I could never get excited for Last of Us in the long period from the first VGA trailer to its release. After it was showered with 10/10s me and a group of friends thought we'd pick it up and check it out. We got hooked by the opening but found ourselves getting bored quickly after.
A lot of the problem for me was in the interest of group compromise we played it on Normal rather than Hard, and also taking it turns watching my friends waste resources after clumsily making it through a sequence or spending our capsules on upgrades I didn't want (MORE HEALTH. WHAT A BLOODY WASTE) it made the experience rather shallow and all the more gamey. It felt more like a claustrophobic Uncharted than anything else.
At the time I didn't put it down to these reasons. I put it down to the game. But in one of the Bombcasts near the end of last year Brad voiced how the game is at it's best on Hard in the dark alone. And also how it picks up a lot pretty much exactly where we stopped playing.
Because of this I thought I'd grab it off my mate and play through it again on Hard in ze dark. No longer was I anchored by group voting when it came to upgrades or resource use and I felt comfortable to take the game at my own pace, acting sensible as I felt necessary through all the encounters and making sure to stop for those scarce moments of calm and take the world and it's wonderful characters in.
And I adored it. The story can stand on its own hence the popularity of those youtube videos you see of just the cutscenes, but man playing it like I did made it one of the most tense, visceral and exciting games I've ever played.
So thank you Bradley. Thank you for inadvertently making sure I didn't miss out on one of my greatest experiences in this generation.