I dunno. I like title for what they do well and often don't get TOO bogged down by the rest.
After TLoU, I hated narrative in a lot of other games because it just felt less convincing and more contrived (or in the case of the JRPG, it felt too much like an anime). I'm making a bad generalization; but I thought what the Last of Us managed was a perfect portrayal of strange relationships in a strange time -- and it still managed to feel more human/convincing than a lot of titles try for. I'm not really talking about the bigger plot-heavy cinematics, but just when characters are talking useless or semi-important banter. His review works for me because it talks about that stuff, but otherwise whatever. I was more amused the fact it DID sound like it was written by an English Major (i.e.; a lot of the stuff I read in school) than the content of the review itself (which, with all the buzz about the game this past year, I feel like I've heard it all at some point).
The rest of the gameplay is "ok" or "good" at best --- but nothing revolutionary. But I just liked the experience more than anything. The gameplay did what it had to, I was in it for the music, plot, and atmosphere. It told a good story, and I was taken in by it, hell, more than a lot of movies can actually sell the same.
I agree about Earthbound, but I can't comment on MGS2.