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The Last of Us Part 2 - Releasing June 19th - GAME LEAKED - BE WARNED OF SPOILERS

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15 hours ago, Plasme said:

Nope.

I'm laughing at the many, many, many people online who were making out the game was going to be terrible, even in design and narrative, because it had marginalised people in it who they don't like to see. 

A hotly anticipated game that is made by an incredibly talented team with a proven track record can actually be excellent, it's not some banal prediction, just fucking obvious. The true banality is the whiny gamers who do tedious and predictable bitching because a game has certain groups of people in it who they don't like very much.

Uh...again, you do understand that not everyone is upset because of the "progressive" parts, right? 

What the people will or have a beef with right now, aside from the very minor progressive elements:

  • Behind the scene (like Naughty Dog treating their own people badly)
  • The gameplay (such as the rumored "no fun allowed" & "you're supposed to feel like sh*t" mechanic)
  • The story (mainly how the original cast is treated, and major plot points)

Because it looks like you're ignoring that, which makes you sound exactly like the "whiny gamers" you mock, just in the extreme opposite.

Quote

It's more like "progressive" works are generally liked by critics because they can handle being challenged. If you take a film like Star Wars the Last Jedi, for example, all critics agree it's a great film. The film is obviously great narratively, it's just a lot of Star Wars "fans" can't handle being challenged.

Similarly, whiny subgroups like "gamers" can't handle anything they don't like or goes against their ideology.

And to be fair, I think most people who play game franchises more casually are probably more in line with game critics' opinions and can handle subversive narratives more than some hardcore "fans".

Eeeh, I feel you're overpraising critics. They're professionals sure, and you should take some of their words for consideration. But they're also human with their bias, preference, and agendas. And I feel you're either ignoring or treating any non-"fans" who don't agree with the critics as part of "the gamers". They're not hive minds, you know. Some gamers/hardcore fans will love it, some casual/new fans will hate it.

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Lol Druckmann specifically calling out Jason Schreier (who wrote the Kotaku piece on how shitty Naughty Dog is) on Twitter because of a comment chain making fun of a hyperbolic review for the game doesn't seem like a flex at all.

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I'm just past one of the more infamous leaks. Don't click the spoiler if you're staying spoiler free as this is primarily about it.

Spoiler

Somehow, IMO of course - even worse with the context. IIRC, it was originally stated it happened around the halfway point (In that you'd play as Ellie with Joel for half the game, Joel gets killed, and then you switch to Abby).

This is not the case. Joel dies at the two hour mark, after saving Abby's life, and he never interacts at all with Ellie. There's a quick five minute scene with them at the beginning of the game, set right after the ending of TLoU where Joel teaches Ellie how to play the guitar, and that's it.

After that, it time cuts to four years later, Joel is already off on a patrol with Tommy, and the next time Ellie sees him is getting his face bashed in with a golf club. 

And Abby is an insanely unlikeable character for the short period of time you get to play as her as well. She endangers a pregnant woman and her friends to try go up against a literal city of people (Tommy's place), proceeds to say fuck it when her friends refuse this ridiculously insane demand, she then gets attacked by a swarm of infected, and nearly killed, until Joel saves her life at the last second (like literally - she was about to get bitten until Joel headshotted the infected attacker), and then she proceeds to lure Tommy and Joel back to her mansion so she can slaughter Joel painfully, and without mercy.

Oh, and they also knock the fuck out of Ellie and force her to watch as Joel's head gets caved in.

So yeah, they put you in control of an unlikable shithead for about an hour and a half, before she caves in the skull of Joel - who again, for the sake of context - saved her life not five minutes earlier

And this is also done with zero interaction between Joel and Ellie apart from a very brief five minute segment at the beginning of the game. So that whole dynamic, and relationship that was revered in the original game and was a huge part in the success of the story, and it's acclaim? Yeah, thrown away literally within the first two hours, with no additional interactions in said two hours.

 

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On 6/12/2020 at 9:37 PM, KoDaiko said:

Eeeh, I feel you're overpraising critics. They're professionals sure, and you should take some of their words for consideration. But they're also human with their bias, preference, and agendas. And I feel you're either ignoring or treating any non-"fans" who don't agree with the critics as part of "the gamers". They're not hive minds, you know. Some gamers/hardcore fans will love it, some casual/new fans will hate it.

Not to mention the fact there's an interesting review embargo of the game.

Apparently within its details are the fact that reviewers apparently weren't allowed to touch base on the last 12 or so hours of the game.

So essentially,  praise of the critics is quite pointless when they can't even give fully baked reviews as it were. Almost as if the company behind the game wants only glowing positivity no matter how much they have to manufacture it.

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Oh you just know how this was taken by the zealot ND defenders. Even Jeff ended up responding to this basically missing the whole point of the video to immediately defend himself, when he wasn’t even being attacked by Jim here. His tweet was used to springboard into a broader topic, about the relationship between game journalists and game developers, and AAA games and their heightened perception as “Quality art” likened to Oscar winning films, and he, and people that are tired about hearing about how shitty the AAA industry is looked at a fraction of the video that simply lightheartedly acknowledged Jeff’s ridiculous comparison, and went “wooow that’s low even for you, I’m unsubbing take that”

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On 6/19/2020 at 3:19 AM, Ryannumber1gamer said:

I'm just past one of the more infamous leaks. Don't click the spoiler if you're staying spoiler free as this is primarily about it.

  Hide contents

Somehow, IMO of course - even worse with the context. IIRC, it was originally stated it happened around the halfway point (In that you'd play as Ellie with Joel for half the game, Joel gets killed, and then you switch to Abby).

This is not the case. Joel dies at the two hour mark, after saving Abby's life, and he never interacts at all with Ellie. There's a quick five minute scene with them at the beginning of the game, set right after the ending of TLoU where Joel teaches Ellie how to play the guitar, and that's it.

After that, it time cuts to four years later, Joel is already off on a patrol with Tommy, and the next time Ellie sees him is getting his face bashed in with a golf club. 

And Abby is an insanely unlikeable character for the short period of time you get to play as her as well. She endangers a pregnant woman and her friends to try go up against a literal city of people (Tommy's place), proceeds to say fuck it when her friends refuse this ridiculously insane demand, she then gets attacked by a swarm of infected, and nearly killed, until Joel saves her life at the last second (like literally - she was about to get bitten until Joel headshotted the infected attacker), and then she proceeds to lure Tommy and Joel back to her mansion so she can slaughter Joel painfully, and without mercy.

Oh, and they also knock the fuck out of Ellie and force her to watch as Joel's head gets caved in.

So yeah, they put you in control of an unlikable shithead for about an hour and a half, before she caves in the skull of Joel - who again, for the sake of context - saved her life not five minutes earlier

And this is also done with zero interaction between Joel and Ellie apart from a very brief five minute segment at the beginning of the game. So that whole dynamic, and relationship that was revered in the original game and was a huge part in the success of the story, and it's acclaim? Yeah, thrown away literally within the first two hours, with no additional interactions in said two hours.

 

I'm kinda curious to know where you stand on this initial reaction now, if you've finished the game yet.  (Spoilers for the whole game):

 

I get where you were coming from but I tend to give stories the benefit of the doubt until I've seen them through to the end so the opening few hours didn't bother me.  I assumed very quickly that Abby's goal was to kill Joel and the developers had a reason for putting me in her shoes despite the fact that it didn't make me anymore willing to empathise with her.  But I'm definitely curious as to whether you still feel annoyed at the direction they went after the various flashback scenes giving us some Joel and Ellie interactions, and Abby's full story making (or at least attempting to make) us much more empathetic to her side of the story (it definitely left me feeling conflicted by the end, with me not particularly wanting to root for either side but instead lament the tragedy of how the two would never know how equally justified they were in their hatred for one another).

 

There's definitely something to be said for them moving away from the Joel and Ellie relationship that defined the first game - and in fact I think that fact is what makes me come to the decision that calling this "Part 2" was a bit pretentious, it definitely feels like a sequel, not a completion of an incomplete story.  But at the same time, that story of Joel and Ellie's relationship was perfectly crafted as is in the first game, I don't think another game of more of the same would have justified a sequel's existence. They needed to tell a different story this time.  I still feel TLOU1 was perfectly constructed as is and didn't need a sequel, I'm definitely sad that the new version of the full story has so much more tragedy added onto it for these characters I love now, but I don't hate the direction they took in the end.

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1 minute ago, JezMM said:

I'm kinda curious to know where you stand on this initial reaction now, if you've finished the game yet.  (Spoilers for the whole game):

 

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I get where you were coming from but I tend to give stories the benefit of the doubt until I've seen them through to the end so the opening few hours didn't bother me.  I assumed very quickly that Abby's goal was to kill Joel and the developers had a reason for putting me in her shoes despite the fact that it didn't make me anymore willing to empathise with her.  But I'm definitely curious as to whether you still feel annoyed at the direction they went after the various flashback scenes giving us some Joel and Ellie interactions, and Abby's full story making (or at least attempting to make) us much more empathetic to her side of the story (it definitely left me feeling conflicted by the end, with me not particularly wanting to root for either side but instead lament the tragedy of how the two would never know how equally justified they were in their hatred for one another).

 

Spoiler

I find that the Joel and Ellie flashback scenes were the best part of the game, but ultimately to it's determent, personally. Everything about them encapsulates an interesting narrative that could've been told about the actual personal blowback of Joel's actions in the first game, and Ellie having to come to terms with them. 

Putting them into the flashbacks leave it feeling like a foregone conclusion - we know that Ellie and Joel are on some kind of admirable terms in the present, not only due to Ellie's roaring rampage in his name, but because prior to that, Ellie talks to Dina about spending time with Joel that evening, and watching some action movies. We knew already that she'd forgiven him.

I don't think that would've been quite as bad, but the game never really makes effective usage of this. I think the best place to have taken the story after TLoU was having Joel suffer the personal consequences of his decision (I.E - not just getting his head bashed in via the most contrived way imaginable), but having to deal with the personal blowout from Ellie, and everything. In the moment. 

But more importantly, I feel like a part of it should've also been about Ellie needing to come to understand Joel's decision - and understand that being a martyr in a desperate hope for a cure in an unsavable world wasn't really ever going to give her life meaning. There's a lot of issues with the Fireflies as is (They're are a politically motivated group with grudges against a lot of factions, and there's a high chance they would've weaponised a vaccine if they'd actually pulled it off).

Ellie in TLoU2 begins a relationship with another person, getting over Riley, she has a home, a family, a band of friends. A key part of TLoU1 is her belief that everyone she loves either leaves, or dies, and that she should be along with them. She has a death wish, and I personally feel like instead of the overblown bullshit of "cycles of revenge" that TLoU2 pursues for the sake of being a depressing story, it should've been about Ellie having to let go of the Fireflies' beliefs, and begin living for herself. 

Even in the end of the game, there was the chance to truly have Ellie understand Joel perfectly, and come to terms with his decision, which was with Dina's child - having her own child now, she could determine if she could truly allow her own child to die for a world that's already long gone to hell, and understand Joel's decision more. But it's ruined with the whole extra hours of content where you have to go on yet another revenge scheme that ends with Ellie's life in shambles.

Granted, a lot of that is off topic, but I do stand by my belief that the second part should've still been focused on Joel and Ellie over the cycle of revenge plot, and more importantly - trying to make us hate Ellie, and like Abby. A big issue I have with the game is just how utterly desperate it is to make you buy into this belief, and the parlour trick of emotional manipulation it does on you in it's attempts to make you give a shit.

They really like trying to portray Ellie's actions as downright evil, and brutal, despite the fact that literally about 90% of the canonical story events are done in self-defence. Ellie is attacked and immediately threatened with death without being confirmed as a hostile, Mel and Owen both held a gun to her head, and attacked her with a knife (I know Ellie had them held up, but she pretty much just wanted info on Abby, and probably would've let them go when she got it), etc. Ellie also usually ends up feeling absolutely broken after she commits horrible acts, like with her torture of Nora and Mel's death.

However, Abby not only is emotional manipulative, with how her story is desperately trying to make her out to be this huge hero (She's protecting a brother and sister from a angry cult who is very anti-LGBT), who plays with dogs (who Ellie murders and insults), and unlike Ellie, who fights against enemies who are portrayed as absolutely corrupt and evil (Essentially flying in the face of the game's message that these groups are as horrifically evil and it's all about perspective), etc. 

Even at that, Abby is stunningly unlikable throughout the game. I find it hard to take her side when not only do they really try to push how her father was a saint in comparison to Joel (Her dad saves animals, and is a doctor, and all that), despite how absolutely insanely hypocritical he is - between immediately wanting to murder Ellie without her consent, without running any other tests to make sure this is actually the right course of action, and when called out on his actions, he can't even give an answer that if it was flipped and his daughter was on that operating table, and the fact that technically - Joel's murder of him is self-defence, because Jerry refused to give up Ellie, and threatened to cut Joel up with his knife.

Even later on, when we've played with Ellie and Abby, Ellie falls into a full night of guilt and depression upon realising she killed Mel, who was having a baby. When Abby is given the same decision later - with the information, she gets a sadistic grin and says "good". I don't know how you can make her come back from that, frankly.

This is such a gigantic failing of the game IMO, it constantly jumps back and forth between narratives and fails to connect them in a meaningful way, and tends to keep contradicting what it wants to show. Joel and Ellie's flashbacks are good, and bring back everything that was beloved in TLoU1, but we already know the ending of it, and the fallout of Ellie discovering Joel's decision because we saw it at the beginning of the game. Abby's flashbacks designed to give her sympathy and perspective fall apart not only due to how absolutely silly they get with humanising Abby's father, to the point of hypocrisy, but because Abby's flashbacks honestly are one of the most boring parts of the game to me IMO.

I couldn't care less about Abby and Owen's fling, their random love making, or whatever else. And I think it's frankly because even in general, Abby's story feels so disconnected from the larger story. I was expecting we'd have this whole second half where Abby has to directly feel the consequences of Ellie's rampage and her own cycle of revenge - but instead, Abby gets this random story about protecting Lev (because they desperately wanted to make Abby look heroic), which means that for about 12 full hours, nothing feels even remotely connected to the larger plot. The only thing that even remotely connects up in the end is Tommy attacking them and that's it. 

In the end, Ellie's flashbacks might've been a foregone conclusion, but they were the most entertaining part of the game by far because of it having the same brilliant writing, and beautiful mixture of optimism and bleakness that the original game had. Abby's flashbacks, and even her entire side story feels dull as absolute dishwater because not only do they put her off on the wrong foot immediately with Joel's death, but their attempts to humanise her are not only ridiculously heavy-handed due to how desperately they try to vilify Ellie, but due to all the contradictions present with Abby's own humanisation. Not only because their story to humanise Abby doesn't connect with the rest of the game, other than giving us Lev (Which for the record, Lev is pretty much one of the very few likable characters in Abby's campaign), but because Abby's story constantly contradicts the other elements of the story.

In a story where we're meant to see the enemies as human beings with their own lives and goals, and families - we get two factions that are quite literally as mustache-twirling evil as David's group and the bandits were in TLoU1. Both the religious cult, and the random faction introduced in the epilogue are just unambiguously evil and are portrayed as insane nutcases who deserve to be gunned down. Abby is meant to be seen as a heroic figure, and yet after everything is said and done, she never feels guilty or second-guesses her own actions (Like Ellie does multiple times), and when presented with the choice of sparing an pregnant woman, Abby takes sadistic pleasure in knowing she was about to murder an innocent baby along with it's mother.

I understand this all feels random, and jumping from point to point, but it does explain a big point for the story with me - the flashbacks don't make it better, because they tie into a bigger issue where the flashbacks, and story constantly contradict and go against each other in their goals, and themes. It feels like there was like five different plotlines being forced together into some awful mish-mash of a plot which ultimately harms it more than anything.

There's good ideas present here, but they aren't laid out in a good or meaningful way. Even Joel's death I think could've worked well if done as the halfway, or even end point of the game in order to set up a third title, but in the current way they've done it, it all falls apart into shambles. Frankly, I  think the cycle of revenge idea was just a straight up terrible plotline to focus in on.  

 

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16 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:
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I find that the Joel and Ellie flashback scenes were the best part of the game, but ultimately to it's determent, personally. Everything about them encapsulates an interesting narrative that could've been told about the actual personal blowback of Joel's actions in the first game, and Ellie having to come to terms with them. 

Putting them into the flashbacks leave it feeling like a foregone conclusion - we know that Ellie and Joel are on some kind of admirable terms in the present, not only due to Ellie's roaring rampage in his name, but because prior to that, Ellie talks to Dina about spending time with Joel that evening, and watching some action movies. We knew already that she'd forgiven him.

I don't think that would've been quite as bad, but the game never really makes effective usage of this. I think the best place to have taken the story after TLoU was having Joel suffer the personal consequences of his decision (I.E - not just getting his head bashed in via the most contrived way imaginable), but having to deal with the personal blowout from Ellie, and everything. In the moment. 

But more importantly, I feel like a part of it should've also been about Ellie needing to come to understand Joel's decision - and understand that being a martyr in a desperate hope for a cure in an unsavable world wasn't really ever going to give her life meaning. There's a lot of issues with the Fireflies as is (They're are a politically motivated group with grudges against a lot of factions, and there's a high chance they would've weaponised a vaccine if they'd actually pulled it off).

Ellie in TLoU2 begins a relationship with another person, getting over Riley, she has a home, a family, a band of friends. A key part of TLoU1 is her belief that everyone she loves either leaves, or dies, and that she should be along with them. She has a death wish, and I personally feel like instead of the overblown bullshit of "cycles of revenge" that TLoU2 pursues for the sake of being a depressing story, it should've been about Ellie having to let go of the Fireflies' beliefs, and begin living for herself. 

Even in the end of the game, there was the chance to truly have Ellie understand Joel perfectly, and come to terms with his decision, which was with Dina's child - having her own child now, she could determine if she could truly allow her own child to die for a world that's already long gone to hell, and understand Joel's decision more. But it's ruined with the whole extra hours of content where you have to go on yet another revenge scheme that ends with Ellie's life in shambles.

Granted, a lot of that is off topic, but I do stand by my belief that the second part should've still been focused on Joel and Ellie over the cycle of revenge plot, and more importantly - trying to make us hate Ellie, and like Abby. A big issue I have with the game is just how utterly desperate it is to make you buy into this belief, and the parlour trick of emotional manipulation it does on you in it's attempts to make you give a shit.

They really like trying to portray Ellie's actions as downright evil, and brutal, despite the fact that literally about 90% of the canonical story events are done in self-defence. Ellie is attacked and immediately threatened with death without being confirmed as a hostile, Mel and Owen both held a gun to her head, and attacked her with a knife (I know Ellie had them held up, but she pretty much just wanted info on Abby, and probably would've let them go when she got it), etc. Ellie also usually ends up feeling absolutely broken after she commits horrible acts, like with her torture of Nora and Mel's death.

However, Abby not only is emotional manipulative, with how her story is desperately trying to make her out to be this huge hero (She's protecting a brother and sister from a angry cult who is very anti-LGBT), who plays with dogs (who Ellie murders and insults), and unlike Ellie, who fights against enemies who are portrayed as absolutely corrupt and evil (Essentially flying in the face of the game's message that these groups are as horrifically evil and it's all about perspective), etc. 

Even at that, Abby is stunningly unlikable throughout the game. I find it hard to take her side when not only do they really try to push how her father was a saint in comparison to Joel (Her dad saves animals, and is a doctor, and all that), despite how absolutely insanely hypocritical he is - between immediately wanting to murder Ellie without her consent, without running any other tests to make sure this is actually the right course of action, and when called out on his actions, he can't even give an answer that if it was flipped and his daughter was on that operating table, and the fact that technically - Joel's murder of him is self-defence, because Jerry refused to give up Ellie, and threatened to cut Joel up with his knife.

Even later on, when we've played with Ellie and Abby, Ellie falls into a full night of guilt and depression upon realising she killed Mel, who was having a baby. When Abby is given the same decision later - with the information, she gets a sadistic grin and says "good". I don't know how you can make her come back from that, frankly.

This is such a gigantic failing of the game IMO, it constantly jumps back and forth between narratives and fails to connect them in a meaningful way, and tends to keep contradicting what it wants to show. Joel and Ellie's flashbacks are good, and bring back everything that was beloved in TLoU1, but we already know the ending of it, and the fallout of Ellie discovering Joel's decision because we saw it at the beginning of the game. Abby's flashbacks designed to give her sympathy and perspective fall apart not only due to how absolutely silly they get with humanising Abby's father, to the point of hypocrisy, but because Abby's flashbacks honestly are one of the most boring parts of the game to me IMO.

I couldn't care less about Abby and Owen's fling, their random love making, or whatever else. And I think it's frankly because even in general, Abby's story feels so disconnected from the larger story. I was expecting we'd have this whole second half where Abby has to directly feel the consequences of Ellie's rampage and her own cycle of revenge - but instead, Abby gets this random story about protecting Lev (because they desperately wanted to make Abby look heroic), which means that for about 12 full hours, nothing feels even remotely connected to the larger plot. The only thing that even remotely connects up in the end is Tommy attacking them and that's it. 

In the end, Ellie's flashbacks might've been a foregone conclusion, but they were the most entertaining part of the game by far because of it having the same brilliant writing, and beautiful mixture of optimism and bleakness that the original game had. Abby's flashbacks, and even her entire side story feels dull as absolute dishwater because not only do they put her off on the wrong foot immediately with Joel's death, but their attempts to humanise her are not only ridiculously heavy-handed due to how desperately they try to vilify Ellie, but due to all the contradictions present with Abby's own humanisation. Not only because their story to humanise Abby doesn't connect with the rest of the game, other than giving us Lev (Which for the record, Lev is pretty much one of the very few likable characters in Abby's campaign), but because Abby's story constantly contradicts the other elements of the story.

In a story where we're meant to see the enemies as human beings with their own lives and goals, and families - we get two factions that are quite literally as mustache-twirling evil as David's group and the bandits were in TLoU1. Both the religious cult, and the random faction introduced in the epilogue are just unambiguously evil and are portrayed as insane nutcases who deserve to be gunned down. Abby is meant to be seen as a heroic figure, and yet after everything is said and done, she never feels guilty or second-guesses her own actions (Like Ellie does multiple times), and when presented with the choice of sparing an pregnant woman, Abby takes sadistic pleasure in knowing she was about to murder an innocent baby along with it's mother.

I understand this all feels random, and jumping from point to point, but it does explain a big point for the story with me - the flashbacks don't make it better, because they tie into a bigger issue where the flashbacks, and story constantly contradict and go against each other in their goals, and themes. It feels like there was like five different plotlines being forced together into some awful mish-mash of a plot which ultimately harms it more than anything.

There's good ideas present here, but they aren't laid out in a good or meaningful way. Even Joel's death I think could've worked well if done as the halfway, or even end point of the game in order to set up a third title, but in the current way they've done it, it all falls apart into shambles. Frankly, I  think the cycle of revenge idea was just a straight up terrible plotline to focus in on.  

 

Interesting thoughts - I won't lie, while I enjoyed what they're going for, your opinion has definitely brought my opinion of the story down a few pegs, I prefer your personal idea of how they could have handled the fallout of TLOU1 while keeping it a Joel & Ellie story a lot more than the borderline misery porn we got.

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10 minutes ago, JezMM said:

 

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Interesting thoughts - I won't lie, while I enjoyed what they're going for, your opinion has definitely brought my opinion of the story down a few pegs, I prefer your personal idea of how they could have handled the fallout of TLOU1 while keeping it a Joel & Ellie story a lot more than the borderline misery porn we got.

 

Spoiler

Honestly, as much as I find Season 2 to be wasted potential, and Season 3 to be awful, I think that The Final Season of TWD is a very good idea of where it could've gone. In previous seasons, it was about Clem just trying to survive, no matter what. TFS is where it pushes it not only to have Clem question how far she'd go to save and protect AJ's life, placing her in Lee's shoes, and having her face the consequences of what Lee had to do in Season 1, but finding a place where she can settle down and return to some form of personal normality.

TLoU2 could've very much had followed this same kind of idea where Ellie finds out at a crucial point of the story, leave Joel, and we play as her for a bit, possibly along with Dina, and we're forced to see how far Ellie would go to keep Dina safe and protected, possibly learning more about the fireflies, and other groups, and why a cure wasn't sustainable, etc. Have it end with Ellie finally coming to terms with everything with Dina's baby, and realising that even if the world has gone to hell, it doesn't mean humanity has to end. I always thought that was a good thing set up with Tommy's settlement.

In four years, Tommy's settlement has managed to become a peaceful town where the world has gone back to older ways of working (Trading for items, small comforts, housing, electricity, movies, etc). Tommy took the more realistic option in bringing peace back to the world, while the fireflies were always kind of doomed to fail because of all the other issues that had happened (The bandits/lawless nature of the world now, the Fireflies being their own biased group who probably would've weaponised the vaccine, spreading a vaccine around this world in general being near-impossible, given how long it took for Joel to get to Salt Lake City alone, etc).

 

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Spoiler

I personally think that assuming the developers were trying to manipulate you into sympathizing with Abby is a shockingly cynical way to look at things. I'd suggest not looking at the game as trying to puppeteer you into feeling a certain way. Instead both characters's actions are presented honestly and you're free to pass judgement however you wish.

The game isn't trying to make you like Abby. Instead, it shows a person broken by guilt trying to find redemption in a child: A reoccurring theme in this series and the same mindset Joel was in when it came to Ellie in the first game. If you still feel Abby's actions are unjustifiable that's completely fine: I think that shes a character driven by emotion to dangerous degrees and think that it's perfectly agreeable that someone would find her unlikable. I'm just not sure why one would excuse Ellie's actions in the same breath. 

I've seen you bring up Owen and Mel as a case of self defense when Ellie in that situation is the instigator: She invaded Owen's abode with the intent of killing Abby and had already tortured one of her friends to get that information. They were justified in trying to get the leg up on her because they weren't sure what her intentions were with them and neither was I as a player who had been in Ellie's shoes for 15 hours at that point. She was so far gone that she was willing to abandon Tommy to get to Abby. 

When Abby showed up on Ellie's doorstep and shot Jesse in the face I wasn't surprised. I was sick to my stomach that Ellie had let the situation spiral to this point when she had several chances to put her people first. Ellie is a character I sympathize and care deeply about but that doesn't mean everything she does is right. She does a whole lot of wrong and causes a lot of pain in this game in the name of people she loves. Same as what Abby does in her half of the game from the very first flashback to the end. Same as Joel does in the last one. 

Ellie and Joel's conversation about forgiveness doesn't come until the end of the game because that's when Ellie is able to understand what Joel did for her in the most clarity. Joel slaughtered the fireflies because he cared too deeply for Ellie to do otherwise. Ellie in TLOU2 gets a taste of that anger and comes out of the end of it understanding her dad a lot better. 

I don't think Ellie had to let Abby go to hammer this point home but Abby was so weak at that point that it didn't make a difference to me. There's no honor, glory, or comeuppance in putting her down at that point. The ending probably would have wrung a bit stronger if she had gone through with it, but there's a little bit of a hope spot at the end seeing Ellie break the cycle instead of continuing it.

The game's story is overall a lot messier than the first game but the specific beats people get angry about feel like they prove the game's point. Violence feels a lot more justifiable when it's in the name of our family, loved ones or tribe. Ellie and Abby go on the same journey in this game but since we know Joel and Ellie a lot more intimately than we do Abby and her father, a lot of players are able to connect with one but not the other. 

I personally connected with both though and saw the whole thing as a nauseating tragedy. Vengeance consumes Ellie, Abby and pretty much everyone in Seattle like a drug and the game painfully illustrates that nothing good could come from indulging in that desire by leaving everyone ruined or dead. Definitely not the type of sequel you write for your crowdpleaser of an original but one I appreciated nonetheless. 

 

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14 minutes ago, With Me said:
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I personally think that assuming the developers were trying to manipulate you into sympathizing with Abby is a shockingly cynical way to look at things. I'd suggest not looking at the game as trying to puppeteer you into feeling a certain way. Instead both characters's actions are presented honestly and you're free to pass judgement however you wish.

The game isn't trying to make you like Abby. Instead, it shows a person broken by guilt trying to find redemption in a child: A reoccurring theme in this series and the same mindset Joel was in when it came to Ellie in the first game. If you still feel Abby's actions are unjustifiable that's completely fine: I think that shes a character driven by emotion to dangerous degrees and think that it's perfectly agreeable that someone would find her unlikable. I'm just not sure why one would excuse Ellie's actions in the same breath. 

I've seen you bring up Owen and Mel as a case of self defense when Ellie in that situation is the instigator: She invaded Owen's abode with the intent of killing Abby and had already tortured one of her friends to get that information. They were justified in trying to get the leg up on her because they weren't sure what her intentions were with them and neither was I as a player who had been in Ellie's shoes for 15 hours at that point. She was so far gone that she was willing to abandon Tommy to get to Abby. 

When Abby showed up on Ellie's doorstep and shot Jesse in the face I wasn't surprised. I was sick to my stomach that Ellie had let the situation spiral to this point when she had several chances to put her people first. Ellie is a character I sympathize and care deeply about but that doesn't mean everything she does is right. She does a whole lot of wrong and causes a lot of pain in this game in the name of people she loves. Same as what Abby does in her half of the game from the very first flashback to the end. Same as Joel does in the last one. 

Ellie and Joel's conversation about forgiveness doesn't come until the end of the game because that's when Ellie is able to understand what Joel did for her in the most clarity. Joel slaughtered the fireflies because he cared too deeply for Ellie to do otherwise. Ellie in TLOU2 gets a taste of that anger and comes out of the end of it understanding her dad a lot better. 

I don't think Ellie had to let Abby go to hammer this point home but Abby was so weak at that point that it didn't make a difference to me. There's no honor, glory, or comeuppance in putting her down at that point. The ending probably would have wrung a bit stronger if she had gone through with it, but there's a little bit of a hope spot at the end seeing Ellie break the cycle instead of continuing it.

The game's story is overall a lot messier than the first game but the specific beats people get angry about feel like they prove the game's point. Violence feels a lot more justifiable when it's in the name of our family, loved ones or tribe. Ellie and Abby go on the same journey in this game but since we know Joel and Ellie a lot more intimately than we do Abby and her father, a lot of players are able to connect with one but not the other. 

I personally connected with both though and saw the whole thing as a nauseating tragedy. Vengeance consumes Ellie, Abby and pretty much everyone in Seattle like a drug and the game painfully illustrates that nothing good could come from indulging in that desire by leaving everyone ruined or dead. Definitely not the type of sequel you write for your crowdpleaser of an original but one I appreciated nonetheless. 

 

Spoiler

The devs trying to pull tricks to victimise Abby and vilify Ellie is something that's been called out numerous times by multiple people with various examples, the most infamous of which being having Ellie being forced to slaughter a dog - an enemy that to that point, you were trained by the game to treat as a frustrating annoyance that makes stealth a much more difficult option in any scenario. Right after that, the game wants to you to see that this dog belonged to someone who loved it, played with it, and it makes you play with it at two different points, as well as making it a constant point with Lev and Yara to say that said dog isn't dangerous.

This is only one of many different tricks used to try make you feel shitty about your actions as Ellie, even when these decisions that the player are supposed to feel guilty for doing as a player are out of their control and forced upon them, and even used as a gameplay mechanic to make it difficult to take non-lethal options. 

There's nothing "shockingly cynical" about it. A lot of people have noticed these tricks placed into the game's plot for the express purpose of making you see Abby in a positive light, while seeing Ellie in a shockingly disturbed and horrifying light. It's practically the support pillar of Abby's campaign by forcing you to see Ellie's actions as horrible towards Abby and her group. Not every single decision, and choice with the characters are apart of the "emotional manipulation", but there's quite a few of these tricks in the plot to that end. The point of the game is prespective, cycle of revenge, and how damaging Ellie's actions truly are, and several of the ways they try to display this is blatantly taking the choice from the player, and then attempting to make the player feel shitty later for it. 

As with Mel and Owen, Ellie is the instigator, I've said as such. That doesn't change the fact that Ellie's actions still fell into self-defence because Owen and Mel decided to attempt to attack, instead of just selling out Abby. And it's a problem that's constantly found in the game, where instead of properly showcasing how far down the slippery slope that Ellie keeps falling, they keep putting up excuses to not make it quite as bad

It'd be better to showcase it if when she's consumed with her rage, she still insists on killing Owen and Mel anyway after getting the info from them, either because of their roles in Joel's murder, or because of the danger of them alerting Abby before she can get to her. But having the duo attack, and then having Ellie kill them during said attack does give her the excuse of self-defence, and it's for no reason. If they want to truly show Ellie as the one in the wrong here, then stick to your guns and make her attempt to kill them unprovoked.

This is like if at the end of The Last of Us, instead of Joel just brutally executing Marlene on the very small off-chance that she'd track them and try to kidnap and murder Ellie, instead Joel agreed to spare her, only for her to suddenly attempt to headshot him as he left, justifying Joel under self-defence. If you're trying to protray Ellie as so far gone, and brutal, and all of that, then stick to it, and have her fall deeper down the hole by making some really bullshit justification for killing them, much like Joel had to when killing Marlene. Instead, you just give her a reasonable "out" via self-defence.

I'm not going to sit and pretend like Ellie was in the right in this story. She was not. She was not in the right since she left Jackson, and there's numerous points in the story where the game does do a good job of showing how far gone she is (Brutally torturing Nora with a pipe after infecting her, just for one example). But the problem is the game never wants to stick to it's guns in showing how far gone Ellie actually is. It keeps going with halfway measures that don't work, and end up making Ellie more sympathetic than she actually should be. 

I'm not sitting here justifying Ellie's actions because I like her, my problem is the game has the problem where it either goes too far, or too little in showing it, causing contradictions and issues. Either they go too far and end up vilifying her to an outrageous degree, or they go too little and give her far too many justifications due to the shitty actions of Abby's group and the W.L.F.

And a key issue with this is Abby's plotline. As I said before, I was actually somewhat open to Abby's campaign when I got to it because I thought it was gonna be a total flip on Ellie's campaign, where we'd actually see Abby forced to confront her guilt and responsibility for dragging her entire group into this conflict for her petty revenge. Where we'd be forced to see them all deal with the various consequences for Ellie's actions throughout all three days.

I thought this would be the case when Abby returns back to the W.L.F HQ and sees a shit ton of body-bags, including one of Abby's friends, I was thinking "Oh shit, this was how many people Ellie killed on Day 1 alone?". I was thinking we were gonna see Abby slowly realise just who was killing these people, and realise it was all her fault, and then it's revealed that no - these bodies were actually killed by the random evil cult. 

And thus begins a plotline largely divorced from the rest of the plot until the very tail-end of Day 3.

The hospital was another example. When I heard a line like "Abby's escaped her cell!" during Ellie's campaign, I actually got hyped, because I thought this was gonna lead to this big blowout in Abby's campaign where the W.L.F discover Abby went AWOL with her group to kill Joel, and it was now her fault that Ellie was tearing through their forces, which led to them imprisoning Abby, only to get really disappointed with how it turns out Abby was imprisoned over a different plotline altogether that isn't related to Ellie whatsoever.

That's exactly the kind of stuff I mean. Abby never has to directly face the consequences of Ellie's revenge rampage until the tail-end of her campaign, the W.L.F never mention or care about Ellie or her rampage at all, the only connections we get to show off how damaging Ellie's actions actually are is the ridiculously forced ones like with the dog killing. It's all disconnected and disjointed, and it all comes directly off how unrelated Abby's campaign actually is to the rest of the story, which leaves it feeling like such a gigantic slog to run through. It's why so many say that it feels like Naughty Dog smashed both The Last of Us Part 2 and Part 3 together into one game, because Abby's story just feels so utterly divorced to the rest of the game, even when it could be used to show off far more how damaging Ellie and her actions have been from a different perspective, and allow us to divorce ourselves from Ellie as a playable character. It's a major failing of the story.

 

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I don't see myself as Ellie and thus don't see the game as passing much judgement either way on me for how I chose to play it. The reveal that the dog was Abby's was no different than the various moments in the game where I would kill a dog's owner and the dog would stop to mourn them. I didn't see it as emotional manipulation but as a way for the game to try and ground the good guys and the bad guys as equals this time around with the impact of the violence each side is committing being shown more equally. This is ultimately pretty hard to do in an action game where the majority of the depth is in the combat though so I understand if this whole shtick didn't connect with people. 

And I don't think you can say Mel and Owen are in the wrong for defending themselves instead of selling out their friend unless you think Ellie would have given up Dinah's location in a similar scenario. Being willing to look the other way even slightly on anything Ellie chose to do in this game is tempting because of how we feel about her and how we feel about Joel but by the end of it all her fate feels self inflicted to me.

 

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10 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:
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The devs trying to pull tricks to victimise Abby and vilify Ellie is something that's been called out numerous times by multiple people with various examples, the most infamous of which being having Ellie being forced to slaughter a dog - an enemy that to that point, you were trained by the game to treat as a frustrating annoyance that makes stealth a much more difficult option in any scenario. Right after that, the game wants to you to see that this dog belonged to someone who loved it, played with it, and it makes you play with it at two different points, as well as making it a constant point with Lev and Yara to say that said dog isn't dangerous.

This is only one of many different tricks used to try make you feel shitty about your actions as Ellie, even when these decisions that the player are supposed to feel guilty for doing as a player are out of their control and forced upon them, and even used as a gameplay mechanic to make it difficult to take non-lethal options. 

There's nothing "shockingly cynical" about it. A lot of people have noticed these tricks placed into the game's plot for the express purpose of making you see Abby in a positive light, while seeing Ellie in a shockingly disturbed and horrifying light. It's practically the support pillar of Abby's campaign by forcing you to see Ellie's actions as horrible towards Abby and her group. Not every single decision, and choice with the characters are apart of the "emotional manipulation", but there's quite a few of these tricks in the plot to that end. The point of the game is prespective, cycle of revenge, and how damaging Ellie's actions truly are, and several of the ways they try to display this is blatantly taking the choice from the player, and then attempting to make the player feel shitty later for it. 

As with Mel and Owen, Ellie is the instigator, I've said as such. That doesn't change the fact that Ellie's actions still fell into self-defence because Owen and Mel decided to attempt to attack, instead of just selling out Abby. And it's a problem that's constantly found in the game, where instead of properly showcasing how far down the slippery slope that Ellie keeps falling, they keep putting up excuses to not make it quite as bad

It'd be better to showcase it if when she's consumed with her rage, she still insists on killing Owen and Mel anyway after getting the info from them, either because of their roles in Joel's murder, or because of the danger of them alerting Abby before she can get to her. But having the duo attack, and then having Ellie kill them during said attack does give her the excuse of self-defence, and it's for no reason. If they want to truly show Ellie as the one in the wrong here, then stick to your guns and make her attempt to kill them unprovoked.

This is like if at the end of The Last of Us, instead of Joel just brutally executing Marlene on the very small off-chance that she'd track them and try to kidnap and murder Ellie, instead Joel agreed to spare her, only for her to suddenly attempt to headshot him as he left, justifying Joel under self-defence. If you're trying to protray Ellie as so far gone, and brutal, and all of that, then stick to it, and have her fall deeper down the hole by making some really bullshit justification for killing them, much like Joel had to when killing Marlene. Instead, you just give her a reasonable "out" via self-defence.

I'm not going to sit and pretend like Ellie was in the right in this story. She was not. She was not in the right since she left Jackson, and there's numerous points in the story where the game does do a good job of showing how far gone she is (Brutally torturing Nora with a pipe after infecting her, just for one example). But the problem is the game never wants to stick to it's guns in showing how far gone Ellie actually is. It keeps going with halfway measures that don't work, and end up making Ellie more sympathetic than she actually should be. 

I'm not sitting here justifying Ellie's actions because I like her, my problem is the game has the problem where it either goes too far, or too little in showing it, causing contradictions and issues. Either they go too far and end up vilifying her to an outrageous degree, or they go too little and give her far too many justifications due to the shitty actions of Abby's group and the W.L.F.

And a key issue with this is Abby's plotline. As I said before, I was actually somewhat open to Abby's campaign when I got to it because I thought it was gonna be a total flip on Ellie's campaign, where we'd actually see Abby forced to confront her guilt and responsibility for dragging her entire group into this conflict for her petty revenge. Where we'd be forced to see them all deal with the various consequences for Ellie's actions throughout all three days.

I thought this would be the case when Abby returns back to the W.L.F HQ and sees a shit ton of body-bags, including one of Abby's friends, I was thinking "Oh shit, this was how many people Ellie killed on Day 1 alone?". I was thinking we were gonna see Abby slowly realise just who was killing these people, and realise it was all her fault, and then it's revealed that no - these bodies were actually killed by the random evil cult. 

And thus begins a plotline largely divorced from the rest of the plot until the very tail-end of Day 3.

The hospital was another example. When I heard a line like "Abby's escaped her cell!" during Ellie's campaign, I actually got hyped, because I thought this was gonna lead to this big blowout in Abby's campaign where the W.L.F discover Abby went AWOL with her group to kill Joel, and it was now her fault that Ellie was tearing through their forces, which led to them imprisoning Abby, only to get really disappointed with how it turns out Abby was imprisoned over a different plotline altogether that isn't related to Ellie whatsoever.

That's exactly the kind of stuff I mean. Abby never has to directly face the consequences of Ellie's revenge rampage until the tail-end of her campaign, the W.L.F never mention or care about Ellie or her rampage at all, the only connections we get to show off how damaging Ellie's actions actually are is the ridiculously forced ones like with the dog killing. It's all disconnected and disjointed, and it all comes directly off how unrelated Abby's campaign actually is to the rest of the story, which leaves it feeling like such a gigantic slog to run through. It's why so many say that it feels like Naughty Dog smashed both The Last of Us Part 2 and Part 3 together into one game, because Abby's story just feels so utterly divorced to the rest of the game, even when it could be used to show off far more how damaging Ellie and her actions have been from a different perspective, and allow us to divorce ourselves from Ellie as a playable character. It's a major failing of the story.

 

Spoiler

Not to mention that Abby herself never seems to actually express guilt for her actions.

That, and that none of what happens to her seems to be a result of her actions directly.

At best, there's the killing of her friends,  but outside of one horror shock with Mel, despite Abby herself sadistically grinning while knowingly brutalizing Dina when she was pregnant, she doesn't actually seem to care about her friends. 

And in addition to Abby, the game really does a terrible job trying to make you feel sorry for the terrible people in question that you're forced to kill anyway, mainly for self-defense at that.

 

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I do think despite their best efforts, the game's messages are held back by being, well a game.  Or rather not being a game at certain moments.  At a certain point you can only get enjoyment out of the story by stepping back and viewing it as a tragedy that you have no agency in, which undermines the idea that you're supposed to feel the weight of the character's actions by doing them yourself.  The game is really trigger-happy with taking agency away from the player whenever it wants a character to do a bad thing.  When I was attempting to kill Ellie as Abby, I got so uncomfortable with watching the life drain from Ellie's face that I stopped mashing square just to see what would happen.  Luckily I had already reached the point of no return on the animation at that exact moment, so the scene played out.  But when the time came to try and kill Abby as Ellie later on I just... kept mashing square because I didn't feel involved anymore.  I knew the story was going to play out however it is going to play out and I just have to do what the game tells me to see it.  Sure enough, Ellie stops drowning Abby in a cut-scene, I don't get to make that decision.  And sadly the fact that I consciously thought about it during such an important moment in the narrative did take me out of said narrative for a moment, in a way that I didn't, for example, during the fixed cut-scene of that heartfelt final flashback scene with Joel and Ellie on the porch (and thank god because that scene was extremely good).

The whole ordeal is certainly an interesting experiment, and from an overall perspective I enjoyed my time with the game.  But in retrospect I'm starting to wonder how far we can push the idea of telling such realistic human stories that are so static within a medium that is supposed to be inherently dynamic.

I think a lot of people said this about TLOU1 and similar games at the time but I feel it's even more exaggerated with this one.  The developers' intent may have been to make a tragedy that is enhanced through being a game, but the end product feels like a tragedy that operates for better or worse in spite of being a game.

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 I was actually thinking the other day that part of the game's problem is that a lot of relevant information and story beats happen during peacetime which isn't very conductive for an action game. The pacing is strange but just taking what happens on it's own I couldn't think of a better way to get it all across and keep a steady string of encounters going. Probably a sign that they needed to rework things. 

 

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I do actually quite enjoy the core gameplay loop of TLOU which is essentially a roller coaster of high pressure situations ("encounters" as the game calls them) and slow exploring bits.  The goal of the high pressure situations is to solve them using as few resources as possible, the goal of the slow exploring bits is to replenish said resources.  If you choose to explore during the encounters OR you take the time/resources required to kill all the enemies, you're rewarded by additional resources within those encounter areas.

The issue though is it again that a core gameplay loop NEEDS to exist in order for the game to operate as a game and not a movie, but it just adds to the whole "how are we supposed to care about every enemy we kill" when it's always being done in self-defense, said enemies still patrol like robots until you break their pattern by interacting with them, and conveniently every area that has enemies is concluded with some kind of "point-of-no-return" door that you have to make noise to push open for a few seconds which may as well have a big flashing "GOAL!" sign above it once you've gotten used to them being a thing.

I do think TLOU has a similar issue to BioShock Infinite where the game wants to tell a mature story but using the verbs of a game genre that is... well, a GAME genre.  Much as it's fun to play a skill-based shooting gallery game, it's fun to play a tactical stealth action game.  Every encounter in TLOU2 is a challenge for the player to solve and is laid out to be "a level in a video game".  Jim Sterling did a good job in his "Jimpressions" review when he pointed out how the creators said TLOU2 wouldn't be a fun game, it was going to be a serious, depressing game, and Jim is basically like "Sorry but no, it's a fun game.  Stealth is fun, luring three people to one spot and tactically blowing them all up at once is fun".

 

EDIT: Maybe TLOU2 also doesn't quite work unless you're playing on the highest difficulty setting, because even playing on moderate you feel like a one-man army with all the enemies and situations you manage to wiggle your way through.  But even then there's going to be a narrative dissonance between how regular enemies can be choked to death in a few seconds for the sake of gameplay...

While Ellie and Abby take a good half minute of harrowing animations to die from suffocation in their respective "boss" battles.

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The general rule is that gameplay is an abstraction of what actually happened because of the variety of different outcomes and the concessions you have to make in 'game mode', but it becomes harder to make that separation in your mind when developers nowadays are so eager to make gameplay and story feel seamless with one another. The Last of Us will function as a game right up until it doesn't while any game from 20 years ago is happy to make the separation clear with a results screen or a clear cut off point for a cutscene.

I believe in games have the means to tell deep, complex stories but not all stories are fit for simple AAA action games. With enemies yelling eachother's names I expected more of a mechanical reaction to killing certain enemies, with maybe one becoming more wreckless to avenge their fallen friend. The only thing you really get like this is the dogs who's behavior shifts when they stop to mourn their owners. Ryan is right in that more feedback from Abby's side from the things you did on Ellie's side would have been a welcome addition as well. 

It's an unconventional story trying to fit into a conventional gameplay loop. Again, a weird direction to take your AAA darling but I appreciate them for trying, I guess? Some more twists to the mechanics and better AI would have elevated this game a lot but I guess that wasn't in the cards this time.

There's probably going to be a part 3 and it's probably not going to drop this combat system so I hope they aim a little lower next time. 

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As a quick note, but I like how the Arkham series tends to handle enemies, where in Knight especially, they do actually react based on how you handle a stealth encounter. As you whittle enemies down, they start getting more terrified, acting erratically, turning back nervously after a few steps, bundling together to watch each other’s backs, and such. It makes for not only a more challenging experience based on how well you’re doing, but fits with how genuinely terrifying an encounter with Batman would be.

I feel like if something in regards to that could’ve been implemented here with as was said above - enemies acting more irrationally, wanting to avenge their fallen allies, it would’ve been better. 

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While I was initially impressed with the realism of how horrified the voice acting was when I used my first proximity mine to blow up a WLF that was closing in on me, I have to say, after the initial shock wore off, it was sort of unimpressive how the remaining WLFs continued to hone in on my position just the same as they were doing already.  While I didn't use any more explosives in that encounter, I could've done and they would have fallen for it again and again.  You'd think after the first explosion, they'd refuse to patrol on any ground that they haven't already covered, or they would've fallen back to form a tighter defensive position.

Having said that... maybe they do on higher difficulties.  Right now Part 2 seems way too dauntingly long to do a second playthrough (I played through TLOU1 three times over the years) but if I do ever play it again, that "Custom" difficulty setting might be a really nice feature, since I think it would allow a more realistic enemy behaviour when it comes to stealth without making the combat too difficult.  Moderate difficulty still comes with some enforced AI stupidity unfortunately or else it wouldn't be moderate difficulty lol.

Although I guess what I really want is survivor-difficulty intelligence from the enemies but still with the generous grace period that lower difficulties give before enemies are alerted after you enter their vision.  Not sure you can fine-tune to that degree.

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On 6/29/2020 at 5:06 PM, JezMM said:

Although I guess what I really want is survivor-difficulty intelligence from the enemies but still with the generous grace period that lower difficulties give before enemies are alerted after you enter their vision.  Not sure you can fine-tune to that degree.

I just checked and you can indeed do exactly this. There's multiple A.I custom options in the customizable difficulty, including a "Stealth" option, and "Enemies" option. You'd need to adjust the player difficulty too.

For stealth: 

  • Enemy's Perception through vision, hearing, and smell
  • Length of grace period before enemies will alert others
  • Conditions for grabbing enemies from stealth

For enemies: 

  • Accuracy of enemy gunfire and frequency of projectiles
  • Aggression of enemies advancing and flanking
  • Complexity of enemy melee combos
  • Movement speed of certain high-threat enemies
  • Custom tuning to specific combat encounters

For player: 

  • Amount of damage the player takes from enemies
  • Frequency of mid-encounter dynamic checkpoints

 

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Finished TLOU2 last Friday and I gotta say....I really liked it? I knew of the drama going in and I knew how utterly loathed the games story and writing were by the community at large but I REALLY didn't wanna have that color my perception of the game. I wanted it to stand on its own and I was quite satisfied with how it all played out.

I understand Ellie's actions and sympathized with them while not being okay with them. I understood Abby and why she did what she did but also the game made me  understand that she's human  and not the cold emotionless villian the game (and the internet) initially led me to believe. The big death scene at the start didn't really bother me because the character had it comming regardless of any amends he'd made afterwards.

Nothing really sticks out to me as major writing pit falls but very obviously I'm not the majority on that one and others have many criticsms for every major character. I just saw the story as less of a morality tale on why "revenge is bad" and more just..me seeing the lives of these people play out, and people can and will make bad choices especially in the situations they're presented with. I didn't feel manipulated because I didn't really project onto them, it's their journey not mine so to me I'm just an observer as opposed to something like Detroit Become Human where you actively influence the story 

OH and graphics, gameplay, set pieces etc etc were all good but that's a given 

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I am curious to know if there were any people who hated/despised the game pre-release, but ended up liking it. Or the opposite, those who supported/defended the game pre-release but ended up feeling betrayed by it. 

Kinda hard to search for that type of review.

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On 12/3/2016 at 10:56 PM, Jango said:

I wonder what the fireflies did to Ellie to make her seek revenge like this... Since this is 4 to 5 years later (she's was 14 during the first game), it's possible that she created new bonds. Unless...

  Reveal hidden contents

..the fireflies actually killed Joel, and she's just hallucinating o.O Especially because Joel doesn't look older (watch the trailer in 4K, his hair and beard do not look gray), so she's imagining her "ideal" version of him.

Don't quote me on this one in 2018!

Since I've been playing the game for a couple of days now, I'll start this by saying that...

I called Joel's death day 1. I mean... It was obvious that he was going to die early on to fuel Ellie's revenge quest. I called that from the first trailer, and it became more obvious with the following ones, because of course they wouldn't just kill off a new character like Dina or Jesse right from the go, and I don't think Ellie is thaaaaat attached to Tommy or Maria to justify going on an absolutely massacre to avenge them. It had to be Joel. At least the hallucination part didn't turn out true, that would've been lame I guess. I even asked one of my friends, who did got spoiled back then, if Joel's death was one of the leaked stuff, and he confirmed it. He didn't told me anything else, but he said that Joel's death wasn't the BIG leak. 

But anyways, this is a game all right. It plays fantastically. I love all the new shit you can craft, especially the new trap mine, which arguibly works almost exactly like the nail bomb from Part 1, but still. Everything works better here. Running, aiming, shooting, hiding, climbing. It's Part 1 refined to perfection. Zero complaints here. It's so good.

The same goes to the graphics. Easily the best the PS4 has to offer. No secrets here, tho', this is Naughty Dog after all. But if I had one complaint, it'd be the goddamn film grain filter on everything. It can be removed in photo mode, which just make stuff look even better, but you can't for the rest of the game, unfortunately. 

As for the elephant in the room, what do I think of the story? I HAVEN'T FINISHED the game yet, and I believe I must be halfway through. I just got to the part where Abby finds Ellie in the theater they were hiding and kills Jesse unceremoniously. The game then goes back again and we see Abby's side of the story. Of course she's the daughter of that doctor Joel killed. It wasn't told yet, but I'm pretty sure Nora is Marlene's daughter aswell. To be honest, I was expecting everyone to be related to someone Joel killed in the first game. Literally the first cutscene in the game paints Joel as the villain, it's not even subtle. Can't say I'm too disappointed for calling that too, but still... I don't know what else I was expecting...

The game tries to make you feel bad for all the murders that Ellie is commiting, but it gives you no better choice, just like you didn't had a choice but to kill at least one doctor in Part 1. I don't know what ND is trying to achieve here when it gives you no choices but to be a mindless serial killer, just like in any other action-adventure game, such as Uncharted. I was surprised to see that even during Nora's execution scene you had no choice besides killing her with the pipe. She was going to die anyways by the infection. I kept waiting for almost a minute to see if that scene would play differently, because I really didn't felt like killing Nora if she was done for anyways. But nope. Smack her head with the metal pipe, Ellie. For a game that was about "choices have consequences", so far it never really gives me any choice besides the one the game wants me to take. I'm a spectator, but this is a game. Nothing about the story in Part 2, so far, is revolutionary or all that different from Part 1. Characters acting like real people? There's plenty of that. These are easily the most realistic and natural characters in a video-game period, but I don't know why this should be so amazing anyways. 

Needless to say, I gotta finish this game before jumping into conclusions. I already know that I'll probably gonna be stuck with Abby untill her path and Ellie's inevitably converge again in the present.

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39 minutes ago, Jango said:

Since I've been playing the game for a couple of days now, I'll start this by saying that...

 

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Literally the first cutscene in the game paints Joel as the villain, it's not even subtle. Can't say I'm too disappointed for calling that too, but still... I don't know what else I was expecting...

 

Spoiler

Frankly, that's one of the biggest disservices, and one of the biggest misjudgements of why the first game's narrative was so excellently crafted. Even with Joel's decision at the end, it was never a situation where Joel was outright evil for what he did. It was very much a shade of grey scenario in which you are allowed to judge from everything else around the game if what he did was right or not.

You went through this whole journey with Joel and Ellie, seeing how utterly disastrous the world had truly become. I am someone who very much believes that everything in the original game served a purpose to lead up to that finale, and to let you decide on if Joel's decision was truly as evil as we thought.

On the bare concept - he's a villain. A vaccine would've saved humanity, but that's looking at the situation as absolutely simply as possible. That's the information you're given at the very start of the original - Ellie is immune, Ellie is the cure.

But the rest of the game gives you more and more context as you continue on to make you as world-weary, and the question presents itself - how feasible is a cure?

This is twenty years into the zombie outbreak, a world where law has all but fallen apart and disappeared, almost every city has been taken over by murderous groups of psychopaths who won't wish to return to the old way of life.

Even the Fireflies - despite their cited role as "saviours" as shown as far more villainous as the story goes on. Not only are they referred to as terrorists for their constant attacks on military zones that claim lives, but throughout the story, it becomes more clear just how absolutely inept they are as a group. 

The group that was originally meant to get Ellie out of the city was dead lone before you got there, at the university, one of their leading doctors gets himself infected because he was so fucking stupid that he released several monkeys that had been injected with the fungus disease in order to help test a vaccine, and later when you get to Salt Lake City, the Fireflies are shown as anything but the saviours they were shown as before.

When Joel and Ellie walk up to their doorsteps, their first immediate reaction to Joel preforming CPR is knocking him out. Alright - fair enough - there's a lot of dying swan acts in this world, as shown with the Bandit encounter earlier in the game, so you can make an argument that they could've believed it was an act. 

However, when Marlene confirms the situation, they were still ready to murder Joel for no good reason. The man who journeyed a full year in a zombie wasteland to bring them Ellie, and instead of the agreed upon guns and ammo they were meant to give him, they were going to immediately kill him. Hell, if it took Joel and Ellie a full year to venture from Boston to Salt Lake, how the hell did the fireflies even plan to distribute a vaccine? How were they planning to ensure the vaccine wasn't just stolen from them by a band of bandits? 

But then there's also the other things - like wishing to immediately murder Ellie on the very small off chance that her brain could be used for a vaccine - not even a full day after getting their hands on her. Not even bothering to ask for her consent or permission to go through with this, not even waking up her and allowing her to say goodbye to Joel, or have some time to live before going through with the operation. These total psychos immediately jump to murdering Ellie for her brain, in which a cure very possibly could've been destroyed from this action alone. 

It's these kind of things that made the original more nuanced, that made the narrative more interesting, and even more than that - a very interesting conversation piece. It gave us a scenario that makes Joel sound like an outright villain from a quick glance, but upon further inspection with all of the context, it shows both the failings of Joel, the failings of the Fireflies, and shows that neither side is particularly right. What the Fireflies want to do is admirable, but they also act out of sheer desperation, and without careful planning.

And it's also why TLoU2 is such a major disappointment in this aspect to me. They get rid of that shade of grey element, they remove that discussion piece from us, we never get closure or a climax to it. The game outright shows the Fireflies as being "in the right" at every single turn while vilifying Joel at every turn. Outside of three moments in the entire game, the Fireflies are shown to be a great heroic faction torn down by Joel, while Joel is shown to be a psycho who destroyed humanity, removing the shades of grey aspect altogether.

I don't even mind Joel dying for his actions in Salt Lake City, but TLoU2 showing it off as Joel being a total villain while the Fireflies are a great faction who definitely would've saved the world just doesn't work for me at all. It kind of shits on the original ending of TLoU.

 

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