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The Last of Us Part 2


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40 minutes ago, Stanshall said:

It's a game which uses violence as a cathartic reward but eventually exhausts you with it, deliberately. 


This is what I was trying to say, but much more well worded. 

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9 minutes ago, Popo said:

@panda_t pos’d for such an eloquent and soundly argued post. I don’t agree with any of 
 

There’s only one thing I want to add, and it’s repeating myself from way back, but in my opinion the player collusion in gross acts of violence in the name of revenge, and your

(and my) reaction to it, which you described, is exactly what the game was trying to achieve. 

 

I totally agree with this. I don't feel it's inherently a fault when a game doesn't present you with a choice. 

 

Noah Gervais gave a good assessment of the player's role within TLOU (and Uncharted) games as an actor, rather than an independent decision maker. That's a strength of their games and a fundamental tenet of their approach - although I totally accept that acting a prescribed part is not what a lot of people want from games. 

 

Edited in the quote from your previous post. 

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9 hours ago, Thor said:

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Haha :lol: I know it's a pretentious thing to say on a game forum but what I mean is - it's an incredibly famous play and it's 400 years old, and it's all about the morality of revenge/justice/mercy so if you're were making something on the topic today you should at least know it (it's like LOU2 re-runs the basic plot set-up and stops before the nuance/complexity/thought)

 

One other thing I think is relevant is what they make fun - they're amazing at making stealth/shooty bits enjoyable, so the player naturally wants those bits to continue (and loads of the systems are built for it), but they're much less experienced at making non-shooty bits enjoyable - I don't think you can imagine a whole game of the characters peacefully living their lives being something you'd want to play. So there's a tacit understanding of what we're here for and the choice of pursue revenge/live is actually 'play fun game'/'..walking simulator?'

 

1 hour ago, Popo said:

@panda_t pos’d for such an eloquent and soundly argued post. I don’t agree with any of it, but it’s all very well reasoned and argued. 
 

There’s only one thing I want to add, and it’s repeating myself from way back, but in my opinion the player collusion in gross acts of violence in the name of revenge, and your

(and my) reaction to it, which you described, is exactly what the game was trying to achieve. It’s no coincidence that we and (hopefully) everyone else who plays the game feel downright rotten by the end because that’s the intended aim - provoking that gut response and generating not an understanding that revenge is bad but a strong emotional response is a brilliant use of the nature of games and something you can’t achieve in, say, a movie in the same way. That, to me, is what sets it apart from being just another well trodden revenge story and gives it some real merit. 

Thanks - see, I don't think the game does do this better than other media - I think radio documentaries on growing up during the troubles were better than this. I think other media can/do make me feel disgusted by cycles of revenge. I also didn't feel fine with revenge at the start - it didn't gradually dawn on me it was bad, I'm used to it being used as a paper-thin justification for stuff in games (murdered loved one used to justify game action) and I didn't/don't feel any catharsis/pleasure when anyone got battered (beyond the little normal game-related 'I completed that bit' pleasure). I don't feel any differently about revenge at the end of it than I did at the start

 

1 hour ago, Stanshall said:

@panda_t

 

I agree with a lot of the points you raised, not least about the dialogue and grimness-serves-gameplay approach, but I do think it's impossible to fairly analyse the intentions or relative success of a narrative without having seen/experienced the entire narrative. A number of the points about it being one-note aren't true when you see how a range of characters cope with loss in different ways -

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not least the two major protagonists. And in fact, that divergence is directly at the heart of the game

 

I understand that from what you played, you could come to that conclusion, though. I'm not dismissing your observations or analysis of what you've played, many of which I agree with. 

 Yeah, since my post I've heard about the ending section and it does change things a bit. It's like the whole game has this miserable dramatic irony where we know the player's choices are bad but they don't, and the ending just makes them realise it. This is speculation because I've not played it but they'd have to be an idiot not to notice revenge having bad effects with

Spoiler

the pregnant lady being dead

and so on?

 

1 hour ago, Stanshall said:

I also know that your understanding of 'what they want the player to feel' is at odds with what the devs themselves have said. Joel is a monster 

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and he deserved it. On a replay, I could also understand the level of violence from Abby even if I didn't necessarily need to see it. 

Ah, I'm glad they think that overall - they definitely definitely want you to feel conflicted about him though, the whole dinosaur and space parts are only there to humanise him and have his relationship with Ellie seem warm and loving.

 

1 hour ago, Stanshall said:

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who feel differently to me, you, some devs because of their view of the character. I wonder how much of that audience group also 

 

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struggled to build empathy with Abby and went apeshit that their revenge got blue balled 

I agree, some reaction to it is people who want Joel as a straightforward hero and are frustrated it's not that (I don't really care about what those people think though)

 

1 hour ago, Stanshall said:
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the character switch, I groaned as I realised what

I've read plenty of comments that it's a game which primarily wants to hammer home the trite observation that 'revenge is bad' or 'violence begets violence', and I think that's reductive. It's a game which uses violence as a cathartic reward but eventually exhausts you with it, deliberately. 
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the role reversal, broad parallel strokes, Eliie boss

Anyway, scattered thoughts because I'm waiting for a train! Cheers for your take on it, some interesting points. 

Sorry, I can't work out how to do the formatting neatly on this, but (for me, and maybe this is why I feel differently about it to others) I didn't ever feel revenge as a cathartic reward in it. The gamey bits have gamey pleasures - like in the resident evil bit in the hospital, you feel threatened because it's very enclosed and dark and then when you kill the big monster you feel relief - but there's no revenge element in the pleasure of killing it, it hasn't done anything to you beyond a standard jump scare, it's just normal game-section-completed enjoyment. And loads of bits are like that (e.g. the whole Lev section in the infested building). So I do think it's just hammering home that idea.

 

1 hour ago, Stanshall said:

 

I totally agree with this. I don't feel it's inherently a fault when a game doesn't present you with a choice.

 

I agree with you, (and sometimes games slightly trolling the player by cheekily forcing them into things they don't want to do can be enjoyable or interesting) but I also think that in this case it doesn't work because they've got nothing for the player who thinks 'this is a bad decision, I don't want to do it', is forced to do it, and then watches obvious and predictable bad consequences unfold. Part of the grimness is expecting it, knowing it's coming and then having to sit through the horrible work of really skilled artists and animators who've spent a long time and lots of resources on making it a horrible experience. When Ellie was starting out pursuing Abby I just felt this enervating sense of 'I don't really want her to get there but there's no game without going towards that'

 

Cheers for the discussion, it's interesting to hear thoughts from people who rate it.

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Just now, panda_t said:

Haha :lol: I know it's a pretentious thing to say on a game forum

:D Glad you took that how it was meant. Your post is excellent, but when you invoked Shakespeare this was me:

 

ImpossiblePresentDragon-size_restricted.gif

 

It's good to have the debate though. :)

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Play it till the credits roll man you're like 5 minutes from the end. I'm sure you'd feel pretty annoyed if one of your students stopped reading macbeth with 5 pages to go because they got it all figured out ^_^

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@panda_t yes, I think if you don’t have strong, positive feelings about Joel and his relationship with Ellie, forged in the fires of the first game, and don’t go on the emotional journey that Naughty Dog want to take you on... I can see how it could all feel like an exercise in futility. 
 

I loved Joel and Ellie - I even loved Abby by the end, and I started off hating her. I had 3 or 4 moments through the game where bad stuff happened to characters and it caused me to wince with regret, because I was really invested in the characters. 
 

I also understand why one might think badly of Joel because of the incredibly harmful and selfish choice he made, but to me that awful act by a weak man desperate not to have to feel the sorrow of losing his daughter all over again made him all the more lovable, relatable (to a point!) and human.  I’m welling up slightly just thinking about the daft old bastard even now, but it was totally heartbreaking to watch him have to live with the consequences of his choice and how, in the end, it alienated Ellie from him; to the point where, by the beginning of Part 2, their relationship was clearly damaged and he was hurting from it.
 

Spoiler

Also because it was obvious from the get-go what Naughty Dog were going to do to him!

 

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45 minutes ago, Popo said:

@panda_t yes, I think if you don’t have strong, positive feelings about Joel and his relationship with Ellie, forged in the fires of the first game, and don’t go on the emotional journey that Naughty Dog want to take you on... I can see how it could all feel like an exercise in futility. 

 

Might put this into spoilers. I know the game is over 2 months old but the story might best discussed in the story thread.

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12 hours ago, Down by Law said:

Play it till the credits roll man you're like 5 minutes from the end. I'm sure you'd feel pretty annoyed if one of your students stopped reading macbeth with 5 pages to go because they got it all figured out ^_^


Reminded me of Joey reading Little Women.

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“Revenge is bad” is absolutely not the message of this game. Though it is the meme constantly repeated to death by “those” people. 

 

A big part of the game is examining the little-understood identification between player and character. You’re not given a choice in various moments because you’re not Ellie and these are her choices. That’s precisely the point - people you thought you knew and understood will disappoint or disgust you (or the opposite).

 

It’s an idea which builds upon the moment from the first game where Joel encounters the doctor and the player is forced to play out his decision and confront their understanding of him and the unease this provokes. It feels like a betrayal. The lack of player choice in these moments is not a limitation of tech, storytelling or imagination, it’s a limitation of the character. It’s somewhat unfashionable after a decade of Mass Effect style “Genocide Y/N” moral choices so it doesn’t sit right with many people, but I thought that was the point. 
 

Good post though, an enjoyable read. Nice to hear other opinions which are well constructed and thoughtful.

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@panda_t I’ve seen the argument about player choice being mentioned with these games a lot and I simply don’t agree. This is someone’s else’s story and you are playing through it, as it happens with most single player games out there with the exception of rpgs or specifically narrative games which are designed around choice. Also, the idea of using reality as an approach to gameplay design (“why is there petrol or ammo around”) makes no sense because this is a game. All games do that leap in various ways. The Last of Us games are way more successful than other games in convincing you that the things you find could really be there imo.

 

From your post it sounds like you simply didn’t like the graphic violence or the characters and general story, so I understand how the game didn’t connect with you or why you may think that the story is about revenge. But to be more specific and more clear, when you talk about player choice, you would like all single player games with stories to have player choice or are you simply talking about specific bits, like Ellie doing something by the press of a button? Would you like these to be cutscenes or have the ability to do something else? 

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Ok I have done a bit more searching basically don’t play via manual loads always continue the game because manual loads will not show everything you have collected not sure why? Bug.

 

I’m going to go back and replay the section I have just done to collect small gun holster.

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Did I mention that this is probably one of the best games I've ever played? I just love it. From the start to the looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to the end.

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Anyone playing with the recent modifiers?

 

I'm playing new game+ and I've turned on infinite crafting and ammo then slo-mo when aiming as well plus auto pick up.

 

It's a totally different ball game not really caring about ammo or supplies. Just going steaming in with explosive arrows and shotguns left right and centre.

 

Only played as Ellie so far and she's a goddamn tank. It's so much fun.

 

The slo-mo is great, deliberately letting enemies get close up and then blasting them with a shotgun and the slowly go flying. Like a John Woo movie.

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Decided to replay the park level after completing the game during release week.

 

Anyway, I could select any chapter I wanted but now after briefly starting that I can now only select chapters up to that point, not after. Am I doing something wrong?

 

 

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On 16/08/2020 at 00:49, Moz said:

It’s an idea which builds upon the moment from the first game where Joel encounters the doctor and the player is forced to play out his decision and confront their understanding of him and the unease this provokes. It feels like a betrayal. The lack of player choice in these moments is not a limitation of tech, storytelling or imagination, it’s a limitation of the character. It’s somewhat unfashionable after a decade of Mass Effect style “Genocide Y/N” moral choices so it doesn’t sit right with many people, but I thought that was the point.

I think there are two things here - one of which I agree with you on, and one I don't. Definitely some criticism/backlash is people used to games being constructed to make you feel powerful and heroic, to the extent of saving the world/universe, and the shock of playing someone not heroic like that is a shock to their fragile egos and they react negatively. But where I disagree is that some of the stuff the characters do isn't an expression of the themes in a meaningful or inevitable way, it's arbitary and transparently just a decision of the writers. So Joel taking Ellie out of the hospital from selfishness I completely accept as something meaningful and character-based, and 'how does our selfish love weigh against the wider good?' is an interesting question that's worth making games about. But that game forcing you to murder a surgeon for no reason, *even when the gameplay situation you're given control of makes it obviously unnecessary* is ridiculous. That bit being set up for your character to have to sort of hang about in a room full of people panicking until you press a button that stabs an obviously innocent medical professional who's trying to help in the neck is just rubbish.

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23 minutes ago, panda_t said:

But that game forcing you to murder a surgeon for no reason, *even when the gameplay situation you're given control of makes it obviously unnecessary* is ridiculous. That bit being set up for your character to have to sort of hang about in a room full of people panicking until you press a button that stabs an obviously innocent medical professional who's trying to help in the neck is just rubbish.

Agreed. It's the worst part of the entire first game. That should have been a cut scene. It's something I really a had a problem with at launch, but have learned to live with it on replays. 

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4 hours ago, Strafe said:

Decided to replay the park level after completing the game during release week.

 

Anyway, I could select any chapter I wanted but now after briefly starting that I can now only select chapters up to that point, not after. Am I doing something wrong?

 

 


You should have access to a COMPLETED save file, unless you've overwritten it.

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