The Last of Us Part II

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Marlew
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Marlew »

I would doom humanity to save my cat, without a moment's reflection, so I'm sure most empathetic people can relate to Joel's decision on some level.

What makes it so richly fascinating, tragic and fucking monstrous is exactly like ThirdDrawing said: It is almost entirely a selfish decision, rather than one borne of genuine love for Ellie. It's all about Joel.

It's a vain attempt to rewrite the past and assuage his guilt over Sarah. It was not his choice to make, and that's why he lies, and that's ultimately what dooms him in Ellie's eyes. He betrays her, he invalidates her reason for being and he murders countless people in the process - for himself.

The greatest tragedy is that he unwittingly teaches her that personal redemption supercedes all else. Although finding out the truth destroys their relationship and profoundly damages her, Ellie's own guilt over his death and their broken relationship drives her to seek redemption to the point of self-destruction and the abandonment of the people who love her.

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you."

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ratsoalbion
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by ratsoalbion »

Marlew wrote: December 11th, 2020, 11:56 am I would doom humanity to save my cat, without a moment's reflection, so I'm sure most empathetic people can relate to Joel's decision on some level.
Of course!

Agree with everything else you say too.

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DomsBeard
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by DomsBeard »

If he's that bad why did he save Abby at the start? ;)

It's worthy of winning many awards but narrative was definitely not one of them. But I digress, I've spent 4 years baffled over how people vote so I need to stop now :lol:

Marlew
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Marlew »

Because people aren't universally good or bad, without trying to be a smart arse. That's why he's also so relatable. He's got lots of positive, appealing qualities but he has also done terrible things.

I'm sure you don't believe he's supposed to be a hero even though he saved Abby.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by ratsoalbion »

I have no issue at all with TLOUPII winning awards for its narrative. The fact that we’re still passionately debating this story is testament to its boldness.

However, ND receiving awards for development after overworking some of their staff so hard that they ended up in hospital is less acceptable. Especially when they were up against Supergiant who ensure that their staff take mandatory leave.

At least Druckmann alluded to their failings as an employer in his acceptance speech - let’s hope it’s not just lip service.

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Jon Cheetham
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Jon Cheetham »

ratsoalbion wrote: December 11th, 2020, 1:44 pm However, ND receiving awards for development after overworking some of their staff so hard that they ended up in hospital is less acceptable. Especially when they were up against Supergiant who ensure that their staff take mandatory leave.
I agree. Considering 90% of the staff at Supergiant seem to have been there for about 8-10 years, complete opposite of the situation at ND with their turnover, crunch and working conditions. It would have been good if the awards had recognised an example of a positive work culture.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

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Flabyo
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Flabyo »

The Game Awards are a public facing set of awards that really only consider the final output.

I can’t see it doing *quite* so well in the next AIAS awards or the GDC ones that are voted for entirely by other devs.

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Miririn
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

It was really interesting reading this discussion. Speaking as a huge and relatively uncritical of the game, I think posters here who warmed to it have already covered most of the points I would make in regards to the story beats. There's a couple of points I think I had a slightly different perspective on that I'm going to ramble about a bit, with apologies in advance. (For reference, I'm an equal fan of Abby, Ellie, and Joel).
Spoiler: show
Regarding Joel's choice at the end of the first game, I'm not a parent and I see the good in it (as well as the bad) because I think that the Fireflies behaved appallingly (and in a rare moment of weak writing in the game, slightly unbelievably) and it's difficult to discuss Joel's decision without taking that into account. Not only did they decide to murder a child, they decided on it relatively quickly (I know that the story handwaves it away with some "it's the only choice" dialogue, but really? They won't try anything else? They won't even spend some time experimenting? They can't wait another week?) without waking her up first to ask her or at the very least to let her say her goodbyes. There's no consent, Ellie is treated as an object. (Not that the choice of waking her up to tell her is clearcut either, because presenting that choice to anyone, let alone a child, is horrifying). It's also a *chance* of a cure. Not a guarantee. This isn't to excuse Joel's actions, which were both good (borne out of love for Ellie) and bad (borne out of selfish fear of losing a second daughter at the hands of sanctimonious "greater good" trigger-happy military types). To me, neither Joel or the Fireflies are villains, but neither of them are the good guys either.

What I liked so much about the ending is that there was no good choice and no solution that was entirely justified or moral. For the Fireflies OR for Joel. And the Fireflies aren't free of human weakness themselves. Abby's dad pauses when Marlene pointedly asks him if he'd kill Abby to create a vaccine. He can kill Ellie (a stranger who he never meets conscious, making it easier to view her as an object) but would he be so quick to dismiss all other options if it was Abby on that operating table? Almost everyone in these games is hypocritical, biased, and controlled by their emotional weaknesses and it's what makes them human and relatable (to me, at least).

Re the epilogue, I'm in favour of it and think the game would be weaker without it. One of the smaller but arguably most important conversations in the game is Owen telling Abby "we can choose to be happy". I've played the game a few times now and each time I've grown to appreciate Owen more as the closest thing this game has to a sort of vocal moral conscience (...albeit one who does some shit things, but it's TLOU world, so it's a bit difficult to judge them by real world standards). Abby and Ellie (and Joel before meeting Ellie) trap themselves in cycles of misery that they can choose escape from but instead choose to make worse. Ellie rejecting happiness with Dina and losing everything hammers home what Owen was trying to tell Abby before he died, and for me is a more satisfying mirroring of the two leads' stories than leaving Ellie happy and settled would have been.

Finally, regarding Abby and Ellie's most awful acts in the game (killing Joel and torturing Nora, respectively)... I think one of the things the game makes clear is that if you were born into that world, killing is an inevitability and not as much of a moral taboo as it is in the real world. I agree with posters here that Abby had good reasons to kill Joel. Ellie had similarly "justifiable" reasons to kill Nora (Nora didn't swing that golf club, but everyone in that room was certainly culpable). What makes these acts worse or at the very least, more traumatising, for Abby and Ellie (and their allies), compared to the other killings in the game is the torture and deliberately protracted, painful deaths purely for personal satisfication and revenge (rather than killing for survival). I thought it was interesting that the game seemed to spend a long time making the distinction.

And I disagree that Abby feels no guilt or regret for what she did to Joel. When Owen needles her about whether he should torture the killers of his own family until they cry, Abby lashes out violently at him. She's also constantly worrying about Mel judging her and thinking her capable of horrific acts. She has nightmares. The game doesn't have Abby outright state "I feel bad about what I did" but at the very least it shows she feels ambivalent about it.
Thanks for letting me ramble on. Discussion around this game online has been so intimidating and sort of (and I know this is a cliched word to use) toxic that I always feel incredibly hesitant about wading in. It was really nice to read this thread from people with positive and negative opinions about the game without it becoming, uh, a bit intense and scary.

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Alex79uk
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Alex79uk »

Good post, but you might wanna spoiler tag quite a bit of it. I'd be disappointed if I'd known some of that before playing the game :)

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Miririn
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

Alex79uk wrote: January 9th, 2021, 11:19 pm Good post, but you might wanna spoiler tag quite a bit of it. I'd be disappointed if I'd known some of that before playing the game :)
D'oh! Thank you for the heads up - I'll spoiler tag it all to be on the safe side! :lol:

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