I'm being deadly serious when I say it has one of the best openings of any game I've ever played. Its a stunning way to start a story let alone a game.
So much so that when the game itself begins in earnest it feels like sort of a slump, learning the same stealth into combat gameplay that sort of worked in Uncharted 2. You stay stealth and sneaky for as long as you can before everything kicks off.
The controls are solid and responsive you feel like a heavy solid part of the gameworld. What a gameworld aswell, nothing seems out of place not a texture or poster or dodgy texture so far. Its a beautiful designed World to walk though. Although for such a pretty game its NPC's fall foul of the same niggling as most other games. I just want to wander about and search for stuff and not be chided for not opening this gate.
The acting and voice work is naturalistic and refreshingly accented in places, I can't remember the last time we had a Southern hero that was not played for laughs. The interplay between the characters is believable and well written to a degree.
Its had its problems a couple of times so far, like there are times when the game really just decides to fuck with you and make you fight a bunch of infected. One point in particular stands out as most of the encounters I had had up to that point in the game I had managed to sneak around and stealth my way through. This time though a door burst open and three infected poured out. No avoiding and I just had to brawl my way through.
It does a pretty poor job of explaining the upgrade system for both guns and Joel himself. You'll come across one of the Dead Space style upgrade benches quite early on but you'll be able to do nothing of note until you find the next one much later on.
Sometimes its realism gets horribly muddied, it sticks to its idea of limited ammo but if your sneaky its possible to max out of ammo stocks. That would not be a problem if it had a kind of weapon carrying limit, you don't. Any gun you pick up in the World (granted from the upgrade table there does not appear to be that many) you can shove in your good old backpack and cycle through them whenever you have a break. It just seems like a really odd choice when your playing.
Like I mentioned before the NPC companions are a little bit flaky at times, they never sit still, I've been pushed about and my God do they like to stand in the way sometimes. Overall however none of them have ever been a problem, a slight distraction but never a problem. To my knowledge they've also never repeated a line so far either.
Overall, even though you can most likely tell that my thoughts are all over the place, its been a blast to play so far. Its quite unlike most games in both its tone and its pacing, its characters and its take on a destroyed World. Mechanics wise you'll be able to pick it up straight away and they just drop away to let you explore.
I've purposefully avoided mentioning anything about Ellie, or anything specific actually, because shes the lynchpin holding everything togethor.
Please excuse spelling and grammar here as I just sat and bashed that out, stream of conscious style.