The Last of Us: When Does it Get Better?

Zhukov

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BloatedGuppy said:
Zhukov said:
Oddly enough, a clicker taking an arrow in the head and going down thrashing and chittering will not alert his ostensibly sound-sensitive friends, but a missed arrow shattering against a wall will result in an instant clicker convention.
I snuck through a house full of Clickers recently. My AI companions were bumping off walls and what not but otherwise creeping along with me. We got out, and we'd gone like 5 feet and suddenly they're cheerfully shouting to one another. I'm like...guys...the Clickers are still RIGHT there...
Yeah, there's a few moments like that.

At one point things went tits up and I found myself bludgeoning and blasting a dozen or so infected. Then in the next house I come across dormant clickers... who apparently had not been alerted by the chorus of shotgun gunfire going on all of thirty meters away, but who lost no time in waking up and biting my beard off when I walked too fast.
 

Sarge034

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SecretNegative said:
I disagree, the fireflies are barely established in the slightest, and while it does make sence that the rebel group is morally questionable indeed, we don't actually get to know everything about them, and thus they aren't very interesting. At the end of the day, they're just being there to set up the plot (or the little plot there is) and to produce some mooks for Joel to shoot at in the final stage.

And the whole "man's inhumanity to man" schtick has been played so many goddamn times I'm not exactly in awe that someone has figured out that humans can be quite terrible to eachother.
You see? I thought the Fireflies were established enough to be seen in the same light as the military. The Fireflies were executing the military and their families in the streets of that one overrun quarantine area you pass through. That was enough for me because the military was executing Firefly members at the beginning of the game. Everything else just enforced that, especially the hospital. If you listen to Marlene at the end before Joel goes Rambo the Fireflies wanted to kill Joel just because. Joel had gone above and beyond what the Fireflies had hired him to do and that is how they were going to repay him?

As for your qualms with "man's inhumanity to man"... They are just that, your qualms. It is more than the realization that people are shit. It is the question, "Are you prepared to lose your humanity to save humanity? Is there anything even left worth saving if we give up our humanity to save it?" The most common example in philosophy for this question is, "If an all powerful being appeared to you and stated that if you didn't commit the worst, most heinous crimes known to man (often times explicitly stated as raping and murdering innocent children, although not always so use your imagination) then the being would destroy humanity. Would you? COULD you?"


sune-ku said:
The Fireflies (which were admittedly vaguely developed) weren't really bad guys at all. If anything they were the closest thing the game had to a good organisation. The establishment went all martial law and are no longer trying to find a solution to the problem, but this group of radicals is desperately trying to save humanity and believe they have the key in Ellie. Turn's out they have to kill her for it to work though, which is the crux of the final act. You have Marlene - the Fireflies leader, who had to look after Ellie when she was younger and is almost a mother to her, and Joel - a father figure who's just been through this crazy ordeal and journey with her.

Marlene decides (and you can hear from her voice recordings that she hates herself for this) that finding a cure is more important than the life of a girl, even one who she has such a close connection with. It's a torment filled, selfless decision, driven by a desire to do the right thing for humanity. Joel on the other hand can't bring himself to let her go, his connection with her is too strong and the entire journey through the game has built up this 'him & her' versus the world attitude that gets you to sympathise. Really though it's a selfish decision - he can't stand the thought of life without her and because of that, he kills Marlene, the scientists, and any Fireflies that cross him, to escape with Ellie.

After all that he lies to Ellie, tells her they couldn't have used her as a cure. Ostensibly to protect her innocence - but really because he wants things to stay the same. Doesn't want her to hate him. He doesn't care about anything except keeping her close to him.

The hammer blow falls when Ellie reveals she'd rather die than live if it could help people (slightly paraphrased) and you realise that if it was her choice, Marlene would have got her way, not Joel. He murdered and lied his way out. It may have been because of love for Ellie, but even a villain can love, and that's exactly what he is.
I'm going to address this by paragraphs.

Paragraph 1- I disagree, please refer to my other spoiler box above to see why.

Paragraph 2- I agree that Marlene is torn over the decision and Joel was being selfish, however I believe there is a possibility that he was acting with other intentions as well. I disagree that it was a selfless decision for Marlene.

>Marlene's Recorder 1)
"It's 5:30PM on... April 28th. I just finished speaking... More like yelling at our head surgeon. Apparently there's no way to extricate the parasite without eliminating the host. Fancy way of saying we gotta kill the fucking kid. And now they're asking for my go ahead. The tests just keep getting harder and harder, don't they? I'm so tired. I'm exhausted and I just want this to end... So be it."

>Marlene's Recorder 2)
"Hey Anna... It's been awhile since we spoke. I uh... I just gave the go ahead to proceed with the surgery. I really doubt I had much of a choice, asking me was more of a formality. I need you to know that I've kept my promise all these years... despite everything that I was in charge of, I looked after her. I would've done anything for her, and at times...

Here's a chance to save us... all of us. This is what we were after... what you were after. They asked me to kill the smuggler. I'm not about to kill the one man in this facility that might understand the weight of this choice. Maybe he can forgive me. Oh, I miss you, Anna. Your daughter will be with you soon."

So with all of that in mind I can't call Joel totally selfish. They wanted to kill Joel because he did his job and they didn't give Elli the choice. They made it for her and the person that was supposed to be taking care of Elli threw her to the wolves for a chance that they could find a cure. I would do the same thing as Joel just out of principle if nothing else.

Paragraph 3- I don't think Joel lies to Elli to protect her innocence, as they have both seen each other do horrible things to survive, so much as to keep her from experiencing guilt over what might have happened. Be it survivor's guilt or simply second guessing the whole situation. Although I will concede that in the back of Joel's mind he is probably also lying so this girl he identifies as his daughter now will stay with him.

Paragraph 4- This is the gut shot, but how was Joel supposed to know? If the Fireflies had just sat Joel and Elli down in the same room and explained the situation this whole mess could have been avoided. Elli could have made her decision and Joel would have either accepted it or become the monster you seem to think he is.
 

sune-ku

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Sarge034 said:
I'm going to address this by paragraphs.

Paragraph 1- I disagree, please refer to my other spoiler box above to see why.

Paragraph 2- I agree that Marlene is torn over the decision and Joel was being selfish, however I believe there is a possibility that he was acting with other intentions as well. I disagree that it was a selfless decision for Marlene.

>Marlene's Recorder 1)
"It's 5:30PM on... April 28th. I just finished speaking... More like yelling at our head surgeon. Apparently there's no way to extricate the parasite without eliminating the host. Fancy way of saying we gotta kill the fucking kid. And now they're asking for my go ahead. The tests just keep getting harder and harder, don't they? I'm so tired. I'm exhausted and I just want this to end... So be it."

>Marlene's Recorder 2)
"Hey Anna... It's been awhile since we spoke. I uh... I just gave the go ahead to proceed with the surgery. I really doubt I had much of a choice, asking me was more of a formality. I need you to know that I've kept my promise all these years... despite everything that I was in charge of, I looked after her. I would've done anything for her, and at times...

Here's a chance to save us... all of us. This is what we were after... what you were after. They asked me to kill the smuggler. I'm not about to kill the one man in this facility that might understand the weight of this choice. Maybe he can forgive me. Oh, I miss you, Anna. Your daughter will be with you soon."

So with all of that in mind I can't call Joel totally selfish. They wanted to kill Joel because he did his job and they didn't give Elli the choice. They made it for her and the person that was supposed to be taking care of Elli threw her to the wolves for a chance that they could find a cure. I would do the same thing as Joel just out of principle if nothing else.

Paragraph 3- I don't think Joel lies to Elli to protect her innocence, as they have both seen each other do horrible things to survive, so much as to keep her from experiencing guilt over what might have happened. Be it survivor's guilt or simply second guessing the whole situation. Although I will concede that in the back of Joel's mind he is probably also lying so this girl he identifies as his daughter now will stay with him.

Paragraph 4- This is the gut shot, but how was Joel supposed to know? If the Fireflies had just sat Joel and Elli down in the same room and explained the situation this whole mess could have been avoided. Elli could have made her decision and Joel would have either accepted it or become the monster you seem to think he is.
I think there's probably a lot of different ways to view the end events - it's a been a while since I played it so I was a bit rusty on the details and you make a strong case. My post was really more about my interpretation of events as they happened, right or wrong, and why I found them so impactful at the time. The beauty of a game like this is that you can see it in a number of different lights and revise your opinion in retrospect.
 

mmmikey

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BloatedGuppy said:
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.
I'm in pretty much the same camp as you. I don't think I was as frustrated as you were, but found the game to be underwhelming to the resounding amount of perfect scores the gaming community at large gave it.

I'd have to say the Winter chapter is worth slogging through the first 70% or so of the game. You'll have upgrades that will have gotten you past a lot of the nagging issues that I think ND has with all their games. There's a whole town used as an arena. The game doesn't break its linearity but I felt like it was its most open at this point.
 

Anthony Corrigan

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I loved it but I won't play it again unlike some other games like R&C which are just fun. I will say I almost rage quit because I HATED Joel for most of the game. He's an asshole and I wanted to shot HIM in the head
 

Dirty Hipsters

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Sarge034 said:
You see? I thought the Fireflies were established enough to be seen in the same light as the military. The Fireflies were executing the military and their families in the streets of that one overrun quarantine area you pass through. That was enough for me because the military was executing Firefly members at the beginning of the game. Everything else just enforced that, especially the hospital. If you listen to Marlene at the end before Joel goes Rambo the Fireflies wanted to kill Joel just because. Joel had gone above and beyond what the Fireflies had hired him to do and that is how they were going to repay him?
If I remember the section your talking about correctly, it wasn't the fireflies that were executing military personnel and their families in the streets, it was a group of hunters. Essentially the fireflies incited a rebellion in a town, and a lot of people joined them because they were tired of being oppressed by the military, and then they went too far, and when the fireflies tried to stop them they turned against the fireflies as well. In that town there were groups of both military and fireflies that had been killed by the inhabitants. The fireflies sparked the rebellion against the military, but then it got away from them and turned into something they hadn't anticipated and didn't want to be a part of.

The fireflies aren't exactly choir boys throughout the game, but I do think they were supposed to be the defacto "good guys" or as close to "good" as you can get in a setting like the one presented in Last of Us.
 

Sarge034

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sune-ku said:
I think there's probably a lot of different ways to view the end events - it's a been a while since I played it so I was a bit rusty on the details and you make a strong case. My post was really more about my interpretation of events as they happened, right or wrong, and why I found them so impactful at the time. The beauty of a game like this is that you can see it in a number of different lights and revise your opinion in retrospect.
I kindda figured, and I wasn't trying to attack your views or interpretation just add my own to the mix. As you say there are a lot of different ways to view what happened and I do love dabbling in philosophy for a good conversation.

Dirty Hipsters said:
The fireflies aren't exactly choir boys throughout the game, but I do think they were supposed to be the defacto "good guys" or as close to "good" as you can get in a setting like the one presented in Last of Us.
I believe we were supposed to start thinking of them like that, but then come to the realization they were there to reinforce the point that there are no "good guys". Everyone has an agenda, everyone is out for themselves and their people.

Edit- Completely forgot to address your spoiler box. Derp moment.
If I remember correctly the Fireflies started the rebellion and was involved with the executions and public display of the corpses as a warning to those who would oppose them. There was not infighting until the residents refused to help the larger Firefly movement at which time the residents drove the Fireflies out and became bandits.
 

Poppy JR.

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If you're just playing this game for the gameplay, you're not going to enjoy it very much. I loved though. The narrative was absolutely outstanding, the story was great, and the characters were really well developed. The story gets a huge boost in awesome at the end. The winter chapter will blow your mind.
 

Johnny Impact

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Casual Shinji said:
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.
Listen Mode doesn't work anyway. I frequently spend ten minutes scouting a room, learning floorplans, counting enemies, etc. I figure a game with instadeath and stealth is a game that wants you to use stealth. It should reward planning and tactics, yes? Then as soon as I engage the first enemy I instantly get grokked by a clicker who appears behind me as if by magic. This has happened again and again. It's not a fluke. It's either broken or a sadistic joke.

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.
Except I do get caught unaware, all the time. See above.

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.
Games that appear to offer choice do so through illusion. Sometimes that illusion is cleverly performed, sometimes less so. It remains an illusion. If you want a zombie scrounger, try State of Decay. It's buggy but it's very open.

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.
I haven't had problems with headshots. I have problems with MISSING, oh god do I miss, but enemies react when I hit them. As far as healing your own wounds, any game that did not operate this way would be essentially impossible. You could not get hit even once.

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.
Me too. Part of the frustration is feeling like there's a game there, only I can't find it.

6. Clickers and insta-death for failure. Awesome game mechanic. Makes me want to punch the developer in the dick.
I have never been a fan of instadeath and I object to it being used here. If the clicker brushes me with his pinky finger, he latches on and I die. No fighting, no kicking him away, I just die. What, do they all have Superman's strength?? Come on, there must be something I can do.

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?
Yeah, the game is very arbitrary about this. I've noticed it too. I don't bother throwing items because it doesn't work.

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.
I'm right there with you. I'll give it another try at some point, but so far it's felt less like a game, and more like being an ant dodging God's magnifying glass.
 

BloatedGuppy

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Up to about 75% of the way through the game. My impressions of it remain pretty much unchanged. It veers from great (some story elements) to good (the occasional good action set piece or area to explore) to execrable (the sniper sequence leaps to mind most recently). Things I have discovered/encountered...

1. The game most DEFINITELY spawns enemies out of thin air. I've seen an entire floor repopulate itself instantly. I've had guys magic themselves into existence in dead end hallways to shoot me in the back when engaged. I don't know if we're at Dragon Age 2 "men raining from the skies" levels of tomfoolery but it's not far off.

2. (Some) Enemies can DEFINITELY see through walls. I used listen mode to watch the HumVee shooting the shit out of the wall I was hiding behind. I was on the other side of a building. Sneaking.

3. Headshots are still not really registering. Is there damage drop off at range? I've plugged guys in the head 3-4 times with the Hunting Rifle and they just pick themselves up and dust themselves off.

4. Is the improved melee weapon not supposed to be a one-shot kill? I had a two bar crowbar. I hit a guy wearing a hoodie, lost one bar. He got up. Hit him again, lost the second bar. Thought "Weird, but at least he's dead". Then he GOT UP AGAIN.

5. Had some amusing incidents with railings. Sometimes I shoot and the air between the railings stops my bullets. Other times I get easily shot between railings. Good times!

6. Started to get used to "rising music sting" means you're getting spotted in stealth. Had a zombie just walk up and start eating my head mid-stealth. No music sting. Good times!

7. Same area, I love how I can shoot a bow, miss, and EVERY ZOMBIE ON THE ENTIRE LEVEL knows exactly where I am, crouched in the shadows, and comes barreling towards me.

8. Speaking of crouched in the shadows, the dam scene was a good time. 3-4 NPCs standing out in the open waving shotguns around, and every enemy is trying to tag me, crouched behind a box, way at the back. Immersive!

9. Sniper level. In addition to the spawning enemies and can-see-through-walls sniper, I quite enjoy how the "sniper" is just a disembodied gun floating in the air.

10. Saved the best for last. I got killed by a headless Clicker. Blew its head off with the shotgun, but it continued walking towards me and executed its insta-kill move (with no triangle for shiv) despite having no head. It appeared to claw gently at my breast, and I just grimaced and keeled over. I wasn't even mad, the auto save put me like 30 seconds back, and it was hilarious.

Anyway the game is alright, but part of me really fucking hates it. How games like The Walking Dead or Bioshock Infinite can get pilloried for substandard game play elements and this thing gets a free pass is beyond me.
 

Casual Shinji

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Johnny Impact said:
Listen Mode doesn't work anyway. I frequently spend ten minutes scouting a room, learning floorplans, counting enemies, etc. I figure a game with instadeath and stealth is a game that wants you to use stealth. It should reward planning and tactics, yes? Then as soon as I engage the first enemy I instantly get grokked by a clicker who appears behind me as if by magic. This has happened again and again. It's not a fluke. It's either broken or a sadistic joke.

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.
Except I do get caught unaware, all the time. See above.
I can't say that ever happened to me. In the heat of combat a Clicker can easily sneak up behind you as you're whacking another infected to death. Or when you get too close to one during stealth they'll spot you too. But I never had one just spawn on me as it were. That's either you not noticing one or a glitch.

The thing you need to remember about the stealth in this game is that enemies start out with set patterns, but as soon as they hear a noise or spot you their paths become random, even when they go back in caution mode. I've had a situation where there were two floors with bandits, and I went to the top floor and stealth killed a guy. The body gets spotted by someone on the same floor, and within 30 seconds there's a guy coming up from the stairs right next to me, when that usually doesn't happen.

And when enemies spot you you can shake them off your trail by running and hiding. This is generally the proper tactic when you get swamped. Even Clickers will lose you if you run away and stay quiet. The best way to deal with Clickers is throwing a brick/bottle to stun it and then go for a one-hit kill with a melee weapon. Actually that's the best way to deal with every enemy that isn't a Bloater. And remember, running at armed thugs turns you into a giant bull's eye.
 

BloatedGuppy

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Casual Shinji said:
I can't say that ever happened to me. In the heat of combat a Clicker can easily sneak up behind you as you're whacking another infected to death. Or when you get too close to one during stealth they'll spot you too. But I never had one just spawn on me as it were. That's either you not noticing one or a glitch.
The game does appear to winkle enemies into existence at set intervals. There seems to be trigger points. Like "step through this window, and a guy will be magicked into existence and come running into the room". Some of these trigger points are likely intended to create flanking ambushes. The end result is you get corn-holed by a guy you had every reason to believe couldn't possibly have been where he ended up being.
 

Zhukov

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BloatedGuppy said:
Casual Shinji said:
I can't say that ever happened to me. In the heat of combat a Clicker can easily sneak up behind you as you're whacking another infected to death. Or when you get too close to one during stealth they'll spot you too. But I never had one just spawn on me as it were. That's either you not noticing one or a glitch.
The game does appear to winkle enemies into existence at set intervals. There seems to be trigger points. Like "step through this window, and a guy will be magicked into existence and come running into the room". Some of these trigger points are likely intended to create flanking ambushes. The end result is you get corn-holed by a guy you had every reason to believe couldn't possibly have been where he ended up being.
That's, uhh... that's called "spawning in enemies".

It's a pretty common thing in games.

Seriously though, when and where specifically has that happened? Yeah, there are times when you get attacked by scripted spawning enemies, but they're always announced by lots of noise and usually someone yelling, "look out!" Sometimes they'll even prompt you to press a button and have the incoming enemies highlighted for you.

I've never seen enemies spawn in mid-fight. Especially not clickers. They're either there walking around to begin with when you enter the area, or they spawn in (with lots of noise) to begin the fight. The only possible exception I can think of is during the first big fight of the 'Winter' chapter, and even then they spawn at very specific places with ample warning.
 

Casual Shinji

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BloatedGuppy said:
Casual Shinji said:
I can't say that ever happened to me. In the heat of combat a Clicker can easily sneak up behind you as you're whacking another infected to death. Or when you get too close to one during stealth they'll spot you too. But I never had one just spawn on me as it were. That's either you not noticing one or a glitch.
The game does appear to winkle enemies into existence at set intervals. There seems to be trigger points. Like "step through this window, and a guy will be magicked into existence and come running into the room". Some of these trigger points are likely intended to create flanking ambushes. The end result is you get corn-holed by a guy you had every reason to believe couldn't possibly have been where he ended up being.
There are a few situations where the game cheats you. Like moments where if you try to stealth kill, the game will just send in another enemy, because it wants you to get caught. There's thankfully only two moments were this happens that I've noticed and it only happens with bandits and not Clickers. And it is kinda bullshit.

And there's also that one moment at the school parking lot where you could sneak past a bunch of infected only to have the game open a can of angry zombies once you pass a certain point. Meaning if you left the previous sneakable infected alive, you get totally sandwiched. Thankfully this never happened to me, since even on my first playthrough I just killed all of them.

On the flip side there are moments where the game braces you for an attack. Like when you're trying to force open a door and the camera gives you a view of the hallway you're in, as if to say 'Enemies are about to come swarming at you.' But if you've already killed them you still get that shot, but with an empty hallway.

The game structure can feel like a fussy mother sometimes.
 

BloatedGuppy

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Zhukov said:
That's, uhh... that's called "spawning in enemies".

It's a pretty common thing in games.
It is, yep. It's an annoyance. I'm not cherry picking TLOU for abuse either, I've always hated it.

TLOU just underscores the issue more than a lot of its contemporaries. As you're given very limited ammunition and tools, and as stealth or carefully/systematically breaking down an area is thus prioritized over rushing in like a dolt and just pew pewing everything in sight, it becomes even more galling when an area you have every reason to believe is clear (using logic/the game's rules/the tools it supplies) is suddenly awash with enemies.

This has been a lot of TLOU's action sequences in a nutshell...

 

BloatedGuppy

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So in the end, the answer was "Somewhere around the Winter chapter". Incidences of "This game is such concentrated bullshit" dropped significantly, and the story improved.

I'm finished now. I still feel it was a deeply flawed game, but it certainly has its merits. You know what I would've loved? Tomb Raider's game play and this game's story and collection of characters. That would've been GOTY material.