The Last of Us Part II

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Jon Cheetham
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Jon Cheetham »

Marlew wrote: March 12th, 2021, 7:36 am Great post, Jon.

So much of the discourse around this game is a treatise on whether 'it worked for me' or whether or not 'ND made me feel like they intended'. I find that approach a critical dead end because the criteria against which it's judged are often unclear, and tend to say more about the critic.

"The movie 'Home Alone' didn't work for me as an exploration of man's existential isolation, and the festive colour palette undermined that further. They should have gone with a starker black-and-white presentation and maybe had an older, more weathered Japanese man instead of a grinning blond boy. To go further, it completely failed live up to Kobayashi's nine-hour anti-war meditation, 'The Human Condition' which I'd been expecting."

A failure to engage beyond one's own parameters should be a moment for reflection, not a self-validation. 'I didn't like it because of x, y and z' is perfectly valid, and can be interesting. I don't like Ornette Coleman because I can't hum or sing along and that's how I tend to enjoy music. It's bullshit to say that Ornette Coleman has failed to move me, though, to wholly place the burden on the work itself for a self-gratifying dunk. Engagement is a two-way process.
Ah I dropped off my post and didn't come back, so I missed your message. Thanks Marlew and I really agree. It's very interesting how much of themselves people bring to not just creating but also criticising, but the former seems more widely acknowledged/ interrogated.

I think I mentioned in another TLOU2 thread that some time before the game launched I muted the right words on Twitter to completely avoid all discourse, rage, reduction, snark and backlash (and backlash to the backlash) so I could play through in peace. It's one of the best presents I could have given myself. I feel like the discourse can be just as bad a spoiler as hearing the plot sometimes, having a bunch of other people's condemnations or smartarse comments in my head instead of experiencing it for myself.

Anyway, all reasons these after the fact analyses by the likes of Cane and Rinse are a genuine treat.

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Alex79uk
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Alex79uk »

Marlew wrote: March 12th, 2021, 11:28 am
ratsoalbion wrote: March 12th, 2021, 10:08 am
Marlew wrote: March 12th, 2021, 7:50 am This post exemplifies why I don't really bother with gaming discussion any more.
As a whole, the community is still stuck in the playground.
Hopefully you don't feel that the discussion on the podcast is also stuck in there with it!
:)
No, it's not intended at all as a slight on the podcast. I listen every week and I'm a big fan of Video Wizards, too. It's not even a comment on this forum, which is a cut above.

I just have very little stomach for 'the discourse' and the shithousery which have killed my interest in talking about games online.
It's not exactly the same, but I've recently had to unfollow the Eurogamer page on Facebook for similar reasons. I realised that 95% of the replies were from utterly abhorrent cunts, and it was genuinely bringing me down every time I read them. I've made a considered effort over the last week on Facebook and Twitter to actively avoid replying to the sorts of things that would have normally drawn me in to an evening long slanging match with strangers on the Internet, and I can honestly say I feel (marginally) better for it. I know people can get a bit sniffy about living in an echo-chamber, and I understand their point, but personally, I have no current desire to challenge or be challenged on my views about whatever.

Sorry, I feel I veered a little off topic there, it just came out as I was typing... :lol:

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ratsoalbion
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by ratsoalbion »

A lot of people struggle with the notion that a place of reasonable, respectful debate and discourse does not equal an echo chamber.

So many folks are conditioned (even addicted) to non constructive tit for tat, black vs white arguments.

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Miririn
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

TLOU2 is probably my favourite game (since I last posted on this thread I played it through again), but I mainly just retweet TLOU2 content (fanart, articles, photomode shots) that I like without looking at the comments underneath or adding to the discussion, and I feel a lot better for it.

I love Naughty Dog games but I'm not under any illusions when it comes to their notorious crunch culture, which is appalling and unacceptable. But my heart really goes out to ND staff (senior and junior) caught up in the extreme drama surrounding the game's release. The death threats to the devs and the cast? The homophobic comments on Druckmann's tweets? It's really despicable and depressing. I remember someone at ND who I follow on twitter talking about what a strange time the game's release was for ND staff because all this drama was going on while they were working from home and away from other colleagues who could understand what they were going through. This was my first experience of large scale, toxic (sorry for the cliche) drama surrounding a game's release and it was absolutely insane to me as a spectator, so I can't imagine what it must have been like to experience for those who worked on the game.

(Sorry for also taking things off topic)

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by markfm007 »

I find I can't really separate my experience of this game from the nastiness surrounding it sadly, even though I never sought it out. It's not about discussion so much as using cheap talking points as a battering ram to turn people away from the game and make it toxic. And unfortunately it often works. It made me realise that I'm not really interested in 'right vs wrong' discussions when it comes to games, and that it's not worth engaging with someone who isn't actually interested in the game anyway.

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Truk_Kurt »

Alex79uk wrote: March 14th, 2021, 5:08 pm
Marlew wrote: March 12th, 2021, 11:28 am
ratsoalbion wrote: March 12th, 2021, 10:08 am
Marlew wrote: March 12th, 2021, 7:50 am This post exemplifies why I don't really bother with gaming discussion any more.
As a whole, the community is still stuck in the playground.
Hopefully you don't feel that the discussion on the podcast is also stuck in there with it!
:)
No, it's not intended at all as a slight on the podcast. I listen every week and I'm a big fan of Video Wizards, too. It's not even a comment on this forum, which is a cut above.

I just have very little stomach for 'the discourse' and the shithousery which have killed my interest in talking about games online.
It's not exactly the same, but I've recently had to unfollow the Eurogamer page on Facebook for similar reasons. I realised that 95% of the replies were from utterly abhorrent cunts, and it was genuinely bringing me down every time I read them. I've made a considered effort over the last week on Facebook and Twitter to actively avoid replying to the sorts of things that would have normally drawn me in to an evening long slanging match with strangers on the Internet, and I can honestly say I feel (marginally) better for it. I know people can get a bit sniffy about living in an echo-chamber, and I understand their point, but personally, I have no current desire to challenge or be challenged on my views about whatever.

Sorry, I feel I veered a little off topic there, it just came out as I was typing... :lol:
I started doing this last year early into the Pandemic and it has done me a world of good. I have seen a couple of people I follow on Twitter leave it recently or take a couple of weeks break to escape from the nastiness they see on there which I can understand. Twitter as a platform gets a lot of stick for being a vile place and it certainly can be, but equally it has been one of the best things in my life as I have discovered so much and made new friends that I've ended up meeting in real life. If it weren't for Twitter I wouldn't have discovered Cane and Rinse and be on this very forum! I think Twitter can be great as long as you set some rules around it like muting words and not reading replies to any articles bound to attract horrible responses.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by ratsoalbion »

Truk_Kurt wrote: March 15th, 2021, 10:29 am I think Twitter can be great as long as you set some rules around it like muting words and not reading replies to any articles bound to attract horrible responses.
I agree with this.

It's a shame that we have to be so 'micro managey' in curation, and I also acknowledge my privilege in not being a high profile target for abuse (POC/woman/LGBTQI+).

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Miririn
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

At the risk of further steering this thread into off-topic waters, I've found that Twitter is really what you make it. I do read/appreciate and press "like" on people's political or controversial tweets, but my tweets or replies are pretty much exclusively: whatever boring nerdy thing I'm currently into (so as to spare people in my real life not into the same things), photos of my cat, and nice art/photography someone else has shared. And so mostly my interactions with people are related to those things and are pretty pleasant, although very occasionally I'll stumble on a rude person because it's the internet but it's never been more than a very mild spat, luckily. I think if you are not like me and don't want to bore everyone with five thousand photos of your pet and actually tweet about serious things, you probably run into a lot more of the toxic stuff and I can understand why you would go off twitter after that.

I do see some people who get a bit "if you're not tweeting about XYZ then you don't care!" and I'm not bothered about this because I do care about things, and think about things, but it's not my job to prove this to strangers on the internet, and my twitter is for dumb Studio Ghibli retweets and dog videos and Oprah memes and joking about how much I like wine, and I don't use it for serious things and that's fine.

(Sorry that became a long rambly soap box burble)

Edit - I suddenly got a bit worried it looked like I was claiming anyone who gets abuse is just not curating their Twitter enough, and I want to stress I don't mean that (and as Leon pointed out, some people will be attacked for all sorts of horrible reasons no matter what they post about), just that when people criticise twitter on the whole they tend to not be aware of the more peaceful corners of it, and I think my experience has been very similar to Truk_Kurt's where I've mainly made friendly connections.

Maybe the characters in TLOU2, living in a world without social media, understand what's really important: slaughtering fungus zombies. ;) (see! On topic!)

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Quiet Paul »

Perhaps we can lasso the topic by making some turgid metaphor comparing TLOU2’s infected to the mass rabble of mindless, conflict-addicted, slavering, knuckle dragging, shower of shites who lurch through the halls of the internet attacking anyone they see fit. ;)

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Miririn
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

Quiet Paul wrote: March 15th, 2021, 5:24 pm Perhaps we can lasso the topic by making some turgid metaphor comparing TLOU2’s infected to the mass rabble of mindless, conflict-addicted, slavering, knuckle dragging, shower of shites who lurch through the halls of the internet attacking anyone they see fit. ;)
I heard if you go prone and remain very still they can't detect you.

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Quiet Paul »

Miririn wrote: March 15th, 2021, 5:41 pm
Quiet Paul wrote: March 15th, 2021, 5:24 pm Perhaps we can lasso the topic by making some turgid metaphor comparing TLOU2’s infected to the mass rabble of mindless, conflict-addicted, slavering, knuckle dragging, shower of shites who lurch through the halls of the internet attacking anyone they see fit. ;)
I heard if you go prone and remain very still they can't detect you.
:lol:

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Marlew
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Marlew »

Haha. Very good.

Sorry for pulling this off thread, by the way, but I've enjoyed the subsequent chat.

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Miririn
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

Marlew wrote: March 15th, 2021, 7:13 pm Haha. Very good.

Sorry for pulling this off thread, by the way, but I've enjoyed the subsequent chat.
I thought it was interesting. I was a newbie to online gaming fandom until summer last year (before only talked about games with real life friends), so TLOU2 was sort of a baptism by fire for me when it came to Intense Gaming Internet Drama. I think it also can difficult to talk about the game without mentioning the elephant in the room of all the drama surrounding it.

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Marlew
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Marlew »

I should also say that my initial post wasn't about the vile homophobic/misogynistic (and more) backlash, but rather more specifically that 'it didn't make me feel what it wanted me to' is an increasingly common, self-satisfied criticism online.

It's often presented as the final word, a no-comebacks gotcha, but it reads to me as a failing of the person speaking. It's a statement which says very little about the work. I wouldn't be gloating that Debussy didn't make me feel anything. On some level, that's on me.

Explain what you did and didn't like and give reasons if you can. Ascribing motivation and intention simply to dismantle them has no value beyond ego gratification.

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by odenson98 »

I picked this game up on release day and couldn't wait to get started. I had avoided most major spoilers online but the discourse leading up to release really started to take its toll. The internet can be a very very dark place sometimes, but this was personified by the vile abuse aimed at both Neil Druckmann & Laura Bailey.

The story, whilst may not be everyone's cup of tea, in my opinion is expertly written and delivered by all actors involved. Ashley Johnson was phenomenal as always & Laura put her heart and soul into Abby which you can easily tell in the 10+ hours of gameplay you play as her. The story itself really hit me hard, having recently lost someone close to me I immediately understood Ellies pain and want for revenge.

As the story progresses the ever growing question is, is this actually worth it? Ellie & Abby have both put themselves through so much torment and pain at the thought of revenge which they believe will eventually have some pay off. The only pay off is even more pain and hurt.

As we get to the end of the game, we can see the physical toll that the need for revenge has played on Ellie. She is absolutely broken and has lost everything. As the credits rolled on that horrifying scene on the beach & Ellie returning to see Dina had left with JJ, I was immensely drowned in sadness for both characters.

In my opinion, this game is a masterpiece. It made me feel emotions that I had never felt before.

Three word review: Masterpiece, Exhausting & Sad

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Eterno »

I did not enjoy TLoU Part 2 at all for most of the reasons stated already in this thread, but I wanted to focus on a specific point here.
The Last of Us was by far one of my favorite story of the Playstation 3 era and the way it was delivered was near perfect to me. The scene where Sam turns and his brother ends both their suffering is one of the most powerful scene I’ve seen in a videogame. It literally took my breath away for a good 10 seconds and the tears followed. I also found the ending a very strong scene, but that will lead us to my main complaint of TLoU Part 2.

I highly disliked at the time, and even more so in Part 2, how ND wants to make you be an “active” player in key scenes, while delivering a cinematic heavy game. I’m referring to the infamous “kill the doctor” one at the end of Part 1, and more importantly to Part 2 where they make you press square so Ellie can torture and kill Nora in that bloody cinematic.

I’m aware there is a big split about this but to me these should be cinematics and not gameplay. The fact that they did the same trick again, and this time with a character which I could not understand or relate to at all, really made me dislike the game, and what the developers were forcing down my throat. It only went downhill from there.

Of course, I would have still disliked the story and delivery without this trick, but I hate how they give you “control”, only to press a button through a cinematic you cannot change in any way. I don’t need to like the characters or story you are telling me, or even agree to what they do, that’s exactly why I’m fine with cinematics and becoming passive during the plot elements, as I’d watch a movie. If you give me control, then give me choice, otherwise I feel robbed as a player and forced into doing something I disagree with. All games do that to some extent and my problem is probably because of the violence. To illustrate this, while I enjoy watching the over the top fatalities in Mortal Kombat, I would hate it if they made me press square during each step of it. I’d never do them.

I forced myself to play to the end to see the set pieces and gorgeous graphics, but the ending was yet another disappointment. It felt like instead of the story resulting into something shocking and divisive, this story was only the result of them trying desperately to achieve these two things.

 

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

Three word review: justice for Alice

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Alex79uk »

Eterno wrote: March 17th, 2021, 3:33 am The fact that they did the same trick again, and this time with a character which I could not understand or relate to at all, really made me dislike the game, and what the developers were forcing down my throat. It only went downhill from there.
Did playing as Abby not result in any sense of empathy towards the reasons behind her actions at any point? Whether you agreed with them or not, did you not find that playing her story led to you appreciating why did she did what she did? Genuine question, not supposed to be leading in any way.

If it did, do you think you'd have felt the same level of empathy had those scenes been cinematic rather than delivered through hours 'in her shoes', so to speak? Again, genuine question and certainly no judgment either way. Actually interested in how different people responded to the game.

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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by DomsBeard »

For me anyway Alex the fact it seemed early on that was what the whole point of the second half was made me not buy into Abby at all. I think they should've been even bolder and made you play as Abby first and build up who she is up to her killing Joel (which you would've only found out about late on) then a swap over.

Another thing I mentioned as well was her dropping the WLF with no hint at all, she had been with them for years and was very high up and well thought of, it didn't earn her dropping them for two Seraphites (yes they did save her) either.

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Miririn
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

Alex79uk wrote: March 17th, 2021, 11:18 am
Eterno wrote: March 17th, 2021, 3:33 am The fact that they did the same trick again, and this time with a character which I could not understand or relate to at all, really made me dislike the game, and what the developers were forcing down my throat. It only went downhill from there.
Did playing as Abby not result in any sense of empathy towards the reasons behind her actions at any point? Whether you agreed with them or not, did you not find that playing her story led to you appreciating why did she did what she did? Genuine question, not supposed to be leading in any way.

If it did, do you think you'd have felt the same level of empathy had those scenes been cinematic rather than delivered through hours 'in her shoes', so to speak? Again, genuine question and certainly no judgment either way. Actually interested in how different people responded to the game.
I'm sorry for jumping in but unless I'm misreading Eterno's post, isn't he referring to the quicktime event where Ellie has to torture Nora? (The equivalent Abby moment - torturing Joel before she kills him - was a cinematic and not a quicktime event)

Very sorry if I've misunderstood!

@Domsbeard - The idea of playing Abby first and then Ellie is really interesting. Also your post got me thinking (and I'm aware with such a linear/scripted game of this scale it would be impossible, so this is only a What If), a Route A or Route B type scenario where you play as Abby first or Ellie first and that choice influences the next route would be kind of cool.

Re Abby abandoning the WLF: (long boring ramble under spoiler cut)
Spoiler: show
My read on it was that it was just as much to do with Owen becoming disillusioned with them (and the WLF consider him a traitor and it's clear Abby puts Owen and her Salt Lake friends before the WLF) as it was to do with helping Yara and Lev. And Yara and Lev is also a muddled issue where I saw her motivation being a mix of maternal protective instinct and desperately trying to atone in some tiny way for torturing a guy to death and alienating both her love interest and many of her friends ("I need to lighten the load", I believe she tells Yara). And she is shown during the early part of her section to be really paranoid about both Mel and Owen judging her for what she's capable of, and Mel had just called her a piece of shit a few hours earlier (confirming her fears re how her former friend now sees her), while Yara had called her a good person, so maybe she had an impulse to turn away from the WLF, who saw her mainly as a killer/destroyer (like Mel did), and towards Yara and Lev, who saw her as a giving protector (what she wanted to be). So that's why I personally found her abandoning the WLF convincing.

I think her ties to the WLF were real, but they were also in some ways superficial and fragile - the WLF gave her something to fight for and a purpose when she was in deep despair, and I imagine being a good soldier for Isaac and earning his praise might feed into her need for a new father figure (this last theory is probably a bit more tenuous as there's nothing really in the game to support this). She is fierce about severing herself from her past with the Fireflies (because of trauma?) and is angry at Owen for bringing them up - so I guess she threw herself into the WLF work with the obsessive loyalty of someone newly converted AND someone trying to run away from their past. But ultimately, she didn't have a personal connection to the fight for land in Seattle (Owen: "I'm tired of fighting over land I don't give a fuck about"), especially compared
to her "higher" goals with the Fireflies ("look for the light"), and meeting Lev and Yara gave her a higher goal (after she saves them, her nightmares where she repeatedly relived the moment she found her father dead stop) that was stronger and deeper than her ties to the WLF, despite having only only known Lev and Yara very briefly.
Edit - I guess a trite way to sum up what I'm trying to say is that to me a lot of this game was about obsession (and using obsession to avoid complicated and ambivalent emotions) rather than just revenge. Ellie goes on her roaring rampage of revenge in part because it boils down her extremely complicated feelings re Joel, as well as her guilt and trauma over his death, into a simple goal (kill Abby - make things right). Abby does the same. It's the more thoughtful characters who try to deal directly with their ambivalent feelings (Owen would be the main example, but also Yara's weighing of her love for Lev and her love for her religion) who often get caught in the crossfire. Focus on characters using obsession in lieu of actually dealing with their shit seems to be a bit of a Druckmann writing trope, because that's the arc of all three male leads in "Uncharted 4" as well.


...sorry for this stupid long boring essay, I am obsessed with this stupid game and talking about it and overanalysing it way more than it likely deserves and so I can never shut up. I'll get my coat.

Edit 2 - Oh god after word vomiting all over the thread I rewatched the Isaac Abby Yara stand-off cinematic which fed into me watching some gameplay earlier and now I'm desperately trying to stop myself from the impulse to do a fifth run-through, this time on Grounded Chapter Permadeath. I need to... talk myself out of this.

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