I really didn't enjoy UC4 gameplay that much. Enemies were bullet sponges and the level design was not that great. There were only 2-3 scenarios where they tried to create wide arenas but it didn't really work with the gameplay. Stealth was clunky and the moment you went loud you would enter the run and gun loop which is not that franchise's strength.
I really enjoyed TLOU1 gameplay on Survivor (which should've been the default) and on harder difficulties and the gameplay really worked with the wider level design and this game is that same experience but on steroids. I love love! how open the combat arenas are and how much freedom they give you. The combat is tense, full of consequences and a lot of fun. Add the resource management on top of it and it becomes so satisfying.
I've been playing on Hard and end up killing all enemies before checking for supplies and story notes. The loop I follow is -
- Prepare and craft stealth items (silencer and arrows)
- Start with stealth to whittle down enemy numbers. This includes molotovs and trap mines.
- Go loud with rifle/shotgun/revolver to finish off the remaining
- Scavenge for supplies before moving on
The level design allows for f**k ups if you get spotted. The prone and sliding through narrow gap mechanics really help with reentering stealth.
But this also means that it takes a lot of time to progress through the game. Have played 20 hours or so and have only reached end of Seattle Day 2. But I'm loving it!
I understand ND wanting the game to be accessible, but they're doing a disservice to their gameplay by not recommending that people try the harder difficulties first. I felt the same way about TLOU1. If you're not liking the story and are playing on an easier difficulty, I can imagine that this game would be a chore to play.