14 votes

The Last of Us Part II tries to be profound. It fails

30 comments

  1. [3]
    aethicglass
    Link
    It just came out. This really frustrates me because I've been waiting for this game for years. I just started playing it, and already I can't go online without hearing about how utterly...

    It just came out. This really frustrates me because I've been waiting for this game for years. I just started playing it, and already I can't go online without hearing about how utterly disappointed I should be. If anything is a disappointment to me, it's the gaming "community" for fostering this toxic wasteland of a behavior. I understand that a fair number of people probably want to hear if the game is any good before buying it. But with such a highly anticipated game it becomes unavoidable to encounter substantial enthusiasm-sinks.

    It was similar with game of thrones. Most people were perfectly capable of being disappointed in the resolution of the series without having to be told what to think by reviewers. The reviews didn't save anyone from the disappointment. People were going to be disappointed with that resolution no matter if they were warned it was bad or not.

    As with game of thrones, I just want to be able to get through the incessant buzz unscathed by preconceived notions. And that's already out the window.

    I'm not disappointed with the game in the least so far. I play games at a snail's pace, and yet I've somehow managed to find dozens of amazing moments that have completely enthralled me. Maybe instead of churning out reviews as quickly as possible so their opinions can be heard above the barrage of bullshittery, people should maybe just take the time to find the things they enjoy in life instead if it doesn't seem like this game does the trick.

    I dunno, just kinda pissed off about all this. It's been out for a day and I haven't even had the chance to play more than a couple hours so far.

    12 votes
    1. TheJorro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It's like this with every major release, and it's a large part why I've opted out of the gaming news cycle increasingly every year. The gaming hobby is very much at the mercy of all the worst...

      It's like this with every major release, and it's a large part why I've opted out of the gaming news cycle increasingly every year. The gaming hobby is very much at the mercy of all the worst parts of modern internet algorithms and trends, so it rewards quick hot takes and outrageous arguments as close to release as possible, further exacerbated using vague terminology to make judgements (take a shot every time someone calls something "pretentious" without any further explanation). I've given up on following aggregate scores and even user testimonies until a new game is 6 months old, all the reactionaries have dropped away, and all that is left are the more thoughtful voices, critical and popular, finally starting to emerge and talk about these games in a way that doesn't read like they're repeating talking points from reddit or acting like reading a plot summary somehow gets them 90% of the same experience as playing through a narrative experience.

      Weirdly enough, some of the most balanced user reviews and testimonies I find about gaming these days are the r/GameDeals comment sections. When the games are out of the reactionary news cycle and it's on a sale, everyone there is usually coming from the perspective of "Is this game worth playing at all?" and answers are usually in the vein of "Here are reasons you might enjoy this."

      10 votes
    2. Grzmot
      Link Parent
      The only discussion I've seen online was on r/PS4 and those people weren't telling me how to feel, just how they felt personally, and a lot of those feelings were overlapping in content.

      I can't go online without hearing about how utterly disappointed I should be. If anything is a disappointment to me, it's the gaming "community" for fostering this toxic wasteland of a behavior.

      The only discussion I've seen online was on r/PS4 and those people weren't telling me how to feel, just how they felt personally, and a lot of those feelings were overlapping in content.

      7 votes
  2. [17]
    Grzmot
    Link
    We've previously discussed the leaks of TLoU2 on Tildes, and now that the game is out, I do have to admit that it wasn't as bad as the games made it out to be, but it's still bad. TLoU2 retcons a...

    We've previously discussed the leaks of TLoU2 on Tildes, and now that the game is out, I do have to admit that it wasn't as bad as the games made it out to be, but it's still bad.

    TLoU2 retcons a major aspect of the first game and changes characters' abilities and skills around to make a plot happen that is so generic, overly preachy in it's morality about violence bad that I ultimately can't call it good writing.

    The animations, graphics, world design are all legitimately great. Gameplay is unchanged and thus serviceable at best, but the writing and pacing are just fucked. I can't go into specifics without discussing the story in detail, so if there's interest in that discussion, let's have it, otherwise I'll leave it at that.

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      PahoojyMan
      Link Parent
      I haven't played, but from all the spoilers I've seen by now including the ending, it seems the characters have been respected and the story delicately nurtured in the same manner as GoT season 8....

      I haven't played, but from all the spoilers I've seen by now including the ending, it seems the characters have been respected and the story delicately nurtured in the same manner as GoT season 8.

      It's a pity because I loved the story of the first game, which had me completely hooked. I'll just pretend a sequel never existed to preserve the complete story that was the original.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        You should play/watch a playthrough then. The context around those leaks makes the events transpiring a little better, except for the first major event in the game, thats just dumb.

        You should play/watch a playthrough then. The context around those leaks makes the events transpiring a little better, except for the first major event in the game, thats just dumb.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          PahoojyMan
          Link Parent
          I intend to watch a playthrough at some point, but I don't have much faith that it will improve the main story points. Glaring plotholes like hardened and cautious characters acting inattentive...

          I intend to watch a playthrough at some point, but I don't have much faith that it will improve the main story points.

          Glaring plotholes like hardened and cautious characters acting inattentive and careless to allow a scenario to unfold. Or characters left alive, despite posing a clear threat, to allow future encounters. Or sudden changes of heart to shoehorn in an underlying message. These are fundamentally flawed and hard to patch via intermediate scenes or gameplay.

          1. [2]
            Grzmot
            Link Parent
            I can recommend this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iss5bRQ7yVM It's got all the relevant story bits + conversation in the actual level. I'd personally refrain from criticising the game...

            I can recommend this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iss5bRQ7yVM It's got all the relevant story bits + conversation in the actual level. I'd personally refrain from criticising the game further until you've watched it all.

            We have too many people jumping on bandwagons these days instead of forming their own opinion. Who knows, maybe there are parts of the game you'll like.

            2 votes
            1. PahoojyMan
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Thanks for the link. I watched through it all and my overall opinion is the same. Spoilers The main story arc requires Joel and Tommy to be uncharacteristically unwary in order to be ambushed....

              Thanks for the link. I watched through it all and my overall opinion is the same.

              Spoilers The main story arc requires Joel and Tommy to be uncharacteristically unwary in order to be ambushed. Ellie and Tommy are then left alive despite being a clear threat. Later on Ellie is left alive again despite being a clear threat. None of this makes sense and breaks immersion.

              The best moments are between Joel and Ellie, as expected. However these now need to occur via flashbacks, which serve to disrupt progression. It seems like the writers realised the corner they backed themselves into.

              Constant dissection of the Part 1 conclusion only weakens its originally excellent delivery. There was already enough detail for the player to contemplate the morality of Joel's decision.

              Abby's story, including the Seraphites, has no real lasting impression. Almost all of the details could be changed without impacting the game. She and Lev are now set up to mirror the Joel/Ellie dynamic for Part 3, though I care little for either of them.

              Ultimately the core message of the game (cycle of violence and/or futility of revenge) is hamfisted and constantly betrayed by contradiction. For example:
              -Ellie hunts Abby down and almost loses everything.
              -She gets a second chance, lets go of her anger, has a nice quiet life going, then decides she cant let it go.
              -She then hunts down Abby again but at the last minute lets her go.
              -Minutes later decides she cant let it go and fights Abby.
              -Then ultimately lets it go again after having her fingers bitten off.
              -This time she has lost everything, no one is waiting for her and she is unable to play the guitar to remind her of Joel.
              -By contrast, Abby had let go of her anger towards Ellie and was living a good life.
              -However she is then captured and only saved because Ellie was once again hunting her.
              -In the end, what does this actually say about the cycle of violence or vengeance?

              The high level story has glaring plotholes, inconsistencies of character and staccato character development. This was clear from watching the main cutscenes alone (along with an overview of the intermediate scenes), and unfortunately these issues aren't (and can't be) patched by the 'interactive' dialogue in between.

              I'm keen to hear thoughts on the story from those who have finished it.

    2. [11]
      Thunder-ten-tronckh
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      What do you think makes it preachy? The game certainly has a point of view on how the lust for revenge negatively affects its characters, but I wouldn't call it preachy. Edit: If the assumption is...

      What do you think makes it preachy? The game certainly has a point of view on how the lust for revenge negatively affects its characters, but I wouldn't call it preachy.

      Edit: If the assumption is that the game doesn't think the audience understands revenge and killing are bad and is constantly trying to prove they're bad, I can see how that could be interpreted as preachy. But I think the game knows we understand that—it's just showing how revenge and the past affects Ellie, Abby, and the people they love.

      3 votes
      1. [10]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        It changes characters' abilities to follow the plot because the author had a set idea from the start on how he wanted to do this. The games' story also does not take into account that the players...

        It changes characters' abilities to follow the plot because the author had a set idea from the start on how he wanted to do this. The games' story also does not take into account that the players are actually playing the game inbetween story cutscenes, which makes the ending all the less of a gutpunch and more of a "I killed literally like 10 people 5 seconds ago, why are we stopping now?"

        Essentially the characters a placed in certain contrivances because the writer wants them to be there, not because the characters have any natural progression to get there.

        From a gameplay perspective, this whole theme of violence bad doesn't work because the player at no point can choose to not commit violence. The game forces you to, all while berating you about how bad it is. There is no good ending, there is no way to abstain. The game punishes you from abstaining, while the story berates you for continuing. This means that gameplay and story effectively work against it each other, a problem very common to games from Naughty Dog (you can read multitudes of articles about leudonarrative dissonance in Uncharted).

        In the end this leaves you frustrated as a player, because the game berates you for doing its objectives, and there is no way to play around that, ya' know, like IDK, you were in a game?

        4 votes
        1. [9]
          Thunder-ten-tronckh
          Link Parent
          I guess it's an inescapable interpretation considering the medium—players control the characters, and are therefore complicit in their actions. I played the whole game understanding that I, the...

          I guess it's an inescapable interpretation considering the medium—players control the characters, and are therefore complicit in their actions.

          I played the whole game understanding that I, the player, was not choosing to kill all of those people, but instead guiding the characters through their respective stories and actions. So when bad stuff happened to said characters, I never felt like I was being berated—I was just witnessing the consequences of their actions.

          You know. Like I'm being told a story.

          4 votes
          1. [4]
            PelicanCultist
            Link Parent
            I don’t want to be told a story. I want to make the story. I want freedom in a game. I think that is what sets video games apart from movies. The freedom and the choice that people can be given by...

            I don’t want to be told a story. I want to make the story. I want freedom in a game. I think that is what sets video games apart from movies. The freedom and the choice that people can be given by playing it. To make the story unique to them.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Thunder-ten-tronckh
              Link Parent
              Gotcha. I suggest playing a game that actually sets out to give you that experience, rather than judging a game for not delivering on something it never sought to accomplish. TLoU 1 was a very...

              Gotcha. I suggest playing a game that actually sets out to give you that experience, rather than judging a game for not delivering on something it never sought to accomplish. TLoU 1 was a very tightly controlled narrative experience with zero user influence in the story, and so is the sequel.

              Cyberpunk should tick all the right boxes for you when it comes out later this year.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                PelicanCultist
                Link Parent
                Oh I was never judging tlou 1 or 2 for that. I actually really liked tlou 1. I think the story was very good. I was making a comment not about tlou but about video games as an art form. I think...

                Oh I was never judging tlou 1 or 2 for that. I actually really liked tlou 1. I think the story was very good. I was making a comment not about tlou but about video games as an art form. I think that that is video games strong point and what sets it apart from other art forms.

                3 votes
                1. Ayax28
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  But playing as other character also makes you (ideally) emphasize with them much like movie, but unlike a movie the conection can be more intimate. I think both of these visions can coexist in...

                  But playing as other character also makes you (ideally) emphasize with them much like movie, but unlike a movie the conection can be more intimate.

                  I think both of these visions can coexist in videogame's narratives. The "be told a story" obviously draw inspiration more close to videogames, movies and the story will not have to worry about multiples endings or decisions, only the vision of a director. But in a interactive medium, it can lead to players feeling manipulated.

                  But the other side also has problems, for example in the last GMTK video, he talks on how a blank character can hinder a story.

                  (I think the intro of that video is very useful for this conversation).

                  EDIT: I wrote this without before reading below, so sadly I add nothing new. Damn it.

                  3 votes
          2. [4]
            Grzmot
            Link Parent
            Yes but then it would be suited better for a book, or a movie, no? Making games like this feels like a waste of the medium. And it doesn't fix the character problems.

            Yes but then it would be suited better for a book, or a movie, no?

            Making games like this feels like a waste of the medium. And it doesn't fix the character problems.

            2 votes
            1. hungariantoast
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Game Maker's Toolkit just put out a video a week ago that I think you and @PelicanCultist should watch: Who's Commanding Shepard in Mass Effect? It's a long video, but it discusses the various...

              Game Maker's Toolkit just put out a video a week ago that I think you and @PelicanCultist should watch:

              It's a long video, but it discusses the various extents that different games allow the player to control the protagonist and the story.

              A game like Skyrim is pretty firmly in the camp of letting the player become their character and make just about every decision in the game. Mass Effect sits in the middle, allowing the player to somewhat customize their character and influence the story, though certain aspects of their character (such as Shepard's military service) are decided for the player.

              Then you have games like The Last of Us, which sits pretty far at the other end, where the player is given a character, a story, and basically only allowed to follow the predefined path set for them by the game designers, giving the player very little ability to change the story that's being told.

              Frankly, all of those approaches are equally valid. Video games are about interactivity, yes, but not letting the player affect the story does not mean a game is not interactive. The Last of Us, for instance, provides dozens of different gameplay encounters, puzzles, and events that the player can navigate and solve in different ways. The Last of Us' interactivity comes from its gameplay encounters, not its story.

              6 votes
            2. [2]
              Thunder-ten-tronckh
              Link Parent
              I had a great time with it, so I'd disagree that it's a waste of the medium. Personally guiding characters through a story like that is what made TLoU1 so memorable for me, and the sequel did it...

              I had a great time with it, so I'd disagree that it's a waste of the medium. Personally guiding characters through a story like that is what made TLoU1 so memorable for me, and the sequel did it the exact same way. Controlling the narrative so tightly is what allows for acting performances I just don't see in other games. I love that kind of experience, and playing it firsthand helps me connect with the characters in a way I don't get to watching a movie, so I think there's something to be said for its value in video game form.

              5 votes
              1. Grzmot
                Link Parent
                Spoilers for The Last of Us 2 ahead I don't have a problem with linear games, or games that give you a clear goal that you have to achieve. Ultimately it would be irrational to expect game devs to...

                Spoilers for The Last of Us 2 ahead

                I don't have a problem with linear games, or games that give you a clear goal that you have to achieve. Ultimately it would be irrational to expect game devs to cater to every choice a player can make in a game, although I think that the games that attempt this are better than the games that don't. However it doesn't have to kill a game to not have this and I agree with you that this way the devs can focus on making the scenes absolutely stellar (and they have, TLoU2 is a gorgeous game ranging from graphics, mo-cap performances, animation, voice, etc.) because they can justify spending money to make this particular cutscene the best it can be, cause everyone will see it. My favourite games are Bastion, Transistor and Witcher 3, all sharing that top spot, so I can definitely enjoy a good linear game just as much as an open-world game.

                The problem here is that gameplay and story work against each other, particularly with the ending of the game. The gameplay consists of murdering the absolute shit out of hundreds of people. And I don't mean from the distance, where a person can rationalize it away, no, most of the kills that you do in the game happen up close, usually with a knife or other melee object. This changes people. You cannot walk out of killing hundreds of people and still value human life in the same way. This is what makes Ellie's decision in the end so revolting, and is also why most revenge plots actually involve completing the revenge so the character realizes that it has brought them nothing and I think it would've been the better choice here.

                I've read explanations that that how Joel's death comes about makes sense because he's been living in a secure and gated community for 4 years, which would've softened him up, but I don't entirely buy it. The man has survived the apocalypse for 31 years. That he didn't trust people and would rather save himself than help a stranger was a major point of the character in the first game, and I don't think it would just vanish in 4 years, especially not up to the point where he walked into a room filled with like 10 strangers armed to teeth, introduce himself and tell everyone where he lived. There are just better ways to do that, but I feel like the writer really wanted to have a scene where Joel saves Abby at the start to make it some twisted form of Karma I guess? This is what I mean by changing character intentions and abilities so that the writer can have the scene he envisioned in his head.

                The pacing is also problematic. I don't think Abby's PoV should've been where it was in the game. It sends the games' narrative to a screeching halt at a point where you really don't want it to. Generally I think the story envisioned would've worked better as a third game, and this game would've been entirely about Abby and her struggles in that cruel world. It would've allowed for a tighter narrative in this game and for a tighter narrative in the third game, because then you don't have to waste time introducing everyone and also you don't have to weird PoV switches and dialbacks in the timeline to make a character likeable to really hammer this point about vioence bad home.

                2 votes
  3. [10]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. Douglas
      Link Parent
      Ditto. I've gone in blind and love it so far. ...though I'm probably biased. I am a huge Naughty Dog fanboy and have a laundry list of stuff from Uncharted & The Last of Us, so... probably not the...

      Ditto. I've gone in blind and love it so far.

      ...though I'm probably biased. I am a huge Naughty Dog fanboy and have a laundry list of stuff from Uncharted & The Last of Us, so... probably not the most objective person to ask.

      6 votes
    2. [8]
      PahoojyMan
      Link Parent
      While I agree that seeing the ending of Part 1 would have spoiled the impact, you would still be able to easily tell that it was an excellent ending. Playing through the game, you then see how the...

      While I agree that seeing the ending of Part 1 would have spoiled the impact, you would still be able to easily tell that it was an excellent ending. Playing through the game, you then see how the multi-layered ending ties together previous events and gradual character development.

      Part 2 has a terrible ending with abrupt "character development" at the eleventh hour. Sure the experience may be improved after playing through the whole game to get to the endscene, but it's still a bad story and ending.

      1 vote
      1. [8]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [7]
          PahoojyMan
          Link Parent
          I haven't played the game, but I've watched the key story points. Given TLoU is mainly lauded for its story, it is a good indicator of the quality of the sequel when the story is poor. THe...

          I haven't played the game, but I've watched the key story points. Given TLoU is mainly lauded for its story, it is a good indicator of the quality of the sequel when the story is poor. THe comparison to GoT season 8 is apt, given that character's actions aren't driven by their previous development but instead what the story requires them to do.

          I agreed that playing through the game would make the cutscenes more engaging, but at some point, a story with gaping plotholes and inconsistent or rushed character development will still mar the experience.

          I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts once you watch the end sequence.

          1 vote
          1. [5]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. [4]
              PahoojyMan
              Link Parent
              I've since watched through the following 11 hour compilation of cutscenes and gameplay dialogue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iss5bRQ7yVM) and my overall opinion is the same. Spoilers The main...

              I've since watched through the following 11 hour compilation of cutscenes and gameplay dialogue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iss5bRQ7yVM) and my overall opinion is the same.

              Spoilers The main story arc requires Joel and Tommy to be uncharacteristically unwary in order to be ambushed. Ellie and Tommy are then left alive despite being a clear threat. Later on Ellie is left alive again despite being a clear threat. None of this makes sense and breaks immersion.

              The best moments are between Joel and Ellie, as expected. However these now need to occur via flashbacks, which serve to disrupt progression. It seems like the writers realised the corner they backed themselves into.

              Constant dissection of the Part 1 conclusion only weakens its originally excellent delivery. There was already enough detail for the player to contemplate the morality of Joel's decision.

              Abby's story, including the Seraphites, has no real lasting impression. Almost all of the details could be changed without impacting the game. She and Lev are now set up to mirror the Joel/Ellie dynamic for Part 3, though I care little for either of them.

              Ultimately the core message of the game (cycle of violence and/or futility of revenge) is hamfisted and constantly betrayed by contradiction. For example:
              -Ellie hunts Abby down and almost loses everything.
              -She gets a second chance, lets go of her anger, has a nice quiet life going, then decides she cant let it go.
              -She then hunts down Abby abby again but at the last minute lets her go.
              -Minutes later decides she cant let it go and fights Abby.
              -Then ultimately lets it go again after having her fingers bitten off.
              -This time she has lost everything, no one is waiting for her and she is unable to play the guitar to remind her of Joel.
              -By contrast, Abby had let go of her anger towards Ellie and was living a good life.
              -Hover she is then captured and only saved because Ellie was again hunting her.
              -In the end, what does this actually say about the cycle of violence or vengeance?

              The high level story has glaring plotholes, inconsistencies of character and staccato character development. This was clear from watching the main cutscenes alone (along with an overview of the intermediate scenes), and unfortunately these issues aren't (and can't be) patched by the 'interactive' dialogue in between.

              1. [4]
                Comment deleted by author
                Link Parent
                1. [3]
                  PahoojyMan
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  For such a story-heavy game, to say someone doesn't understand the story after watching all video and interactive story scenes, seems a little dismissive. The remaining unseen gameplay is pure...

                  For such a story-heavy game, to say someone doesn't understand the story after watching all video and interactive story scenes, seems a little dismissive. The remaining unseen gameplay is pure action/puzzle gameplay, of which I am familiar with from playing the first game.

                  It's really no different than my partner watching me play the first game. She popped in and out to catch all the cutscenes and interactive dialogue because it was a really good story.

                  I wouldn't gatekeep the game from her and say she didn't understand anything because she never played it.

                  I've tried to discuss in good faith, doing all I can to take in the story without actually playing through the game (I enjoyed the story of Part 1 much more than the gameplay, if the story of Part 2 isn't up to par, I have no desire to play). But after given detailed criticisms , oddly nobody seems to want to discuss further, simply dismissing criticism as another on the bandwagon. I'm sure if I had liked the story nobody would care if I played through or not.

                  1. [3]
                    Comment deleted by author
                    Link Parent
                    1. [2]
                      PahoojyMan
                      Link Parent
                      Not everyone does. The story of Part 1 was perfectly engaging for a bystander. How do you feel about the opinion of those who 'played vicariously' through others, whether locally or online? The...

                      I consider the interactivity to be crucial to the experience of this story.

                      Not everyone does. The story of Part 1 was perfectly engaging for a bystander. How do you feel about the opinion of those who 'played vicariously' through others, whether locally or online?

                      If we're not talking the quality of the game when it's experienced as it's meant to be, then what standard are we talking about?

                      The quality of the story itself. Pointing out plotholes or character inconsistencies (I have played Part 1 and I am familiar with the characters), shouldn't require one to experience a story a certain way. The errors are functionally present in the story and not dependent on the viewpoint of the user.

                      But is that the crowd people want to hear from? Or from the people who have actually played it and didn't spoil themselves beforehand?

                      Like I said before, do you think anyone would have dissected or disregarded my opinion if I had watched the leaks and called the story a masterpiece?

                      1. [2]
                        Comment deleted by author
                        Link Parent
                        1. PahoojyMan
                          Link Parent
                          This comes across as incredibly elitist. To play devil's advocate, should we later confine all discussion to those who have completed the game on the highest difficulty setting if it is revealed...

                          Their opinion would then be for that crowd - the bystander crowd. But is this the standard we want?

                          This comes across as incredibly elitist.

                          To play devil's advocate, should we later confine all discussion to those who have completed the game on the highest difficulty setting if it is revealed that was the true survivalist vision of the developer?

                          But you already know I don't want to litigate the story with someone who didn't experience it by playing it, so we can leave it at that.
                          The context we have is the context we have, which is why I'm motivated to argue that the game is fantastic as someone who played it, to contrast the online narrative that trashes it when most of those people haven't even played it.

                          The issue seems to be more that I didn't like the complete story, not that I haven't played the rest of the game. I have given a detailed account of issues with the story, which is a far-cry from hysterical overreaction.

                          You are arguing to defend the game in the context of the negativity it is receiving rather than on the merits of the story itself. Which ironically is what you are complaining about others doing.

          2. [2]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            I'm not sure that watching the key cutscenes actually equips you to judge the quality of a story. Especially in a game there can be a huge amount of story that's told through environmental design...

            I'm not sure that watching the key cutscenes actually equips you to judge the quality of a story. Especially in a game there can be a huge amount of story that's told through environmental design and smaller moments that you've missed out on. I wouldn't say that I'd read a book just because I read excerpts of the major scenes, but that's what's going on here.

            5 votes
            1. PahoojyMan
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I did concede both times previously that playing through the game would make the cutscenes more engaging. But at some point, a story with gaping plotholes and inconsistent or rushed character...

              Especially in a game there can be a huge amount of story that's told through environmental design and smaller moments that you've missed out on.

              I did concede both times previously that playing through the game would make the cutscenes more engaging. But at some point, a story with gaping plotholes and inconsistent or rushed character development will still mar the experience

              I wouldn't say that I'd read a book just because I read excerpts of the major scenes, but that's what's going on here.

              I never claimed to have played the game. Only that the story was bad. That's not what is going on here,

              I'm not sure that watching the key cutscenes actually equips you to judge the quality of a story.

              You can most definitely read through the key scenes of a novel which define the major story arc, along with an overview of intermediate scenes (and in this case the previous entry in the series), then note plotholes, inconsistent characters, and erratic character development being indicative of a bad story.

              I've now watched through the following link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iss5bRQ7yVM) and my overall opinion is the same.

              Spoilers The main story arc requires Joel and Tommy to be uncharacteristically unwary in order to be ambushed. Ellie and Tommy are then left alive despite being a clear threat. Later on Ellie is left alive again despite being a clear threat. None of this makes sense and breaks immersion.

              The best moments are between Joel and Ellie, as expected. However these now need to occur via flashbacks, which serve to disrupt progression. It seems like the writers realised the corner they backed themselves into.

              Constant dissection of the Part 1 conclusion only weakens its originally excellent delivery. There was already enough detail for the player to contemplate the morality of Joel's decision.

              Abby's story, including the Seraphites, has no real lasting impression. Almost all of the details could be changed without impacting the game. She and Lev are now set up to mirror the Joel/Ellie dynamic for Part 3, though I care little for either of them.

              Ultimately the core message of the game (cycle of violence and/or futility of revenge) is hamfisted and constantly betrayed by contradiction. For example:
              -Ellie hunts Abby down and almost loses everything.
              -She gets a second chance, lets go of her anger, has a nice quiet life going, then decides she cant let it go.
              -She then hunts down Abby abby again but at the last minute lets her go.
              -Minutes later decides she cant let it go and fights Abby.
              -Then ultimately lets it go again after having her fingers bitten off.
              -This time she has lost everything, no one is waiting for her and she is unable to play the guitar to remind her of Joel.
              -By contrast, Abby had let go of her anger towards Ellie and was living a good life.
              -Hover she is then captured and only saved because Ellie was again hunting her.
              -In the end, what does this actually say about the cycle of violence or vengeance?

              The high level story has glaring plotholes, inconsistencies of character and staccato character development. This was clear from watching the main cutscenes alone (along with an overview of the intermidiate scenes), and unfortunately these issues aren't (and can't be) patched by the 'interactive' dialogue in between.

              I'm keen to hear thoughts on the story from those who have finished it.

  4. nacho
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    The first one was one of my favorite games of all time. It was revolutionary in how it told a story and the quality of that storytelling (but the gameplay itself was clearly secondary to the...

    The first one was one of my favorite games of all time. It was revolutionary in how it told a story and the quality of that storytelling (but the gameplay itself was clearly secondary to the storytelling at every step).


    I've been prepared that playing through TLoU2 won't compare to that amazing first playthrough experience of the first game. I've been prepared for being overhyped since the first one was so good. Sequels often struggle.

    I've also been prepared for having to evaluate this game on its own merits. I've been prepared for having to go in with an open mind because the game might play very differently.

    The serious reviews I trust have been all over the place. From people saying this is the best we can get a game to be with 2020 technology, to advising not to play the sequel if I loved the first one. And absolutely everywhere in between.


    I can't wait to give it an unspoiled try when I have a block of time at some point.

    4 votes