Games like The Last of Us that will have you transfixed

Are you looking for games like The Last of Us with intense emotional beats and jaw-dropping combat? If you’ve beaten The Last of US and The Last of Us 2 and want more story-driven games punctuated by intense sequences, we’ve got a list for you. The games here span genres but reflect aspects of Naughty Dog’s award-winning games, whether that’s hard-hitting emotional stories, memorable characters, or combat that will leave your palms sweaty. 

We’ve got you covered with a list of ten games like The Last of Us, to ensure you keep your heart rate up long after you’ve beaten both games in the series. Prepare yourself, as many games in this list will be challenging and emotionally taxing – but that’s what you’re looking for, right?

Uncharted 4

Nathan and Elena in Uncharted 4

Developer: Naughty Dog
Platforms: PS4, PS5, PC

Let’s start with its nearest neighbor, Uncharted 4 (opens in new tab). Nathan Drake’s last adventure was the series most introspective offering yet, and it really delivered in the story department. Clearly, Naughty Dog learned a lot of lessons from The Last of Us and applied them here to weave emotion into the narrative, which deals with growing up, settling down and the tenuous bonds of family. A bombastic sayonara that takes the player from Scotland to the lost city of Libertalia, if you want action Uncharted 4 has got it in droves, with the inclusion of the grappling hook invigorating the clever combat. With a stellar voice cast – Troy Baker who voiced The Last of Us’ Joel plays Nate’s brother, Sam, – peerless graphics and fluid animations, Uncharted 4 is a blockbuster affair that should be right at the top of your list for games to play after The Last of Us.

The Witcher 3

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Developer: CD Projekt Red
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

Another story of a stubborn father figure and the development of his relationship with a rebellious young girl who may or may not be able to decide the fate of all, this third outing for Geralt of Rivia shares quite a bit of emotional DNA with The Last of Us, even if its settings are (literal) worlds apart. While it’s great fun tearing monsters apart limb to limb and traversing across Slavic, mythical lands, the true heart of The Witcher 3 (opens in new tab) lies in its portrayal of Geralt’s growth as an adoptive father to Ciri as she blossoms into a powerful woman in her own right on her journey to defeat The Wild Hunt. If you found your heartstrings tugged on during The Last of Us, then prepare to almost have them ripped out as Geralt travels far and wide to find Ciri and meets more than a fair few colorful characters along the way. 

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft from Tomb Raider

(Image credit: Crystal Dynamics)

Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC

Ellie may have quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most iconic female characters in gaming history but there’s still one woman in action and adventure that tops them all. That is, of course, Lara Croft – explorer and legendary raider of, well, tombs. If you liked the placing of a fiercely independent character like Ellie right at the center of The Last of Us, then you’ll find plenty to love in the recent reboot of the Tomb Raider series. The most recent entry in the new series – Shadow of the Tomb Raider (opens in new tab) – even played out like a survival horror at times, akin to The Last of Us, and Lara’s pursuit of history and archaeology encompasses enough badass moments to keep anyone that loved Ellie’s refusal to back down highly entertained. 

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Developer: Starbreeze Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

You probably best remember Josef Fares from when he said “F*&# the Oscars” at The Game Awards, but the reason he made it onto that stage in the first place was the runaway success of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, a delightful indie game he directed that may have flown under your radar. It’s another emotional affair just like The Last of Us where you control two brothers who have to seek out a cure for their father’s illness. It’s a sprawling adventure where you control each brother with the thumbsticks, solving puzzles and thinking outside of the box to progress. The story is centered around mourning and grief and shares a kinship with The Last of Us despite being totally different, gameplay-wise. There’s also the shared DNA of two characters motivating each other in a harsh situation.

Beyond: Two Souls

Jodie Holmes in Beyond: Two Souls.

(Image credit: Quantic Dreams)

Developer: Quantic Dream
Platforms: PS3, PS4, PS5, PC

If your favorite aspect of The Last of Us was the immense detail of its storytelling and the impassioned voice acting that came together with motion capture performances to create an unforgettable narrative, then Beyond: Two Souls is sure to go down a storm. Released in the same year as The Last of Us, this epic dive into the supernatural boasts some top-tier acting chops from Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page in a story of adolescence and adulthood tied into a paranormal world. Beyond: Two Souls revolves around the psychic link between two entities – one in corporeal form and one bodiless – and offers a complex and richly built environment for players to control either of the eponymous two souls, as they work their way through a winding story that involves the CIA, an ethereal realm and, like The Last of Us, more than a fair share of family tragedy. If you’re ready for another cinematic gaming experience, plug into Beyond: Two Souls and lose yourself in both the physical world and the spiritual one. 

Bioshock Infinite

Developer: Irrational Games
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

Another narrative behemoth that preceded The Last of Us by a few months in 2013, Irrational’s Bioshock Infinite (opens in new tab) is an ambitious game within an already genre-defining series, an atmospheric, imagination-stoking story with an inspired Steampunk aesthetic. Again, the protagonist is played by Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us) and follows his attempts to rescue a younger woman with world-bending powers from a Utopia grounded in American exceptionalism. Ken Levine’s assessment of American society in Columbia is still fascinating to this day, and the well-paced story will keep you on your toes indefinitely. It’s a bit more eccentric than The Last of Us’s grounded, harsh world but is still totally worth it for the twists and turns of the gripping story. Couple that with the engaging combat of a Bioshock game and you’re onto a winner. Go on, bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt!

State of Decay 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Developer: Undead Labs
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

There are plenty of aspects that make The Last of Us brilliant which don’t necessarily center around narrative and character development. After all, when we strip it back, at its core it is a zombie survival game, one which has a particular focus on the importance of making players really think about their approach to dispatching the infected and making every bullet count. If this feature was one of the main draws for you when it came to The Last of Us, then look no further than State of Decay’s second installment, where players are regularly encouraged to make scavenging a priority and where the third-person POV gameplay that was utilized in The Last of Us is at the forefront. State of Decay might not be as invested in characters as Naughty Dog are in their titles but, in place of this, there is a great amount of fun to be had in an open world environment that judges the player by their leadership by throwing them into situations where they must boost group morale, establish homesteads and defenses, all while using stealth and skills to decimate the zombie population. Defeat the undead, rally your ragtag troops, rinse and repeat. You know the drill. 

Red Dead Redemption 2

Arthur Morgan

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Developer: Rockstar
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC

Set in the dying throes of the Old West, there is a similar apocalyptic tension to Rockstar’s latest – an epic novella of a game framed in one of the most feature-filled and gorgeous open world’s ever made. You play Arthur Morgan, a renegade cowpoke who appears trapped by dogma in his lifestyle, only to be liberated and brought to question his surroundings by a cast of well-written and emotionally probing characters. Sure, the controls can let you down now and then and it will most likely take you over 70 hours to beat, but that isn’t without its rewards. With similar triumphs in dialogue and long-haul storytelling, Red Dead Redemption 2 (opens in new tab) is well worth investing in if you’re the type that likes to get lost in a game like you would a good book – with high stakes and fantastic character development. 

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Developer: Asobo Studio
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch

A Plague Tale: Innocence (opens in new tab) shares similar story beats to The Last of Us and you can tell its influence as soon as you play it. It follows brother-sister combo Amicia and Hugo as they attempt to survive in a historic setting against hordes of horrible, plague-infested rats. Hugo is naturally quite the naïve young lad, dependent on you to survive in this grim world of horrors. It’s full of clever rat-based puzzles and has a gripping story to tide you through. The oppressive world really does work to make the protagonists feel helpless against the plague tide, which curates a grim dark atmosphere. Perhaps one for fans of The Last of Us looking for something a little darker, A Plague Tale takes what The Last of Us did right and steps boldly forward, injecting its own clever ideas.

God of War

Developer: Sony Santa Monica
Platforms: PS4, PS5, PC

Cory Barlog and Sony Santa Monica’s beautiful baby, God of War (opens in new tab) is a masterpiece in its own right, but you can clearly see where The Last of Us paved the way for it. Another third-person game where you control an emotionally stunted father trying to protect a subordinate that he consistently underestimates, God of War is a lot like The Last of Us, if not for the whole Norse setting and adrenaline-pumping boss battles with dragons. Really, the shared DNA can be seen in the incredible storytelling and cinematic flair. God of War one-shot style is incredibly immersive and never lets up regardless of which ancient realm you find yourself in. Atreus’ snowy relationship with Kratos is a beautiful slow burn, which rewards the player with bursts of palpable emotion across the game’s 20 hour. If you’re a fan of The Last of Us but you haven’t yet caught this one, pull it straight from your backlog and get going. 

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