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Hands on with The Last of Us

More hands on gameplay experiences and a new video diary for The Last of Us.

The third video dev diary for The Last of Us is out, with Naughty Dog taking a deeper look at the crafting system in the game and how it affects combat.

(Credit: Naughty Dog)

The video shows how the on-the-fly crafting can let you make split-second decisions before entering combat, but also how the limited materials can affect the choices you need to make as the game progresses.

Do you strengthen a melee weapon or craft a shiv for silent takedowns? Do you create a molotov cocktail or use the same scrounged gear for a health kit? The decisions you make will change how the game plays out for you.

We also had more hands on time with the game recently — two different areas from our previous gameplay experience.

The first has Joel and Ellie heading to a small town to track down a man that owes Joel a favour. It showcased some of the simpler problem solving puzzles the game will throw at you — how to get over a razorwire fence using a wooden plank or getting past explosive tripwires, for example.

It also introduced some new objects for crafting and different ways of using items we'd seen before. While we'd used the shiv for silent takedowns previously, this time we were able to jimmy open a locked door with one. We also encountered jerry-rigged grenades and smoke bombs for crafting.

The demo also introduced upgrades for Joel's skills — the mechanics are a little unclear, but after finding a certain plant and what seemed to be some pills in a bathroom, we were able to upgrade Joel's listening ability (which allows him to sense enemies that might be otherwise hidden) to increase the range of its effectiveness.

In the second, shorter part of the demo, we found a crafting bench that would let us use some of the scrap materials we'd found to improve weapons, craft new holsters and more.

In both areas, the tension of the game is really remarkable. Despite well light, beautiful green areas, we felt constantly on our toes, listening carefully and minding every single footstep we took.

It also gave us a better look at the interaction between Ellie and Joel. It's certainly not an extended escort quest — she's tough, foul-mouthed when scared and a great traveling companion. We particular loved one moment, after an expected and nasty combat, when we saw Ellie calmly wiped the blood off her flick knife onto her pants before folding it up and putting it away.

Combat remains fast and violent, whether by ranged weapon such as a gun or bow or via the various melee options. The second part of the hands on was also rather stark demonstration of the fact that while the infected may be terrifying, it's the other human survivors who can be the biggest danger.

In all, The Last of Us seems to be shaping up as brutal, clever game that definitely deserves the R18+ rating it's received. Beautiful to look at and uncompromising to play, our fingers are crossed that the game can continue to make good on its promise of detailed gameplay and immersive storytelling.

The Last of Us is available for PS3 from 14 June via either retail or digital download.