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“SPOILER THREAD” - The Last Of Us Part 2


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The part I'm struggling with on the depiction of violence is how NG could have done it differently without losing something in the process? The graphical nature of it is essential not only to establish how far this world and by extension humanity has fallen as a result of the infection, but to also show us (the player) what it takes to survive in a world like this. There is no doubt its also about NG showing just how talented they are at creating visuals that blur the lines between 'gameplay' and the players expectation of that action in reality, but in a game where your primary objective is to kill or be killed I'm struggling to understand how they could have done it any other way.

 

Arguably, the most potentially violent scenes are cut aways or we dont get to see it, eg. Joel getting tortured, Joel's final head shot, Ellie smashing Nora (we see it from Nora's perspective), so the moments where NG could have potentially taken it too far are where I feel they show restraint and in doing so stop themselves from moving into gratuitous / glorifying territory.

 

I can't think of a single thing in the game that exaggerates what I would expect to happen if I was to really do the things Ellie and Abby do. If I was to hit someone with a manually crafted explosive arrow from 10 yards away I would expect them to disappear in a cloud of red smoke and left over flesh. So criticising NG for their ability to make violent actions feel real and as a result quite disturbing doesn't seem fair.

 

Maybe criticism isn't what is being leveled at them here, but the most important question for people who are not happy with the level of violence... is that specific to this game or a general feeling toward how violent actions and outcomes are depicted in games?

 

 

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I don't think you can make a fun action videogame about violence without having your cake and eating it. You can do it on film, but not something that you 'play'.

 

TLOU2 reminds me most of Rambo 4 - the ultraviolent one in Burma. An action film so viscerally violent in makes you confront the very nature of violence. It's undeniably exploitative, but also quite thought-provoking in its extreme carnage. 

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The only violence in this game that I really winced at is what we also saw in the reveal trailer way back: "Clip her wings."

 

For me, that's the only time the game ventured into what some others have described as pornographic violence.

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It's the most violent game I've played and has some really disturbing stuff in, but I won't deny there were plenty of times were I thought "woooo, that was cool!" when I saw someone's arm fly off after a shotgun blast, or marvelled at the sheer bodily damage some of the more powerful weapons do.

 

Then there's the weapon upgrade bench, which is pure gun porn.

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1 hour ago, Hewson said:

I promise I’ll drop this now, but I just don’t understand what you mean. The fact that the characters don’t discuss violence or Druckmann says it’s not ‘about’ violence doesn’t mean the game isn’t fundamentally about it and fascinated by it.There’s a real argument to be made that this is the most graphically violent entertainment of all time. It’s obviously cool for your response to that to be “I think that all the effort and care they put into realising gruesome violence absolutely worked.” But to behave as if it’s odd that violence is a core theme of the game and the creative effort seems perverse.

 

It doesn't mean that it is either. How graphic the violence is can and will disturb people and I totally understand that. But it is needed to make a point about the world these characters live in. Violence is a theme in the game, true, but only in the way that violence is part of the Godfather movies, for example. You know it's there but you don't really make it the main point in the movie because it talks about other things.

 

So, for me, if someone says that the violence is not justified or it is there for pure shock value, it's just something I can't agree with (for most of the game at least). If someone finds the gore too much that's perfectly understandable though. Completely different things.

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4 minutes ago, Pob said:

Then there's to weapon upgrade bench, which is pure gun porn.

I thought of bringing that up a few times, I think simply removing the option to inspect the weapon, which is basically perving at it up close, would have lessened that somewhat. That said, it's still distasteful no matter how you swing it.

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3 hours ago, Down by Law said:

 

I hate to bring up the term ludonarrative dissonance but it's a videogame. The challenge is overcoming enemies using the toolset that you have. I can guarantee you if the game had half the amount of combat encounters it has it would be flagged as boring. The same thing happened to Uncharted 4 where the first 4 or so chapters are all scene setting, and the game doesn't really kick off until chapter 8. The Lost Legacy has double the amount of action in half the time and many people say it's the best one.

It would really suit me. As much as I thought the combat in this was an improvement over past ND games, I would still have taken less of it and a shorter game overall. Coming out of a stealth section against humans only to enter the next area and see another group appear always got a sigh from me. ND always struggle in distinguishing one regular encounter from the next, and I would cut quite a few for a tighter pace, a more believable scenario and less repetition..

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For me, the extreme, graphic violence was very effective in allowing me to embody these characters. 

 

When I was full of hatred and bloodlust in the first half, I relished hitting these Wolf fucks with a hammer and lobbing a molotov into some guy's chest and blowing his legs off. They fucking killed Joel. I was happy to make them suffer. Very quickly, I got used to killing dogs, too. First, stealthily but soon enough I'd pummel them with a wrench if that's what needed doing. In comparison, I tried to take out the infected almost compassionately. Silent, quick, by surprise. 

 

By the end of the game, I felt quite traumatised by the violence. I didn't want to kill any more. I felt deadened to the horror of what I was doing. It was functional, a part of how I traversed this world, leaving a trail of corpses. I tried to restart the game for NG+ but I wasn't ready for that level of violence again so soon. I'm still very much in the post-game Ellie mindset, in Abby's mindset. I still do feel quite sick when I think about it. To that end, it's very effective and I feel confident that it was deliberate on their part.

 

It's not simply that they allowed me to conceptualise the horror of violence, they made me feel like I have blood on my hands. 

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On the progressive angle.. this could have been so bad if it was shoehorned in to make everything inclusive for the sake of it. But everything in this game is there to serve character or story development. Take Lev for example. His journey of believing in the heart of his religion, but also needing to express who he really is - was really well considered. In lesser hands this would have been clunky as fuck.

 

Also, I don't think the game is making any judgements about its characters or its violence. It's letting you do that yourself, and as a result we are all thinking about it, and needing to express what it individually meant to each of us.

 

What a game. 

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Same as Thor a few posts up, the only violent scene that troubled me was Yara getting her arm smashed in. When Ellie's walking round their idyllic farmhouse with JJ though I had an incredible sense of tension that something was going to happen to him, harming babies is definitely something I couldn't handle.

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The part I found stretched credibility that little bit too much is the idea that Ellie has an original PS3 that still works after the apocalypse when mine couldn't handle sitting under a TV for 2 years.

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On 07/07/2020 at 23:51, Thor said:

I've played that section three fucking times, and not done that. WTF!

It was literally the first thing I did.

When she was able to climb I was like “cool” then the voice triggered and I thought “I’ve been played, im so predictable , of course the first thing anyone does is climb the dinosaur”

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33 minutes ago, Vemsie said:

Slick.
 

 

 

GTFO!! That's better action than some Hollywood blockbusters!!

 

I do wish there were water takedowns. Swim up behind an enemy, drag 'em in and drown them.

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On 07/07/2020 at 15:04, PeteBrant said:

For me it wasn’t violent enough. After all the crying over how violent it is I was expecting something far worse . 
 

 

I don't know if you're being serious but I thought that too. The "Clip Her Wings" bit was the only thing that affected me - and that was the dialogue not the actual act. The words were so darkly disturbing but there was nothing as deeply chilling as that in the rest of the game.

 

There's something cartoony about this game that really lessened the impact of the violence for me, I'd say the latest Call Of Duty is way, way more brutal and realistic in its portrayal of violence and death. LOU2 felt silly and very gamey with the blood spurting, the Infected (I still think these are crap designs, hard to read what they are in motion)  etc. None of it felt believable in the way a kill in MW does.

 

Thinking about it, in Manhunt, the first time you suffocate an enemy with the plastic bag over the head whilst he's taking a piss, then punch him in the kidneys as he slumps down still stays with me in a way that nothing in this game will. Manhunt with this engine would be really something else.

 

 

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23 hours ago, wullie said:

The part I found stretched credibility that little bit too much is the idea that Ellie has an original PS3 that still works after the apocalypse when mine couldn't handle sitting under a TV for 2 years.

She has a walkman too, right? Would the rechargeable batteries of 2013 hold their charge after 24 years? ;)

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I didn't climb the dinosaur either on my first playthrough. :blush:
Heck, I even missed that fake phone call Ellie does to make fun of Joel the first time.

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1 minute ago, Vemsie said:

I didn't climb the dinosaur either on my first playthrough. :blush:
Heck, I even missed that fake phone call Ellie does to make fun of Joel the first time.

Ha! I didn't miss that, or the face pulling! 

 

I did miss the hats on my first play though.

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