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 Xbox 360 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 tied-for-runner-up in his Top 5 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.
    • There are also 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.
    • Even if a vaccine had been successfully made, would the Fireflies really have distributed it quickly and/or fairly to people? They were on extremely bad terms with the military, immediately decided to kill an unconscious child, and it's ultimately implied that they wanted to kill Joel after he delivered Ellie because He Knows Too Much. Their goal may have been noble, but in the end, it would appear that they might have kept a potential vaccine to themselves, or at most have distributed it in small dosages to chosen clients, which, when the word got out, would have caused mankind to turn even more on each other due to fighting over it.
    • To add to the above, the Zombie Apocalypse rampaged for 20 years; could the world be considered too far gone for a vaccine to really have made that much of a difference?
    • 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 genuinely cares for his group and indeed had good intentions towards Ellie to begin with, with her being a glimmer of hope for him similar to the way she is for Joel, but threw all morality out the window the more she fought against him.
      • David apparently kept young girls as "entertainment" before Ellie, who all might have been naive and trusting of his kind and polite act in difference to Ellie who flat out refuses to join him. Nolan North even hinted that David might have viewed Ellie as different and considered her to be someone he eventually could have children with to increase his group's numbers. Another possible interpretation of his reaction to Ellie's rebellion is that David is Not Good with Rejection.
    • 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 having acted rashly out of anger or panic.
    • Alot of players interprets Ellie's sullen attitude at the start of the Spring chapter to be the result of her ordeal with David, when at that point, it's been at least a couple of months since it happenednote  and Word of God hints more towards her simply being down about her and Joel's journey almost being over. Joel will also comment that she seems "extra quiet today", meaning she was acting depressed that particular day.
  • Angst? What Angst?: After playing the DLC then one might wonder how Ellie acts so chipper and carefree a majority of the time when she just tragically lost her best friend and Love Interest a mere three weeks before the main story, although it could simply be a coping mechanism.
  • Anticlimax Boss: On Easy difficulty, the boss fight against David is made effortless since, as is turns out, David is just as vulnerable to a glass bottle to the face as anyone else. Knowing this changes the fight from a murderous game of cat and mouse to "throw a bottle then run up and stab him".
  • Anvilicious: At one point, sometime maybe towards the middle of the game, Ellie will find a billboard with some model on it and will linger around it. If you wait long enough Ellie will comment "She's so skinny."
  • 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.
  • 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
    • Over Joel's choice in the end, as mentioned above. It's 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 hasn't gone over well with everyone, considering the bad reputation of game-to-movie adaptations, while others think The Last Of Us is the perfect story for a movie, meaning it'll likely be an exception. Even to the skeptic crowd however, the fact that Neil Druckmann will write the script for the movie offers some comfort, rather than it being left in the hands of a random Hollywood writer.
    • Opinions on the Firefly Hospital vary over whether it's an equally exciting level to the rest of the game, epitomizing what you need in stealth and combat skills, or 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 PS4. 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 PS4's lack of backwards compatibility.
    • Ashley Johnson and the film adaptation's directors considering casting Maisie Williams as Ellie has caused some mixed reactions with people feeling she doesn't resemble Ellie enough, while others think her acting skills from Game of Thrones makes her perfect for the role. A third group don't mind her too much, but still hope the film makers will audition more girls before immediately deciding for Williams.
  • 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.
  • Deconstruction: Bill is pretty similar to the archetypal zombie apocalypse survivor many people imagine they could be. He's prepared, competent, and a complete dick who drives everyone away from him and is a bit unstable from the isolation because he's sure he knows better than everyone. There's a chance he was worse than usual because his boyfriend had just left him.
  • 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.
      • If there's one good thing to be said about the Fireflies, though, it's that none of them throw Molotov cocktails. Most human enemies in the game are ponderous and rather inaccurate with their shots, their main advantage being numbers and stamina. Not these guys; accuracy doesn't matter as much when you have a weapon with splash damage that can chew through Joel's health like butter. They have a habit of showing up in pairs, to boot.
    • Stalkers, keeping in the tradition of other [[Borderlands creatures]] called Stalkers, are incredibly fast infected who constantly hide around corners and walls, avoiding any and all contact with you. The only 2 ways to counteract this is to run towards them and face them head-on (Which is a terrible idea on the higher difficulties) or to wait until the rare occasion they face you and shoot them in the head. Combine that with being the most aggressive type of the Infected (Only second to Runners) and an uncanny ability to dodge gunfire (On Survivor and Grounded, they can even move out of the way of point-blank shotgun blasts) and you do not have fun fighting these. Somewhat rectified in that you only fight Stalkers twice.
  • 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.
  • Fridge Logic / Fridge Horror: The Fireflies' efforts to make a vaccine were rather hopeless from the beginning when you really think about it. Let's say they successfully managed to create a vaccine. Well... then what? How much of the vaccine could they even create from one sample (Ellie's brain)? And how would they administer it to humanity? They don't have the resources to travel around the country and share it with everybody, not to mention most groups would try to kill them and steal it immediately. And what would the vaccine do about the infected? Even if a person is immune, it won't stop a clicker from ripping their throat out. At best, they could hope that they could keep a small, immune community around long enough for the rest of humanity and the infected to die out and then start rebuilding from there. Unfortunately, however, that would be extremely unlikely to work out.
  • 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.
    • For opposite effect, there's a glitch in that very same part where shooting the infected while backing up against the concrete wall that separated the group may cause all the infected in the room to magically disappear.
    • Given the amount of glitches reported from this section, from the infamous Sam glitch, freezing, the 5 Stalkers and 2 Clickers loading in as 5 Clickers and 2 Stalkers and many other angry forum posts, it is safe to say this entire section is a combination of That One Level and Game-Breaking Bug
  • 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.
    • The last Summer cutscene has Henry talk about how he would "die happy" if he ever got to ride a Harley. Come the next morning, he's forced to shoot an infected Sam, leaving him to tears before turning the gun on himself.
    • 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.
  • 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, who was reportedly contacted to play the role in the film adaptation.
    • An double-whammy because of the The Last of Us-DLC: When in Bill's Church he suspects that Ellie has stolen something from him, but she denies it. A later cut-scene show us that she stole, amongst other things, a gay male porn magazine from Bill. And the later revelation of Ellies sexuality proved that, no, she wasn't lying.
    Bill: I swear to God, if you took anything...
    Ellie: Hey man, I don't need any of your shit. Trust me.
  • Hype Backlash: Early pre-release reviews called it "gaming's Citizen Kane moment" and "true art". This hyperbole has led to many fans finding the game to be average, often criticizing the gameplay for merely being a so-so third person shooter with a large focus on cinematic cutscenes.
  • Internet Backdraft: After Sony lowered prices on The Last of Us: Remastered, many that pre-ordered the game for its original $60 went aflame and demanded that Sony refund them for the lower price.
  • 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.
  • 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 was 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 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.
    • While this mainly is only the case on the higher difficulties Hard, Survivor and the DLC Grounded, the Hydroelectric Dam where players will not only face 30 straight minutes of heavily armed, body armoured bandits but will surely use 75% of their ammo just to survive. There is almost no stealth in this chapter, and is the reason why The University is a very easy level where you spend 90% of the chapter looting ammo and supplies. And on Grounded? Good luck having ammo for anything other than the revolver and 9mm pistol by the time you reach the University. Or, to be more accurate, good luck reaching the University.
    • The Firefly Hospital on Grounded difficulty. It's one thing to fight dozens of assault rifle armored mooks while Joel himself has very limited ammo, but as hinted above; checkpoints are scarce as well, meaning that if you fail, you have to start all over again from the beginning of the level regardless how far you progressed. It's probably one of the most blatant examples of where you'll have no choice but to sneak past as many enemies as you can, as engaging them too early either results in a quick death or simply wasting all of Joel's limited ammo, leaving him more or less defenseless for the next wave of Fireflies.
  • 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 deaths.
    • There's also the fact that he endangered everyone because he never told any of them that he was infected. Sure, the general outcome probably would've been the same, but at least he wouldn't have risked Joel or Ellie getting hurt.
  • 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 3: Drake's Deception so it seems to be a thing with Naughty Dog.
    • They didn't do too good a job on the eyes of unimportant characters.
    • Rather oddly, this example occurs only in the CG pre-rendered cutscenes but the facial features of any character, even important ones, look sunken and hollow. Sarah's face, for instance, is a lot more gaunt in the opening cutscene than throughout the rest of the very brief time she is in the game.
  • Unfortunate Implications: 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 the article was savaged on its own site and accused of being written in a way that sounds like the author has no idea what s/he was talking about.
  • The Woobie: 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: There is no denying Ellie and Riley having feelings for each other thanks to Word of Gay, but 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).
  • Fanfic Fuel: Given the Left Hanging ending you won't have to look far for fanfictions describing what happened with Ellie and Riley afterwards.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment
    • The introduction is Riley scaring Ellie by pretending to be an infected biting her while she's sleeping. They both get bitten for real later on.
    • 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.
    • Part of Riley's narration while Ellie's pretending to play the arcade game "Angel Knives" sounds similar to what she ends up doing to David later.
    Riley: She pierces his torso again and again until his heart flies right out of his chest.
    • Ellie and Riley at one point "hunts" each other with waterguns, where Ellie has to sneak around and ambush her. It's the very same tactic she has to use later when trapped in the burning restaurant with David.
    • Riley's "You're not gonna kill me, are you?" becomes this if it's indeed what Ellie had to end up doing.
  • 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.
  • That One Level: The very last section of the DLC where Ellie and Riley flee from Infected. What makes this difficult? Simple. At random points during the chase, infected will crawl out of areas infront of you as you are running. Which means if you are not fast enough, you will run straight into a Runner and get instantly killed. Good luck doing this in one try.
    • Taking down the first wave of hunters who have surrounded Joel's hiding place is simple enough. The second wave not so much, since Ellie is not particularly well-suited to surviving an all-out firefight against superior odds. Good news is, if you manage to hide or hold off the hunters long enough, infected will appear and finish the work for you.