HBO's The Last of Us is an ode to the iconic and beloved video game of the same name. Being one of the most popular shows right now, fans and those alike are finally able to see the adventures of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they survive an infected world on their television screens.
Only true fans of the game will be able to notice the subtle details throughout each episode. This way of storytelling gives the audience a different portrayal onscreen than typical game-to-movie adaptations. From the Boston museum to health kits, the series is turning out to be an incredibly faithful adaptation of its game counterpart.
1 The Bostonian
The museum is one of the first obstacles that Ellie, Tess, and Joel come across as they work their way to the edge of the city. In the game, the Boston Museum is known as "The Freedom Museum of Boston," but in the show, they go into the "Bostonian." This scene has the group going through the museum, running into infected, and having to fight their way out.
The show seems to take inspiration from the actual Bostonian Society Museum of the Old State House. Despite being one of the changes from The Last Of Us game, the environment is an accurate adaptation of the original game, down to the clickers.
2 Mortal Kombat 2 Arcade Game
When Joel and Ellie enter Cumberland Farms, Ellie notices the Mortal Kombat 2 arcade game. Although she was never able to play it, seeing it brings her back to a time with her best friend, Riley. In the game, these memories come from the Left Behind DLC: a side story about Ellie and Riley's relationship.
The show uses Mortal Combat 2 as the game, but the video game actually uses The Turning. Everyone has a past before they met, including Joel and Ellie. Since they just met, Ellie has a past that Joel isn't aware of yet, but those who have played the DLC would instantly know the reference. The audience might hopefully get to see it too.
3 Giraffe Plush
As Ellie, Joel, and Tess escape through Boston, a dirty stuffed animal giraffe can be seen under a car's tire. To fans, this is a thoughtful reminder of Sarah's plush on her nightstand and the touching moment at the end of the game when Joel and Ellie find real-life giraffes at the university.
Animals aren't typically seen in this universe, so when they are, it's a sight to see. The idea of animals, especially giraffes, being alive still in such a horrendous world leaves the player, Ellie, and Joel in awe. This subtle detail of a giraffe stuffed animal simply flashes back to times before the outbreak.
4 Tess and Joel's Relationship
Although players cannot get the complete picture of Joel and Tess' relationship, it's an assumed understanding. In both the show and the game, Tess gets left behind. In the game, she holds off humans that are coming after them so that Joel and Ellie can get a head start. But in the show, a group of infected are on their way and Tess decides to blow up the place.
When it's time to leave Tess, Joel shows more emotion in the game by arguing with her unlike in the show. This emotional episode from an HBO show keeps it real with how the world is now. A heartbreaking scene like leaving someone behind with the certainty that they'll never see each other again is just as hard to watch the first time.
5 Joel Slightly Loosening Up
At the end of the fourth episode, "Please Hold My Hand", Ellie tells Joel one last pun before they fall asleep. Not being able to help it, he begins laughing hysterically and says "I'm losing it." His comment refers back to the first episode with Tommy and Sarah where Tommy tells Joel that he's losing it as they joke around.
The audience gets to see a slightly happier side of Joel other than his hardened shell. By spending more time with Ellie and her pun book, a part of his armor is breaking. Joel showing happiness in both mediums is fairly rare due to the world being filled with hurt, but it's giving the audience crumbs for an amazing adult-child duo.
6 Contaminated Crops
The story stays true about the origin of the spread for both mediums. In Episode 3, "Long Long Time," Joel mentions the theory of the cordyceps brain infection coming from everyday crops like flour and sugar. The fungi had transmitted through the crops and made their way across the sea through trade. The game lets the player scavenge and finds a newspaper that mentions contaminated crops and high attendance in hospitals.
With the same cause, the show is able to delve deeper into how everything went down. Fans of the game are given more knowledge through the show's flashbacks in time from the beginning of the outbreak. If the player didn't find the newspaper, the game never outright states how it began.
7 Health Kits
Maintaining health is a vital part of the game. Throughout the game, the player is given free rein to scavenge everywhere. When the player gets injured, they use the ingredients to build health kits and bandage themselves up. In the show, Joel gives Ellie a rag to hide her bite and when Tess sprains her ankle, Joel wraps her foot with duct tape.
Games typically have ways of healing the player, and for The Last Of Us, it is essential. The creators, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, showcase healing as a way to commemorate the mechanisms in the game. Although Joel hasn't shown his looting skills yet, his medical skills prove he can survive. As one of the best live-action video game series, it's amazing how close to the game the show looks and feels.
Next: 10 Questions Fans Already Have About HBO's 'The Last Of Us'