These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
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. Then again, part of the backlash was because he either outright lied or didn't pay any attention at all, like when he said that Ellie doesn't factor in gameplay.
In the ending, is Joel a noble Papa Wolf or an ultimately selfish man motivated by the Adult Fear of losing another daughter?
Or he could be so vengeful against humanity to the point of 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?
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 ephebophilic tendencies before he snapped and the other Cannibals call Ellie his "newest pet", implying he did such things before.
At most he can be seen as an Anti-Villain as he calls Ellie out for killing James, saying he was a "good kid", and while Ellie hides in the blizzard he can be heard telling a woman to hide her children, so not to run into Ellie and get infected, which would all imply he does have genuine care for his own, it's when his fetish with adolescent girls gets challenged that his nasty side shows. That and, the fact that he's a cannibal.
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 should also be noted that it's the same soundtrack that played when Sarah died in his arms.
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.
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.
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.
Disappointing Last Level: From a gameplay perspective, the final level switches the entire game from a tense, resource based survival game to another generic third-person shooter that sees you fighting mooks with an assault rifle.
Game-Breaking Bug: On release day, there was a problem with the auto-save not working correctly that erased hours worth of played time for people.
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.
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...
While searching through the university building for the Fireflies, Ellie will at one point ask Joel if it'll hurt when they'll create a vaccine from her, to which Joel answers that "They'll just take some blood from your arm, it doesn't hurt." Then it turns out they need her brain to attempt the vaccine...
Hell Is That Noise: "Clickers" are completely blind, and navigate by echolocation using various clicks and guttural sounds. It's absolutely terrifying.
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.
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.
Moral Event Horizon: What makes the final chapter of the game such an excellent example of Grey and Gray Morality, is that a character definitely crosses it, but exactly who that character is depends on who you ask. Is it Joel, who goes Papa Wolf and saves Ellie's life, but in doing so kills scores of innocent people and robs the key to overcoming the infection from the Fireflies and consequently dooms humanity to extinction, or is it Marlene, who goes Well-Intentioned Extremist and is willing to murder Ellie to provide a chance to manufacture a cure? This question is, understandably, quite the Base Breaker among the fandom.
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.
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.
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.
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 social justice warriors calling the game racist for having a seemingly-heroic minority turn out to be a villain.
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 rather mindboggling.
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 Tess, Sam, and Marlene, the latter 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.