HBO, with its quick renewal of The Last of Us, made clear that it is all in on its acclaimed and well-watched adaptation. If you’re now curious to keep Ellie and Joel’s story going by playing the video games that inspired it all, here’s how.
Ahead of the HBO series’ Season 1 premiere, creator Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) told TVLine “we do pretty much take care of the first game through our [Season 1] narrative.” And while Season 1 does include elements of The Last of Us Part II, as well as parts of a downloadable extension pack to the first game, Season 2 will cover the game’s sequel.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the dystopian adventure, it’s time to get acquainted with The Last of Us video games. Below, we break down each version of the popular series (and how you can purchase them) so you don’t get those post-watch blues when the buzzy first season wraps.
Scroll down to find out more about each game and where you can purchase your own. Let us know in the comments which version you’ll be playing.
The Last of Us (2013)
This is where it all began. In 2013, the California video game company Naughty Dog released an epic, emotional ride exclusively for Playstation 3. The acclaimed single-player adventure is set a few decades after a global fungal outbreak that turned most of the world into zombie-like creatures known as the infected. Gamers primarily play as hardened survivor named Joel as he transports a teenage girl named Ellie — who is somehow miraculously immune to the fungus’ devastating effects — across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Ellie starts out as “cargo” to Joel, but the pair came to care for each other greatly…which leads to some harrowing moments and heartbreaking decisions.
This version of the game is most difficult to find. It can be purchased used on Amazon, eBay, or other second-hand video game outlets.
The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014)
In 2014, Naughty Dog added a downloadable expansion pack (DLC) to The Last of Us experience. Gamers control Ellie, as Left Behind takes place alongside the original installment, but also includes flashbacks that flesh out the character’s past. Players become particularly familiar with her relationship with best friend Riley.
The Last of Us: Left Behind is also difficult to find. The extension pack is available to purchase directly from Playstation. But need not worry, read on to find out how you can still play this installment of the story.
The Last of Us Remastered (2014)
That same year, a remastered version of the original game was released on Playstation 4, adding higher-resolution graphics, and a steady frame-rate, leading to smoother gameplay. The Last of Us Remastered (which includes the Left Behind DLC) is still the best version of the game available on PS4, but an even better experience is available for Playstation 5 (read on to find out more).
The Last of Us Remastered is available to purchase at Best Buy, Walmart, or pre-owned at GameStop.
The Last of Us Part II (2020)
The long-awaited sequel finally arrived on Playstation 4 in 2020, and was met once again with critical acclaim, setting a then-record for Game of the Year award wins. In The Last of Us Part II, Ellie takes center stage this time as she faces demons of both the infected and emotional variety, and confronts a new character with a mysterious past.
The Last of Us Part II is available to purchase at Walmart, Best Buy, Target and GameStop.
The Last of Us Part I (2022)
In 2022, a remake of the original game landed on Playstation 5, going much further than The Last of Us Remastered by fully rebuilding the experience for the new system, leading to gameplay and visual enhancements across the board. The Last of Us Part I includes the Left Behind expansion, and is also scheduled to be released on PC in March of 2023.
The Last of Us Part I is available to purchase at Target, Best Buy, Walmart and GameStop.
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