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YMMV: The Last of Us

The main game:

  • 8.8:
    • GameSpot's review was almost immediately pounded with dislikes for daring to give the game an 8/10. Not only was it a mostly positive review whose only major complaint was the occasional immersion-breaking AI glitch and some Gameplay and Story Segregation, but the review embargo lifted a full week before the release date. Though it's worth noting that the game was leaked online at least a week before its official release, so at least some of the people had played the game beforehand.
    • Also Polygon's 7.5 cause accusations of favoritism for Xbox360 games by Sony fans due to the fact that Polygon was funded by Microsoft.
    • Ben Croshaw didn't particularly like the game (not nearly as much as BioShock Infinite, at any rate), as he felt zombies were overused and that it felt like Uncharted (a game that he doesn't particularly mind, but has something of a dislike for having generic gameplay) with more stealth elements. He knew exactly what kind of backlash he was going to get while he was still playing the game, much less writing the review, and has calmly asked the game's fans if they could agree to disagree. However, even he ended up placing the game at at least his top 7 games of 2013, calling it "basically good but [he] was kinda 'meh' about at the time".
    • To say that any critic who doesn't name The Last of Us as their Game of the Year is met with immediate hostility would be an understatement. Even though there are quite a few titles that have received just as much praise.
    • Also inverted in some cases. There are some fans who laughed at any reviewer that called this game the so-called Citizen Kane of gaming. Which is fair, as Citizen Kane was only considered a masterpiece over a decade after its release, and launch day reviews are known for having exaggerated knee-jerk declarations.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In the ending, is Joel a noble Papa Wolf or an ultimately selfish man motivated by the Adult Fear of losing another daughter? That, or perhaps he's so vengeful against humanity, he's willing to damn them all for daring to take another little girl's life, considering what happened to his daughter in the prologue.
    • Is Marlene a stressed, desperate leader who feels the ends justifies the means, or a Broken Bird ground down by the horrors of what the world has become and simply didn't have the strength of will to resist the urges of her people?
    • Consider the sheer speed with which the Fireflies decide to scoop out Ellie's brain, potentially ruining their only vaccine source. Is it because the Fireflies are just that good at medicine, or is it desperation mixed with scientific incompetence?
    • In the ending, is Ellie asking Joel to lie to her? Or is she begging him to protect her from that last bit of guilt? Word of God states that she knows he is lying to her, and that as a result, she feels robbed of choice- it has ended her trust in him.
    • Was David a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing all along, or was he the decent guy he first introduces himself as, who merely snapped when realizing there was no use attempting to get along with strangers who in return did nothing but break his fingers and kill his men? Then again, he showed his paedophilic tendencies before he snapped and the other Cannibals call Ellie his "newest pet", implying he did such things before. Alternatively, is his Ax-Crazy personality during his and Ellie's Boss Fight due to the (supposed) infection from her bite showing its symptoms?
      • Interestingly, Nolan North (David's voice actor)'s own interpretation of David is that he genuinly cares for his group and indeed had good intentions towards Ellie to begin with, with her being a glimmer of hope for him similarily the way she is for Joel, but threw all morality out the window the more she fought against him.
    • Ellie breaking David's finger. A badass or stupid move, considering there was no way she could have gotten a hold of his keys and she only escapes him and James within an inch of her life as a result. A better solution would probably have been to pretend she would join him, and then escape after he let her out. Though it might just boil down to her acting like a rash teenager.
  • Awesome Music: An ambient score courtesy of Gustavo Santaolalla. Highlights include its beautiful main theme and the haunting track that plays at the very end of the game, Home.
    • All Gone (No Escape) also stands out, especially since it plays while Joel's carrying Ellie to the elevator at the end of the hospital level. You're running to safety as fast as you can, holding your surrogate daughter in your arms, completely defenseless against the dozens of soldiers chasing after you, with only this beautiful cello piece playing in the background. Arguably the best example of this game's music making an emotional scene even more powerful than it already was. It's the same soundtrack that played when Sarah died in his arms.
    • The "Alert Mode" music that plays during shootouts is pure tension and pure awesome.
    • Not part of the game, but check out "The Best of Us," a musical tribute to the game.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Tess. She is either seen as demanding, abrasive, and rude, or she is seen as a badass, selfless, and a worthy companion. Possibly indicative of the Double Standard regarding acceptable levels of hardass-ness in women and men going on here, as she's basically a female version of Joel.
    • Joel himself, due to the decision he makes in the ending. See Alternative Character Interpretation above.
  • Best Level Ever: The Winter chapter, where you play as Ellie.
    • And the part of the Fall chapter where you explore a giant, abandoned university area while on horseback.
  • Breather Level: After the sheer amount of hell that happens towards the end of the Summer chapter, the Fall chapter is much easier, with the majority spent inside an empty university filled with supplies. It'll prepare you for when things go south in Winter.
  • Broken Base
    • Linking with Alternate Character Interpretation of Joel above, the circumstances regarding Ellie as a potential vaccine: Is one life worth sacrificing for the many if it means the slightest chance of a cure, and would a cure in itself slowly, but surely be of help to mankind and restore the world to its better days? Or is it unforgivable to sacrifice a child for something that only might work, while a cure wouldn't be of much help anyway because the Fireflies would likely have kept it to themselves and/or distributing it would be highly difficult and possibly lead to people turning even more on each other due to fighting over it? Both arguments seems to have its fair share of supporters.
      • This is only made worse by the fact that the ending is intensely vague about Ellie's choice in the matter. Interviews with Word of God seem to indicate that it was her choice, accepting her death as part of the cure but the game gives little reason to believe this is the case.
    • The confirmation that a movie adaptation is in the making has naturally led to alot of this. Is it a terrible idea considering how game-to-movie adaptations usually fare, or is The Last Of Us the perfect story for a movie, meaning it'll likely be an exception? Even to the sceptic crowd however, the fact that Neil Druckmann will direct the movie offers some comfort, rather than it being left in the hands of a random Hollywood writer.
    • To a degree over the last level (when Joel's fighting his way through a Firefly filled hospital to get to Ellie.) To many it's an equally exciting level to the rest of the game, epitomizing what you need in stealth and combat skills, while there are also those who feels it's a Disappointing Last Level, switching the entire game from a tense, resource based survival game to another generic third-person shooter.
    • The announcement of the remastered edition for the PlayStation 4. Some feel like this is a great way to experience the game, especially for people who don't own a PS3 but are considering or already own a PS 4. Others think of it as a completely pointless remake of a game not even a year old yet, and/or a cash-grab designed to take advantage of the PS 4's lack of backwards compatibility.
  • Complete Monster: David is a Faux Affably Evil leader of a group of hunters and bandits who have survived the end of civilization by sticking out in the wilderness and sending out parties to raid, kill and pillage, with a special caveat. David is a cannibal and his group functions by bringing in human meat. Despite his initial friendly demeanor towards Ellie, David reveals his true colors as an unhinged psychotic who carelessly sends his own men to their death as the survivors will be stronger anyways. When he comes against Ellie, David tries to kill her before he gains the upper hand, where he tries to rape her instead.
  • Demonic Spiders: Bloaters. They have ranged attacks, unlike the other Infected, can take an obscene amount of damage, and if they get close to you, it's an insta-kill. Fortunately, there's only two in the entire game you have to kill in an open fight.
    • Clickers can be an odd zig-zagging example. When they're mixed with a group of Runners or Stalkers, they're very dangerous, since if any Infected so much as sees you, it'll inevitably alert this one-hit killer to you. When Clickers are the only things you're facing, though, their blindness makes them pretty manageable to either deal with or sneak past.
    • The Fireflies in the hospital at the end. In a world where you're lucky if you have an improvised shiv, these guys have unlimited assault rifle ammunition and can take three or four shotgun blasts at point-blank range. They come in groups of about eight. You'll wish you had a gang of Bloaters to deal with instead.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: To survive, you need to actively find something to fight for. As illustrated by Joel at the very end with his willingness to hide the truth about the Fireflies from Ellie.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: During the stealth area in the sewers with the Stalkers, a glitch can occur where Sam will randomly run up to Stalkers and Clickers for no discernable reason and alert them immediately. The worst part about this glitch is that it can happen very often and completely at random.
  • Genius Bonus: The Firefly lab is found at the (fictional) University of Eastern Colorado. While there, you meet David's clan of cannibals for the first time. At the real University of Colorado in Boulder, the students voted to name their cafeteria after notorious accused cannibal Alferd Packer ("Have a friend for lunch!" being the motto). Famous alums Trey Parker and Matt Stone made their first commercial project on him as well: Cannibal! The Musical. Later, Joel finds David's camp in the also fictional town of Silver Lake, Colorado. Packer was convicted in a trial in Lake City.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The game has sold very well in Japan having been in the top 10 sales charts for three weeks. This is likely in part to its Survival Horror motifs; and the game's extensive focus on Character Development and plot.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: When Joel asked Sarah about how she got him the watch, she sarcastically responded with "selling hardcore drugs." Twenty years later, Joel deals drugs for ration tickets...
    • Early on, Ellie will remark on how Joel and Tess are pretty good at handling infected, to which Joel will say "It's called luck, and it is gonna run out." Upon reaching the Capitol building, Tess says "Our luck had to run out sooner or later." and reveals she's been bit.
    • After playing the Left Behind DLC, the scene in Autumn where Ellie calls Joel out on trying to give her to Tommy becomes twice as heartbreaking now that we know exactly how much Ellie has really lost and the way Joel so bitterly crushes her doesn't help.
      Joel: You have no idea what loss is.
  • Hell Is That Noise: "Clickers" are completely blind, and navigate by echolocation using various clicks and guttural sounds. It's absolutely terrifying.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Several people noted Ellie's resemblance to Ellen Page, before Naughty Dog changed her character model to remove this. And then at E3 2012, Sony unveiled Quantic Dream's new title, Beyond: Two Souls... Starring Ellen Page. Cue Epileptic Trees springing up that Ellie's character model changing was due to this. Another interesting coincidence between the two is Ellen came out as gay the same day as the Left Behind DLC released, where, in a way, Ellie did the same.
    • A rather dark one in the game. In voice recordings, a Firefly scientist complains about how incompetent his coworkers are. Then, instead of exterminating a batch of test monkeys injected with Cordyceps like he was supposed to, he sets them free instead and gets bitten and infected for his trouble.
    • In the Japanese dub of the game, Joel's voice actor previously voiced Wreck-It Ralph, another antagonistic brute that ends up befriending a little badass girl who melts his heart and ultimately makes him desperate to save her life. Perhaps even funnier when you consider Ellie's own love for arcade games.
    • Ellie was originally meant to have the last name "Williams", but this was later scrapped. With the development of a movie adaptation, Ashley Johnson has stated that her own personal choice in actors to play Ellie is Maisie Williams.
  • Internet Backdraft: After Sony lowered prices on The Last of Us: Remastered, many that pre-ordered the game for it's original 60$ went aflame and demanded that Sony refund them for the lower price.
  • Love It or Hate It: The game is widely praised as one of the greatest console games in recent history. However, for those with a more gameplay>story stance on gaming , reactions have been that the gameplay is a generic 3rd person stealth shooter with bad gunfight mechanics against atrociously poor enemy AI opponents with tacked on RPG & crafting elements. A common summation of the game from is that The Last Of Us would overall be better as a movie instead of a video game.
  • Magnum Opus: This game is well on its way to being considered Naughty Dog's crowning achievement in gaming history, possibly beating out Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Fireflies deciding to sacrifice Ellie in order to attempt a vaccine is seen as this to some. However, even if one were to agree with their decision, the fact that they were going to do it without even asking her is a pretty dick move. Doubled if one take into the account how they asked Marlene to kill Joel for no reason but You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, or alternatively He Knows Too Much.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: A positive example. Despite the Word of God claim, the nature of Joel and Tess' relationship is delightfully ambiguous, with only her statement that "there's enough here [between us]" to give any implications that it goes beyond platonic convenience. It really can come down to personal interpretation if it's romantic, intimate, or just close friendship.
  • That One Boss:
    • David, who you play a game of cat and mouse with in a steakhouse. You have nothing but a knife and he has a gun and a machete. Basically a test of how well you understand the stealth mechanics and how well you understand the concept of hit-and-run.
    • The first encounter with Bloaters can be teeth grindingly difficult, since it requires a completely different combat approach to properly deal with than what the player has been trained to handle up to that point. That is unless you know that they don't like fire and you're well-stocked on Molotov cocktails.
  • That One Level: The part in Pittsburgh where Joel gets trapped in a flooded, dark basement can be a royal pain to many first time players, or even if you handle it well on the "normal" modes but then go on to "Survivor", where you don't have the listening mode and a very scarce supplies of bullets. Good luck fighting those infected when you don't know where they'll be coming from and you can hardly see them, next to fighting or escaping a Bloater through dark and narrow hallways without a Molotov Cocktail.
  • The Scrappy: Sam to many people, due to being completely useless (in contrast to Ellie), being the cause of an infamous glitch as mentioned above, and being directly responsible for the death of a character that most people liked. Though it should be mentioned that the very reason he's "useless" is because of Henry never having taught him to defend himself, which is what ironically leads to both of their tragic undoings.
  • Uncanny Valley: Oddly enough, the horses that show up in the middle of the game. Their legs and neck are far too thin and spindly to look like real horses. Horses like this were also present in Uncharted so it seems to be a thing with Naughty Dog.
  • Unfortunate Implications/Irony:
    • A real life example. Game Reactor magazine made a special cover featuring the game where Joel and Ellie are standing on top of a dead man. Because Ellie is clearly holding a gun and she's a young teenaged girl, she was cut out from the artwork to avoid a controversy in public stores. It also doubles as irony since she bugs Joel about getting one in the game.
    • Naughty Dog were also surprisingly blunt and open about the publicity for the game, where outside sources actively wanted to remove Ellie because of the age-old 'girls don't play games' routine. It got to the point where one European magazine removed her via Photoshop and Naughty Dog called them out over it.
    • Like with Bioshock Infinite, there are some social justice proponents calling the game racist for having a seemingly-heroic woman of color turn out to be a villain. However, in a game of Grey and Grey Morality, others social justice people may disagree, since the issue of representation isn't that persons of color are villains, more of the problem that it may insinuate that persons of color can only be villains, and that protagonists can only be white men. How racist it is means considering many other factors.
    • The game has also been cited as being sexist due to Ellie breaking down once Joel arrives after fighting off (and hacking a rapist), Cracked claiming that the game's implication was that the arrival of the man meant she had to be reduced to a blubbering pile of uselessness. This seems to be a Vocal Minority, as most people seem to think it's natural for a person regardless of sex to react similarly to such a traumatic experience (it's not as through Ellie goes around hacking rapists regularly.) Not to mention that she's also just a 14 year old girl. Expecting someone of that age not to break down crying after nearly being raped is mindboggling. The article was savaged on its own site and acucssed of being written in a way that sounds like the author has no idea what s/he was talking about.
  • The Woobie
    • Iron Woobie: Joel. Twenty years of survival must have taught him to endure all those hardships.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Bill. He can be quite mean and unpleasant but it's hard to not feel bad for him considering what happened between him and Frank.
    • Ellie. Almost everyone she knows and cares about is dead. This includes Riley, Tess, Sam, and Marlene, the latter of whom she doesn't know is dead.
    • Sam. Though his brother means well, Henry often admonishes him over the slightest things such as taking a toy to keep himself occupied. He is also not given a chance to be taught how to defend himself, unlike Ellie. And shortly after he bonds with Ellie, he becomes an infected and has to be put down by his own brother.

Left Behind

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: While there's no denying Ellie and Riley having feelings for each other thanks to Word of Gay, was their kiss purely the result of their ambiguous sexuality, or did more things factor in such as the state of the world enhancing how precious friendships become to people, to the point the boundary between platonic and romantic gestures is blurred out/becomes less significant? This would be further fueled by Ashley Johnson's own comment on the kiss being that she felt it "didn't matter" what it meant "in the kind of world they're living in", but Riley being the most important person to Ellie, how else would one express the feeling of "I really have to kiss you right now"?
  • Broken Base: The revelation that Ellie and Riley have romantic feelings for one another hasn't gone over well with everyone, some think it's perfectly in-character while others consider it a cheap ploy on Naughty Dog's part to stir up controversy.
    • Another one not as major is the fact that the game doesn't show what exactly happens to Riley. Some feel that the Smash to Black choice to end the DLC worked for it and others felt that they would rather have seen what came to be of Riley (e.g; did Ellie have to kill her, did she leave her, etc).
  • Fan Dumb: People claiming that Ellie being gay or bisexual has "ruined her character".
    • And even more some are trying to argue that the kiss they shared was a friendly one or just a platonic one completely ignoring the fact Word of God said the two definitely had romantic feelings for one another.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The introduction is Riley scaring Ellie by pretending to be an infected biting her while she's sleeping. Then they both get bitten for real later on.
    • Riley's "You're not gonna kill me, are you?" becomes this if it's indeed what Ellie had to end up doing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The jokes about cannibals that can be heard during the part with the joke book is this considering Ellie does eventually meet a group of real cannibals and gets traumatized by the event for a while.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: It's been pointed out pretty often that Ellie strongly resembles Canadian actress Ellen Page (as mentioned in the main game's entry). Left Behind was released on February 14th, 2014, and it reveals that Ellie and Riley had romantic feelings for each other. On the very same day, Ellen Page came out as gay during a speech for the Human Rights Campaign.
  • Les Yay: Ellie and Riley.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Some people who did not like a particular revelation made in the DLC suspected a political agenda on Naughty Dog's part.

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