latter, who was brought on for the adaptation, has played through the game “maybe seven times at this point” by his own admission.
If you’re about to watch one of the Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, or Hitman movies… eh, yeah not really necessary to be familiar with the source material to get the most out of those. But with The Last of Us, a series that’s been so painstakingly crafted to honor its source material, playing it first is the only way to do this modern masterpiece justice.
We’d love to hear what you think! Join the conversation over on Facebook, and let us know your opinion on whether you should watch The Last of Us or play it first.