The Last of Us Part 1


The Last of Us Part 1 is an action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2022. It is a remake of The Last of Us launched in 2013, and the winner of over 200 Game of the Year awards, with improved gameplay and visuals.

The Elemental Tetrad


Set 20 years after a pandemic has changed civilisation, infected humans run wild and survivors kill each other for essential resources. Joel is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl, Ellie, out of an oppressive military quarantine zone, but what starts as a small job soon transforms into a brutal journey across the United States.


The Last of Us Part 1 main gameplay mechanic is combat as you fight against human and infected enemies while playing as Joel or Ellie. The combat feels tense and nerve-wracking in many moments with the well-designed layout of the levels and combat animations. The game provides various ways for combat through the choice of weapon (ranged and melee) and stealth, all of which will give players different outcomes. Furthermore, there is a distinct difference when playing Joel and Ellie. The combat of each character is unique and tells you more about their character which plays a huge role in empathising with their characters throughout the entire story. The gameplay video below shows a glimpse of the combat in The Last of Us Part 1.



The Last of Us Part 1 provides an immersive experience from the very first scene through the end credits with the detailed and rich post-apocalyptic world Naughty Dog has created. The emotions of the characters hit harder with detailed facial animations regardless of whether it’s in a cutscene or during gameplay. The gameplay video below showcases a glimpse of the amazing aesthetics the game will offer.



The Last of Us Part 1 is completely rebuilt from the ground up using Naughty Dog’s latest PS5 engine technology with advanced visual fidelity, fully integrated DualSense wireless controller features and more.


The Lens of Emotion (#1)

The Last of Us Part 1 is sure to bring players on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Fear, happiness, sorrow, disgust. The entire gameplay will definitely evoke all these emotions. The environment, character facial animations and music all played a pivotal role in further elevating these emotions by making players feel immersed throughout the gameplay. The gameplay video below shows a glimpse of one of the most emotional scenes in the game.


The Lens of Challenge (#38)

There are six levels of difficulty; very light, light, moderate, hard, survivor and grounded. Apart from making enemies more aggressive as the difficulty is increased, resources such as ammo and pickups become extremely scarce. Based on your current supplies, the game will work out how many supplies to provide and spawn them throughout the game. This is a subtle way to manage difficulty using Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (DDA). If the players hoard supplies, then the game will not supply them with any more resources. However, this also shows the cons of using DDA as players can exploit this by using the resources as often as possible to obtain more resources.

The Lens of Imagination (#51)

The Last of Us Part 1 has the most effectively terrifying death sequences that I have experienced in my opinion. Most games end up with less by showing more. However, The Last of Us Part 1 death cutscenes shows us less, cutting to a black screen right before Joel’s face is ripped to shreds (see gameplay clip below) or before Ellie’s neck is ripped out into stringy fibres of the meat and because of this, the death sequences in the game evokes a sense of fear of what our imagination fills the gap with as opposed to completely being desensitized to the sight of a shredded human body. The mind fears what it does not know and combined with terrifying sound effects, the gameplay becomes even more immersive due to the nature of desperation during combat encounters in The Last of Us Part 1.


The Lens of Story Machine (#73)

The Last of Us Part 1 is a linear narrative. One of the core foundations of game design is to make the player feels like their choices matter and how can it do so in a linear narrative game like The Last of Us Part 1. Almost all games tackle this by giving player choice during gameplay. In the case of The Last of Us Part 1, you have the freedom of weapons to craft and scavenge for supplies. However, these choices do not affect the narrative of the game. With the success of games that involve players in branching storylines like Mass Effect or Heavy Rain, the direction that gaming seems to be headed in is giving players a say and where the story goes. In the case of The Last of Us Part 1, the player is not meant to be Joel or Ellie in this linear story. Joel and Ellie are themselves. Playing the game is only meant to serve as a window into their thoughts and emotions. Therefore, in the case of The Last of Us Part 1, the narrative being linear is not a negative. It is a more powerful way of vicariously experiencing the story through Joel and Ellie.


Although there are some cons to the game design of The Last of Us Part 1, some of these cons are actually justified and the pros of the game outweigh far more. The Last of Us Part 1 is one of those games that we have to play through at least once and appreciate the amount of thought behind making the game.



Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series

Vader Immortal Trailer


Vader Immortal: A Star Wars Series is a three-part VR experience developed by ILMxLAB and published by Disney Interactive Studios. The game was a finalist for an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media in 2019. It was also awarded the 2020 Game Developers Choice Award for Best VR/AR Game and the 2020 Producers Guild of America Award for Innovation.

Why is it engaging?

Vader Immortal is an immersive experience for any Star Wars fan and anyone wanting to try a VR experience for the first time that makes your Jedi fantasies come true. You will be put into a story where you get to take control of the action during the key moments of the story such as engaging in lightsaber duels and using the power of the Force against the stormtroopers and even facing off against Darth Vader himself.

Features well done


Star Wars games rarely fail to impress us visually and this is especially true with Vader Immortal Series. This AAA narrative based adventure VR experience makes good use of the VR strengths while avoiding its shortcomings. For example, the environments are more conservative in size which allows the developers to focus on the resources they have in higher detailed textures, character animations and more sophisticated lighting which results in game worlds that are true to the Star Wars universe.


Like the visuals, there is not a Star Wars game that sounded bad and with access to the Lucasfilm sound vault, Vader Immortal sound effects are no exception. From the scream of a TIE Fighter overhead or the hum of a lightsaber, all the sounds in this experience is in 3D audio. This ensures players feel fully immersed into the experience in the Star Wars universe.


The gameplay’s goal is accessibility and mainstream appeal by keeping the game mechanics straightforward, competent and intuitive. Combat wise, Vader Immortal teaches the player a few abilities across the three-episode story arc with lightsaber combat being introduced in episode 1, force grabbing and throwing in episode 2 and adding in some blaster gunplay in episode 3. Towards the climax of the series, players can use a combination of the abilities learnt throughout the experience to duel with Vader himself. The best part about the combat is that players have the ultimate control to the lightsaber such as when to utilise it and turning it on and off at will. These combat mechanics brings about more options as to how players take on waves of stormtroopers and other random minions. While the gameplay may often feel simple, the game does succeeds in making you feel like a powerful Jedi towards the end of the series.

Areas for improvement

There are some texture pop-ins and jagged edges in large 3D models which could be due to technological limitations and optimisation concerns. Despite the shortcoming, the environment still does look impressive. The main problem could be that the paint-by-numbers and simplistic gameplay offers little replay value. This only end-game content that players have are the three training dojos at the end of each episode with various degrees of difficulty. However, completing them only offers some cosmetic unlocks such as different lightsaber designs seen in the Star Wars cinematic universe. Since Vader Immortal is marketed to be more of a VR experience then being an actual game, I think it is justified that there is not much replayability and that the three training dojos are a bonus for players who bought the game to continue to satisfy their Jedi fantasy at the end of the series.

Vader Immortal’s Training Dojo Gameplay


Despite being a short experience, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars Series provides the most immersive and authentic Jedi experience that every Star Wars fan would love to experience due to its impressive visuals and immersive gameplay. Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series is an excellent example of what current VR technology can offer and a proof of concept that current-generation hardware is capable of producing amazing VR visuals with enough resources.