Joel is now my favorite character of this decade. Both he and Ellie are amazing and the story was gritty, well thought out and amazingly paced! Joel was so well written in both his bkstory and the way he acted and treated others around him. I loved seeing him go from the bitter man changed by the loss of his daughter and suddenly having to deal with a girl around his daughters age and slowly accept her and gain feelings for her over time. I believe I clapped for the first time while playing a video game when Joel was interrogating the 2 goons for info on Ellie when He still killed both of them after saying he believed him. I felt like I was watching a classic Bruce Willis film when the main character was so BA you couldnt stop watching the screen!
The voice acting for Joel was also amazing and I couldnt believe Troy changed up his voice so much for the game. Just hearing his roles from FF13 - now and hearing him in Bioshock, then in this game with a completely different tone, accent and mannerism makes me enjoy his work even more than I have in the past. I was questioning the choice of grabbing him when you already had Nolan North and making Joel look like an older Nathan Drake in some ways. As you play the game, you quickly discover, you're not playing Uncharted, your not playing Nathan and the world is a merciless place. Everything about the atmosphere in the game emerses you and you quickly learn to adapt to the world your trying to survive in.
Ellie was amazing. I was questioning the whole making her younger and changing her looks, but in the end, the design team was right and watching Ellie go from some young snotnosed brat to an important partner you felt you had to protect, was amazing. She's like most kids today with the mouth of a sailor, but not for lack of parenting, but the world around her and she will cut you in a heartbeat! I loved the Ellie segs when you play her and realize quickly that she isnt Joel! She's smaller, not able to over power people and not as skilled as Joel, but she handles her own. The voice actress was amazing and I couldnt imgine anyone being a better fit. The joke book inclusion to the game was pure gold! I couldnt help laughing and face palming at the terrible jokes. The fact that it would randomly happen after such a battle made the joke book stand out even more and made you feel that even though the world is in such a terrible situation, humor still exist and you can still smile in any situation, even for a brief moment.
The story is one of the best told stories in gaming period if not the best in the genre. I didnt think anything would top Uncharted from ND, but I could play a trillogy easilly from Last of Us and play no other games. I never felt the story dragged or got boring or felt I just want the game to be over with ever while playing. That says a lot.
The designs in the enviromental art and character art... Flawless! There arent enough words one can say to compliment your teams efforts. The music and sound design was perfect as well and sets the tone so amazingly its hard not to get sucked in. AI was also amazing! I cant believe that it was done so well! I never felt the AI was terrible and only getting me killed. There were times it did and I thought it felt more like it was the randomness of the situation just like in a real world sit were someone might either be smart or do something dumb at the last moment and you had to just change your strategy on the fly. I remember going into a battle to get the battery when I pulled out the bow and prepped to snipe infected and a certain somone telling me to be quite and sneak around, but not even 2 seconds in, he starts blasting away with the shotgun and gets us rushed by the entire horde in seconds! Oh I yelled at the screen, shot, ran like a chicken, depleted ammo, got my mental state back after pausing a sec and swore Id kill him and even tried, but couldnt due to game restrictions...! But it kept me on my toes! I never knew what would happen and no matter how much I leveled up and felt all powerful, the game would find a way to knock me down a peg if I let my guard down. Even if it took several hrs to do so.
About the ending
I loved it! I felt the characters acted how they should. Joel knew they had no 100% sure cure if they killed Elli for the anwers. They made it sound like they might draw blood or something, but then started talking about cutting her head open once they were 90% there! If I had traveled with someone and they became like a daughter to me, thought that their life wasnt in danger from the test they were to preform for the cure and was willingly going to help to only be decieved, killed and mangled by people that had no compassion, but desperation without morals, I would have made the same decision. If mankind wanted to survive, they could learn not to get bit like everyone else not infected. When it came to telling Ellie the truth, I yelled at the screen that "Joel, you better lie to her and lie good enough that she believes it! Dont even allow her to doubt it!!" and when he did, I clapped! That's what any parent would do for their child or anyone they felt was like their child. You dont tell her the truth about what they were going to do to her, that she really could have been the fate of mankind but you snatched her away, that everyday she lived may mean thousands or millions may die and if only she died, and maybe they might live. 1 life is too much for most adults to handle, much less a 14yr girl with mult lives in her hands IF they figure it out. I rather let her live out her life as close to normalcy as possible and never tell her. If one day she finds out when shes older and can make the decision with understanding of the weight of the choice, then talk to her about it. If she's really immune, they can still find a cure from her or maybe find a procedure that wont kill her in the process.
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I agree that this game is simply amazing and one of my favorites, hands down. Everything about it is pure gold and I never get bored of it. There's not one part in this game that I hate playing.
Also, if Bill told you to be quiet but then started blasting away, it's because you were spotted. Naughty Dog deliberately made it so that as long as you are hidden, your A.I. partners are completely invisible. This way, they would never compromise your position. So if they start shooting, its because you screwed up.
Also, Ellie clearly knew that Joel was lying. She's not stupid. And I think Joel knows that she knows as well. Its not exactly a believable lie at all.