I have argued since it's release that The Last of Us is an awful game. I've done videos, talked to friends and ranted internally but have never really managed to convince anyone. So I thought, in the wake of the PS4 version selling so well, I'd do a run down of some of the game's pros and cons.
I'll start with the cons. (SPOILERS)
My first issue is the story and characters. Throughout the first half of the game all of the characters are two dimensional archetypes represented by a poor script, very little emotion and cliched characteristics. From Joel the tortured survivor to Bill the nutcase. Interactions between these characters are contrived and emotionless, everything is predictable. Attach a dull story to this and you have a God awful opening few hours.
The twists and turns of the story such as Joel's kid dying, Tess dying and Ellie and Joel starting to bond are about as subtle as a Neutron Bomb. And then, magically, out of nowhere, things get better. Characters become interesting, plot twists are no longer phoned in and emotion starts to appear. People use this to justify the game's sub par opening half. Apparently half of something can be shit and so long as the second half is good it's ok. Piss off!
If half your steak is raw and half is cooked perfectly you'd be unhappy. If your first few sips of a drink tasted like cat's piss but the rest was like sweet nectar you'd be unhappy. If Jennifer Lawrence had the bottom half of a lame Hyena but her normal top half, you'd be unhappy. Unless hyena's are your thing.
50% of the story is shite ergo the story is shite. It undermines the good of the second half.
Secondly a lot of the gameplay elements are stupid or just make no sense. For starters you can't always pick up ammo from dropped guns, it's not even an option half the time. Then you have the stupid inventory, you should have a bag with limited space and be able to fill it how you like, Resident Evil style, this would be much better and make far more sense than the current system. And ladders and planks? A worrying amount of time is spent slowly walking while carrying a ladder or plank. Why was this a decision that was made?
Then there's the fact that Joel doesn't have a knife but Ellie does. Joel is a hardened survivor with access to weapons but makes knives from kitchen scissors rather than get his own knife or even use Ellie's. That is just mental. Add to this shooting and movement which strive to be realistic but are ultimately just clunky and you have a gameplay design which makes as much sense as an orange juice producing cow.
Then there's the immersion breaking bits. You have to stealth through Clickers but your allies can run into them and it doesn't matter. You can't shoot Ellie but if an infected grabs her and you fire a shotgun shell which would hit both of them it only hits the infected. Yes these are nitpicks but the game takes itself seriously and wants you to do the same so things like this cannot happen. In a light hearted game like Uncharted they would be acceptable but here they are just laughably bad. How am I supposed to take a dark, post-apocalyptic world seriously when it's hilariously funny.
Don't think I think the whole game is awful, the soundtrack is stunning. Simple, evocative and memorable, it's one of the best soundtracks from the PS3 era of consoles. The other good thing is the melee combat, it's visceral, believable and feels fantastic. It suits the tone the game is trying to reach.
And then there's the... Oh wait. No those are literally the only two standout things about the game. I suppose the graphics are good but Uncharted 3 looked better and why are things so crystal clear under water that is obviously murky?
Now I know this is all opinion and I know people often say this is one of the best games from the PS3 and even one of the best games ever. But honestly I can't understand how people can argue against any of what I've just said. The things I've described are all things that happen and in any other game would be criticised. It's like people find it too awkward to admit the game is bad because so many people say it's good.
The Last of Us isn't great, it isn't good and it isn't mediocre or even bad. The Last of Us is abysmal.