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


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I've been playing through this again lately due to the patch, and it's a real marvel which works better on a second playthrough on a higher difficulty, though has a few failings.

 

There's something noticeably different about

Spoiler

Abby's

sections, to the point that they feel like they were made by a different team. The environments and gameplay simultaneously haven't moved on as much from TLOU as Ellie's sections, chock full of ladder puzzles and whatnot, but the action is ramped up quite a bit. It keeps throwing the player into a closed box full of enemies and not giving you as much to work with. The level design seems less complex and interesting besides a few key story environments. Almost like

Spoiler

Abby's

section was made first, then Ellie's section. Ellie's final section suffers from this too - it's comparatively bland and feels a bit too much like Uncharted. Some tightening up in the edit room to remove the last couple of hours while still hitting all the main themes and plot points would have been ideal.

I think they really chickened out by not making the choice to

 

Spoiler

kill Abby a real player choice. They lay this brilliant challenge for the player and themselves - can they lead you to overcome the perception that Ellie is the good guy and Abby is the bad guy? What makes Joel any different from the hundreds of random people you kill throughout TLOU1 and 2? He's just another dirtbag. Even Tess says "we're shitty people Joel!" right at the start of TLOU1, and she's not wrong. If Joel has value despite everything he's done then surely everyone else does too, or the potential for it. Either that or nobody does and live isn't worth living. That's the choice you're making when you're drowning Abby at the end. To Ellie she's a bad person who deserves to die, but to the player she's something else, or has the potential to be depending on the empathy of the player. It's a question of duelling perspectives, Abby and Ellie, the player and Abby, and the player and Ellie.

 

The point is that simple narratives and assumptions of perspective, along with casual dehumanisation of others will create negative cycles which reverberate continuously to the detriment of all. It's not about revenge being bad or forgiveness being good. It's about complexity of perspective being vital. They laid every little cobblestone to challenge the player toward that realisation by testing their conception of both Ellie and Abby in opposing directions, and then made the decision for them. The game repeatedly plays with the uncomfortable relationship between player and protagonist to brilliant effect, at least in my mind, and the tension in that moment culminates from 30 hours of play and careful work. It's a real shame they didn't follow through. I have to conclude they wanted a canon ending for future instalments or they didn't trust the player or themselves enough. 

 

There's a scene at the end of one of the God Of War games, I forget which, where you're pummelling Zeus (I think) as the screen slowly goes red. Nothing tells you to stop, the screen simply goes red forever until you stop smashing the pummel button. I was hammering the button for ages before I realised the fight was over and I'd won. It's a great moment and I wish they'd inverted it for the fight at the end of this - I deeply wanted the fight to end and I had no way to end it. Multiple times I tried to stop engaging with the onscreen prompts only to get a kill screen and have to repeat the sequence, which robbed it of some power. That should have been the big moment everything was leading to, that the player can stop the fight at any time, they just have to want to.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Moz said:

 

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kill Abby a real player choice.

 

That would have been very interesting. If expensive. And also it means the sequel has to make the choice for the audience? Unless they just never mention that character again.

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16 minutes ago, Moz said:

 

 

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I've been playing through this again lately due to the patch, and it's a real marvel which works better on a second playthrough on a higher difficulty, though has a few failings.

 

There's something noticeably different about Abby's sections, to the point that they feel like they were made by a different team. The environments and gameplay simultaneously haven't moved on as much from TLOU as Ellie's sections, chock full of ladder puzzles and whatnot, but the action is ramped up quite a bit. It keeps throwing the player into a closed box full of enemies and not giving you as much to work with. The level design seems less complex and interesting besides a few key story environments. Almost like Abby's section was made first, then Ellie's section. Ellie's final section suffers from this too - it's comparatively bland and feels a bit too much like Uncharted. Some tightening up in the edit room to remove the last couple of hours while still hitting all the main themes and plot points would have been ideal.

I think they really chickened out by not making the choice to kill Abby a real player choice. They lay this brilliant challenge for the player and themselves - can they lead you to overcome the perception that Ellie is the good guy and Abby is the bad guy? What makes Joel any different from the hundreds of random people you kill throughout TLOU1 and 2? He's just another dirtbag. Even Tess says "we're shitty people Joel!" right at the start of TLOU1, and she's not wrong. If Joel has value despite everything he's done then surely everyone else does too, or the potential for it. Either that or nobody does and live isn't worth living. That's the choice you're making when you're drowning Abby at the end. To Ellie she's a bad person who deserves to die, but to the player she's something else, or has the potential to be depending on the empathy of the player. It's a question of duelling perspectives, Abby and Ellie, the player and Abby, and the player and Ellie.

 

The point is that simple narratives and assumptions of perspective, along with casual dehumanisation of others will create negative cycles which reverberate continuously to the detriment of all. They laid every little cobblestone brilliantly to challenge the player toward that realisation and make that decision by testing their conception of both Ellie and Abby in opposing directions, and then made the decision for them. The game repeatedly plays with the uncomfortable relationship between player and protagonist to brilliant effect, at least in my mind, and the tension in that moment culminates from 30 hours of play and careful work. It's a real shame they didn't follow through. I have to conclude they wanted a canon ending for future instalments or they didn't trust the player or themselves enough. 

 

There's a scene at the end of one of the God Of War games, I forget which, where you're pummelling Zeus (I think) as the screen slowly goes red. Nothing tells you to stop, the screen simply goes red forever until you stop smashing the pummel button. I was hammering the button for ages before I realised the fight was over and I'd won. It's a great moment and I wish they'd inverted it for the fight at the end of this - I deeply wanted the fight to end and I had no way to end it. Multiple times I tried to stop engaging with the onscreen prompts only to get a kill screen and have to repeat the sequence, which robbed it of some power. That should have been the big moment everything was leading to, that the player can stop the fight at any time, they just have to want to.

 

 

I completely agree with all of this but are we still spoilering the 

Spoiler

Abby side of things? It's a fair chunk into the game and people are grabbing/starting it now. 

 

I also think Abby's weapon load out leads to much less chance for experimentation in the combat situations. I thought it was a real shame that they tweaked her weapons to make her less efficient stealth wise. I get why, it's a clever little difference of personality being mirrored in gameplay but it also meant that in terms of pure enjoyment I liked the first half of the game much more than the second. 

 

And yeah, none of the later "boss battles" between the two characters ever sat right with me. I never wanted to kill Ellie whilst playing as Abby but you still have to go through the motions because the game has a point it wants to hammer home. I think I sided with Abby overall by the end of the game but i'd got the "revenge never solves anything" idea by that point and still understood a lot of Ellie's motivations. It was murky, grey, but the game still made you go through it as a black and white thing that soured it for me. 

 

As you say, having the player impact the ending might make continuing the The Last of Us franchise harder but would have meant a lot more to me as a player in it. 

 

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Spoiler

I really like the first one because it pushes you further away from Ellie as golden girl protagonist and makes you empathise with Abby more. There's a reason Ellie's annoying as hell to fight.

 

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34 minutes ago, BitterToad said:

I completely agree with all of this but are we still spoilering the 

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Abby side of things? It's a fair chunk into the game and people are grabbing/starting it now. 

 

I also think Abby's weapon load out leads to much less chance for experimentation in the combat situations. I thought it was a real shame that they tweaked her weapons to make her less efficient stealth wise. I get why, it's a clever little difference of personality being mirrored in gameplay but it also meant that in terms of pure enjoyment I liked the first half of the game much more than the second. 

 

And yeah, none of the later "boss battles" between the two characters ever sat right with me. I never wanted to kill Ellie whilst playing as Abby but you still have to go through the motions because the game has a point it wants to hammer home. I think I sided with Abby overall by the end of the game but i'd got the "revenge never solves anything" idea by that point and still understood a lot of Ellie's motivations. It was murky, grey, but the game still made you go through it as a black and white thing that soured it for me. 

 

As you say, having the player impact the ending might make continuing the The Last of Us franchise harder but would have meant a lot more to me as a player in it. 

 

 

I've not finished it yet so yes please, whatever it is!

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I went back and corrected it a bit :)

 

Yeah I got heavily spoiled on it before it came out, I can't say it spoiled my enjoyment much given that most of the "mega spoilers" which leaked early happen quite early in the game. But still, going in completely blind would have been preferable.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I’m near the end if this now I think. Saying that, it’s got more false finishes than a TNA X division match. 

Brief thoughts, I can’t stand Ellie, I’m not sure if that’s meant to happen, but she’s dreadful. 

 

Spoiler

Abby… 

… I like. I’m on her side, is that the point? 

 

Spoiler

The “controversy” surrounding her is ridiculous. I’m sure it’s been touched on in this thread, but the stuff I’ve read elsewhere describing the situation is mad. She’s a cool cat, and way more interesting than Ellie, or what Ellie has become.

 

Overall it’s too long, and extremely samey, because of it. I’m not sure how many more people I want to save, only for me to tell them to “wait here, while I go and get munched”. 
The gunplay is horrible, but the sneaky stuff is great. 
the messing about with timelines, works for converging the stories, but does flit a little too much at times. For instance there’s a bloke who apologises to Ellie at the start…

 

Spoiler

You don’t find out what for, for another 20 odd hours during the 13th epilogue…

… by which time I’d forgotten, and didn’t really care tbh. 
 

I sound overly critical, I have enjoyed my time with it. I’m hoping to get through the last 3 or 4 endings this evening to finish it off and maybe it’ll all come together. 

One thing I’d like from the next one is more monsters. I play zombie games for monsters. The Clicker has gone from being terrifying to being simply a tiny bit bothersome. A character like that deserves better. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went into this completely blind and haven't even read anything since completing it last night. I'm sure these comments will feel naive and repeat a lot of what's already been said, but here goes.

 

The only thing I'd vaguely heard was that there was a 'controversy'. Playing through it I was struggling to find what was so controversial. On the back of the Incel stuff (post The Last Jedi) I can only assume this major controversy has to do with Naughty Dog concentrating on female leads, and gay ones at that. If this is the case then there's nothing to add except a shrug and to move on. Idiots.

 

Presentationally this is some next level stuff. Stunning. The glass. The animations. The lighting. The visceral gore. The sound. The feeling of being *there*.

 

But purely in *game* terms I felt the pacing was off. The first half of the game took too long to get going and just when the combat started to get interesting and tactical that thing happened.

 

The second half reset and while there were, pound for pound, more encounters I wasn't quite as invested because 

Spoiler

Abby. I preferred Ellie as a character.

 

 

I found the epilogue a slog. This game really didn't know when to end. It felt like the narrative became so important they forgot about pacing. It was very stop start and it spoiled the overall experience for me. The pacing was much better in the original game (I played it again leading up to this so it is fresh in the mind).

 

Narratively this was excellent. No spoilers here but it sets a new benchmark for storytelling in games. There are still issues, pacing aside, but those are for the spoiler thread.

 

I played this on Hard but apart from a couple of spikes it was never as hard or terrifying as that first game. The only exception to this was the dogs which were bloody brilliant. But again, just as I was enjoying those encounters they disappeared.

 

I think this was the biggest disappointment, a feeling that some of the gameplay and encounters were reigned in to allow the narrative to breathe, but I just wanted to play with all the toys once I'd gotten them.

 

Overall this was something I never could have imagined when I first booted up my Atari VCS back in the 80s. Well done Naughty Dog. (But I preferred the breezy fun of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End).

 

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I thought the controversy all came from

 

Spoiler

Joel being murdered in the most brutal fashion and one of the main characters being replaced with a completely different character.

If you watch streamers play that section almost every single one will want to instantly kill Abbey, not play her as a character. You know why they are making you play her as a character, they are going to show you why she did what she did but what she did was so horrendous and violent in many peoples eyes she can never be redeemed.

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1 hour ago, Mawdlin said:

I found the epilogue a slog. This game really didn't know when to end. It felt like the narrative became so important they forgot about pacing. It was very stop start and it spoiled the overall experience for me. The pacing was much better in the original game (I played it again leading up to this so it is fresh in the mind).

 

I completely agree with your points on the pacing.  I think the epilogue would have sat better if it was released later as a separate DLC (for free obvs).

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I find it incredible that a portion of the fanbase were so upset by Naughty Dog

Spoiler

killing off a major character. They're still upset by it now; I was watching some mediocre "22 Amazing Details You Missed in LoU2" video on Youtube, and there were recent comments like: "Have you included the detail that Naughty Dog lied to their fanbase by swapping out Joel's character model in early trailers for a younger one to deceive people into thinking he was still in the game? Is that the kind of detail you're going to include, or are you just going to stick to the narrative like a good little drone?"

 

I could maybe get it if the series was a kind of fun romp, but it's a violent, bleak, often gruelling story, and it's not like the first game pulled back from killing off characters you'd grown to like. It's like these people want a dark, grim game, but also don't want anything bad to happen to the protagonists. 

 

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The epilogue is one of my favourite bits of any game, ever. I know it's a long old game, but I felt that it got better and better as it went on. As it appeared to be drawing to a close, I just wanted to see more of the characters and what happened to them. And I did!

 

Spoiler

I never quite believed in Ellie's motivation or capabilities in the first part of the story, but when she returns for the last bit, I was all in. Having endured the the first half of the game, I was totally invested in that last section. And from a gameplay perspective, it's one of the best third-person action experiences ever. I didn't actually like the deliberate dissonance of the first half - I preferred the simpler setup of the epilogue - it just made for a more fun game. Here are some total cunts, go play as this fucked up, nothing-to-lose heroine and kill them all.

 

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The end for me was 

Spoiler

Joel on the porch. It was a delicate, touching and melancholic moment. I was expecting lights out and it would have been perfect. But let's face it, after Seattle the game went into full Return of the King mode and just went on and on and on.

 

I have to agree with @Gigawatt, the epilogue as a free DLC or even option back on the main menu would have been better emotionally. I think even if I'd have left it a couple of weeks I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

 

Spoiler

The final battle in Santa Barbara was superb but I was done in.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 07/06/2021 at 10:23, Len said:

 

I've not finished it yet so yes please, whatever it is!

 

I finally went back to it last week and after a bit of wtf is going on I'm now back up to speed and trundling along.

 

Sheesh, the descent and ground zero which I'm right at the end of now are...astonishing/terrifying/oh god remember to breathe amazing. Tense is not the word. Really enjoying it again and have taken to playing a couple of hours here and there during the day as too bleak in the evenings. I will finish this soon, I promise!

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Yeah, I'm a good few hours in and really not finding much to gripe about. Finished Hillcrest and the section after last night - Hillcrest started off really well but I felt towards the end it just wanted me to go loud rather than stay stealthy and that felt a bit cheap. Heading off to a hospital next  - how far in would you say that is?

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To say the least!

 

I am finally nearing the end I think. Just got back from the

Spoiler

Island

(and stopped before I re-entered the

Spoiler

Aquarium

), jesus christ. Just when you think it cant get any more gruesome'. That last fight, sheesh. 😳

 

Amazing stuff (the game not the fight, that was grim).

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