The Last of Us preview (pictures, hands-on, screens and video)

Naughty Dog, the developer behind PS3 smash hit Uncharted, has shown off the latest game it is working on: The Last of Us.

The game sees you play middle-aged Joel, accompanied by a younger girl Ellie, travelling across America trying to avoid those who are affected by an unknown virus and others who just don't like you.

Following a previous trailer that saw the two being ambushed, Sony and Naughty Dog opted to show actual gameplay to close out the company's E3 press conference in LA.

The trailer sees the lead characters working their way through a building before being discovered. Tussles, heads in desks, and petrol bombs ensue before it ends with a quick shotgun blast to the head to dismiss the final assailant.

We can't tell much from the trailer as to how the game will play out, why the two lead characters are the only ones left, or, as yet, what the aim of the game is.

What we can see is that Naughty Dog has created a much darker experience than the Uncharted series, but one that still borrows heavily from the developer's way of presenting games. Low camera angles, great looking graphics, and a cinematic presentation style mean gamers should be in for a treat when The Last of Us comes out on the PS3.

Sadly, there's no word on when the finished game will be released, although we suspect it will be either late 2012 or early 2013. Fingers crossed.

UPDATE: After the Sony E3 press conference, The Last of Us was one of the games we most wanted to get some one-on-one time with and, although it ended up being one of Naughty Dog's producers that controlled the game, we managed to. It was just us, him and the level we saw on the big screen previously. Intimate.

And although we were viewing the action on a smaller display, it still felt as intense. In fact, even more so considering that the person playing it was trying to describe what he was doing along the way, and once or twice looked in genuine peril.

What is most interesting thing about the sequence we saw (and in the video above) is that this section focused on combat between our main characters and normal, virus-free enemies. The Last of Us is survival horror, no matter whether those who look to do you harm are zombies or recognisably human. If anything, it's these other survivors that are perhaps scarier. They are certainly cleverer.

The thing we got from actually being hand held through the level is that it seems to play similarly to Uncharted - no surprises there - and not on rails as some have speculated.

There's climbing sections and a lot of duck and cover action. However, this time stealth is a better ally than running in guns a-blazing. Partly because you have a little girl to look after, but mainly because you don't have much ammunition if at all.

But the most resonating part of our demo, the part we'll take with us until we get a chance to taste further gameplay sessions, is the same as you can see in the video trailer; the hand-to-hand fight and shotgun moment. There's genuine fear in the enemies eyes, and the result further enforces The Last of Us' mantra of kill or be killed.

Uncharted was a big, boombastic action thriller. From our E3 demo, The Last of Us will be far moreĀ somberĀ and memorable, we feel.