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Why I Gave The Last Of Us A Bad Review

By M00kyst @mookyst
Warning: Contains spoilers for The Last of Us
You'd think that the explanation on someone's opinion of a game would be in the review of that game itself, but I've been getting a lot of flak for my review of TLOU and people don't seem to get why I gave a game with one of the best stories in gaming a mere 5.5/10.
The gameplay is an aspect of the game that almost everyone has admitted isn't the best. So, if other reviewers can admit that TLOU had Okay-ish gameplay yet still give it a big score, why can't I?
Well I'll give you my explanation in the form of comparisons.
Take Spec Ops: The Line. Great story. Amazing story in fact. Actually, it has one of the best stories in gaming in my opinion. It's similar to That Last Of Us too in that it ends on a moral mind-fuck.
Why I Gave The Last Of Us A Bad ReviewHowever the gameplay was NAF. Well, the gameplay itself was OK. I guess. It wasn't broken. Just like it wasn't broken in TLOU. But playing the game was such a drag and SO boring that there is no way, if I reviewed it now, that I could give it higher than a 6. I probably would give it a 6/10 actually. And yes, I know that score is higher than what I gave TLOU, but the gameplay in Spec Ops wasn't wonky and annoying to use like it was The Last Of Us. So that's ONE plus I guess.
The similarities between The Last Of Us and Spec Ops: The Line is undeniable. Both have a stunning, 9+/10 story, but both have shitty gameplay with shitty pacing.
There are only two aspects to The Last Of Us' gameplay and those are the shooting and the general gunplay and the 'platforming' and 'scavenging/exploring'. Both were below par.
Look at Uncharted. Decent gunplay. Not bad. Bit wonky and irritating to use, right? But the gameplay still ruled because gunplay was only a small part of the bigger picture. The AWESOME platforming and puzzle solving made up for the other issues it had.
Strip away the climbing and brain teasing puzzles, though, and you have, uh, 'OK' shooting to keep you entertained. That would suck. But that is EXACTLY what TLOU is.
It takes away the GOOD elements of Uncharted's gameplay and keeps the mediocre part. And it was boring. Boring as hell. A drag.
Naughty Dog tried to include a little bit of platforming, I guess, but why? It was really bad. I know I made fun of it in my review, but seriously, it was really poor. Why bother making us run around trying to find this thing and get to this section when it's not fun? There were no awesome climbing sections. It was as simple as: get up here; walk here; climb this ladder and you're there. Or maybe even just: pick up this bit of wood; walk as slow as a snail for 10 seconds; place the wood; walk across it.
All these bits did was prolong the story and make it last 10 seconds longer. So, basically, pointless.
Personally I did not find the scavenging fun at all. Or the so called 'exploring'. Thing is the environments were just too regulated and linear to be able to enjoy any form of looking around.
Why I Gave The Last Of Us A Bad ReviewNow I know what you're thinking: shit platforming aside, Naughty Dog's shooting mechanics might not be perfect, but there are tons of highly rated third-person shooters out there. So why does having 90% of the gameplay revolve around shooting make the game bad and not fun?
Let's look at Gears Of War. I love that series. All three of those games are brilliant. Oh, what, there are four? Four Gears Of War games? Uh, no, I don't think so. Unless you're referring the unmentionable Gears game that was released this year that was RUBBISH.
Ahem, anyway.
Gears Of War is a great example of a near perfect third-person shooter series. It was all shooting, so why did it not suck like TLOU?
Well first and foremost the gunplay was fun. It felt good. It played well. Nothing wrong there.
Second of all it was made to be a third-person shooter. The Last Of Us felt like Uncharted, with its dodgy shooting, but without the other gameplay elements. It didn't feel like it was made to be a dedicated shooter.
Gears games have amazing environments and a story that while not amazing, allows you to feel the intensity of battle. Feel the war that is upon you. Everything about GoW was made to be a shooter. That's what it was. It was fun because it did right everything that it needed to do right. Its pacing was almost always near perfect and it was never dull or boring.
The Last Of Us had zero innovation. It was just a typical shooter. It didn't do anything new. And what it did do it didn't even do that well. The gameplay can be compared to Spec Ops because they're both generic and stereotypical. Gears Of War did something new with the whole 'Humans Vs Locust' thing. It had the perfect cover system. The gameplay we all wanted. It was just brilliant. Pure brilliance.
Here's another comparison. The final one.
Metro: Last Light was released this year and it was a great game. I gave it a 7.8 score due to its poor boss battles and awful pacing towards the end along with some of the story issues. But in the end the game packed a hell of a punch. It was a survival horror set in post-apoclypitic Russia.
The game world was amazing and while it wasn't really that open, it made sense for it not to be. The underground sections were set in metro tunnels, which are naturally enclosed spaces. Not much room for exploration there, right?
Why I Gave The Last Of Us A Bad Review
But when you went above ground, the world felt scary and intimidating. Like anything could happen at any moment and you could wind up dead. In fact, all it would take is for your gas-mask to break and you're done for.
Where do you go? What do you need to do again? Putting your weapons away in order to get out your compass and objective list isn't something you ever WANTED to do, as it would leave you exposed, but it's something you NEEDED to do. Otherwise you'd be lost there forever.
The gameplay was also really fun. As papery as it sometimes felt, the stealth and the shooting were always a pleasure and there were tons of weapons to use. In fact, what weapons do you use? A shotty? Along with an AK-47? Or maybe a silenced pistol of some kind? It all depended on what you need them for, but that was hard to tell when the world of Metro: Last Light was so hard to predict.
The gameplay was also original and realistic, whith the inclusion of the gas-mask, the compass and objective list, the lighter, the electrical charger etc. There was a lot of uniqueness there.
Last Light felt better in so many ways. Sure the story wasn't anywhere near as good as The Last of Us', but the game had heart and the gameplay was fun. It was just a good, all round, game. I never felt bored playing it. Not once.
But I felt bored of The Last Of Us' gameplay on more than one occasion and, ultimately, the game may have reached new heights where the story is concerned, but if it's not fun, what's the point of it? Games aren't movies. The word 'game' and the word 'movie' having nothing in common. They mean different things. So why do developers think making a game more like a movie is better? In the case of TLOU, it just made it less fun. Maybe if they'd appreciated that people would actually have to PLAY IT and thus had improved the GAMING experience, it would have been a far better game and so received a far better review and score from me.
So that's why I gave The Last Of Us a 5.5.
What did you think of the game? Did you like it? Do you agree/disagree with me? Say what you think in the comments!

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