10. Ellie really hasn't been out a lot One area, titled 'Lincoln' started in a tiny wood and Ellie's never seen anything like it. Where has she been cooped up all these years? It's endearing to hear her greet a bunny, interact with fireflies for the first time, and even marvel at the sight of a garden gnome.
9. Replay incentives through dialogue When marveling at a broken-down arcade machine, Ellie had something different to say with each of my two playthroughs. It's reminiscent of the multiple dialogue tracks in "Gears of War: Judgment", through I suspect this feature won't be as expansive in "The Last of Us".
8. Rewarding scavengers If you're a game completionist by nature, you get to kill two birds. Weapon crafting plays a major role in "The Last of Us" which is enough of a motivator to search every accessible building. Even something as harmful as a shiv can serve purposes beyond stabbing someone, like opening door. Watch: The Last of Us VGA 2012 Trailer
7. Naughty Dog grit Every since I had Nathan Drake kick his first bottle in the trash-laded buildings of "Uncharted 2", I've had a profound appreciation for the extra work Naughty Dog puts into the dirt and garbage of their games. Much of the world of "The Last of Us" looks old, worn out and lived in, like the stacks of office boxes and half-filled open suitcases.
6. Puzzling ladders If there is an element of puzzle solving, it's very much grounded in urban obstacles. The level in Lincoln featured some rooftop platforming, aided by moving ladders and long planks. Hardly brain-teasing stuff, though I wouldn't put it past "The Last of Us" to have slightly more complex puzzles.
5. Upside-down shootouts If you played this year's "Tomb Raider", then you know this scripted event. Main character gets caught in a classic rope trap, is flipped and engages in an upside down shootout. "The Last of Us" takes it up a notch with more aggressive villains and Ellie to protect.
4. Who cares about Ellie's voice? Some folks take minor issue with Ellie's low pitched voice. Are these the same people who find high pitched voices among Japanese women appealing? It's much easier to care how she kicks ass, despite her age, size and voice. If you thought she displayed backbone during the E3 2012 demo, wait until you hang out with her through a full chapter.
3. Enough character to care The voice work and the fleshed-out script results in some of the best game dialogue I've ever heard, making this pair of survivors sound natural and realistic. Ellie's endearing with her spontaneous humming and Joel sounds convincingly over protective.
2. Uncharted comparisons are valid Even if Naughty Dog and Sony discourages Uncharted comparisons, I find that comparisons can only complement "The Last of Us". Headshots feel more effective as opposed to the sponge-like bullet impacts in "Uncharted 3". You can also sense Nathan Drake's melee DNA in Joel's mechanics and animation. Joel swings his fists very deliberately and there's a weightiness to those movements of desperate survival.
1. Combat is a puzzling playground What got my heart pumping were the moments I used the levels as combat playgrounds. Some of Uncharted's best moments came when I felt surrounded and escaped to another cover point to get a better offensive position. There's was a taste of that in this preview build, where you want to have the Jason Bourne-like sense of knowing where all the escape routes are while reacting and improvising based on how the enemies are attacking.
So obviously there's still some kind of core shooter gameplay in the multiplayer. If you want to, you can try to and play a run n' gun kind of game, but we really did a lot to try and ensure that the players who were playing more stealthily and playing more tactically would be at an advantage.
We obviously leveraged a lot of the systems we had existing in single-player to manage that. So we had the crafting system obviously, the listen mode [a kind of "radar" view akin to Batman: Arkham Asylum's detective mode - Ed.] and then we layered a few new systems on top of that like the marking system, the radar- to really slow down the pace of the game. I think where the game really shines is in those little cat-and-mouse encounters where you spot the enemy and he spots you.
So, what we do with the radar is: players show up on the radar when they're sprinting. That was a really big change we put in early on so that we could just slow the pace of the game down and force players to try and creep around a little more.
And then on top of that we added the marking system so that players who do spot an enemy but don't have enough time to shoot them can at least help their teammates mark them, get some parts for themselves with the in-game economy system and then give their team that awareness of where these threats are