I assume Angela has already finished the game and can give a proper 'review' of it for people to read?
I just finished the game myself the other night. On Hard mode, the timer clocked in at exactly 24 hours and 22 minutes. I now welcome The Last of Us to join Resident Evil 4 and Metal Gear Solid 3 to the S.S.S.P.C.C. (Substantially Satisfactory Single Player Campaign Club)
In general terms, I don't think I have anything to say that I haven't already. The game, for all its pros and cons, has been consistent from start to finish. I will admit I warmed up to those action-based skirmishes toward the end, since you're quite a bit more powered up by then. Sometimes it just feels good to release that pent-up tension from stealthing all the time and go totally gangsta on your enemies.
Which upgrades took priority for you guys? I made sure to raise my Max Health, Listen Mode and Weapon Sway stats first and foremost. Weapon Sway in particular made a world of difference; even one upgrade just about steadies your aim perfectly. I found the shotgun to be my top weapon, so I gave plenty of upgrades to that. I upped the Clip Capacity for every weapon, given how scarce ammo is; I didn't want to be in situations where there was precious excess ammo lying around that I wasn't able to pick up because I had a small clip that was already full.
Razakin, you do know you can turn Listen Mode off, even on difficulties other than Survivor, right? Also, from what the NeoGAF guys are saying, there is an unofficial method to play New Game+ on any mode, regardless of which difficulty you played before. Start up an initial New Game+, get through the prologue, and then switch to your desired difficulty in-game. Not sure how that affects trophies, though.
I'm definitely looking forward to another playthrough, but I'm taking a break. As satisfying as it is to play, it's an exercise in exhaustion. Huge chunks of the game demand your full and lengthy attention, and you don't quite want to rely on the autosaving's slightly janky decisions on where you'll end up (and what resources you've used) when you load again.
So, let's talk spoilers.
Cedille, I'm glad that..... you edited out that bit about playing as Ellie. That part of the game was a neat, unexpected shift in perspective, and I would have hated to have that spoiled for me. Gameplay-wise, I liked that she had a decidedly nimbler feel than Joel -- yet at the cost of not being able to do silent takedowns as effectively as him. I thought the length of time you got to play as her was perfect; we got a few terrific stealth sections, a RE4-esque holed-up-in-a-cabin shootout, a thrilling whiteout adventure, and our one real boss battle in the form of David. (My heart was beating like a kettledrum during that part!) And, you know, seeing a young girl depicted in such a gritty, realistic setting -- partaking in and actually taking such violence -- shocked me. I thought they might pull a Resident Evil 4 where they neutered Ashley's deaths to not look as gruesome as Leon's. Nope, Ellie can get her neck snapped, her jugular gnashed, and her face ripped off/bashed in just like the adults. Damn.
As far as that censored scene, I can confirm that the NA version plays out exactly like the EU version that Razakin linked to does, with..... the dude slicing off what is very obviously a human arm. Cedille, you sure it was the NA version you were playing?
Save for the occasional framerate hitch and jaggies (the jaggies really only took me out of the game when I was looking at cast shadows), the game's a graphical wonder. I was positively floored when I reached..... the University of Eastern Colorado. Oh man, was this area GORGEOUS. The vast campus grounds, the dusky skies, the autumn leaves, that PERFECT wind effect blowing through the trees representing the crisp, Fall air. The entire atmosphere is palpable.
Regarding big story moments as well as the ending..... I did see Sam's death coming when it was revealed he was bitten, but I absolutely did NOT expect Henry to take his own life in that very instant. As for the ending, I'm glad they didn't go with the initially-believed-Joel-getting-infected-and-Ellie-having-to-kill-him route. I liked how morally ambiguous everything was left off: was Marlene in the right, or was Joel? Was a cure truly guaranteed with Ellie, and would the risk of her death have been worth it? Did Ellie know that Joel was lying to her? Some answers are more obvious than others, but I like how these factors are open for debate.