The Last of Us vs. The Walking Dead: Similarities & Differences Between Shows

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There are plenty of different post-apocalyptic shows that you can watch on television, and two of them are The Last of Us and The Walking Dead. Of course, The Last of Us is still on its way to achieving many different awards and accolades and is still on its way to becoming one of the best post-apocalyptic survival series that you can watch on television. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead has already had multiple seasons and was one of the best survival series of the previous decade.

It’s tough to match The Last of Us to the successful run that The Walking Dead has had. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of parallels between them as The Last of Us is shaping up to become one of the best shows on television right now. So, in that regard, let’s look at how The Last of Us is both similar and different to The Walking Dead so that you would know which one is better or first your discerning tastes.

The Last Of Us And The Walking Dead Similarities

Post-Apocalyptic World

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The first similarity between The Last of Us and The Walking Dead can be seen in the fact that they both take place in post-apocalyptic worlds that have become a shell of their former selves due to an outbreak that caused society to fall apart. As such, the characters that survived the outbreak are now living in a world that is a lot different from the one that they were familiar with, as society and civilization have become things of the past.

In The Last of Us, the people live in Quarantine Zones that can be found in different cities all over the world. Meanwhile, in The Walking Dead, the people also live in different settlements that still have a semblance of order. The point is that they both take place in worlds that fell due to the effects of the outbreak.

Bloodthirsty Humans

Of course, we can’t forget about the fact that The Last of Us and The Walking Dead are similar in the fact that they both have bloodthirsty humans as the cause of the apocalypse. That means that these humans have become wild and violent enough to attack other people on sight and are seemingly out for blood. 

Due to the violent attacks from the humans that were infected by the different causes of the outbreak in both The Last of Us and The Walking Dead, society fell apart rather quickly because no government in the world was ready for something like that to happen. And this is where the survival aspects of these shows come in.

The Key Is Survival

While a lot of post-apocalyptic shows, movies, and games focus on the search for a cure, the thing about The Last of Us and The Walking Dead is that the characters are just looking to survive the outbreak. Of course, in The Last of Us, there is something more to that, especially because of Ellie’s immunity. But the thing is that the people in both of these storylines are just looking to find a way to get by and survive the harshness of the world that they now live in.

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In that regard, viewers are placed in the spot of the characters of The Last of Us and The Walking Dead as we can relate to what they are going to. Like most of us, the characters are just regular people that are looking to survive. They are not heroes that were hired by the government to fight back against the outbreak and look for a cure. Instead, they are simply just looking for a way to survive and keep on going in a world where survival has become almost impossible.

Character-Driven

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Another important similarity between The Last of Us and The Walking Dead is that they are both character-driven. That means that their stories are driven by the characters and the different stories and journeys that they take. There is no overarching plot that allows the storyline to move forward, as the focus points are the characters themselves.

In The Last of Us, we are focused on the storyline of the duo of Joel and Ellie. Meanwhile, in The Walking Dead, we look at the storylines of a group of survivors that are simply trying to find a way to survive the outbreak by looking for a permanent place where they could settle down and start life anew.

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The Last Of Us And The Walking Dead Differences

Cause Of The Apocalypse

Despite the fact that both The Last of Us and The Walking Dead take place in worlds that were ravaged by a pandemic, the thing is that the post-apocalyptic setups of the series were caused by entirely different things. And this is where The Last of Us becomes unique when compared to other post-apocalyptic shows, movies, or games.

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In The Last of Us, the cause of the apocalypse is the Cordyceps Brain Infection (CBI), which can infect humans and take over their minds to turn them into savage and bloodthirsty individuals controlled by a fungus. On the other hand, the causes of the apocalypse in The Walking Dead are essentially zombies that rose from the dead and began attacking people. The series creator of The Walking Dead recently said that spaces spores were responsible for turning people into zombies.

State Of The Infected

Of course, the state of the infected people is also a factor that needs to be looked at when differentiating The Last of Us from The Walking Dead. That’s because The Last of Us distinguished itself as a post-apocalyptic series that doesn’t revolve around zombies, unlike most of the shows, movies, and games that we see in today’s world.

In The Last of Us, the people were infected by Cordyceps, which is a fungus that is capable of taking over the mind of its host as it feeds on its body. However, in real life, Cordyceps can only infect insects but managed to evolve in The Last of Us to infect live human beings. While the infected in The Last of Us are live human beings that mutated due to the CBI, the people in The Walking Dead are actually dead zombies that were reanimated into rotting corpses with a thirst for flesh.

Pacing

Another key difference between The Last of Us and The Walking Dead is their pacing. That’s because of the way that stories are told at different paces, as one is faster than the other. This is where some people might notice that these shows are entirely different from one another as their pacing tends to be different.

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The Last of Us tends to be paced faster as Joel and Ellie are making their way through America. On the other hand, The Walking Dead has a much slower pacing that allowed it to last 11 seasons due to how slowly the story was told. Of course, the story of The Walking Dead changes from season to season as new characters and plots are introduced. But the fact is that it has a steadier and slower pace compared to the one you can see in The Last of Us.

State Of The World

While the worlds of both The Last of Us and The Walking Dead have fallen to their respective outbreaks, the thing is that the state of the world in both of these shows is still quite different from one another. That is why there is a semblance of order in The Last of Us compared to The Walking Dead.

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In The Last of Us, the US Government still exists in the form of FEDRA, which is responsible for containing the outbreak and setting up Quarantine Zones all over the country. It is in the Quarantine Zones where most people live. On the other hand, there is almost no semblance of a government in The Walking Dead as the entire world became a free-for-all where survivors are free to do what they want. And the difference in the states of the world in both of these shows can be explained by the fact that the world already had an idea about the CBI in The Last of Us, whereas the world was clueless about the outbreak that happened in The Walking Dead.

The Last Of Us vs. The Walking Dead: Which One Is Better?

Now that we have gone over the similarities and differences between The Last of Us and The Walking Dead, it is now easier to see what makes the two of them unique from one another. So, in that regard, which is better The Last of Us and The Walking Dead?

At this point, The Walking Dead already has a lot of seasons that can back its success up. Still, some fans grew tired of the plot midway through The Walking Dead’s lifespan as it became repetitive. On the other hand, The Last of Us is newer, fresher, and seems to be more organized in terms of its plot. Of course, the preference all boils down to the person. That means that we cannot really say which between The Last of Us and The Walking Dead is better. 

  • Ysmael Delicana

    Ysmael “Eng” Delicana is a writer based in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Ateneo de Davao University before continuing to teach part-time at the same university. While teaching was a fun gig, being a geek and a writer seemed to be his cal...