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The Last of Us Part 2 - Now updated for PS5 for at 60fps


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Post-Day 3 spoilers

Spoiler

This feels a bit bizarre. I'm getting tutorial prompts about how to do things I already know, and now it's busting out ladders to move around. Let's party like it's 2013.

 

This really does feel like they were making two games at once or something. Or structurally, you had two stories run in parallel earlier maybe.

 

Abby's a nice alternative to Ellie, though. More friends, a Good Boy, some guns that haven't been dug out of a bin. The vertigo is a nice touch.

 

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6 minutes ago, Dirty Harry Potter said:

That’s by design. Keep going if you are even the slightest bit interested in bold creative choices.
 

And if you aren’t, fair enough, there will be another Ubisoft explorathon along in a minute.

Oof.

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I'm on perhaps the second part of the game, big changes. I still find the pacing a complete slog to be honest and the story just isn't that interesting compared to the first. It relies too much on shock and typical tropes compared to the masterful original. It's still really really good though, but I think it works better with more smaller encounters balanced with those largers ones to really make them feel fresh. The level design balance is all wrong. 

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2 minutes ago, nakamura said:

I'm on perhaps the second part of the game, big changes. I still find the pacing a complete slog to be honest and the story just isn't that interesting compared to the first. It relies too much on shock and typical tropes compared to the masterful original. It's still really really good though, but I think it works better with more smaller encounters balanced with those largers ones to really make them feel fresh. The level design balance is all wrong. 


I think it's definitely a more interesting and daring game than the first (as indicated by all the discourse), but I can't really go in to it too much without spoiling things. I recommend Noah Caldwell Gervais' incredibly lengthy comparison of both games after finishing it, as he does an excellent job of explaining what I'm talking about.

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11 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

The pacing of the game is masterfully done. I’d much rather it flowed from narrative / scavenging / encounters rather than being some Gears of War blast fest from front to back...

I'd say the pacing is actually off in a lot of places Vs the first game. It's not quite got that rhythm that keeps you going; it could do with a pruning here and there.

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5 minutes ago, nakamura said:

It doesn't need to be a blast fest, but so many encounters feel similar. Effectively open warfare with soldiers. The first game was so much more atmospheric and creepy, this is not scary at all. 


Where are you in the story? I think the second half in particular keeps mixing things up in terms of setting and it has horror beats that are creepier than anything in the first imo.

But even in the first half, things like 

Spoiler

that red tunnel area filled with Clickers, the first Scar encounter with their torches in that park at night, the warehouses filled with Stalkers, the trip to the museum with Joel, the arcade with that Bloater fight

 

are all really atmospheric I thought. It just seems to have far more environmental variety than the first, but the second half in particular really amps things up. It's the better half period in my opinion. Don't click until completed.
 

Spoiler

the skyscrapers, the escape from the Scars and being attacked by Stalkers at night, the rain, Ground Zero, the burning Scar village, but also the farm and Santa Barbara

 

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My two pence;

 

The Last of Us was my game of the last generation. People moaned about the oppressive, and depressing nature of the Joel Miller & Ellie dynamic next to the boom-bang-boom happy-go-lucky nature of Nathan Drake & Victor Sullivan.

 

I didn’t agree. Drake & Sully were created to be the quintessential Saturday morning action heroes, who have been lifelong friends, quipping & barely scraping their way through to the end of their adventures. Whereas Joel & Ellie were finding their feet in each other’s company  in a world that had literally gone very wrong. By the end of their first adventure they had become comfortable with each other, but both had reservations about their adventure coming to an end. That last conversation in TLOU is important because Ellie uses it as subconscious reasoning that she doesn’t matter, whereas Joel uses it as his subconscious justification for keeping his surrogate daughter alive. 

 

The Last of Us 2 is a technical marvel. From the second you boot it up, to the minute that New Game Plus title screen comes up, the game shows what is possible on 7 year old hardware, just as it’s series predecessor did.
 

The sonics in the game are beyond reproach, I have honestly never heard a greater use of directional sounds to make a player tense up when walking through an empty room.

 

The performances of the mocapped actors are once again stellar, Ashley Johnson & Laura Bailey really drive home the emotional weariness of these characters as the game progresses.

 

The games environment design & production is just sublime, taking the destroyed beauty of the first game, and ramping it up to eleventy.

 

However, the story itself is a complete mess IMO. I’m not going to make any massive spoilers, but suffice to say the the way they’ve laid out the events is a complete jumble, and for me I’d guess without the relevant impacts that Naughty Dog were hoping for. The issues they try to deal with are quite hamfistedly rammed into the narrative really, and could have been dealt with in a totally different way.
 

It was an intentional choice I know, but when things switch gear 15 hours in, it makes the back half of the game (another 15 hours) that much more of a chore. I was hoping for some moment of ‘Wow! So that’s why she’s ...’ but nope. 

 

I suppose the main gripe I have with the game though is the massive periods of isolation you get.
 

Through the whole of TLOU there was maybe 90 minutes of isolated play, but because of the construct of the game those minutes were spent avoiding being hunted, you were surviving. During the exploration side of things you were always accompanied. In this you spend literally hours by yourself. That, to me, is not what a Naughty Dog game is. They excel at the social interactions, good or bad, nice or nasty, it’s one of the things that for me makes their output shine above the rest.

 

There are glimpses of that, but out of the 30 hours, I reckon I spent, at most, about 5 hours or so with other characters, all of whom seem totally ancillary to both the plot and main leads.
 

As an aside there are so many characters that are in this just as storyline convenience, who you never get to really know or care about, and as such when things happen to them you just don’t actually care. 
 

But spending time with another character, even if they were MacGuffin and Co., were the best parts of this game. It fleshed things out, it makes the world seem real, it made initially reprehensible characters who have committed the ultimate evils, seem human and pitiful. It puts the very questionable things that they do into context for us, the player, to help relate to them. When this game puts you in situation where you’re idly chatting with a character about things that have happened it works so much better than when you’re lone wolfing through levels. 

 

My other gripe relates to the wholly unnecessary brutality of the game. In TLOU the most violent parts take place but rather than show the gratuitous nature of a lot of the actions taken, they take steps to cut away, or move the camera focus to somewhere else. TLOU2 seems to revel in the barbarism and quite frankly mindless brutality. 
 

Having finished TLOU on Grounded, there were ways that you could finish many of the sections without having to engage any human enemy, using stealthiness to get around them to collect what you needed for armaments to kill the Infected. 
 

In TLOU2 that is less possible, with the game preferring you to engage with all types of enemies to be able to get what you need to kill the Infected. And then when you have to engage & kill, the brutality & barbaric nature of what happens is disturbing IMO. And that’s on top of the way the factions in this deal with their enemies. It’s all a bit needless to see on screen, for me at least. I don’t need, nor want, to see someone begging for their life before being virtually hanged & disembowled, or someone being tortured whilst strapped to chair (the scene in the first game was too much as it was), and the cutscenes in this linger for some time while this is all happening.

 

I’ve no doubt Joel probably did some really terrible things in the 20 years after Outbreak, but I don’t need to see them. But when Ellie was stoving in David’s head, the camera moved away. We didn’t need to see what his skull looked like for 10 seconds afterwards when Joel found her.

 

Overall, TLOU2  was a major disappointment for me. It should have been THE defining PS4 game of the generation & set the bar not only for technical & production values, but also for storytelling.
 

Two out of three isn’t bad I guess but it’ll have to settle for sitting alongside Spider-Man, & God of War which all seemed to take their cue from the way Naughty Dog used companionship in their previous games as their touchstone to make good narratives great. I mean those games are good company to keep, but this should have been sat at the head of the table, deposing Uncharted 4.

 

 

 

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@Tetchy I don't agree with all there but you sum it up very well. I remember Strider from here and I had reservations about this game because we didn't need it. Flawed in places, the original was truly remarkable. 

This one isn't. It is in places, but it feels like it was made just because. 

 

This is the first game I ever bought digital also, and I don't regret it because I only borrowed the original back in the day before I owned it for a tenner. So I'm glad to pay for something. But LoU2 is great, but it's not a masterpiece. 

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19 minutes ago, Spacehost said:

I'd say the pacing is actually off in a lot of places Vs the first game. It's not quite got that rhythm that keeps you going; it could do with a pruning here and there.

 

I couldn't disagree with this more, especially on my second NG+ run through it. The structure of it is that much clearer without the road unfolding in front of you, and it's all be very meticulously done. It's a different pace to the original, but in no way inferior as it's telling a whole different story. 

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4 minutes ago, nakamura said:

@Tetchy I don't agree with all there but you sum it up very well. I remember Strider from here and I had reservations about this game because we didn't need it. Flawed in places, the original was truly remarkable. 

This one isn't. It is in places, but it feels like it was made just because. 

 

This is the first game I ever bought digital also, and I don't regret it because I only borrowed the original back in the day before I owned it for a tenner. So I'm glad to pay for something. But LoU2 is great, but it's not a masterpiece. 


I couldn't disagree more. I think it's better than the first in pretty much every way. More variety (from environments to set-pieces to enemies to puzzles), better gameplay and a more daring, interesting story that managed to shake a lot of rotten apples out of the gamer community tree. There's some really interesting analysis in the spoiler thread, but I think you should complete it first. :)

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8 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

I couldn't disagree with this more, especially on my second NG+ run through it. The structure of it is that much clearer without the road unfolding in front of you, and it's all be very meticulously done. It's a different pace to the original, but in no way inferior as it's telling a whole different story. 

At the macro scale it's fine, but there have definitely been instances where they weren't hitting the beat the same way they did in the first.

 

Spoiler

Doing the Stalker intro, then going outside for literally 30 seconds, then immediately back inside for more Stalkers is the obvious one. I think breaking that up with something might have worked better.

It's minor, but the first game was pretty impeachable pacing wise, so that's probably the only reason I've been picking up on it.

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29 minutes ago, Vemsie said:


I couldn't disagree more. I think it's better than the first in pretty much every way. More variety (from environments to set-pieces to enemies to puzzles), better gameplay and a more daring, interesting story that managed to shake a lot of rotten apples out of the gamer community tree. There's some really interesting analysis in the spoiler thread, but I think you should complete it first. :)


I have completed it and, unlike with TLOU  I feel no compunction to straight away go back through the game, if ever. 

 

The storyline which seems to have driven the Gamergaters wild, is of no issue to me. I was born, live & work in Brighton, so multiculturalism & gender diversity have been a constant in day to day life. 

 

My issue with the storyline is the way in which it’s being told. It’s inefficient and purely lazy writing, which given the effort of the technical production seems counterproductive to me.
 

At the core of the storyline you could have had a really tight 15-20 hour game, introducing all of these issues by way of the main characters. But they didn’t, they went for the more is more approach, and for me, that broke the core of TLOU, which was the relationship between characters.


Not just between Joel & Ellie, but between any of the characters. I literally couldn’t have cared less about Abby & any of her cronies, Or Jesse & Tommy, or even Dinah & Ellie or L and Y. To me, none of the relationships were founded well enough, so when bad things happened to them I didn’t care about it. 

 

I get that the game is meant to be about revenge, and then the traumatic guilt of dealing what you’ve done, but the way it was told doesn’t work for me. There are other ways to get that across in a story, and as well as include other relevant social commentary, which could be a lot better than the way this was told IMO.
 

Anyway, rather than derail things in this thread by running close to the spoiler edge line, I’ll digress to others still playing, and head over to the other thread for a peek at others opinions.

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4 hours ago, Tetchy said:


I

Spoiler

 

have completed it and, unlike with TLOU  I feel no compunction to straight away go back through the game, if ever. 

 

The storyline which seems to have driven the Gamergaters wild, is of no issue to me. I was born, live & work in Brighton, so multiculturalism & gender diversity have been a constant in day to day life. 

 

My issue with the storyline is the way in which it’s being told. It’s inefficient and purely lazy writing, which given the effort of the technical production seems counterproductive to me.
 

At the core of the storyline you could have had a really tight 15-20 hour game, introducing all of these issues by way of the main characters. But they didn’t, they went for the more is more approach, and for me, that broke the core of TLOU, which was the relationship between characters.


Not just between Joel & Ellie, but between any of the characters. I literally couldn’t have cared less about Abby & any of her cronies, Or Jesse & Tommy, or even Dinah & Ellie or L and Y. To me, none of the relationships were founded well enough, so when bad things happened to them I didn’t care about it. 

 

I get that the game is meant to be about revenge, and then the traumatic guilt of dealing what you’ve done, but the way it was told doesn’t work for me. There are other ways to get that across in a story, and as well as include other relevant social commentary, which could be a lot better than the way this was told IMO.
 

Anyway, rather than derail things in this thread by running close to the spoiler edge line, I’ll digress to others still playing, and head over to the other thread for a peek at others opinions.

 

 

It might not work for everyone but they’ve attempted something that’s never been done before and not really possible in other mediums.  How is it lazy? 

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3 minutes ago, Stanley said:

It might not work for everyone but they’ve attempted something that’s never been done before and not really possible in other mediums.  How is it lazy? 

Ditto. I think I'll have a lot of criticisms of the way the narrative has been handled when I finish it, but lack of ambition probably isn't one of them.

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Just now, Spacehost said:

Ditto. I think I'll have a lot of criticisms of the way the narrative has been handled when I finish it, but lack of ambition probably isn't one of them.

There was probably one instance where I thought the game might drag, but luckily it didn’t, they slowed the pace a little but then followed it with utter magnificence right until the end. 
 

I thought the story was bold but more importantly served the gameplay perfectly. I played it every night for a week - can’t remember the last time I felt that compelled to continue, probably BOTW, and I really missed it when it was over. Still think about it a lot :)

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1 hour ago, Stanley said:

It might not work for everyone but they’ve attempted something that’s never been done before and not really possible in other mediums.  How is it lazy? 

 

The ambition is not in question, but even lazy people can have grand ambitions, but it’s whether the effort pays off.
 

For me, this did not.


It’s wholly reliant on blinds & double bluffs. You’re the good guy because a tragic event happens which propels you on a crash course with an antagonist but wait, are they the bad guy because look at this flashback and what you’re doing now. Now let’s repeat that for character B. Oh my, isn’t this a world of blurred lines & compromise that you probably didn’t realise was possible!


It’s lazy storytelling IMO, poorly paced and there is a more engaging, efficient, and frankly better, way of telling this story.

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My biggest criticism is how on the higher difficulties the combat becomes more of a puzzle (just like in the original). I get very little enjoyment out encountering tough and intelligent enemies when I have little more than 1 Molotov cocktail, 3 shotgun shells and 1 arrow. Far too often I found myself restarting an encounter because I missed a shot, or just simply not bothering at all and just figure out the fastest way out of there.

 

In NG+ you can choose Custom difficulty. I've set enemies to the highest difficulty and resources to plenty. Now I'm having fun setting traps, causing distractions and all that.

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1 hour ago, Tetchy said:

 

The ambition is not in question, but even lazy people can have grand ambitions, but it’s whether the effort pays off.
 

For me, this did not.

Spoiler

It’s wholly reliant on blinds & double bluffs. You’re the good guy because a tragic event happens which propels you on a crash course with an antagonist but wait, are they the bad guy because look at this flashback and what you’re doing now. Now let’s repeat that for character B. Oh my, isn’t this a world of blurred lines & compromise that you probably didn’t realise was possible!


It’s lazy storytelling IMO, poorly paced and there is a more engaging, efficient, and frankly better, way of telling this story.

Thing is, the whole

Spoiler

"I'm doing bad things"

angle is so absolutely stunningly obvious from the get go that I don't think it's trying to be clever-clever about it. Again, not finished yet though (20 fucking hours in! Hire an editor Druckmann, we're not paying by the hour).

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It's certainly ambitious but I don't think it's a narrative slam dunk. Some character beats are super hamfisted, and I share some scepticism with the lumpy structure. Fair enough it's a 25 hour game, not a film or a TV show, but that doesn't mean you can throw out the rulebook when it comes to pacing and structure.

 

I still loved it, but more for its qualities as a game, in contrast to the original. I don't think it ever quite got to the point of justifying its own existence in narrative terms, for me personally. It doesn't feel like a story that was yearning to be told, rather one that they came up with because commercially everyone expected it.

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I'm quite far in and honestly I'm loving the narrative. Maybe lateish game spoilers follow? Don't read if you haven't finished the game:

 

I love swapping to Abby and discovering her motivation and I'm finding her character far more sympathetic than Ellie's

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29 minutes ago, Stanley said:

There was probably one instance where I thought the game might drag, but luckily it didn’t, they slowed the pace a little but then followed it with utter magnificence right until the end.

 

Please tell me this is immediately after Day 3...

Spoiler

I thought this game was in masterpiece territory, but having done the first few sections with Abi it's beginning to feel like it's dragging. I'm still enjoying the action, but there's a nagging feeling of starting again with a new character, which isn't sitting right with me. I think playing as Abi is a great idea, but I expected it to be a short section of the game. I can't shake the feeling of wanting to get back to that last scene with Ellie, but it feels like a bit of that tension is being lost with how long this bit is. 

 

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4 minutes ago, df0 said:

@Tetchy

Careful with spoilers please. There's a spoiler thread for that type of detailed discussion.

Hmm, don’t think there is anything on there which could even remotely count as spoiler, just an indication of my feelings in response to Stanley.

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On 02/07/2020 at 12:07, Kevvy Metal said:

Friendly AI running around was a bit jarring in the first game, but it's so, so much better in this one. They stay behind you for the most part. They also never, ever alert the enemies, and are far more helpful in this one. 

Weird thing - I played through the whole game and don't think I ever saw an ally alert the enemy. Then I played one early part again in NG+ and D got seen and chased by clickers when I was on the other side of the room. She jumped back up to where we'd entered the area and they lost interest. No idea what triggered that.

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