‘The Last of Us’ on HBO could be the best video game adaptation to date

Nearly a decade after its initial release, The last of us It ranks among the best written video games ever. Not only does it the HBO television adaptation preserve your sony playstation Building on the excellence of the source material and bringing it to a wider audience, the exciting series dives into the post-apocalyptic universe of The Last of Us in ways that will delight and surprise even fans of the games.

The show, which premieres on sunday in hbo max, takes place in a world devastated, after a fungal brain infection reduced much of the population to savage cannibals. Grumpy bootlegger Joel must escort defiant teen Ellie across the US, for spoiler reasons.

It’s a fascinating journey that will leave you amazed and horrified in equal measure, with game of Thrones ex student Pedro Pascual Y Bella Ramsey infusing vulnerability and humanity into this charismatic duo throughout.

This story begins with Joel as society falls apart in the terrifying early days of the outbreak, deftly setting his emotional stakes in an opening that closely mirrors the game. Pascal, in a nuanced performance, exudes grief at a pivotal moment of loss, but also displays compelling resolve and touches of fantasy.

a gloomy world

Jumping forward 20 years, we are presented with a world where survivors live in authoritarian quarantine zones run by the hard-core remnants of the US military. His rule is threatened by an unpredictable rebel group known as the Fireflies, with marauders and infected roaming across the country.

"When you're lost in the dark, look for the light" is written in yellow graffiti on the doors of the warehouses in The Last of Us

The show is full of images that add to the history of its world.

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It’s fascinating to explore, if a bit overwhelming. The first few episodes are peppered with flashbacks that reveal the origins of the outbreak, an item that wasn’t in the game. co-writers craig mazin (creator of HBO’s Chernobyl) Y Neil Druckman (game series creative director) added this story to give newcomers a solid foundationbut it will certainly appeal to gamers as well.

Pascal adds layers of world-weariness to his performance as we return to a hardened Joel, who has done whatever it takes to survive over the years. Reluctantly he takes on the mission with Ellie, with Pascal and Ramsey’s chemistry gradually emerging as the show patiently builds a bond between them.

Ramsey’s performance builds more gradually, showing more dramatic color as we learn more about Ellie and her sense of wonder becomes apparent. It’s electrifying to watch the impressionable teen learn from Joel and the other survivors they meet along their journey, especially when the focus shifts to Ellie in the later episodes.

Using torches, Tess and Joel inspect an infected body covered in fungus in The Last of Us.

Cordyceps infection mirrors the images seen in games.

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The Infected are used sparingly, but they stay true to their in-game appearances and ooze danger in every encounter. Some of the visual and sound effects weren’t finished in the episodes that HBO sent out to press before release, but these scenes were beautifully shot and are likely to be extremely effective.

joy in the dark

Vitally, the grim post-apocalypse odyssey is marked by moments of lightness and hope, mostly provided by the curious and defiant Ellie. These are usually followed by reminders that they’re trapped in a hellish world, but you’ll definitely bond the first time you laugh together.

Most of the season’s nine episodes focus on this central dynamic, but it also takes some surprising detours to tell more independent stories. These tales reveal how the characters find space for tenderness and happiness in the midst of horror.

Marlene has a gunshot wound to her stomach as her ally watches on in The Last of Us

Merle Dandridge (left) reprises her in-game role as Firefly’s leader, Marlene.

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One such dive into the life of gruff survivor Bill, with Parks and Recreation actor nickofferman anchoring an installment that proves to be the most uplifting and haunting of the season. It vastly expands on a story that is only hinted at in the game and stands as a perfect piece of episodic storytelling. You may need to lie down for a bit after watching this one.

The second of these will be familiar to fans of the games, revealing a formative moment in Ellie’s past. It’s immensely fun to see Ramsey’s dynamic with a character played by storm reid (seen in HBO Euphoria)even if there is an ominous cloud hanging over every moment.

Original game composer Gustavo SantaolalaThe score of adds a wistful sadness to the narrative, while some pop and rock tracks hint at the world that came before.

beyond the game

Fans will be happy to see the adaptation stay true to the events of the first game, but there are some clever additions to Ellie and Joel’s main quest. yellow jacketsmelanie lynskey gives new villain Kathleen a silent threat, with her presence adding a new element to a familiar subplot of the game.

The show also takes the time to reveal never-before-seen moments that will blow game fans’ jaws off, along with countless subtle visual Easter eggs and a sprinkling of clever cameos.

On the contrary, scott shepherd (of Breaking Bad sequel to the movie El Camino) appears in the later episodes as a villain that players will surely remember. His charismatic performance anchors a story that closely follows one of the last chapters of the game.

HBO’s The Last of Us is an absolute triumph, delivering one of the most intense and compelling narratives in gaming to viewers and revealing exciting new aspects of the universe to those who have played the games. It’s beautifully written and the cast impeccable, with Pascal, Ramsey, and their co-stars adding layers of emotional depth and a haunting moral gray to every moment.

Video game adaptations have a new gold standard (sorry sonic). roll over Part 2.

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