Examining Game of the Year: Grand Theft Auto V vs The Last of Us

As GTA V got the Game of the Year Award, it was worth researching a bit about the story behind this game, and its main contender The Last of Us
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This article is a face off between the main contenders to this year’s Game of the Year award. In one corner is the winner: Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V. In the other, the strongest competitor: Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.

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These two titles were the strongest in the competition, but do you agree with the outcome?

The winner, from Rockstar Games, Grand Theft Auto V, was first announced by Rockstar Games through Twitter back on October 25, 2011, by simply stating “#GTAV” and adding a link to their official website.

With this, a whole advertising campaign arrived, building up the hype for the next installment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, promising for this title to be unique, bigger, badder!

To build up even more audience, the campaign involved different demos, trailers, different information about the game being released in blocks…The very first of these videos was the following:

This video was released on November 2, 2011, and this was all it needed to keep its fans entertained.

On September 17, 2013, Rockstar Games launched its biggest game so far, Grand Theft Auto V, for PS3 and Xbox 360, on the North American and European zones; waiting until October 10, 2013 to release the game for Japan.

The next couple of weeks were full of news about this game. It got called the best rated game, achieving a 98% on Metacritic at that time, with 37 reviews, beating The Last of Us, which had a 95% at the time. After that, great news for Rockstar Games, as the game made $800 Million within a day, breaking a sales record for the company, and selling over $1 billion in a couple of days, simply to end up breaking 7 Guinness World Records.

As of November 23, 2013, VGChartz reports that Grand Theft Auto V had sold millions of units worldwide, with 14.18 million units for PlayStation 3, and 11.76 million units for the Xbox 360.

Among the most popular reviews, you can read these impressions:

GTA V the current pinnacle of open-world mission design”

GameSpot (9/10)

Preposterously enjoyable, breathtaking in scope and bitingly funny, GTA V is a landmark game”

IGN (10/10)

Sprawling, thrilling, and beautiful. The best Grand Theft Auto yet”

CVG (10/10)

GTA 5 is absolutely, brutally, amazingly massive, and features so much content you could play for months without seeing it all”

GamesRadar (5/5)

Currently, Grand Theft Auto V has a score of 97% over Metacritic, for both PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, with the Xbox 360 based on 57 reviews, while PS3 version is based on 50 reviews. These numbers vary quite a bit when it comes to user reviews, as the PS3 version is having a 8.2/10 based on 2253 ratings, while the Xbox 360 version has an 8.1/10 based on 2420 ratings.

The Last of Us – Runner-Up

After seeing the winner’s numbers, let’s take a look at the runner-up, Naughty Dog’s masterpiece The Last of Us.

Naughty Dog started its journey towards a public release of The Last of Us back on December 10, 2011, when they delighted the audience with this announcement trailer:

This was our very first look at the post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us, showing us a little bit of Ellie and Joel…along with some Clickers.

With this presentation, along with its E3 2012 one, the game won multiple honors, including “Best of E3” by IGN, Destructoid, GameSpot, Game Informer, among others. This, was the beginning of one of the best games by Naughty Dog.

Plenty of teasing happened as well on this game, but this time it involved every aspect of the game, going from the makes of the game, to the music of it, to finally, arrive on June 14, 2013 (June 20 for Japan) for Sony’s PlayStation 3, and get full attention from the public.

By July 3, The Last of Us had sold 3.4 million units worldwide, becoming the fastest selling new franchise.

Every gaming site was giving quite nice scores to the game, you could easily read:

The Last of Us is a remarkable achievement, and one of those rare games that you never want to end”

CVG (10/10)

The Last of Us is a masterpiece”

IGN (10/10)

The Last Of Us doesn’t just tell you that you’re playing as an Average Joe, but reinforces it on a mechanical level”

Edge (10/10)

The Last of Us is Hollywood stuff, of course, but the good kind of Hollywood: big-hearted, humane, with just a shade of grey”

Eurogamer (10/10)

Metacritic was going nuts with this game, as it was getting perfect scores all around; causing everyone to want to try it out. As reported by VGChartz, by November 23, The Last of Us had sold 3.46 million units worldwide. With it getting perfect scores from most of the gaming industry colossi, and holding a 95% at Metacritic, based on 97 reviews, while user score is a 9.1/10 based on 4724 ratings.

The numbers are quite similar, even though it is obvious that Grand Theft Auto V sold way more copies than The Last of Us. However, it is worth noting that Naughty Dog earned an award, as the Studio of the Year.

Do you agree with the outcome of the Game of the Year award?

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I'm a gamer, a software developer, and the founder of GamersSphere.com. I can always be found either playing games, or writing new articles about the gaming industry.