Sony preps “The Last of Us” for June 14, we go hands-on

The next PlayStation 3 exclusive is almost upon us, and with only a couple of weeks to go before it takes over video game stores, Sony has let us go hands-on with the title, surviving the day and returning with some impressions and pics collected along the way.

Created by the team that brought you the “Uncharted” series for the PS3, “The Last of Us” is Naughty Dog’s new survival action game, an exclusive for the Playstation 3.

To launch the game – which is easily one of the biggest of the year – Sony ran a special event for the occasion.

Nice doggy.

At the entrance, we were ushered in by soldiers with (surprisingly cute) guard dogs, and then our hands were tagged with UV paint after confirming we weren’t infected (or there illegally), creating what is essentially a plot tie in with the game.

In “The Last of Us,” a fungus has taken over many cities around the world, devastating societies and turning people who are infected with the fungus into violent mutants out to infect anyone who, well, isn’t.

We obviously weren’t infected, at least not in real life, and so were shown in to a set area that looked like it could’ve come right out of the game with some beautiful set pieces strewn about the hall.

The dim lights had vines wrapped around them, lifelike plants growing out around the room, and broken stones that looked like they fell off monuments littered the scene.  It was just plain gorgeous.

And then there were the dark walls, covered in messages left from survivors still hanging on, with some that had barely survived, even if it was for a short time.

The event itself was fantastic, the room captured the dark feel of the game, but at the same time was quite fun and easy going, and everyone felt welcome to explore this new and familiar post-apocalyptic world.

This is what Sydney will look like when the world goes belly up. Or we all stop paying taxes. Possibly both.

A developer from Naughty Dog addressed us and invited us to see the development process, demoing behind the scenes clips, showing the voice actors who gave these characters life, and generally giving us an insight into the amount of thought behind the game’s tone.

It’s clear that Naughty Dog has put a lot of effort into the development process, and are passionate about the game being unique and having emotional resonance, which is refreshing.

Aware of how much work has gone in, we then got to play two short demo levels to really get a feel of what had been accomplished.

Even from these small segments, you can see that the three and a half years of development time needed for this title really did not go to waste.

Even army guys play video games.

The controls were tight, the graphics fantastic, and the story segments full of tense atmosphere. With limited ammo and a choice of action or stealth, it’s hard not to be impressed not just with the demo, but the varied gameplay styles on offer from the game.

What we’ve seen so far from “The Last of Us” is true survival action, unlike so many past promised titles from other developers that end up being straight action without much fear of not surviving. In fact, at any given moment in this game your life is always on the line, creating some awesome tension and suspense.

We won’t give away anything else, as our review copy is with us and we’re frantically getting stuck into it, but you can look forward to a review early next week.

We have a feeling this is one title you won’t want to miss.

A tongue-in-cheek movie poster from "The Last of Us," with the last film before the infection started wiping out humanity.