So technically, The Last of Us is the best linear game of the generation. Which I agree... but Skyrim as 1st? It was a fun game but I wouldn't say it would be worth being 1st. Probably GTA IV if anything, in my opinion.
Also, this poll is not valid, games for the generation are still coming this year (GTA V, Beyond: Two Souls) etc.
It's very hard to compare Skyrim to TLoU for many obvious reasons. You've gotta take a trip back in time, if you will. Skyrim was released in 2011, when its graphical and mechanical quirks were somewhat normal, and were certainly excusable considering the enormous scope, ambition, and quality of the game. It has about 200 hours worth of gameplay (although many like me were fairly bored after about 80 hours - still a TON!). The storyline was interesting and the sense of freedom was unmatched. The customization and constant rewards were great incentive to keep playing, and the Elder Scrolls series has so much lore that it really helps absorb you into the game.
The Last of Us, on the other hand, is much shorter, but was meant to be that way. TLoU creates a super-interesting environment and storyline, and within that environment it creates some amazing narrative and beautiful character development. The graphics and sound effects are amazing, but it did have a 2-year start on Skyrim anyways, and obviously there is much less to render, in terms of the environment, in The Last of Us. The gameplay in The Last of Us, which uniquely is intertwined with the storytelling and dialogue in an intimate matter (Ellie's comments for example), and its storyline, really sets it apart from Skyrim on many levels.
Although many games (especially recently) have been set in post-apocalyptic universes, very few were able to reproduce the emotional pain and the brutality of life - having to take the life of somebody just trying to survive, for example, or having to watch good friends, who you have bonded with, die or slip away can really touch on your emotions in ways that Skyrim never, ever did. I cried at a couple of points in TLoU, but never came close in Skyrim. Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas were both excellent games, being the Skyrim of post-apocalyptic games. I would recommend them, especially New Vegas, to anybody.
Skyrim was exactly what I expected of it - an amazing game deserving of the praise it has been given. I had an awesome time with it, for a long time. I was there at midnight, in a huge line, to pick up my copy of Skyrim the day it launched. However, I didn't even buy The Last of Us until a friend insisted I try it. I obviously had known of it and it looked great, and since I own (and have beat) the Uncharted series, I thought I'd eventually get it. When I did, however, it BLEW MY MIND. After the very first sequence, which ends with Joel holding his dying/dead daughter in his arms and weeping, I knew this was going to be one of my all-time favorites.
From that point forward, it has never once disappointed. I obsess over different tactical approached to the situations you encounter. The storyline draws me in like no game before it - the characters are very interesting, strong people. They provides an insight into what 20 years of this type of living does to people. I have NEVER been bored playing this game, which sets it apart from Skyrim in a big way.
I can't way one is better than another. I certainly prefer TLoU, but then again when Skyrim came out I thought that was the best game ever also. Who knows, maybe when GTAV comes out I'll be comparing The Last of Us with GTAV in a similar manner in the rockstar forums haha,
One game is linear and the other is very non linear. They are both excellent but in different ways so it's difficult to argue if one is better then the other; With Skyrim its the immence sense of discovery and exploration and the freedom of choice. With TLOU it's the storyline, pacing, cohesiveness, uber polished gameplay and the whole cinematic experience.
However, both could be the best games of their type though.
(Oh, and I always preferred Fallout 3 to Skyrim but I guess that's for a different message board, lol).
It's actually only the third best Naughty Dog game this generation, so I find it hard for it to be second best.
Sorry, but any game that excludes 10% of the gamer population (southpaw/legacy sticks) from playing it fully is not a top five game of this generation.