The Last of Us: When Does it Get Better?

BloatedGuppy

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Life has conspired to give me a free PS3, and the GF has borrowed a stack of games. I asked her to be sure to get The Last of Us, as all I've heard about it was "GOTY contender!!!!!!", so I wanted to try that shit out. Normally these quality console exclusives are lost to me forever.

So I'm around the part...the booby trapped town part? Does that make sense? Just went through the whole "hanging upside down/booby trap/shooting sequence". I assume there's just one. Although knowing this fucking game there's probably 50 of them.

Some caveats...I hate shooting with a controller. I'm sure some of you are pro at it, it feels like trying to swim with winter boots on for me. Sluggishly prodding the cursor around the screen attempting to aim makes me crazy. I also think the inventory system is appalling, it's some arcane sequence of buttons and d-pad presses and hold downs just to switch a fucking gun. I have no idea how anyone tolerates that. But this is all UI unfamiliarity/system crossover, so I'll minimize the bitching.

The game ITSELF is pissing me off.

1. It's hyper linear. I thought maybe it was a bit of an open world scrounger, but it's an action set piece corridor runner, much like Tomb Raider.

2. Also much like Tomb Raider, it's a goddam QTE apocalypse. MASH THE BUTTON TO DO THE THING. Whee!

3. I shoot a guy wearing a baseball cap in the face with a 9mm, he doesn't flinch. Damage modeling seems pretty kooky. I also remember someone saying The Last of Us was a game that "properly modeled the consequences of taking a wound" post Tomb Raider. Well, I'm getting shot to fuck and I'm slapping bandages on it and that's that I guess. So far it's pretty gamey.

4. Stealth is pretty garbage. It seems like there's an engine there with the whole listening system that SHOULD support a fun stealth game, but there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how or why you get spotted. I was getting spotted and shot through walls during one sequence.

5. Gunplay is pretty garbage, largely due to A) I hate the controls and B) damage modeling seems off. Yes I realize the first one is my fault. The AI also seems to alternate between being dead eye accurate and brain numbingly stupid, which reminds me of Crysis AI, which was balls.

6. Clickers and insta-death for failure. Awesome game mechanic. Makes me want to punch the developer in the dick.

7. Throwing distractions seems to work maybe 30% of the time. Half the time there's no noise in-game, and the enemies show no reaction. Bug?

On the plus side of things, the game is very pretty, the voice acting is good, the environmental art design is strong (if again, sadly linear). I'm interested in seeing where the story goes, when a bit of story gets crammed in between OMG EXCITING linear sequences that I get to repeat 10 times because HURRAH CHECKPOINTS.

So...does it get better? When does it get better?

1. Yes I realize part of the issue is I'm a bit shit aiming with controllers.
2. Please avoid spoilers.

So far the game has been a crushing disappointment. 75% aggravation, 25% enjoyment. I've said "Fuck this, I'm done" a few times now, and one of these times I'm going to end up meaning it.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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The shooting isn't a hundred percent your fault. The shooting in Last of Us isn't great, but it's done that way for a reason. The shooting is supposed to be difficult to make Joel more vulnerable. For the most part you don't even have to use guns though. The majority of the sections can be done stealthily or completely with melee. I think can count the number of times the game forces you to use a gun on 1 hand actually. Then again, even if the game had excellent shooting mechanics the PS3 controller is complete garbage for shooters anyway, which compounds the problem.

The same can be said for the inventory management. It's clunky and difficult to use because it's supposed to simulate Joel fumbling around in his backpack in real time trying to get the supplies he needs. Again, this is done to make him more vulnerable in combat situations. Holding a button to craft something is done on purpose so that if you're crafting during combat you can stop crafting to defend yourself if you're attacked, and crafting is slow to be semi-realistic.

As far as linearity is concerned, I don't think that's a problem with the game. It's a game driven by story, not gameplay. The gameplay is really just there in service of the story, to hold it up. If you expected something different that's your fault.

Clickers instantly killing you annoyed me as well, but if you think about it, it kind of has to be there. Clickers are easy to avoid, and aren't a threat at long range, unlike humans, so they had to give them some kind of ability to make them scary to the player, and to give the player a reason to try and avoid them as much as possible. If clickers couldn't instant kill you then they'd be kind of a joke. My advice is to invest in the skill that lets you shiv clickers when they grab you if you're having a really hard time with them.

I don't know where you got the idea that The Last of Us is supposed to realistically model damage. The violence is extremely brutal, but it's no where near accurate. The PS3 doesn't have the kind of processing power to pull that off. Whoever gave you that idea was either overexcited about the game, or just doesn't know what realistic damage modeling is.

The stealth is a lot more interesting if you play on a higher difficulty where using listen mode is a precious resource like everything else, though I wouldn't recommend a higher difficulty to you personally since you are admittedly terrible with a controller. I will tell you that you might have more fun with the stealth if you use listen mode a lot less and try to play the stealth sections more organically.

If you want to know whether it gets better, I'm really not the person to say. I thought the game was quality the whole way through, and it's my game of the year so far because I understood exactly why the mechanics work the way they do, and also because I managed to really get into the characters heads and sympathize with them. If you can't do that then the game isn't going to get better from where you are, if you can then it will. Nothing about the mechanics changes though, so don't expect for all your gripes about the mechanics and controls to suddenly disappear in an hour or two because they won't.
 

tippy2k2

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1. The game opens up a bit once you past a certain part that you're not to yet but overall, the game is pretty linear.

2. I didn't mind the QTE since they were always contextual actions that made sense to me. Maybe I'm just not against QTEs...

3. That's weird. Shooting people in the face should kill anyone you run into...I'm not 100% sure what's up with that because I found the damage to be pretty good...

4. That's strange too. I found the stealth to be excellent in the game and was usually caught because I didn't time something well or the bad guy sees that his buddy just got shot in the face...

5. Gunplay isn't great but I didn't think it was all that bad. It's generic

6. I loved that! Might be a preference thing but I thought it made running into those fuckers a lot more tense.

7. That's weird too! Maybe your game is broken? :D

As to whether it gets better or not, the game is kind of like "The Walking Dead"; you are playing for the story. The gameplay itself is very generic but I absolutely LOVED the game. The gunplay and stealth can be a smidge wonky sometimes but I thought it was well worth it for the story and characters.

Honestly, if you're where I believe you are, I'd give it another two hours (there's a specific point I'm thinking that you should get to and if that doesn't do it for you, the game is likely a lost cause).

What it comes down to is this; it's an absolutely excellent story that's well worth playing through an average game to experience. I ADORE this game (It's my GotY vote this year).

After Joel finally concedes and gives Ellie a gun. The amount of trust that he gave to her is huge considering his character and was a great turning point in the story

If that doesn't melt the ice around your cold and withered heart, I don't know what will :p
 

Soviet Heavy

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You shouldn't feel vulnerable just because the game decided to weight the shooting mechanics. Killzone 2 gave guns weight and I still felt confident using them. Joel is supposed to have been a gun runner and a mercenary for twenty years, how is his aim that bad? Hamstringing the player with bad controls is not a good way to simulate challenge.
 

Spandexpanda

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Agree with OP and I have been a console gamer my whole life, controls are just balls in general. The whole "fumbling around in his backpack" thing could have been simulated by the animation of Joel changing weapons taking longer, but the whole UI could have been simplified a great deal. A weapon wheel or some such would have helped immeasurably.

I can't comment on the realistic damage modelling as I hadn't heard anything to that effect but I have experienced the OP's problem on several occasions where enemies haven't even reacted to headshots. Likewise with the thrown items not distracting enemies and the broken stealth.

Honestly, I didn't find the story compelling enough to finish it through to the end, and the clunky gameplay and awful stealth just sealed the deal. After having had it hyped up so much, my expectations were probably waaay too high I guess!
 

ShinyCharizard

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It doesn't get better. As for the shooting that's Naughty Dogs fault not yours. They are shit when it comes to developing competent shooter controls.

I had the same experience with it. The game was incredibly aggravating to play and a crushing disappointment.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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Spandexpanda said:
Agree with OP and I have been a console gamer my whole life, controls are just balls in general. The whole "fumbling around in his backpack" thing could have been simulated by the animation of Joel changing weapons taking longer
No, it really couldn't have. If you just had a long animation then you wouldn't be able to do anything if you were attacked while switching weapons/crafting/doing whatever. The entire time that Joel is fumbling around in his backpack trying to find things you're still in control of him and you can easily react to an attack and use whatever the first thing Joel has in his hand to defend yourself with. You wouldn't be able to do with with an extended animation because you wouldn't have the same kind of control during it, and trust me, it would be a lot more frustrating to have an enemy walk up to you and shoot you without you being able to react just because the weapon switching animation hadn't finished yet.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Judging by what you say, I seriously think you should just stop playing it. I didn't have any of the problems you had, and found the crafting and hiding and waiting for enemies to work perfectly for building tension for me, but it sounds like that, for you, the things that added to the game for me are making it terrible for you. Joel can be leveled up to craft faster, and like any shooting game that allows you to level up shooting, Joel's accuracy eventually becomes better than an actual military sniper. But you need to play the game to get to those points, and it sounds like you're not going to enjoy it enough to warrant playing it that long.
So I suggest you stop and find another game to play. A lot of people loved The Last of Us, myself included, but not everyone did. If you haven't started having fun by the time you link up with Ellie and Tess in the museum, the game won't be getting any better.
 

votemarvel

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I gave up on the game fairly early on, got through a broken building and snuck through an underground section, after several attempts. Managed to get through a museum after many bouts of swearing.

My problem is that I suck at stealth games but manage most of them because usually if you mess up you have the option of fighting your way out or doing a quick escape.

Here though if you mess-up you may as well just restart the checkpoint because you'll die for sure, unless you've somehow managed to find ingredients for a molotov cocktail.

I genuinely don't have the patience to replay sections over and over in an attempt to see where I am going wrong. I play games for entertainment but I don't find getting frustrated very entertaining.

The story up to the point I gave up was pretty interesting but not enough to make me want to carry on. I'm tempted to just hit YouTube for the 'movie' to experience the story.
 

thatonedude11

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Soviet Heavy said:
Joel is supposed to have been a gun runner and a mercenary for twenty years, how is his aim that bad?
Because trying to accurately shoot a weapon when you're in a firefight and you're adrenalin is flowing is really hard. I personally found that if I calmed down and took time to line up my shots I could hit enemies reasonably well. Just like in real life.

I personally thought that the sluggish aiming does a lot to reinforce the feeling that Joel is a human being and not a super soldier, even if he is gunning down a lot of people.

OT: If you're not invested in the story, you really don't have much of a reason to keep playing. In my opinion, the gameplay does a lot to enhance the games excellent narrative, but isn't really all that great on its own. If you are liking the story on the other hand, I definitely think you should continue playing.
 

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BloatedGuppy said:
1. Yes I realize part of the issue is I'm a bit shit aiming with controllers.
haha I was gonna say, alot of this sounds like the mad ravings of a PC gamer caught outside of his element. I understand how you feel, I do a majority of my gaming on PC as well, and shooting in TLOU was not an easy task for me. I'm actually in the middle of replaying it right now on the Survivor difficulty, and handling firearms hasn't gotten any easier. But I still like it alot.

Best way I can describe it, is that it's a game where shooting is not a forgiving task. Every single bit of movement while aiming your gun affects your accuracy, on top of the natural weapon sway. This combined with the scarcity of ammo (on higher difficulties), and the extreme danger that every single enemy poses, makes the act of shooting someone into an exercise in decision making. I think it's really exciting.

1. Yeah, the game is linear. It's just one of "those" games. However, I rarely feel that the maps are constricted. There's alot of large open areas that offer plenty of options to how to approach a situation, and there's alot of things to explore through and look for supplies in. I think this becomes more apparent a bit later in the game. But don't expect it to suddenly stop feeling linear or anything like that.

2. I actually thought that, compared to other games, TLOU makes fairly tasteful use of QTE's. If this was God of War, you'd have to mash O every time you had to choke someone out. Finish an opponent with melee. Open a door. Lift someone. Pull someone. Drag something. Push something. Climb something. etc.etc. I didn't find the QTE's to be very intrusive.

3. That's never happened to me. Unless the guy is clearly covered in armor, a headshot is a headshot. Not sure what to say about the 'consequences of injury' there. But I do know that Joel isn't a bulletsoaking bulldozer. Getting shot stops him in his tracks, and often knocks him to the ground entirely. Even on normal difficulty (before increasing health max), Joel really can't take that much damage. I guess wrapping a bandage on his forearm to heal a shotgun blast to the stomach is quite gamey though.

4. Stealth has always worked very well for me. Playing through right now on Survivor difficulty with Listen mode turned off, I still make use of it well, and in the right situations I can still stealth through an entire area without being spotted. Only rarely do I remember enemies mysteriously spotting me, but I think - at least in my case - that it's because I wasn't hidden nearly as well as I thought.

5. Gunplay isn't easy, but I found it to be immensely satisfying whenever I made it work for me. There's 2 major rules involving AI accuracy that I'm sure you're aware of:

-Their accuracy greatly increases if you are moving TOWARDS them.
-Their accuracy greatly diminishes if you are moving AWAY from them.

And I remember those two rules being huge in the game. The enemies really only missed consistently if I was running away from them, or sticking to cover.

6. My favorite thing about clickers! Although that was frustrating in the whole "upside-down" part. With the incredibly loud noises that clickers make, and if you're playing with listen-mode turned on, there's really no excuse to being ambushed by a clicker other than it being your fault. Sure, it may seem harsh that if you screw up, you die instantly. But you can hear them from a mile away, track their movements with listen mode, and they follow predestined patrol paths, and they can be easily distracted with noises. What more do you want? Also, you can buy an upgrade that allows you to defend against clickers using shivs if they're that much of a problem to you.

7. During my first playthrough on Normal, I didn't distract enemies nearly as much as I should have, but I do remember this being more of an issue when throwing bricks. Throwing bottles seemed to successfully cause distractions all the time from what I remember, but bricks don't make as much noise. I think that throwing bricks onto soft surfaces hardly causes any noise. Such as throwing a brick onto carpet or grass, vs smashing a bottle against a wall or road.


You're not TOO deep into the game, but you have spent a good amount playing it by now. And if you're really getting pissed off by it this much, then I can't guarantee you'll ever enjoy the game at any point after that.

Sniper Team 4 said:
Judging by what you say, I seriously think you should just stop playing it. I didn't have any of the problems you had, and found the crafting and hiding and waiting for enemies to work perfectly for building tension for me, but it sounds like that, for you, the things that added to the game for me are making it terrible for you. Joel can be leveled up to craft faster, and like any shooting game that allows you to level up shooting, Joel's accuracy eventually becomes better than an actual military sniper. But you need to play the game to get to those points, and it sounds like you're not going to enjoy it enough to warrant playing it that long.
So I suggest you stop and find another game to play. A lot of people loved The Last of Us, myself included, but not everyone did. If you haven't started having fun by the time you link up with Ellie and Tess in the museum, the game won't be getting any better.
Pretty much this.

Dropping the difficulty is always an option to reduce some of your frustrations, but I think this would greatly diminish the "feel" the game is trying to convey. But at least you'd be able to get through the story?

Like I said, I'm really not sure if the game will ever get "better" for you at this point.
 

aozgolo

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I had a similar experience with the previous franchise, Uncharted, lauded with GOTY awards and great acclaim from everyone I was rather shocked by being meeted with wave after wave in every single area of 30 guys to kill only to loot a barely recognizable upgraded weapon (since the enemies scale at the same level of damage you output apparently, making upgrades pointless beyond keeping up). The environment was certainly pretty, but if I just wanted to gawk at environments there's tons of other games that have that with more fun gameplay. I honestly to this day don't get why Uncharted is so amazing a game, and it's for that reason I have reservations about trying The Last of Us, it just doesn't seem to be my kind of game.
 

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If you're going to play this game as a straight up cover based shooter, then you're not going to like it. It doesn't lend itself for wack-a-mole style shoot-outs like Uncharted or Gears of War.

You have to approach enemies with guerilla tactics, that's what the stealth is in place for. And the stealth itself is fine. There's a bit of uncertainty whether an enemy sometimes can or can't see you, but that simply adds to tension and realism. There's no vision cones that you can easily avoid, just a low hum that raises making it clear an enemy is close to spotting you. And even when you get spotted, you can run and hide to shake them off your trail. You can even use this to your advantage to break up enemy groups and take them out one by one. Again, guerilla tactics.

The only thing broken about the stealth is Listen Mode, since it gives you an unnecessary advantage and turns stealth into a waiting game. The tension in the stealth combat lies in not exactly knowing where the enemy is, and dealing with the shitstorm once someone spots or sneaks up on you. And Listen Mode takes all of that away, so my advice is to turn it off. And go ahead play it on Hard Mode while you're at it.

Honestly I'm glad Naughty Dog put in a couple of insta-kill enemies. If there's one thing every game with zombie enemies does it is allow just you to get bitten and treat it as if it were a mere healable wound. Eventhough the whole point of zombies is that they infect you by biting you. TLoU actually gives you some enemies that you will need to run from if the get too close, because they're too gnarly for you to physically fend off. And the Clickers design and sound are instantly recognizable, so you never get caught unaware.

And if you're just going to stare yourself blind on the game being linear, you might as well just stop playing right now. Despite what many people might say, a lot of the story takes place within the environment; collectable notes, abandoned houses and settlements, and optional conversations. If you're just going to annoy yourself with the fact that 'yes, it is a game, and thus it is linear', then you're going to miss all these little details. And why is it since The Last of Us that linear has become a dirty word again? The game is loaded with areas to scrounge, especially later on. And the enemy arenas are for the majority completely open ended. Some of the best games ever made are linear, so this kind of talk tends to really annoy me.
 

Ed_Fox

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My housemate completed this recently. First off he really didn't enjoy himself, he hates/is terrible at shooter type games anyway. once he realised that it doesn't all have to be about being gung-ho, and actually learnt the controls and to stealth and craft, he really started to focus on the game play and reaaaaly enjoyed it.

My advice, just stick with it and give it a chance, stop focusing on all the negatives and let yourself enjoy the story.
 

Saulkar

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I can honestly say that I did not like the game one bit. I made it up to a major plot development maybe 2 thirds through the game but the fact that I was all but physically forced to go through with it with none of my actions having any impact on the outcome I quit. The story was the only thing that kept me going because the last-gen mechanics drove me to bonkers![sic]
 

Sarge034

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BloatedGuppy said:
-First three paragraphs-
The aiming in the one, and only, hanging part were deliberately slowed to convey the difficulty of shooting in a combat situation after hitting your head and being hung upside down. The rest of it just sound like a mouse and keyboard guy getting mad that there is no mouse and keyboard. Stealth, take your time, aim for the head (unless you have the bow), and enjoy your one hit kills on unhelmeted enemies.


The game ITSELF is pissing me off.

1. It's hyper linear. I thought maybe it was a bit of an open world scrounger, but it's an action set piece corridor runner, much like Tomb Raider.
It does open up a little after a certain mission, but it is by no means "open world".

2. Also much like Tomb Raider, it's a goddam QTE apocalypse. MASH THE BUTTON TO DO THE THING. Whee!
I normally hate QTE but I don't even remember there being QTE in this game. I lie, I remember having to turn valves with QTE, but other than that nope. It might have helped that I never get grabbed by clickers...

3. I shoot a guy wearing a baseball cap in the face with a 9mm, he doesn't flinch. Damage modeling seems pretty kooky. I also remember someone saying The Last of Us was a game that "properly modeled the consequences of taking a wound" post Tomb Raider. Well, I'm getting shot to fuck and I'm slapping bandages on it and that's that I guess. So far it's pretty gamey.
Aim slightly higher, for some reason the lower "face" region does body damage instead of headshot damage. Once you find the sweet spot you will be popping grapes all day. The damage modeling thing is for NPCs. If they get shot in the arm they can't use it as well or in the leg and they limp. You are the PC so you need to be able to come back to full mobility. There are some story related injuries that the PC does properly react to.

4. Stealth is pretty garbage. It seems like there's an engine there with the whole listening system that SHOULD support a fun stealth game, but there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how or why you get spotted. I was getting spotted and shot through walls during one sequence.
The enemies react to sight, sound, and light. Were you moving too fast, walking on broken glass, or kicked (nudged) a can or glass bottle? Was your flashlight on? Did they see your shadow? Did they find a body?

5. Gunplay is pretty garbage, largely due to A) I hate the controls and B) damage modeling seems off. Yes I realize the first one is my fault. The AI also seems to alternate between being dead eye accurate and brain numbingly stupid, which reminds me of Crysis AI, which was balls.
A) The PS3 controller is shit, but it is the price you pay to play this game B) As stated before the lower "face" region counts as a body shot. Everything else is spot on.

6. Clickers and insta-death for failure. Awesome game mechanic. Makes me want to punch the developer in the dick.
Dude, really... Stealth, throw a bottle to get them grouped, and Molotov the fuckers. You don't break stealth so if you don't kill them all you can readdress the situation without one trying to eat your face. If you are so inclined the 12 gauge shotgun can one hit a clicker with a head shot. Everything has a solution, YOU just have to think about the situation in a different way. Fire is OP vs infected as a hint.

7. Throwing distractions seems to work maybe 30% of the time. Half the time there's no noise in-game, and the enemies show no reaction. Bug?
If the distraction is too far away they don't hear it. Glass bottles make more noise than bricks do as well. Some enemies don't investigate distractions either so perhaps you found one of them. The game does a good job showing that those NPCs are actively guarding something so you should be able to tell before the fight who will investigate and who will immediately raise an alarm.

On the plus side of things, the game is very pretty, the voice acting is good, the environmental art design is strong (if again, sadly linear). I'm interested in seeing where the story goes, when a bit of story gets crammed in between OMG EXCITING linear sequences that I get to repeat 10 times because HURRAH CHECKPOINTS.

So...does it get better? When does it get better?

1. Yes I realize part of the issue is I'm a bit shit aiming with controllers.
2. Please avoid spoilers.

So far the game has been a crushing disappointment. 75% aggravation, 25% enjoyment. I've said "Fuck this, I'm done" a few times now, and one of these times I'm going to end up meaning it.
The gameplay of TLoU defiantly gets repetitive, especially if you get boss with the bow. However, the whole reason people are shouting for game of the year is the character development. If you can become Joel, as in want to react the same way he does, then the game is gold. If not then it is a mediocre, but by no means bad, third person survival zombie game.

My recommendation? Just tuff it out to the end. If you don't make it to the end then you will not see all of the critically acclaimed character development. If you keep getting insta-killed then you are doing something wrong story/gameplay wise. As in, "Keep your head down and move in between shots!" actually means "Keep your fucking head down and move between cover in between shots or he will fuck up your day!"
 

Korten12

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SecretNegative said:
a terrible ending.
A terrible ending... What? Just what? The ending was perfect for the story. Very refreshing compared to the very standard zombie story endings which all end very similar to each other outside maybe Shaun of the Dead and that's mainly because it was a comedy.
 

Casual Shinji

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Korten12 said:
SecretNegative said:
a terrible ending.
A terrible ending... What? Just what? The ending was perfect for the story. Very refreshing compared to the very standard zombie story endings which all end very similar to each other outside maybe Shaun of the Dead and that's mainly because it was a comedy.
It depends what you go for, I guess. In my opinion Children of Men had a terribly by-the-book, overly noble ending. Something I totally expected The Last of Us to go for, but yeah, thankfully it didn't.
 

Korten12

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Casual Shinji said:
Korten12 said:
SecretNegative said:
a terrible ending.
A terrible ending... What? Just what? The ending was perfect for the story. Very refreshing compared to the very standard zombie story endings which all end very similar to each other outside maybe Shaun of the Dead and that's mainly because it was a comedy.
It depends what you go for, I guess. In my opinion Children of Men had a terribly by-the-book, overly noble ending. Something I totally expected The Last of Us to go for, but yeah, thankfully it didn't.
One of the few endings in gaming that has stuck with me and really love to debate about.
Typically I hate more open endings but I felt it just worked for the story. The very last line could mean so much and I love that. Almost makes me worried about if they make a sequel, even one that just takes place in the same universe since I worry that they may validate one meaning as canon.