*SPOILERS* Anything goes - The Last of Us Part II
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  • ***WARNING***

    **SPOILERS EVERYWHERE**

    *A THREAD TO DISCUSS ANYTHING FROM THE GAME WITHOUT NEED TO PUT SPOILER TAGS*
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • You have been warned. 

    Stay away if you care about the game being spoiled for you.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • I started NG+ last night. All settings on super easy as I just want to go through story again and pick up the few collectibles I missed. 

    The delivery by the characters is just next level stuff. Read JonB’s review though with which I totally agree (on many/all aspects). Sometimes they all feel a bit single tone.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • So the first bit I didn’t like was OH MY GOD THEY KILLED JOEL!!! THOSE BASTERDS!

    How could they kill off my main man?! But that set up the whole game I suppose and the tale of revenge and cycle of violence. I may not have liked Joel dying, but it seemed well done. That image of his bloody face, looking at Ellie just before the final blow to his head... haunting. And it clearly haunted Ellie of course. She sees his bloody face, lying on the floor, during the late game. His death still haunting her, she goes off to take care of unfinished business. Just so she can eat and sleep well again.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • I just did that bit last night. Still horrible watching him get brutally murdered by that butch.

    And that created a problem for me: to then later play as her just pissed me off and left a bad taste. I wanted to put the controller down. Why would I want to play as the murderer I want to see die? Why would I try and survive against the Scars and infected? When I got chewed up by a clicker once, I thought good. Die you scum.

    But the game does a good job of eventually humanising her and you realise she is probably just the same as Joel and Tommy and others. Killing other faction members with wanton abandon, and just out to get revenge for the murder of her good intentioned father. I say eventually. Getting through Seattle Day 1 was pretty bad, I hated it.

    From a gameplay perspective, playing as someone else during the same timeline is interesting and can work well. But given the story and who it is, I don’t think it quite worked here. Even when I got to the fight with Ellie in the theatre, I actually let Ellie kill me. I don’t want to fight Ellie! But no, the game made me. I hadn’t spent enough time as Abby and seen enough to feel that, yeah, fuck Ellie the mass murderer. Whereas I spent an entire game and a half with Ellie and still feel the bond with her and not Abby. 

    Perhaps it’s just me. But if Naughty Dog wanted to tell a very particular story, which they clearly did, let me have the option to lose the fight as Abby and just show a cutscene showing what happens next? That way I get a choice not to be a bitch and fight, and the story progresses. I didn’t want to be the one almost killing Ellie. It wasn’t really my choice.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • I had a lot more sympathy for Abby than Ellie after a while. I wanted Abby and Lev to find a way out. I didn't really care what happened to Ellie. The number of people she kills on her way to revenge is ridiculous, especially since the game tries to humanise the regular goons.
  • Aye, that final bit, by that point, seeing what had become of Abby and that she was just trying to get out with Lev, I just wanted her to be alright and for it all to end. And it did. Ellie lets her live and thus the cycle of revenge ends, otherwise what? Lev lives to take revenge on Ellie?

    But again, the game wanted me to strike down on Abby... but I left it. And Abby gets up and we fight until I actually, against my wishes, had to choose to try and kill Abby to initiate the cutscene. The game seemed to have gone to lengths to make us feel for and bond with these characters, I certainly would’ve welcomed for the game to let me choose whether to strike or not. By all means, give me the same outcome with a cutscene, the ending was fine.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • On humanising the enemy, it’s Owen and Mel that got me. Owen always came across as an ok guy. I’m glad the game didn’t force me to pull the trigger as the gamer when Ellie killed them. How do you choose to kill Mel knowing that she is pregnant?

    The horror of that scene is just made worse and worse as you play more and more of Abby’s scenarios. I liked Owen. He/the voice actor even had a mellow and friendly kinda voice (or maybe that’s just the laidback attitude you refer to in your review?!). 

    Ellie really does become the mass murderer doesn’t she? But maybe the feeling of watching Joel die was as strong in me as for Ellie and I still sided mostly with her until the end.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • I mean it’s all very well done I suppose, given that I am feeling things and discussing and stuff.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • It's all overly laboured in the end though. No one's all good or all bad, everyone's just human and trying to survive in a fucked up situation. Yada yada. It could have got that across much more efficiently.

    It's also undermined a little by the final section, which introduces some straight up bad guys who you're not supposed to give a shit about. Suddenly they're just regular game cannon fodder that you can enjoy offing with your full arsenal.

    And the final final fight. I could've done without that at all TBH. It felt like the stupid drawn out punch up scene in They Live. I would've rather they'd both realised they were in no shape to fight and just parted ways. Perhaps Ellie needs to prove that she could have killed Abby, but that could easily have been done by pointing a gun at her.

    Then again, my real issue with the last few hours is that the game is just too fucking long. I was ready for it to finish at the theatre after Abby's section and was disappointed to see so much more. Maybe if they'd cut the rest of the game by a few hours, I would've been OK going to a new location.

    A shorter game would also have had fewer murders, which I think would actually reinforce the themes better. There's no impact killing regular enemies after a while, even if they do have names, and the violence feels like it's there for enjoyment rather than to make any kind of point in the end.

    So it's a bit of a mess, but while I was playing I also found it to be a thrilling story for the most part, and was really surprised and intrigued by some of the turns it took. It takes itself too seriously and forces in a lot of 'big' themes without doing them justice, but the basic plot, script and characters all set new standards for cinematic style games.
  • Oh yeah. It definitely goes on for too long and there’s way too much killing. I could’ve done with less in Seattle, I wasn’t a fan of being in the same place for so long. What I loved about the first was the journey. 

    And yeah that Rattlers faction, yet another group but being utter arseholes and MOAR killing just to get to Abby to KILL KILL KILL. 

    I didn’t mind the final fight, just wanted more of a choice. And yeah, thought it was about to end with Ellie and Dina living a life together. But Ellie’s mind is still fucked and there’s unfinished business so to speak. And she goes off for entirely selfish reasons which also made uncomfortable.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • So it’s over. Really don’t know what to think. I understand why they ended it like that, but I just didn’t enjoy said ending whatsoever. I have very mixed feelings about the entire game and at this moment in time I really don’t know what to think about it.

    I don’t like a lot of the decisions they made about the story or characters and I really don’t think they needed to literally smash their points home over and over again.

    Just a bit empty about it all.
  • AND THERE HE IS!!!
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • With the direction they took, whilst I didn’t like it all, I appreciate it’s their (Naughty Dog’s) story to tell. And so I tried to judge on how it was told. There are issues there. As Jon says, and as you say, over egging it and hammering it over and over.

    But I thought it was still expertly told, specially for a game.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Haha, took way longer than usual!

    Oh it was. Every little story element and detailing within it was so very artistically perfect. You just wonder, why make it so very, very upsetting?

    I understand as you say it was their story and not all stories should end positively, lots shouldn’t, but these people have been through hell. Just something reasonably positive considering the journey they’ve all been on for years.
  • Might be controversial but in my opinion they didn’t have to make so many characters LGBTQ or part of a minority, just felt very pressed by the end instead of natural. Only male character you spent a lot of time around was Owen who was happy to cheat on his pregnant Mrs. Again, people are shitty but fuck me.

    I have no negative agenda against any minority by the way, just felt very heavily lead towards the end. Maybe I missing something.
  • Well Ellie was already out as homosexual in Left Behind and now she just has a girlfriend, so they’re just carrying that over. Only Lev is new as a transgender, did I miss more? I don’t think that’s over doing it. I mean Lev was quite underplayed. 

    Unless Abby is transgender. Either that or she is on some juice.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Owen is an interesting one. I don’t think it’s too far removed from a realistic character dealing with emotional problems. 

    Abby and he clearly have a past and love each other, it’s just that Abby is prioritising and obsessed with finding Joel and taking revenge. A man can’t wait forever so Owen finds someone else, Mel. There’s clearly connection still between him and Abby, maybe he should’ve tried to distance himself more but they stayed as friends. Except old emotions run wild and the Devil whispers in their ears, leading to Owen cheating on Mel - but not cheating his true feelings. 

    I don’t think he loves Mel that much but is sticking for sake of the child?

    I mean yeah a cheater is a cheater but human emotions are complex.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Yeah that sounded a little heavier than I meant it. I just thought the Lev thing was quite heavy, as well as Abby’s build being such a strong depiction without them explaining why she went so far so quickly, but then again would I wonder that if it was a man? Would’ve liked them to add some context, maybe Abby used weight training as her way to cope with her loss? It just felt heavy on the strong woman theme which maybe blurred the message to me, if even there was a message?

    Just emptying my mind really whilst I’ve no idea how to feel aside from disappointed.
  • Even with years of weight training, there’s no way a female would look like that. Gotta be juice. Or an inaccurate representation of a female strength athlete type person
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • hylian_elf wrote:
    Even with years of weight training, there’s no way a female would look like that. Gotta be juice. Or an inaccurate representation of a female strength athlete type person

    Especially that she does it in 2 years. Just really jarring. Does a strong female lead need look like that or was it just another comparison between her and Ellie so visually they’re opposites as well as a number of other things?

    I must admit I’m really disappointed in the taste it’s left in my mouth. The gameplay was much improved but I’d have liked more opportunity to have fights between all parties, it was lovely looking and the storytelling top notch, but it just feels very empty. The first felt like so much more.
  • I think Abby's size is just a neat character detail revealed through her appearance. Clearly she's gone pretty crazy with weights and who knows what else and you can fill in the reasons for yourself. It certainly goes with her obsession for revenge. And why not just have a big muscly female character anyway?

    As for non-straight relationships, there's only one in the game, between a lesbian and a bi character. There are a number of straight relationships.

    I did feel that Lev's characterisation felt a little forced though. And, as some trans writers have been saying, in the end his identity is explained for him by non-trans characters. He doesn't really have much agency and seems a bit like a box-ticking exercise.
  • Some great reading, here. I don't have too much new to say - I enjoyed it tremendously but wished it was 5ish hours shorter and should have ended on the farm, with a few alterations (eg: I thought Ellie not being able to play guitar at the end worked quite well)

    I did accidentally read the spoilers, and I was put off buying the game for a bit.  Not the Joel stuff; you could guess the story might go there.  But the Abby section was described as her spending half the game hunting down Ellie.  That didn't sound like fun!  But it was nothing like that; her section had very little to do with Ellie in fact, and was pretty great.  And it was a real relief when she didn't kill Ellie and Dina.  Was happy they tried something a little different.
    JonB wrote:
    I had a lot more sympathy for Abby than Ellie after a while. I wanted Abby and Lev to find a way out. I didn't really care what happened to Ellie. The number of people she kills on her way to revenge is ridiculous, especially since the game tries to humanise the regular goons.

    I guess henchman deaths in general gameplay in Naughty Dog games don't count to the main story.  I've bagged them out for it in the past but I'm not sure I mind anymore.  Maybe they have a point - EG, whenever I'd do badly (ie wasting too much ammo or resources) I'd just have Ellie stand up and wait for her to get killed.  She always dies graphically, like having her throat ripped out, etc.  It didn't bother me at all, but when Abby was choking the life out of her during the Ellie boss fight I found it really hard to watch.  Maybe there is something to it.  I don't know.
    When you got movies like Tom Cruise in them, you can't lose
  • I agree with a lot of points offered by y'all. I think it could have been shorter but I'd probably take it out of the middle and not the end. I liked that she felt she needed to leave the perfect setup that she had even though it also upset me. It felt very "western" or at least the more modern western where the damage of a life of violence takes it's toll. I also thought that her deciding to try and forgive Joel and let him back into her life just before he died was a good way to make her choices make more sense. Something so unresolved eats away at the soul.

    I actually felt more for Abbey than Ellie by the end really. Perhaps it was because LoU1 was so long ago and I haven't played it recently so I don't have the attachment I might have had if I'd played them back to back but I really felt that Ellie was the big bad in that Theatre fight and I thought that was well presented even if mechanically the fight was clunky and I died way too many times. I think they could have perhaps spent more time on Abbey's regret for killing Joel, I think it was eating at her too and she regretted her anger, but I suppose that falls into the slightly one-note aspect of the story. The cycle of violence, etc etc.

    It played out well too in that the story made you feel for the characters (mainly Owen) after it was all too late. Much better than getting you to like them and then forcing you to kill them or do it in a cutscene.

    I didn't see any issue with Abby's physique. Apparently that's not realistic? New to me. She just looked like a strong gymnast and one that got that big by channeling her anger into working out and figuring out where Joel was. Same with any representation of any minority. They're all as valid as "straight white male" so what difference does it make if characters aren't "straight white male"? I thought Lev's story was perhaps a bit obvious but I don't have any opinions on how it was presented as I don't have any personal experience with that experience and there will be those who do who will write anything better than I could.

    When was the game originally supposed to come out? I actually had a few glitches which is very un-naughty dog and I feel like the latter portions were a bit less polished and possibly had some more work to go.

    Overall, I loved it. I liked the story and it was stunning throughout. Naughty Dog could do with pushing themselves in terms of gameplay tropes but considering this was a sequel then I don't think they could have made that many changes to core gameplay and kept it a Last of Us game.
    Perhaps the game could have done with some more downtime to relax. I wouldn't have minded another open type section like at the start. Or something more that formed the relationship with Dina after they got to the theatre. I suppose it is telling that the only relief you get is in the flashbacks, that a life of violence strips away the ability to live life or something.
    Also more encounters where it was infected and humans. That red section was incredible.
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    Joel in one still makes me laugh
  • Oh. That took me too long to get.



    Oh oh. But one more thing about Part 2 is that it does something that I can't believe more games don't do. That is, taking something you do multiple times over and flipping it on you as a way to surprise further down the line. Jumping over another piece of barbed wire only for it to explode (big sad face), and relaxing because I stepped up to a work bench in that apartment block only to be attacked. Both were massive shocks and so well executed. I really don't know why more games don't do that. Especially horror games.

    Oh oh oh. I also liked how they flipped what they had done with the original game whereby you were really keen to kill those scientists at the end of the game because of your connection to Ellie so (if you were like me) you dove right in and blasted away but this time I really didn't want to do those button presses they wanted me to do. That was clever.
  • God you could write loads about this game. Loads and loads and loads and I don’t really know where to begin. There are definite issues but there are absolute triumphs too and all will get analysed I guess.
    Runtime and editing is a definite issue but then I can see the argument for the inclusion of every section apart from the massive flaming island attack. It seemed entirely out of context with everything else in the game and added nothing to any of the characters development - which almost everything else in the game seems to be in thrall of. It was like something from CoD or an Ass Creed and felt both slightly shonky and massively over produced. It was the one main mis-step for me.

    Final point that I felt whilst playing is that the whole game world/universe or whatever it’s classed as almost feels as though it was developed entirely out of necessity of fitting in with NDs preferred game style. Mechanically and structurally it’s not that dissimilar to Uncharted and it kinda feels that at one point, way back when, this whole bleak world was the one way they could paint their way out being pretty much the only devs out there capable of delivering AAA productions with proper actual characterisation and writing. By making the world so horrible it negates that weird juxtaposition you get in Uncharted of lovely and affable Nate mowing down loads of people before settling back into homelife. In this world murder is simply required to get by and so you still side with the main characters and their actions. I wish I hadn’t thought of this whilst playing though as I think it impacted my immersion somewhat.

    Overall though I absolutely loved it. It’s certainly doing plenty of stuff so much better than any other dev outside of Rockstar have the talent and budget for and is one of the standout triumphs of this generation...

    that is, I guess, until ND go and shoot themselves in the foot with that misjudged theatre fight and that godawful end fight in the shallows (which was mechanically rotten to go with it). Both just feel awkward and with no real thought for where the player maybe sitting with any of the characters involved. Both sections feel like Homers modern art once he thinks he’s cottoned on to the big idea and both sections could have, and probably should have, been handled entirely in cutscenes.
  • Awards for

    Writing.
    World building.
    Graphics.
    Acting.
    Music.
    Genuinely amazing and touching versions of Ah-ha songs.
    Skin pores, hair and just human modelling in general.
    Brilliant jump scares.
    Monster designs.
    Zebra modelling.
    Knowing how to grab at gamer dads heartstrings with brilliantly judged and wonderfully paced interludes.
    Cutscenes segues to actual game.
    Not having me play as AAA white man at any point and not making any kind of deal about it. At all.
    The differing body shapes and sizes of everyone instead of gnarled dadman and pretty white daughter girl. Massive applause for having the guts to make one character definitely away from societal norms of what is pretty or beautiful.


    Must do betters

    Number of fucking sidekicks.
    Number of fucking sidekicks getting knocked off.
    Section Editing.
    When to use cutscenes.
    Working practices.
    Willingness to listen to constructive criticism.

  • Further award for

    Successfully engineering feelings of guilt as I approach dogs, nice boys and pregnant ladies I’ve killed as previous character. V well done. Would feel bad again.
  • Final point that I felt whilst playing is that the whole game world/universe or whatever it’s classed as almost feels as though it was developed entirely out of necessity of fitting in with NDs preferred game style. Mechanically and structurally it’s not that dissimilar to Uncharted and it kinda feels that at one point, way back when, this whole bleak world was the one way they could paint their way out being pretty much the only devs out there capable of delivering AAA productions with proper actual characterisation and writing. By making the world so horrible it negates that weird juxtaposition you get in Uncharted of lovely and affable Nate mowing down loads of people before settling back into homelife. In this world murder is simply required to get by and so you still side with the main characters and their actions. I wish I hadn’t thought of this whilst playing though as I think it impacted my immersion somewhat.
    This was pretty much how I felt through both games. All the complex emotions and motivations these characters have are cover for the fact that in the end their actions are entirely driven by them being in a violent action video game. 

    Joel never made a decision at the end of the first game. It had to end that way to have a final sequence of stealth and murder gameplay. Ellie has to kill everyone she meets because games like this don't have negotiation options. The game drives the plot, not the other way around.
  • You’re both putting some of my thoughts into words better than I can. 

    I hate not being very articulate.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
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