Mike, I tried concentrating on the cover system a little more near the end of the game and while it did work a little better, it is still wonky. The problem lies with the dive/roll button being the same as the cover button. It works most of the time while advancing but in the church near the end, attempting to roll laterally between cover to get a bead on the laser snipers ended up with me nearly getting capped a handful of times. It just doesn't work consistently. Not terrible but not in the same league as Gears IMO where moving under cover, lateral movement, and sticking to EVERYTHING you want is never a problem.
I also died twice in the courtyard before the church trying to take cover on a perfectly acceptable wall but Naughty Dog failed to code those walls as cover points. There's no reason for that. In an area as large as that courtyard, a player like me could end up anywhere and that's the fun of situations like that. I run around a lot to flank enemies but apparently Naughty Dog didn't want me using those areas as firing points. Lame. I was hoping for more wide-open combat where I could problem solve on the fly. The checkpoints after I died only confirmed this idea because they were laden with cover points but if you were to stray out of that area, it becomes a BYOC (Bring Your Own Cover) game. Icky, I hate linearity like that. I usually end up doing things completely contradictory to the game designer's plans but Naughty Dog didn't do a good job of allowing that type of play.
Anyway, as for this silly "shooter" debate... I played almost every old game you listed, Mike. I think we're probably close to the same age. I don't consider those games shooters (my shooter timeline pretty much starts at Doom) because of the control limitations of the NES/SNES/Genesis. Either way, if you consider those shooters, no big deal. I just wanted to clarify my earlier comments about playing shooters for 15 years.