Finally, ‘The Last of Us’ is here

One of this year’s most eagerly anticipated titles, “The Last of Us” is set in a near-future post-apocalypse that’s crawling with zombies. It is around 2030, decades after a fungi outbreak has ravaged America, infecting people and turning them into horrific killers. The game’s plot follows a single father and his daughter trying to stay alive — though, other survivors are just as dangerous as the infected!

“The Last of Us” has been hailed as video-game version of Cormac McCarthy’s novel “The Road,” with the game’s story and dialogue receiving high praise and having a cast of memorable, endearing characters. But this isn’t just a good yarn. Gameplay is engaging and brutal. Players not only have to sneak around and conserve scarce ammo, but they must also construct new weapons from things they find, whether that’s a shiv or a Molotov cocktail. All this just to survive.

“The Last of Us” is only available on PS3 and was released in Japan on June 20. www.thelastofus.com

Sega’s laptop consoles

In the 1980s and ’90s, there was one clear alternative to Nintendo: Sega. But these days, Sega doesn’t make video-game consoles. Those who still pine for Sega-emblazoned hardware, however, recently had a chance to satisfy their cravings.

This month saw the release of a series of four limited-edition computer laptops, each carrying an iconic Sega logo. Three are designed to look like video-game consoles — the Mega Drive, the Sega Saturn and the Dreamcast (shown above) — the fourth is a Sega blue version that reeks of the company style. They come with custom wallpapers, screen icons and sounds that should bring about a pang of nostalgia to gamers of yesteryear.

According to Sega, this isn’t the type of product it usually green-lights, but there was a demand, so the game-maker signed off on the laptops. Unfortunately, they appear to be sold out! Since the online ordering session in March, there’s been no indication that the company will be making any more. Just as well perhaps for the less well-heeled, as prices were not cheap at ¥131,250 and ¥162,750 — with the premium version at ¥194,250.


Gaming from the cloud

Get your head out of the clouds! And put your video games there instead.

G-cluster is a cloud-based gaming service that trades game disks and downloads for streaming game experiences.

The G-Cluster machine is smaller than an iPhone, uses a WiFi network and is attached to the rear of a TV. It’s also possible to access the G-Cluster service via tablet, smartphone or PC. Players can save their game progress in the cloud so that they can later pick up where they left off. There are 50 G-Cluster titles, including “Gradius” and “Lego Harry Potter,” which players can rent or purchase. New titles, such as “Assassin’s Creed,” are also expected to be added on a weekly basis.

Released on June 20, the G-Cluster is priced at ¥9,980 as a standalone (for which you can use smartphones and tablets as controllers), or ¥13,800 bundled with a wireless controller.


‘Earth Defense Force’ ups its artillery

Giant ants. Flying spiders. And bees! No, this isn’t a 1950s American B-movie. It’s the latest entry in the “Earth Defense Force” series. Titled “Chikyuu Boueigun 4” in Japan, “Earth Defense Force 2025” once again has a crackerjack group of soldiers fighting giant alien insects that are running amuck.

In the “EDF” games, players, essentially, run through the cities and just shoot the hell out of giant bugs and huge enemy robots. There are jet packs, air strikes and more than 700 weapons. Seven hundred! Madness. The game also has more vehicles than any other “EDF” title, including armored tanks, motorcycles, helicopters and “mecha” for alien-slaying insanity. The “EDF” games might not look as slick and polished as other Xbox 360 and PS3 titles — but they’re a hoot.

Priced at ¥6,980, “Chikyuu Boueigun 4” (aka “Earth Defense Force 2025”) is released on July 4 for the PS3 and the Xbox 360.


The premium Wii U is a black-and-white issue

Up until now, it’s been easy to tell who went premium with the Wii. The basic 8GB Wii U set was white, while the 32GB premium version came in black. But on July 13, Nintendo releases a white premium Wii U — perhaps for those who are fed up with the way glossy black consoles seem to attract dust and fingerprints.

At ¥31,500, the shiro (white) premium set comes with all the goodies that the black version does, such as extra gigs and added console stands. What’s more, there’s a limited rewards program for premium-pack buyers, which allows gamers to collect and redeem points for digital-game purchases.

www.nintendo.co.jp Brian Ashcraft is a senior contributing editor at gaming website us.kotaku.com.

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