on June 18, 2013
This review is a work in progress, but I felt like I had to say something about this game as soon as I could. It's a shame that exclusives on the ps3 hardly ever receive the attention they deserve.
Let me just say this: you have to buy this game if you have a ps3 and you are a past fan of survival horror or tactical espionage action. If you don't have one already, this's a pretty good reason not to wait for the ps4. Just buy the ps3 and delay the ps4 purchase. Or whatever.
I simply could not put this game down all weekend after its release this past Friday (June 14th). I forgoed sleep and all other obligations b/c it was that addictive to play. I feel good about considering a replay after I'm done (I'm about 85% through according to my save data).
You've probably already read a bunch of other reviews. They are mostly correct. I am only going to highlight the negatives. Personally I would give this game a 9/10. The issues are not game-breaking but they serve to highlight that nothing is ever completely perfect.
1) Having Ellie around isn't as immersive as reviews make it out to be.
For some reason, it seemed as though I was missing a bunch of optional conversations with Ellie, so the emotional bond between her and Joel doesn't seem as well developed as it should be. It's almost like she didn't talk to Joel for the first half of the entire game! This probably has to do with the fact that I was always running around and it seemed that she wasn't around for some reason or another.
She becomes really helpful in the later half of the game.
Regarding those optional conversations, sometimes I was a bit slow to get over to her to talk, and the option disappeared. Those sorts of things shouldn't have a time limit! But oh well...I guess that's what the trophy is for, to keep me coming back to replay.
2) Yes, you can tell when some gunfights are going to happen due to map layout.
Some reviewers complained about this, but this is par for the course (Uncharted games were like this too).
3) There are some clipping issue in the graphics occasionally, along with some portions where the game stutters during fmv movie sequences.
4) The "L3" tips, as usual for Naughty Dog games, either don't come soon enough or don't come at all.
This is my biggest complaint. There were at least 3 occasions where I wandered around the map, looking for the trigger that would get me to the next part of the game. This can tend to kill the momentum if I'm getting frustrated looking for the exit for over 30 minutes during a title. To be fair as well, I was a little bit dumb about it too. Like for instance, the obvious exit was a door, but I wasn't standing close enough to it to show the "green triangle" interaction symbol.
This is a good thing in a sense since there's no obvious glowing beacon that tells you where to go, but at the same time, the ability to access to get a tip as to where to go (e.g. the L3 tip I mentioned) should become available sooner or better yet, simply whenever the player wants to see the tip.
At some places, this isn't even an option.
5) At times, enemies will be able to see you even if you haven't moved, at all.
Sometimes I would be crouching motionless about 15 ft away from a clicker, and they'd still make my location and I would proceed to get killed instantly, clickers being very hard to kill without a melee weapon or a shiv. You can shoot them as well but it can be hard to aim plus I was esp. stingy about not wasting bullets, so I died a bunch more times while attempting to be frugal. Luckily the load times are done upfront so getting back into the game is very fast.
6) speaking of load times, when you boot up your saved game, it takes about 3-4 minutes for it to load up but it's nearly seamless after that.
Go take a bathroom break or a snack.
7) Sometimes, the bad guys or the infected will run right next to Ellie or some other NPC and nothing happens.
Again, reviewers have mentioned this but it's kind of like an amusing bug to me.
Sometimes NPC's will get in the way though, either blocking you from running or in the middle of a gunfight. Really NPC, you just had to standing in my line of sight while I am shooting at somebody downtown? =P
=======Edit: June 22, 2013=====================================================================
Ok, so I wanted to work on a small pile of deadlines so that I can go on July 4th vacation in peace, but that all went by the wayside so far this weekend. I've dropped about 6 hrs on MP since Friday and it's been a blast.
I finally jumped in Friday to try out the multiplayer (MP), after some excitement by one particular youtuber (BroKenGaMezHD...they're fun to watch/listen if you have time).
Anyhow, the MP offers two modes: Supply Raid, and Survivor.
Supply Raid is Last of Us' version of team deathmatch. Survivor is like hardcore team deathmatch, where you only have 1 single life and you spend the rest of the round spectating if you are taken out.
The goal of the MP is for you to grab supplies that will help your "clan" to survive. It's a bit of a meta-game going at the menu screen of the multiplayer. You start off with 5 people in your clan and the meta-game is a way of expressing your progress in the MP.
You get more supplies during the game by taking them off the bodies of your enemies or also as a conversion of parts that you collect and are awarded during and after the multiplayer matches. One little fun thing you can do (and this isn't too bad of a privacy violation), is that you can tie your facebook account to this meta-game. So the people in your clan can be your direct friends and friends of friends and it's kind of amusing...while you're waiting for multiplayer matches to load up, it'll comment and show facebook profile photos mentioning who is doing well, who is doing what, or...who has passed away. -_-
Anyhow, onwards to the actual MP comments and reiteration of tips:
1) The game is not a run-and-gun. In fact it's been mentioned that it is very bare-bones and tactical, like Socom or perhaps Counterstrike. It helps to stay in close proximity to your teammates. It helps very much if you are wearing a mic, AND also playing with friends so that you can talk to each other on the fly and coordinate movements, as well as calling out enemy positions. The most successful teams I've seen this weekend are the people who play together as online PSN friends.
2) The MP so far is fairly balanced. It's best to start with Supply Raid as it helps one become accustomed with the pacing. The bow is a little bit cheap, as I've had it used against me as a close quarters weapons (which is garbage), the draw speed is much shorter on the MP so it can be fired fairly quickly.
3) I can't emphasize this enough, but try not to stray too far away from other teammates. The better teams roll around together or at least in pairs, so if you're far away from the other teammates, they can't save you if you run into trouble. This is easier said than done when trying to collect supplies.
4) The semiautomatic has been more or less the default for most people in terms of what long gun to start with. Your mileage may vary.
5) Try to collect as many supplies as you can. Nail bombs are great, just position them out of sight and you're good, don't leave them out in the open. Molotov's are great for 1-hit kills but it takes a bit of practice of course to aim them properly (esp. when people are sprinting at you). Very satisfying when one is landed properly though. Smoke bombs + shivs are great as a combo. The shiv isn't particularly useful on its own unless you have smoke bombs; I've only gotten the drop on somebody from the back once so far in MP, and naturally I did not even have a shiv. Having a smoke bomb puts them into a stunned state where the shiv can be used for an insta-kill.
6) Try and level up any melee weapons to the reinforced version. Those are also 1-hit kills and will save you in a bind.
7) Instead of firing immediately, take a moment to press R3 in order to mark your opponents so your teammates know where they are. Some high level opponents using the covert training 3 cannot be marked.
8) Like Call of Duty and other games, there are perks and upgraded perks that can be equipped. You have 10 points to spend. The better ones take awhile to earn (like the one you can use to heal teammates or gift them items), but none of them are game-breaking save for maybe the listening perk that can give improved ability to show enemies through walls when they are moving. The effective distance isn't as crazy as the single player campaign so while some people complain that it's bs, it so far is not game-breaking.
9) It's ok not to crouch walk everywhere. Don't do it b/c you move really slowly and you do need to keep up with your team, and besides, your location is still shown while crouch-walking until you get Covert Training level 2. The better option is to jog (moving while standing up, but without pressing in the L3), and crouching when in open areas and trying to make use of cover Try not to sprint b/c it marks you very visibly on the radar, unless you're in trouble and need to sprint. And it's ok to sprint to that nearest supply point at the beginning of the round of course.
10) Try not to agonize over kill/death ratio. It's much harder in this game to get the 1:1 ratio or better esp. when starting out. Also note that if you're lone-wolfing it without friends, you'll be at the whim of whichever randoms you're paired up with.
11) The people so far playing haven't been too douchey. They're occasionally obnoxious but I haven't gotten panned too hard for being "that guy who is taking down the entire team."
12) If you're finding yourself getting stomped, you can ragequit, by quitting out of "the last of us" to the playstation XMB. Re-booting the game is fairly quick compared to say, Uncharted 2.
IF you care about the metagame and/or you want to get that multiplayer trophy (40 survivors in your clan), it's important to quit out of LOU instead of using the "leave game" menu option. Leaving early, like all of Naughty Dog's games since UC2, inflicts severe casualties on your clan in terms of being ill, hungry, or dying. There is no shame in quitting out since the game is inherently biased towards people who are playing together as friends in real life, so anybody else playing the game with strangers will typically be at a distinct advantage. Some people will actually want you to leave for playing badly (I had at least 1-2 people make some snide remarks but I was able to later break even), but screw 'em, the bottom line is that alot of us don't have endless amounts of free time to play, so if you're not having fun and getting destroyed, it's better to make optimal use of that free time and find a more balanced round to go play in.
13) Just to be forewarned, every couple of rounds, there are special events that occur that can help you either recruit more clan members or events where you have to minimize losses. Getting the 40 survivors isn't entirely an easy task b/c of that and again, if you're pursuing trophies, than can get frustrating. I was at 39 survivors right up until this one tough match, and afterwards since I failed my challenges, I lost 16 people. ='( Like Sisyphus, I have to go try again.
14) The game is 4x4 and I can kind of see why they made that design decision. It makes it easier to get a group of friends together to play the game, and not alot of people outside of people in school are going to be able to gather that many together.
Your best bet is to watch some of the youtube videos, and then just play the MP and see if you like it. It's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea esp. if you are not playing with the mindset of working together and enjoying the experience. But otherwise, in my 6 hrs+ without a mic, it's been an intense, exhilarating MP experience. It could've used a bit more development times, and there aren't a top of weapon choices, and it didn't ship with a ton of maps, but those'll probably come in the form of DLC. The ones that are included are solid except for this one underground subway one that people always vote to skip, so I've not yet played it.