the last of us (with spoilers)
i've been playing The Last of Us (TLoU) ps4 remaster after watching the show on HBO. i previously tried playing it about a year before the show came out, but got tired of it quickly and put it down shortly after Joel and Ellie arrive in Pittsburgh. at this very moment, i'm on my second play-through and just arrived in Pittsburgh again - i'm going for all the trophies and trying to 100% the game.
i first beat the game on hard mode and am now playing on the hardest difficulty (grounded).
frankly, i was right to be annoyed at the game last time around. the early-game stinks: your abilities aren't upgraded so there's a lot of annoying quirks you have to compensate for, such as extreme weapon sway, they don't properly teach you the most effective way to deal with a large group of infected, which leads to much trial-and-error, and without upgraded weapons, you have to deal with guns that constantly need to be reloaded and long wait times for reloading (all things that get better with upgrades). the game honestly doesn't get very good until you're 2/3 of the way through and you've got your abilities and weapons juiced up, but you need to keep pushing and pushing to get to that point.
the story is obviously solid - it's why they adapted it into a television show. i'd say if you're invested in learning about the story, watch the show because Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey sell those lines a lot better than the CGI characters in-game ever will. i'm not going to talk much about the story because it's not what i value most in games and it's been discussed to death and is why people think this game is a masterpiece (it's not).
playing it a second time around is definitely more enjoyable because you get to keep all your upgrades, but it doesn't change my mind about how lacking the gameplay is. sequences like the escape from the high school are such a pain because there's not really any way to go through it completely undetected, despite TLoU advertising itself as a stealth game. before you enter the high school and after you leave it, you are swarmed by enemies that force you into a fire-fight which wastes ammo, a precious resource that's in short supply.
i found myself restarting back to the last checkpoint if i thought i used too many bullets in a sequence. i thought i could kill the enemies using less ammo if i tried it again. maybe i'm a perfectionist, but it's tough to judge what ammo is going to come in handy later. i think it's a great mindset to be in though, because for example, after the game gave me the hunting rifle, i saved all the ammo i could for that weapon and when fighting the first bloater, i was able to kill it quickly with the 3 hunting rifle bullets i had saved because i had fully upgraded the weapon with armor-piercing rounds.
overall, the last of us is a good game when it's good, but really makes you suffer for a large chunk of the early game - it's obviously critically acclaimed, so you'll probably like it if you're after story-driven games.
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