So SO much hype, it just couldn't live up to it

User Rating: 7 | The Last of Us PS3

{This will contain spoilers}

I enjoyed The Last of Us. It was a fresh story and a unique world for you to explore and get to know. As you move from building to building you see a striking contrast between the world that was and the world that is. You pick up bits of information in the form of letters, pictures and even the odd voice recording and each can be anything from a love letter to an obituary.

The story is set up in a simplistic way, hell the entire story is pretty simplistic to be honest. You move from area to area and then on to another area, uncovering a bit of the story at a time.

The fighting system in this game was good. It has a weight to it and the lack of ammo in the harder difficulties was great at making you preserve the ammo you had by sneaking around instead of going in guns blazing.

And this is where the problems I had with it started to show. I didn't really care about the characters at all in this game. I cared for Joel, and somewhat for Ellie, even though her swearing grates on the nerves a lot since it feel forced and out of place.

I didn't care much for Tess at all, you only knew her for about three seconds and that wasn't enough for her thin character to flesh itself out. So when the inevitable then happened it was like watching a movie where the characters mothers, uncles, cousins, friend that they were close to died. Sure the characters look hurt but the death is so distant from you it means nothing.

And the same goes for the other characters sure when Henry and Sam meet their quite shocking end that was kind of sad, but overall you hadn't known them long enough to really care for them. As far as I was concerned they were just baggage for you to use when you bullets were low (even though their aim is atrocious) up to that point.

The AI in this game is laughable. I mean your companions are invisible to the enemies which is a good thing, it would be impossible to play this game if they could be spotted by the enemy. It definitely wouldn't help matters that they seem to want to sprint around the game when in full sneak mode and run straight into the infected you are trying to sneak around at every chance they can get. It is especially annoying when you are trying to listen to where the enemies are and all you can hear is your companions thudding footsteps all around you.

The enemies only pop out of cover when you do, like they are spring loaded to your actions. This makes battles really predictable and kind of tedious overall. Enemies will flank and just stand behind you unloading their weapons into your head, instead of taking cover. And one or two times I found a character walking against a wall in the corner.

Several immersion breaking moments occurred as well such as Joel's flash light having a mind of its own such as him turning around to give Ellie a leg up and the flash light still pointing in the forward direction straight through his body. Naturally it would be annoying if the flash light blinded you every time the leg up animation was going on but there is no reason why they couldn't have made it obey physics.

This game also has WAY too many moments where you just stand there and fight an oncoming wave of enemies while your companions do something off screen like unblock a door or move a ladder or something equally tedious. At one point I was even trapped at a save point because the auto-save had saved right before one of these waves and I only had about five bullets. Luckily I was playing on Hard so I could drop the settings and magically all this ammo started to appear out of nowhere and I could proceed. The mission where you play as Ellie for example and the tickers are all breaking into a little hut. It felt so drawn out that I kind of felt like the developers had run out of ideas. So instead they just sent as many runners and clickers against you as they felt they could get away with instead.

Though the start of that mission was excellent. Just a shame it had to end so terribly.

Not to mention the linearity of this game and the progression of it drove me insane. Like you start the game and you have to go get revenge on some guy for screwing you over. Then that goes south so you then do something else, when you get there that goes south and you do something else.

You just seem to go from A to B constantly with a nice looking cut scene in between each. Plus none of the "twists" in the game were particularly ground breaking. Like for instance your trip to the University in the game yielded you nothing. Nothing at all except a new location. It is like one massive, seriously underwhelming treasure hunt.

The final mission could have played out so much better. I was expecting a kind of unarmed run through the hospital if I'm honest. Kind of like where Joel wakes up and find out what they plan to do to Ellie and breaks free but then must make his way to the operating theatre without weapons. Instead he found his magic backpack with enough weapons in it to storm an embassy and ended up as Joel the one man army again and slaughtered a hospital full of heavily armed men instead.

I felt this game could have been SO much more. It is kind of ironic that the voice actor for Joel was the same guy who did Booker Dewitt's voice in Bioshock Infinite, because that started out really strangely and turned into one of the greatest games I've played in a long long time. This started out with unbelievable hype and turned into an underwhelming experience for me.

BUT all that said I did kind of enjoy the story and the world even if the ride through it was kind of frustrating. Joel and Ellie are great but it is a shame they killed off Sarah at the beginning because she seemed to be the only character in the game who even had any real charisma and likeability.

So really I don't get what the hype is on this one. But it is still a worthy game and one everyone should play.

p.s. what is with the loading time on this game? Struck me as a little ridiculous.