Fuck You, Laundry Basket.
Of course, that playtime may have been inflated by my strategy in stealth sections, which is 'hide and panic for ten minutes, try to sneak to a new location, get spotted immediately, end up dead, try again'.
Every so often, I remember that I'm playing this on Easy mode and sort of want to cry. I'VE DIED MORE THAN TWENTY TIMES. At least the checkpoints are kind; Naughty Dog generally doesn't believe in forcing you to redo things you've already succeeded at, which I think is a good attitude for a game developer to take.
Going through the hotel full of hunters was probably the most terrifying experience I've ever had in a videogame. I think the human enemies in The Last of Us frighten me more than the zombies do. One lit a Molotov cocktail and I freaked out and wasted half a clip panic-shooting in his general direction, because I'd been set on fire before and it hadn't gone well.
(Speaking of Molotov cocktails: at one point I accidentally equipped a Molotov, and Joel pulled the bottle out and lit it just before I switched to my pistol, and when I changed weapons he tucked the still-burning Molotov back into his pocket. JOEL. JOEL, THAT'S A TERRIBLE IDEA.
What with that and my inability to sneak and the times when I end up furiously punching a wall instead of the guy behind me, Joel is starting to look more than a little incompetent when I play him.)
This game makes me feel like a hunted animal. Playing it is a horrible experience sometimes. But then there are the lovely moments, like when I catch Ellie trying to balance-walk along the edge of the pavement, or when she pulls out a joke book and regales me with terrible puns.
I was a little worried, before I started this game, that maybe I wouldn't love Ellie. She was the reason I was considering playing this game at all; the gameplay isn't my thing, the genre isn't my thing, but the fact that you were travelling through a post-apocalyptic world with a fourteen-year-old girl made the game seem more human and more interesting. If I hadn't loved Ellie, The Last of Us would have had very little to offer me.
I needn't have feared, because I adore Ellie. Part of this is probably an inclination to become attached to anyone on my side when I'm in an unsettling environment - the worlds of Shadow of the Colossus and Red Dead Redemption both frightened me, and I ended up clinging to my horse for comfort in both - but I'm pretty sure Ellie is great even when I'm not blinded by how glad I am just to have someone with me. It's an attachment forged by fear and maintained by Ellie being generally delightful.
The Last of Us is really a very, very good game. It's a bit more violent than I'm generally comfortable with, and it can be extremely stressful, but I'd definitely recommend it. Just be prepared for a challenge, even on the lowest difficulty setting.