OMG this guy is giving "The Last of Us" something other than 9.5+ ermagurd, flame him, he must be an Xbox fanboy. Now if this sounds like the first thoughts that went through your head than I implore you to actually read the review before attacking me in comment section. With that said here's the actual review.
"The Last of Us" is simply beautiful. Truly this is a game that will put you in awe of what 8 year old technology can do. Naughty Dog once again mystifies us with the simple beauty they can achieve. The worlds are lush and green when you're outside, you can see the particles in air when you are around a spore source, the cities are mechanical, decrepit, and falling apart. It is truly truly beautiful, which is why it's so painful to see low resolution textures. These low res textures are everywhere, from the trash on the ground to the barbwire lining the fences. I understand that in an effort to keep the game flowing fluid, compression, and other reasons not everything is going to be high resolution but in a game as beautiful as this the low resolutions stand out like a sore thumb and break the immersion. It just rips you straight out of getting lost in the beauty of the game.
Beautiful music serenades you as you explore, fills you with adrenaline as fight, and amplifies your emotions at all the right moments. The characters are all voiced well and deliver their lines flawlessly. There is no corny, cheesy, or awkwardness to be found here. I loved the characters and felt a sense of emotion and attachment with all of them, but more on that in a bit.
Story 8/10 *minor spoilers*
Unfortunately "The Last Of Us" suffers from a fairly generic story for this type of genre. World is almost destroyed by a mysterious plague, one (or more) person(s) is(are) magically immune to the plague and now the hero(s) are trying to get that person(s) to the people who can extrapolate a cure. It's a common plot we've seen several times and regrettably it's the one you'll experience the majority of the game with. But the good news is that "The Last of Us" is more about the journey than the destination. As you play through the game you will meet different characters and visit different places, while learning more about Joel and Ellie. I know it sounds like a no duh thing but it is done so well in "The Last of Us" that by the close of the game you really feel like these people matter, you want to care about them and protect them. Ellie is the obvious foil to Joel and on some sense she is constant reminder for us of the emotional pain Joel experiences. The other characters do well in adding to the immersion of the world but it's the developing relationship between Joel and Ellie that really takes center stage making everything else, even the story, a back drop. It's the lack of real story that hurt this score. It's predictable and fairly bland and if not for the excellent interaction between Joel and Ellie it would be downright boring. The story also has some moments of genuine WTF, such as when Ellie drives a manual truck flawlessly the first time. She is a 14 year old girl who has never driven a car before let alone a manual car but can magically drive it. I drive a manual so I can tell you I was not able to drive flawlessly my first, second, tenth times. I have never met a single person who was able to drive a manual flawlessly the first time.
There is so much good to say about the gameplay, however for everything good there is something bad as well. Stealth is the residing factor here, and it feels good. This is not a post apocalyptic world where you will survive if you try to run and gun. Ammo and supplies are rare, and it's awesome. You might spend an hour or two sneaking around because you have no ammo, and when you do find some it's only one or two bullets, and even saving everything one wrong move and you could wind up out of supplies from a firefight you weren't ready for. You really feel like you're in a world that is on the brink. However this feeling is broken as soon as you get in a fight. All of the AI, enemy or friendly, magically have limitless supplies of ammo and even if you render them unconscious, or dead, very very rarely will you be able to take any ammo from their bodies. In fact, you can't take anything from them. No supplies, no ammo, no weapon, nothing. This enemy that just unloaded dozens of bullets on you and suddenly as soon as their dead they have no more ammo? So what is the best strategy? Stealth. Sneak past your enemies or silently take them down (taking no ammo from them afterwards of course). However this is wonky as well. You are the only thing that the enemies can see. Your partners can and will run literally right in front of the enemy without being seen, in some cases actually clipping through the enemy. The AI will clip into each other often generally occupying the same cell at the same time. However they don't realize that they can't clip into you, so on more than a dozen occasions I would be hiding behind a wall only to have Ellie, or a different partner, run past the enemies and straight into the cell Joel was occupying, effectively knocking Joel out of cover and straight into the enemies line of sight, which is razor sharp. However (notice the trend yet) the enemies razor sharp vision can't see their allies. Basically if you take down an enemy and another enemy walks by that body they either don't see it or don't care because they have absolutely no reaction to it. "The Last of Us" is a game striving for a harsh realism to survival but breaks the realism by giving you the ability to store a full length shotgun, bow, and hunting rifle in a backpack at the same time. "The Last of Us" has the elements of a survival apocalypse game I've been so desperately looking for but the oddities with the AI make it hardly matter. There are some other problems with the game such as enemies that can one hit you just by touching you, but when the Clickers touch your companions they can fight them off. You are later able to fight off Clickers by getting an ability upgrade but it takes well over half of the game to earn enough points to purchase this, and that's if you're saving every point.
I was quite a bit upset when I heard that they were adding multiplayer to "The Last of Us". As an Uncharted 2 veteran I was severely disappointed with the direction Naughty Dog went with Uncharted 3's mutiplayer and so I was worried about "The Last of Us". My fears, as it turns out, where only partially grounded. The multiplayer is fun, mostly, and with a few balancing tweaks (why does it take more than a full magazine with a bust fire rifle to kill someone, but only 5 pistol shots) it could be even better, however just like everything else it has problems. The gritty, dark, slow mechanics of the single player transfer over well to multiplayer. The first problem is that you have to have "Facebook" to play. You log into your "Facebook" account and the game accesses your friends list to populate your clan. Every win means more people join you, while every loss means more people die. As you play you earn resources used to support your clan. Win enough and your clan will complete the nultiplayers "campaign". Lose to much, or don't play for a while, and everyone in your clan dies and you start over. Yes you read that right, if you don't play for a while your clan dies and you start over. You need a certain number of resources each day to support your clan and the only way to earn these is to play the multiplayer. No play = no resources = clan dying = start over. This really becomes a problem as all of the customization is population dependent. You need xx many people in your clan to unlock different customization options, but when people die you lose that customization again. Did you leave on that family vacation, PSN go down, had to move, no internet? Guess what, say good by to your clan and your customization. Luckily weapons and load outs are unlocked by obtaining a certain number or resources and even though resources are used daily it's only once you hit a collective number of the entire clan career. This is fairly obviously a grab to keep people playing the multiplayer.
This is a dangerous world, and "The Last of Us" exemplifies that perfectly. Even when you're at your most powerful in the game you still feel like you are barely surviving. "The Last of Us" is the type of post apocalyptic world you want, but to achieve that it has to make some sacrifices. I love this game, truly I do, but the small things break the experience and keep it from being that perfect survival apocalypse game.