The Last of Us was a great story that managed to redeem itself even after delivering one of the sharpest gut punches in the history of drama.
The characters, the story, and the synergy between each element of the game is what makes this one of the best on the platform it is exclusive to, and one of the best of our generation regardless of said exclusivity.
The story of Joel after a loss this substantial is him finding his feet amidst engaging in….a brutal chain of mass-murdering, The Last of Us pulls no punches.
It is gory, it is vengeful, and it forces you to watch degeneracy in its most basic form.
Bearing that in mind, here are 10 of the best games like The Last of Us, narrative-driven titles that we have played over the years and reviewed here, focusing solely on how well the setting, plot, and gameplay combine for a similar experience.
Best Games like The Last Of Us
10. Bioshock Infinite
Bioshock: Infinite is as Tim Burton as you can get in the setting that it provides, but provides a clear case study on how quickly the mask unravels off of every dystopia.
You take control of Booker DeWitt, a tired, weary, and guilt-ridden former detective scarred by his own actions at a fictional version of a real battle.
When a sudden new case lands him in the heart of a steampunk city in the sky in search of a mystery woman, it is up to you to gather the pieces and complete the puzzle.
We wouldn’t miss this thrill ride.
Developer/Publisher: Irrational Games/2K Games
Release Date: 26th March 2013
Platforms: PC, macOS, Linux, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch
Attempting to recreate and present a polished version of a Walking Dead-style narrative, Days Gone was a valiant effort by Sony to see out the last days of the PlayStation 4 and more or less succeeded, but with a few caveats.
Director John Garvin tries to paint the story of Deacon St. John, a lone wolf character archetype out to find his wife amongst the classic deadly pandemic that has held over the world, being the Freaker virus in this iteration.
With a good amount of intrigue, action, and character exploration, Days Gone is a sufficient addition to the zombie genre, and a great story-driven pick.
Developer/Publisher: Bend Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Max Payne 3 was more than a satisfying end to a fantastic trilogy.
It was the continuation of a story that had written itself into a corner, and when Rockstar took over the IP, a lot of work had to be done to keep in line with what fans expected both out of the franchise and of Rockstar.
Turns out, this was a holy marriage from the start, as the dynamic storytelling of Rockstar and the wild streets of Rio de Janeiro made for a great send-off and final walk into the sunset for Max.
Make sure you don’t miss this one.
Developer/Publisher: Rockstar Studios/Rockstar Games
What better place to start, than the very controversial sequel to Naughty Dog’s summer blockbuster?
For many, this offering felt more like an effort to divert from the original direction that the first installment went in, by focusing more on the secondary protagonist, Ellie.
But what most divided the loyal fan base was tied to motivation; Joel was fueled by his loss and a sense of paternal instinct in an unforgiving world, while the Ellie that we found in the second game was motivated by revenge through loss, and is one of the reasons the world she is in is as unforgiving as it is.
Critics praised the game as a heroic effort to provide closure to Ellie’s story with Joel very much out of the picture.
Longtime fans, however, aimed their pitchforks at a forced-in multiplayer mode, and what, according to them, was a disappointing removal from the roots they had come to love and cherish.
On top of that, Ellie as a bitter, dissociated sociopath in a blind hunt for vengeance was not the first thing in mind when they thought of a relatable protagonist.
Whatever the case might be, TLOU part II tells an unapologetically grey story about love, grief, journeys, and consequences.
The perfect dichotomy that Ellie and Abby exhibit during the entire runtime of the game helps establish the atmosphere and the tension that Naughty Dog set out to achieve, and it does that beautifully.
A great sequel to pick right up where you left the original.
Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog Studios/Sony Interactive Entertainment
The main takeaway that you’ll get from Detroit: Become Human is contrast.
From the game design to the narrative, to the perspective, everything is hinged carefully on a very specific kind of contrast that we as people who enjoy this kind of entertainment either find fascinating or will discard at a moment’s notice, not being able to wrap our brains around it.
The contrast between colors, the contrast between the setting, even tiny things such as the weather, and the contrast between morally ambiguous choices in a binary world, be it fictional or otherwise.
The allure of Detroit lies in exploring the contrast between human relationships, and the chaos that is created when the strict binary function gets thrown into the mix.
And we would expect nothing else from the people behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.
Connor is a heavily conflicted ‘android’ thrust into the psychological struggle of man to attempt to see things their way and to show things as they are, his way.
Detroit is the culmination of years of evolution of the text-based adventure genre.
You are given a scenario, a conflict, and your choice of resolution, which ultimately reflects upon your character and perspective as a human being in the real world, that decides the playthrough that you are going to experience.
Like The Last of Us, Detroit offers brilliant pacing, narration and the only place it differs is within the myriad of choices that you are presented with, each obviously carrying a different outcome.
If you like the aspect of choice and want to explore what happens when the dilemma stated above is fully realized in the format of an interactive movie, look no further than Detroit: Become Human. A no-brainer.
Developer/Publisher: Quantic Dream/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Even a decade later, L.A. Noire finds itself in conversation when we talk about pushing the limits of effective storytelling in video games.
No, the only reason to play L.A. Noire isn’t the face scan tech that Rockstar developed for it, making it look eerily similar to watching a movie, but if there is an only reason, then it is that Rockstar actually convinced us to see this as a movie.
When I started my first playthrough of L.A. Noire, I just took for granted that games were supposed to look, feel, and sound this good, and I now wonder how many more things I took for granted.
This game is and always will remain way beyond its years, because not only was Rockstar flexing their writing chops, it is the freedom that the design was allowed, and the dedication it took to recreate something exactly how it was 50 years ago, and on the scale, it was recreated.
L.A. Noire is the story of a former war veteran-turned-beat cop Cole Phelps, a straight-wrought, cynical, guilt-ridden wrench of a human being who does not know that the world he is inhabiting has changed far beyond his basic understanding.
As you progress up the chain in the LAPD, the amazingly subtle narration drives you to have more dangerous interactions, which leads to two things; either you give in and mold Phelps to L.A.’s new image, or he sticks to his morals and makes things even more difficult.
Aside from the flawed protagonist, we see a huge and involved cast of characters, more so than I think I have ever seen in any other video game bar Red Dead Redemption 2.
Nothing comes close to this effort, however, and it is a must if you enjoy contemporary reflection and period dramas.
Developer/Publisher: Team Bondi/Rockstar Games
Release Date: 17th May 2011
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
At first glance, Victor Antonov’s oil painted nightmare might not be suited to everybody’s taste, but once you see how Arkane Studios’ Dishonored carries itself, you might find yourself awed at the presentation, the scale, and the power with which the game draws you into the world of Dunwall and beyond.
Released in 2012, Dishonored tells the story of a disgraced bodyguard to the Queen of Dunwall, on his way to redeem himself, clear his name, protect his biological daughter, and save the city and its residents from the Black Plague inspired rat infestation.
These prophetic stakes may seem derivatives of the larger typical ‘video game protagonist’, but Corvo Attano being wordless throughout helps you channel all that energy into the different play styles that you can have, with each fitting Corvo just the same.
The campaign takes you many sandboxes, all with the same objective; incapacitate a target in whatever way possible.
What differentiates each run from the last, however, is the number of choices that you get, each affecting the world of the game visually and narratively.
For example, the high chaos coefficient sees you kill more enemies, but will lead to a more macabre ending, while the low chaos one sees you stealthily deal with your enemies and get a good ending to the game.
Dishonored is easy to get lost in; finding the best pathways which might not necessarily be the most efficient, and befriending certain characters can lead to a lot of favorable and hilarious circumstances, a testament to the fact that the game does not take itself too seriously to the point of being severely edgy and campy.
Dishonored is a fun 12-14 hour long ride, with the interesting DLCs adding on 4-5 more. A must-have if you wish to experience something like the Last of Us on PC.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is one of the closest games like The Last of Us and is a heartwarming tale of siblings in an unforgiving, empty world infested by rats.
Both the Black Death and the Inquisition are rife, and you have to find a way to protect yourselves.
Very often, games put us at the feet of someone so very powerful that they dictate the odds of them surviving their circumstances.
That is the kind of power fantasy that we want and are used to in our games. Instead, what Asobo Studio, the developers of A Plague Tale, did was removed all hints of this power even existing.
The objective is still to overcome odds, but the method has changed to survival. Amicia de Rune is a noble, not a fighter by any stretch of the imagination, and neither is Hugo, a hapless but clever child who she protects throughout the game regardless.
Along with that, fictional elements like alchemy are thrown into the stealth-heavy gameplay, where you need to keep your wits about you if you don’t want to get one-shotted by enemies.
The nuanced and deep gameplay stands out, as does the plot, but it’s the backdrop and the atmosphere that keeps driving you forward, with rats as much your enemies as human Inquisition soldiers, both out to murder anything they see.
The rest of the cast tries to help in any way they can, but the primary feeling you have is that you’re alone in a dying world.
The puzzles might feel linear, the horror non-existent, and the crafting uninspired, but APT: I deliver on an immersive setting, dialogue that doesn’t sound like it was stitched together last second, and a story that is convincing blend of realism and fantasy.
This is a game that you must see to believe. If you want The Last of Us on PC, here you go!
Developer/Publisher: Asobo Studio/Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: 14th May 2019
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Luna
Metro: Exodus feels far removed from the earlier games in 4A’s repertoire. Despite having the same setting, plot elements, and overarching narrative, Exodus in game design feels very different from its predecessors.
In the past, the tension and drama that surrounded the lives of the people in the Metro was the central attraction, but this time 4A decided that they wanted to innovate, to make things feel fresh without bastardizing the source content.
What resulted is a brilliant survival horror adventure, with the survival taking most of your attention, the story just being a backdrop to Artyom, and the horror being sprinkled right where it is needed.
You continue your story after the canonical ending of Last Light, but this time Artyom, Anna, and their band of survivors decide to find or cultivate civilization on the unforgiving surface.
And this is where the game hits you the hardest.
Everything from navigation, to crafting, to weapon and health management is done in real-time through real-time actions, and the game doesn’t allow you time to pause and take a breath, apart from the actual pause menu or the occasional checkpoint loading screen.
But this isn’t as extremely punishing as it sounds.
The game creates its challenge through these means, making you think about your next move, check your health, objectives, items, and gear as you would in a real-world apocalypse.
You unconsciously start managing stuff.
That is exactly when the story opens up, and let me tell you, it’s an amazing feeling to do all of these things without thinking about them and experiencing the sandbox of Exodus at the same time.
Developer/Publisher: 4A Games/Deep Silver
Release Date: 15th February 2019
Platforms: PC, Linux, macOS, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, Amazon Luna, PS5, Xbox Series S/X
Of course, it was only fitting that a Naughty Dog game would top the list of best games like The Last of Us.
The final mainline entry in the series, Uncharted 4 offers the best closing that a video game protagonist could ask for, and in the best way that longtime faithful could’ve expected.
A Thief’s End sees you continue the story of the charismatic and world-weary traveler, historian, adventurer, and treasure hunter Nathan Drake, as he explores his childhood and meets a ghost from his past.
A kind of farewell most franchises would kill for, Naughty Dog set to explore the maturity between the cast of characters that we had seen for just about a decade now and seeing how far they’ve come felt like an achievement that all of us participated in.
The gameplay is your usual Uncharted affair, but that’s not to say it’s boring and repetitive it’s anything but.
The snappy movement, great parkour, and action and puzzle set pieces are all cranked up to the max, and Nathan goes on his most action-packed journey to date.
Sully, Elena, and the rest return, along with a very special guest, but the difference you notice instantly is in how mature these characters are, and how they still manage to keep much of their personality, and that is largely due to career-defining performances from the stellar voice cast.
Although the story falters a bit towards the end, forcing the gameplay into a corner,
A Thief’s End makes up for it with a masterful ending sequence that sees everyone get a decent amount of closure.
And it does that without the need for textual exposition or a bevy of cutscenes. Uncharted 4 is something that you must see through to the end, and a fantastic pick up after TLOU.
And it’s dirt cheap at $16 right now!
Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Naughty Dog is one of the best at what they do, but what they do isn’t exactly exclusive to them. These are some of the games that can provide a similarly compelling return for your time, and we believe that you should check them out.
Q. Is The Last of Us on PC?
Currently, no. Sony is starting to include some console exclusives to the PC platform, but so far there aren’t any plans regarding The “Last of Us” being one of them. You can though run the PS3 one on your Windows 10 with the help of an emulator.
Q. Is The Last of Us an open-world game?
Not really. It is, however, a very open sandbox with linear gameplay. And it works best for the kind of game it is.
Q. How long does it take to beat The Last of Us?
Just the main story is 14 hours long, with breathtaking moments and painful choices to make, but with the additional content that the game offers, your runtime may vary for an extra couple of hours. Regardless, the content added is not a tack-on and provides good closure.