The Last Of Us has been hit with 'generic' criticisms, but we think it looks anything but.

Reanimated corpses have become a crux for game designers wanting to add a "horror" edge to their action games, and as a result we've all got a little tired of them. It's unsurprising to see a corner of the Internet dismiss Naughty Dog's latest franchise, The Last Of Us, with a brush of derogatory vocabulary: generic, derivative, predictable. But we think such a criticism is unfair.

No one is going to deny that there's a vast selection of zombie themed content on the market. There's lots. Perhaps most troubling is the appearance of the undead in games that have no right to house them; Call Of Duty: Black Ops and Red Dead Redemption are both titles that, for no real reason other than "because", sport zombie spin-off segments that have you staking corpses and/or putting a bullet or two in their head. The undead are nothing but bullet fodder, and they serve their purpose well. Dismembering a shuffling corpse is a satisfying mechanic, and no game designer is going to waste time and resources programming a more complex foe when zombies are so fun. But oversaturation has brought us to the point we're at now, where even the mere mention of the word "undead" generates vitriol and apathy.

But dismissive minds are eager to forget. Earlier in the year Techland stopped the industry in its tracks with a single cinematic trailer for Dead Island that ultimately defined the game's unexpected sales success. The trailer — which depicted a hopeless family thrust into an extraordinary set of circumstances — went viral within hours, later prompting a movie deal in which media chiefs acknowledged the potential of the concept. A concept which Dead Island the game openly overlooked.

There was a short period between the trailer's release and Dead Island's actual gameplay unveiling where people pondered whether Techland could possibly create a game rooted in the human emotion of the cinematic. The developer failed, but that doesn't mean others can't succeed. And that's why The Last Of Us looks so remarkably fascinating.

Naughty Dog has an outstanding pedigree. The Sony owned subsidiary single-handedly altered the expectations for video game storytelling with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, later blending that with the sheer unseen scale and ambition of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. In Nathan Drake, Sully and Elena Fisher, Naughty Dog has created characters that players can relate to — a rarity in the medium, and an example of the developer's raw talent.

The Last Of Us looks to be a similarly character focused affair. The game's debut trailer introduces us to Ellie, "a young teenage girl who is wise beyond her years". The trailer indicates that Ellie has spent her entire life living with the adversity of the "infection" — a strange fungal like disease that has transformed the living into psychopathic hunters. Joining her for the journey is Joel, "a ruthless survivor" who remembers the old days.

The duo's relationship is unknown at this stage, but there appears to be a workman-like camaraderie between them. Our guess is that they are two survivors relying on each other's strengths in order to stay alive. What's most interesting about the dynamic is the unfearing manner in which the character's go about their business. In the trailer's opening scenes we see Joel kill another man in order to reap the reward of a handful of bullets.

Like Uncharted before it, The Last Of Us feels extremely personal, and that's part of the reason we're so excited by the game's potential. Naughty Dog is the best in the business when it comes to characterisation, and The Last Of Us allows the studio to explore something different. Uncharted's pulpy, often light-hearted sense of discovery appears to be replaced by a ravaged world reclaimed by nature. The Last Of Us looks dark.

Traditionally the video game industry struggles with maturity. Zombies may be dime-a-dozen, but they're rarely handled sensitively. As we previously alluded, the industry has taught us to pull the trigger whenever we see a reanimated corpse. But The Last Of Us' association with the cordyceps fungus leads us to believe that the game will handle its antagonists in a much more sensitive manner. The game doesn't appear to be at all concerned with government cover-ups and multinational ethical debates — instead The Last Of Us appears to be derived out of natural circumstances. Fiction is all the more frightening when no-one is to blame.

Perhaps most pertinent is Naughty Dog's willingness to reveal the infected first-hand. A close-up of one of the mushroom headed foes is easily the trailer's most memorable moment, highlighting that these are not zombies of the traditional kind.

It's unclear how The Last Of Us is going to play, but we're hoping for a slower experience. Resources appear to be limited, and thus we're not anticipating epic Uncharted-esque gun-battles with hordes of enemies. The set-up lends itself perfectly to co-op, but we're hoping that The Last Of Us is a more isolated experience. It would be a bold move to put Ellie, the weak teenage girl, at the centre of the experience. The familiarity of zombies is nothing compared to the oversaturation of rough-and-ready thirty-something protagonists, and Naughty Dog strikes us as one of the few developers with the chops to explore something otherwise unfathomable.

By virtue of the developer at the helm, The Last Of Us deserves the benefit of the doubt. Naughty Dog's proved with Uncharted that it's capable of making you care about its characters, and emotional attachment is something that's been missing from the countless zombie games released over the course of the generation. Yes, there's a wealth of products available in which you mow down throngs of corpses without a second thought. But based on our short glimpse of The Last Of Us, this is not one of those games. And that means it's ok to be excited. For now, anyway.

You can learn more about The Last Of Us by watching the game's debut trailer through here. Let us know what you think in the comments.