Press "Enter" to skip to content

HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ provides an elevated video game adaptation

Graphic by Ethan Nelson

Video game adaptations haven’t had the best track record throughout the years because they often fail in capturing the vibe that the games create. Lately, it seems that they are improving with shows like “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” and “Arcane” receiving positive feedback. However, “The Last of Us” has stood out from the bunch and audiences have praised it nonstop since the first episode was released on Jan. 15.

“The Last of Us” has an advantage compared to most adaptations in that the game’s story already fits perfectly with a TV show format. The plot has remained relatively unchanged, with the hardened survivor Joel (Pedro Pascal) being tasked with safely transporting the optimistic, yet tough, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across the country in hopes of creating a cure for the fungal infection that has destroyed most of the world.

Creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, who helped write the game’s storyline, take the opportunity to add more depth to the characters which wasn’t possible with the limited perspective of the game. The most obvious example of this is with characters Bill and Frank, who get almost an entire episode dedicated to their backstory, which is mostly implied in the game. The part that separates this adaptation from others is that these changes actually enhance the world instead of adding unnecessary fluff.

I was primarily worried about the performances since the emotional weight behind them is what makes the game so impactful. Fortunately, I wasn’t concerned for very long. The actors in the show match and sometimes surpass those in the game and Ramsey especially knocks it out of the park as Ellie. The relationship between her and Joel is just as fun and heartbreaking as it is in the game.

Perhaps the most important part of the game, and thus this season of the show, is the ending. The conclusion of “The Last of Us” is one of my favorites in any piece of media, so nailing this aspect was an essential piece of the puzzle for the success of the adaptation. I won’t get too much into it to avoid spoilers, but it’s safe to say that the final episode exceeded my expectations.

Season one of “The Last of Us” has a disgustingly bittersweet ending, and I loved it. It will be interesting to see what the direction will be for the next season, which is based on the second game, which faced a lot of controversy. I have my problems with “The Last of Us Part II,” but I’m still excited to see how the showrunners adapt the game’s storyline for the show’s second season.

One Comment

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2023, The Scout, Bradley University. All rights reserved.
The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.