This game is really something special and I have been recommending it to anyone who A) enjoys video games, B) loves post-apocalyptic fiction, or C) anyone who is a sucker for solid and realistic relationships in fiction.
The graphics are top of class when compared to other PS3 games, to the point where you wonder if anything else could actually be wrung from the system's processing power. It really is a beautiful game, and maybe not in the way you might expect from the trailers and box art. Some of the most stunning production design went into the 'overgrown' aspect of many of the cities and the nature scenes. To me, the visual aspect was very reminiscent of the early parts and ending of I Am Legend.
As has been said above, the audio is stellar. The clickers are terrifying, in large part from the sounds they emit. And it was well captured and represented by the developers.
It is by far the most cinematic game I've played, with the only parallel I can really draw being MSG4. Like with almost every other design decision in the game, subtlety seemed to be an overriding objective in putting together the storytelling elements. Ultimately, I think the decision to trust the audience and simply place them in situations and let them go forward, learning as things come along, went a long way in helping to draw the player into the story. From the title cards, to the soft twang of the guitar, to the complete lack of a mini-map in the middle of a blizzard. They pulled me in and I didn't want to stop playing.
The voice acting is best in class. The actor portraying Joel is believable from his first line to the last. The same can be said for the actor portraying Ellie. With a few exceptions, it seems to me that the best case scenario for voice acting in a game is for it not a distraction. But in with this game, I found myself longing for more dialogue.
Although the voice acting was fantastic, the main thing keeping me glued to my seat was the story. It is unbelievably good. My wife sat next to me and watched me play 90% of the game, and she was in tears three or four times. Maybe there is a trend of great storytelling lately in games, and I've just been missing the boat, but a video game story has never hit me as hard as this one did. The first half of the game is Game of The Year quality, the last half is a masterpiece. There were several moments where I had to pause the game and process the events. I won't go into details, because you should go into this game as blind as you possibly can be. But be aware, if you have a heart, much will be asked from it.
Man, there are so many things I want to talk about, but I promised myself I wouldn't use spoiler tags or anything, so I will leave it at that. I might be getting soft as I get older, but parts of the story were (to me) heartbreaking.
And I know it is a cliche to say that a particular story is about relationships and character growth and blah blah blah...
But the combination of who these characters are, what they are trying to accomplish, and what they are forced to go through to survive makes the relationship incredibly fascinating and emotionally significant.
I recommend anyone with a PS3, a few free hours, and the love for a great story to give it a try. It will not disappoint.
Edit: Just wanted to add my system specs in case anyone cares. I have a rather low end audio setup, and still thought that the game's audio shined.
60" Vizio E601i-A3 LCD 1080p television
Denon AVR 1913
Jamo 426 HCS 5 speaker set
BIC F12 subwoofer
Audio from PS3 to receiver via HDMI
Edited by WaterBottle - 8/27/13 at 8:40pm