The Last of Us Part II

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ThirdDrawing
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by ThirdDrawing »

Alex79uk wrote: June 19th, 2021, 9:53 am
But regardless of whether you enjoyed it or not, don't you think the fact it drew such an extreme reaction from you interesting at the very least?

When you say you hated it, was it just the story or the gameplay too? Are you generally a fan of linear, story driven games? Just wondered what it was that you disliked so much about this particular game.
Just the story, though I found the games less fun than the Uncharted games. I'm fine with linear, story driven games if the story is told well. This was not.

I completely disagreed with the choices Joel made at the end of the game because I didn't feel they matched his character in the rest of the game at all. It felt ham fisted. It was the gaming equivalent of Oscar bait.

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casualtuna
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by casualtuna »

I pre-ordered this game about a week before launch and play it episodically for nine days. I do a media blackout on the game since 2019, so thankfully I don’t get spoiled by the leak or the hate surrounding it.

Those nine days were probably one of the best gaming sessions I’ve ever experienced. I was at home, I didn’t rush through the game nor get distracted by other things. More importantly, I didn’t get spoiled along the way.

The game is engaging from the first hour to the last cutscene. I ride along the emotional roller coaster, basking in the tragedy of it all. This is Naughty Dog’s boldest story yet and also the most mechanically sound game that they ever made. I believe this game to be a masterpiece. I just hope it will soon get out from the toxicity and be truly appreciated for what it is.

Three word review:
Meticulous Morose Masterpiece

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Miririn
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Re: 476 - The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

I'm interested you didn't find Joel's actions in-character because I disagree with that. Even at the very beginning of the game he doesn't want to risk putting his family in danger to stop the car and pick up the family on the side of the road (Tommy and Sarah both want to). He and Tommy robbed (and presumably killed) innocent people to survive. Tess and him kill lots of people too. I love Joel but he always struck me as a dark guy who places his family above "the greater good"/innocent lives.

Plus, at the beginning of the game, he trusted official military types in uniform and his daughter ended up getting shot in the gut. At the end, he sees similarly militarised "greater good" types threatening another young girl. I can see why he thought: "Nah. Thanks but no thanks. I'm taking Ellie and leaving". I like when a story sticks to its guns and doesn't soften a character because they worry about the character making a too dark choice and alienating the consumer.

But at the same time, the Fireflies weren't exactly saints, either. What they were doing to Ellie was pretty f-ed. So I didn't think Joel's actions were OTT cruel or out of character, or try-hard edgy dark. He wasn't being cruel for the sake of it. And it's easy to empathise with WHY he's doing what he's doing, whether or not you agree with it. The sequel was very good at furthering that idea and showing that Joel, Abby and Ellie are complicated, messed-up people who are neither blameless, innocent victims or monstrous d*ckheads. They're all very human products of their environment and their choices and personalities felt very organic to me. It's a game I play and re-play and can never pick a "team". I get where they're all coming from, and I support or disapprove of their choices in equal measure. And for me personally that's the sort of story I love - I love messy, "bad", contradictory characters. My favourite in UC4 was Sam - found him refreshingly messed-up compared to Nate and Elena. TLOU1 and 2 are games full of Sam-types, so they are blissful games for me, haha. I don't want aspirational characters! (Not saying that's what anyone here wants, I'm just rambling as per).

I also appreciated Joel picking the darker path at the end of TLOU1. I thought it was quite narratively interesting. To date myself with two examples from "Buffy": a lot of the time when a story does a "choice between sacrificing an innocent loved one or damning the world" plot, they often have the character choose the "noble" choice by sacrificing and then angsting over the sacrifice (like Buffy killing Angel) or find a loophole (like Buffy working out a way to save Dawn AND save the world by sacrificing herself instead). It was fun for me to watch a character choose differently. And then to watch the fallout from that decision explored in such an interesting way in the sequel.

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OldPec
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

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I also appreciated Joel picking the darker path at the end of TLOU1.
I still find it interesting that people see either of his options as good/bad or even lighter/darker.
For me both his options are truly awful. In different ways, one personal, one grand, but both truly awful.

In a slightly different world, if Ellie had been informed and made the choice to sacrifice herself or perhaps even if Joel had had longer to think about what was going on, then I think Joel's decision would have been undeniably selfish, but as it was he was presented with an awful dilemma and no time to "solve" it.

On a related note, pretty good short film set in the TLOU2 timeline:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-aqxiPnLFY

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Marlew
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Marlew »

Really interesting issue this one, and I was slightly surprised that TQ's main reservations did seem to come down to:

a) not the game I wanted in focus or tone
b) not the game I wanted under the circumstances

I mean no reduction or disrespect but neither of these are a failing of the game (nor of the player, I should add). I was glad to hear this challenged and debated quite thoroughly without fizzling into 'different people like different things'.

I should say that I always enjoy Thomas' intelligent and articulate contributions and I like how forthright he tends to be, less moderate than many CaR panellists. Nevertheless, I didn't think his reasoning was especially fair to the game this time around.

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Alex79uk
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Alex79uk »

Agreed with all of the above. It was interesting to listen to, and brought, I felt, almost a sense of (not necessarily unwelcome) tension to the discussion. I might have used the wrong word there, but I can't think of a better one right now.

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The_reviewist
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by The_reviewist »

I don't think tension is an inaccurate word here. There certainly were strong feelings at play and there was an undercurrent of disagreement that went beyond the usual "friendly bants" of most episodes.

Ultimately, it's an emotive issue, and while I don't share Tom's utter disbelief at Ellie leaving Dinah & the baby, I can easily understand how someone could feel that way, and have it break the spell for them.

The only thing that really bugged me about the conversation was the "in 2021" or "in this year" sort of comments. It's not like Druckmann et al knew there would be a global pandemic in play around the time of release, when they started pre-prep on the title literally years earlier. Now sure, people are talking about their emotions towards the game, but it adds very little to the discussion, and I feel like it will weirdly date it, in months and years to come, a bit like the "is it a game?" conversations in older "walking simulator" podcasts.

But yeah, props to the team for the discussion, managing to find new fresh insights into this massively flogged horse of a game!

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Miririn
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

OldPec wrote: July 14th, 2021, 2:07 am
I also appreciated Joel picking the darker path at the end of TLOU1.
I still find it interesting that people see either of his options as good/bad or even lighter/darker.
For me both his options are truly awful. In different ways, one personal, one grand, but both truly awful.
That's a good way of putting it. I absolutely agree. I guess what I meant was the narrative decision to have Joel make a choice that many fans would consider "too far", instead of giving him an easy way out to make the player feel better.

About the "in this year" comments - and this is maybe something about me that should require years of therapy :P :P - I often prefer darker stories during low times. It makes me feel less... isolated? In feeling bad? If that makes any sense? Sometimes watching or playing "nicer" things makes me feel worse. Like when you feel crap and then go on Instagram and see lots of positive, happy posts and feel like a failure (which is why it's better to stay off social media when you're not feeling well, mentally). It's why a lot of people with mental health issues latch onto incredibly bleak shows like "Bojack Horseman".

I didn't comment on this on the Patreon as my comment was already reaching Tolstoy length, but I felt that while the "Horizon Zero Dawn" comparison was very interesting, it was slightly off base. HZD is set centuries in the future, when the old world has been long forgotten and society has completely reorganised. There isn't a sense of loss among the people of that world because this post-apocalypse world is all they know. The only remnants of the old world are completely ancient. It would be like the Pyramids are to us. By the end of the game, only Aloy and Sylens have developed an understanding of all that was lost and what that loss means.

TLOU 1 and 2 are appropriately bleaker in tone. The games are about two groups of people: traumatised survivors of a lost world (arguably "the last of us" of the title), and the new generation of young people born into this hellscape who are struggling with the constant evidence of the world they missed out on as well as the inherited legacy and trauma of the survivors of the old world. The old world is a constant presence: bodies, artefacts. The diary Ellie reads in the first game where she is bemused by the angst of a teenage girl worrying about clothes and boys. It's impossible for the characters not to be aware of everything that was lost.

Twenty years is almost nothing - look at how slowly our world recovers from traumatic events like wars, genocide, natural disasters. Events like 9/11, World War II, the Tohoku tsunami etc still leave deep scars years later. In TLOU, the entire world (or at the very least North and Central America) was completely destroyed only twenty years ago. The world is still reorganising and everyone in it is traumatised. I think it would be unrealistic for the game to be lighter in tone unless it was set much, much farther in the future.

Thought the comments on the lack of focus on what it meant to be in a world of Infected compared to the first game were very astute. In the first game there are characters like Sam who are deeply anxious about what human aspects of the Infected remain. In the first hours of the game there is a character begging to be mercy-killed rather than turn into an Infected. The sequel doesn't really explore that angle, it might be fun to see if any future sequel picks up on it again.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by ratsoalbion »

I want to say to you folks that I regret and apologise for my comment about JJ not being Ellie's biological baby having an impact on her actions, as it was thoughtless and potentially hurtful.

What I said wrongly implies that the relationships between parents and their adopted or stepchildren are somehow lesser.

However, I do maintain that some parents can and do sometimes make terrible, destructive decisions regardless of their responsibilities to and relationships with their families.

Please accept my sincere apologies for my insensitive and inaccurate suggestion though.

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Miririn
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Re: The Last of Us Part II

Post by Miririn »

Please don't worry, Leon. I did wince for a fraction of a second but you quickly corrected. I really like stories that show surrogate families and love forming between people who aren't related. It's one of the strengths of the games.

I did get what you were driving at re parents who make destructive decisions. I also bristle against the idea that parents understand self-sacrifice more than non-parents, or would never hurt a child. Everyone knows people whose parents are cruel or who walked out. Ellie's a deeply troubled person, and she's only nineteen (very young to be a parent). She couldn't cope. She loves Dina and JJ, but she isn't a well person. And Ellie, bless her, can often be cruel to those she loves, even if unthinkingly. Remember when Dina, who has been nothing but supportive to Ellie throughout the story, tells Ellie she didn't tell her about the pregnancy because she didn't want to be a burden and Ellie snaps, "well you're a burden now, aren't you!?" She also pushes away/insults Jesse, a friend who is only trying to help her. She's not always the best friend, mother, or girlfriend, which makes sense considering all she's been through, how she was raised, and everyone she's lost. She can be a lot like Joel in how brusque she can be. A lot of the game has people making poor or cruel decisions even when they have people who love and support them. Look at Owen trying to (unsuccessfully) help Abby.

Re parents and children, in the game we get examples of parents making destructive decisions (Ellie leaving her family) and parents who make selfish decisions out of love (Joel killing the Fireflies to save Ellie). We also get parents who just seem like utter pieces of sh*t, like Lev's mum. All sorts!

Also if anyone is interested, here is a really cool thread from a technical designer at Naughty Dog on how the Abby and Manny vs Tommy sniper sequence was designed and developed:
https://twitter.com/AsherEinhorn/status ... 90435?s=20

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