It’s wintertime, ladies and gentlemen. Not only does that mean people have to hunker down inside to avoid the cold (and the virus this year), but it also means millions of people are about to receive and start playing brand new video games. With Sony’s Playstation 5 being one of the hottest and rarest commodities in the world right now, it seems that numerous new gamers are about to have access to developer Naughty Dog’s PlayStation The Last of Us.
For those who aren’t lucky enough to get a PS5, or potentially not even own a PS4 in some cases, there are a lot of other games out there that scratch similar itches to The Last of Us. Whether it’s other Naughty Dog games or something based on recognizable IP like the Batman Arkham series, there are a lot of action-adventure options for console and PC gamers alike. Read more to discover 20 games like The Last of Us.
The Last of Us may be all the rave right now, but the series that cemented Naughty Dog as a Playstation-exclusive powerhouse is Uncharted.
Influenced heavily by Indiana Jones, Uncharted sees the adventure-seeking Nathan Drake travel around the world on various treasure-seeking adventures. Each game is filled with exciting action sequences and fantastic characterization, but what really makes them so addictive are their immersive stories and the personal dilemmas they layout in front of the main character. More humorous than The Last of Us, the Uncharted games are a nice balance of cheery discovery and emotional manipulation.
The God of War franchise has been around since 2005, but it hit new highs in 2018. Instead of following Kratos as a lonely and vengeful God of War, this game expands the story-telling scope by including Atreus, Kratos’ son. An action-packed, bloody good time, God of War sees Kratos leave his Greek-pantheon surroundings and enter the territory of the Norse Gods in order to fulfill his deceased wife’s last wish. Like The Last of Us, God of War makes players partake in intense action and withhold important secrets from their loved ones to “defend” them in a tough world.
Like The Last of Us, the Resident Evil franchise includes a virus-spurred zombie infestation that throws society completely out of whack. Tense and incredibly spooky, the Resident Evil 2 remake, released in 2019, is a must-play for any gamers looking for a creepy, zombie-filled experience. Players control cop Leon Kennedy and student Claire Redfield as they do everything they can to survive and escape the infested Raccoon City. While the story matches the original, Capcom ditched some of the stiffer mechanics for more familiar and comfortable third-person control that allows players to more easily navigate crowded action-sequences.
Remedy Entertainment has been making games for a while, but it’s 2019’s Control that seemingly had the biggest splash upon landing in the market. Gamers take control of Jesse Faden, the new director of the Federal Bureau of Control, a secret government agency that handles reality-warping problems, as she utilizes her own reality-warping abilities to handle a mysterious and deadly threat. A title that takes full advantage of the out-going console generations’ spectacular graphic capabilities, Control is an adventure and twist-filled game unlike anything else currently available.
Directed by horror legend and Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within is a 2014 title published by Bethesda that sees players take control of Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he tries to survive in a horrific world overrun by demonic creatures.
After Sebastian and his partners arrive at the scene of mass murder, he is suddenly pulled into a nightmarish world full of puzzles and traps. Like The Last of Us, this game also utilizes third-person action mechanics and forces players to make tense decisions as they determine the best way to progress.
Batman doesn’t fight zombies per se, but he is constantly defending the citizens of Gotham from mindless criminals. In Rocksteady’s Batman series, starting with 2009’s Arkham Asylum and continuing on to 2015’s Arkham Knight, players control the Caped Crusader as he embarks on dark, fight-filled adventures to defend his city.
While none of the games showcase Batman focusing solely on protecting one of his child partners from dark truths, each one includes interesting puzzles and third-person mechanics that are reminiscent of The Last of Us.
If feeling like Batman isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps feeling like Spider-Man is more up your alley. In Insomniac’s 2018 Playstation-exclusive Spider-Man game, players get to swing through the sky as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and participate in an adventure-filled story set in a massive open world. Since the game is based on existing IP, the large ensemble is welcome and helps players feel more engrossed in the Marvel Universe instead of making things feel cluttered or overstuffed.
Based on the post-apocalyptic Metro 2033 novel written by Dmitry Glukhovsky, the Metro video game series drops players in the middle of a Soviet wasteland filled with deadly mutants. It’s up to players to navigate the harsh surroundings and embark on a series of missions in order to help humanity rebuild society in this new world. The most recent iteration, Metro Exodus, came out in 2019 and is a frighteningly good title that is a perfect mixture of horror and stealth elements. Despite its AAA quality, the series has somehow avoided the level of coverage other big releases have received over the years, so Metro 2033 and its follow-ups are a surprisingly good time for anyone in need of exciting virtual adventures at the moment.
2019’s Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order drops players right in the middle of the most classic Star Wars conflict of all: The rebellion versus the empire. Players take control of the new character Cal Kestis, a former Jedi who had to hide his powers after the Empire took down the Jedi Order. After a string of events causes him to come out into the open, he is quickly sprung into a galaxy-spanning adventure that sees him do everything from rescue imprisoned Wookies to fight strange creatures, all to help the Jedi dent the Empire’s power.
Reminiscent of Dark Souls in the way players lose their skill progress whenever they die, the game’s tense action mechanics and intricate puzzles make it a must-play for anyone feeling one with the Force.
Perhaps a game about a deadly plague isn’t the most appealing thing right now, but Asobo Studios’ A Plague Tale: Innocence is an incredibly captivating, grim game. Released in 2019, the game follows a young noblewoman named Amicia de Rune as she tries to protect her sickly brother from a horrific environment in the 14th century. Rather than focus on action, A Plague Tale utilizes its third-person mechanics to make players stealthily avoid detection and conflict or they’ll typically face sudden death.
Fans of The Walking Dead comic or TV show may be surprised to hear that Telltale’s games don’t feature characters like Rick or Carl Grimes, but Telltale manages to tell a completely original, equally entertaining story set in the same world. Each iteration of the now successful series is enjoyable and follows the same episodic format, but it’s the original “season” that is the most entertaining and like The Last of Us. Telltale doesn’t give players as much control as Naughty Dog does in an exploratory sense, but the developer still knows how to deliver emotionally gripping narratives and create situations where the protagonist is making tough, consequential decisions.
Originally released back in 2010, Alan Wake feels like the best multimedia adaptation of a Stephen King story, but it’s actually an original idea from the team over at Remedy Entertainment. The game follows writer Alan Wake as he tries to overcome his long-stretch of writer’s block while living with his wife away from the hustle and bustle of the city in a small, forested town. Things aren’t quite what they seem in the small town, though, as supernatural elements start popping up and haunting Alan. Alan Wake has a gripping story that keeps players hooked, but its unique fighting mechanics- utilizing a flashlight to weaken shadow creatures as well more traditional firearms- separates it from other creepy adventure games.
First and third-person shooting games are a dime a dozen, but samurai titles are much rarer. Sucher Punch Productions’ Ghost of Tsushima, released in 2020, is set against the backdrop of a late 13th-century Mongolian invasion. Jin Sakai is on a quest to protect Tsushima Island during the carnage but his life turns upside down when all of his compatriots in the samurai army are brutally murdered.
Once Jin is healed up, he has to assemble a unique crew and learn new skills to best clear the way for his Lord to reassert his authority. The game features a massive open-world that is ripe for exploration, but it’s the balance between a dramatic story and careful action sequences that help it hit a similar note to The Last of Us.
A 2015 survival horror game, Dying Light is an open-world zombie game that puts the player in charge of their own survival. Developed by Techland, the game has an intriguing plot driving things forward, but the variety in zombie types and the day-night cycle make timing an important factor for a player’s success. While Dying Light doesn’t give players an emotionally charged relationship like Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us, the game’s scavenge mechanics and its focus on different survival methods make it a unique game in a cluttered zombie landscape.
So you’re saying you want an action-packed, third-person game filled with an extensive cover system and terrifying creatures? Well, if The Last of Us isn’t what you’re looking for, it HAS to be one of Epic Games’ Gears of War titles. It’s up to Coalition soldier Marcus Fenix to combat the Locust Horde and save humanity from their monstrous forces. Full of action, the Gears games are both fast-paced and full of world-building lore, making them the ultimate action-adventure experience.
Lara Croft is one of the most iconic characters in video games, but the reboot series that started in 2013 displays her in the most grounded light. Rather than present a pre-established Lara Croft, Tomb Raider lets fans see how the treasure hunter and ass-kicker got her start. The action-adventure title focuses on stealth and survival more than any of its predecessor titles, giving it a unique edge compared to her past experiences. Tense and action-packed, Tomb Raider is a must-play for any gamer who doesn’t mind some blood in their eye as they solve puzzles.
Naughty Dog and Rockstar may have a different way of displaying and allowing players to explore massive in-game worlds, but that doesn’t mean they both don’t appreciate emotional stories and exciting action mechanics.
In the Red Dead Redemption series, in particular, Rockstar excels at giving players an exciting game filled with interesting, unique characters who all serve a larger, adventure-filled story. Whether you want to invest in the story or just ride around and cause havoc in the west for a few minutes, this game is the perfect pick-me-up. For anyone looking to fuse this sense of adventure with The Last Of Us’ creepy atmosphere, The Undead Nightmare DLC for the original game is a hilarious and action-packed expansion that is worth every penny.
Part Jurassic Park and part Transformers, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a unique mixture of prehistoric vibes and cyberpunk aesthetics filled with mechanized dinosaurs. Released by Guerilla Games in 2017, Horizon: Zero Dawn has players control the aptly named Aloy, an effective hunter who seeks more information about her own mysterious path. Customize and lean into your own fight-style thanks to the game’s skill tree system. Unique and highly entertaining, the open-world and story-driven game was such a success that a sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, was announced for release in 2021.
The Bioshock franchise was already thriving when 2K Games’ Bioshock Infinite hit in 2013 and pulled it into a completely new direction. Rather than explore the underwater city of Rapture, the 3rd game in the series is set in the airborne city of Columbia. Players control former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt as he tries to rescue the mysterious Elizabeth and settle certain disputes going on in Columbia. Like the other games in the series, Infinite also features a unique blend of dystopian and utopian symbols that helps draw players deeper into the action-packed world as they uncover its mysteries.
Maybe this is an obvious decision, but if you played and enjoyed The Last of Us, the next game you should play is the Ellie-driven sequel, The Last of Us Part II. Released in 2020, the sequel picks up five years after the original and also includes breathtaking graphics as well as tense, bloody action sequences. The game’s unique story structure, fiddling with time and player-perspective in really interesting ways, distinguishes it enough from the original to make it a fresh experience for anyone concerned it would be a carbon copy of its successful predecessor.