Bear with me here.
We all have seen the universal acclaim bestowed on the TLOU from critics and gamers alike, many of them calling it one of the greatest games of all time. I believe all this praise to be unwarranted and I believe Tom McShea score of the game was right on the money. This is not a review so I'll only talk about the faults as the positives are done to death elsewhere. Before I start though, I should point out that I am a big fan of Naughty Dog as Jak 2 and Uncharted 2 are two of my favourite games. The games of Naughty Dog and Nintendo EAD are judged differently because they have their own uniquely high standards to rate their games against.
The first problem I had with the game was it's pacing. I don't mind a slower pace in games, I not looking for the mind-numbing spectacle that is found in explosive 1st person shooters, the Legend of Zelda series is hardly known for it's break-neck pace but it is one of my absolute favourites. No, the problem here is that TLOU's pace drops to a snail's pace so frequently that I half wished for a fast forward option. I recognise the need for the 'calm before the storm moments' like in Uncharted 2's Tibet Village sequence which wasn a perfect breather so the pace wouldn't be exhausting, but in TLOU it takes up a significant part of the game so that these sections are no longer refreshing but dull, like the sequence with Joel and Tess after the great into (best part of the game, shame it never reached those heights again) and the long sewer sequence.
This leads me to one of the biggest annoyances in all gaming, padding. The first time I had to get get a plank to get across a jump-able gap, it was alright, the twelfth time not so much. Combine this with pulling dumpsters, getting ladders and finding yet another raft for Ellie, and you have just concocted the recipe for sheer boredom. Every time Joel said gruffly 'Wait here, I'll find some way around', my heart sank. It isn't a taxing puzzle that you get a buzz off by solving it, it's plodding off looking for ladder than walking very slowly back with it. That isn't fun, that's just wasting our time, the ladder could have easily being already set up, keeping the momentum going.
The combat in TLOU is often thrilling and unpredictable yet the way in which you are encouraged to play, because of resource and health management (certainly on higher difficulties), stealth is most definitely not. Stealth is one main pillars in this game and most players play this way until they are spotted but if you are good at it, this is all you will be doing. Having only one animation for the normal (no shiv) stealth takedowns is just lazy and leads to the stealth becoming very predictable and boring. Even the zombi.. I mean Infected are taken down the same way. Luckily for Joel and Ellie the much touted brilliant AI, takes great interest in staring at the wall for long stretches of time.
A lot of people are also saying that TLOU has the greatest story in gaming history... emmm no. For most, a great story needs a good narrative as well as a good plot. The plot in the TLOU isn't up to much- SPOILERS- the girl's is the cure, bring her from A to B. Then in then end you find out that they might as well of stayed in Boston as it was all for nothing. Sure they bonded, that's nice but I would need a bit more of a story than that. The best part of the game is the Winter sequence which involves David. Here you have the narrative and plot coming to together perfectly with their past actions coming back to haunt them and the tension is heightened by a great villain (so to speak). If the game had only being more like this sequence which also had the least amount of padding interestingly (no fetch this, boost me up here moments).
So for what it is worth, this was a good game but it was definitely no masterpiece.