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“SPOILER THREAD” - The Last Of Us Part 2


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1 hour ago, Uncle Nasty said:

 

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.

 

 

I was being a bit tongue in cheek . But it is true I was expecting worse after the overreaction. I think the violence level and portrayal , like the rest of the game , is bordering on perfect . 
 

I am not shocked to see you find fault with it . 

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So, I finished it this morning. I got to a point where I thought it was going to end, so resolved to get it done in that sitting. Ended up putting the controller down at about 3am! Going to write down all my thoughts.


So it's a very good game. Definitely makes a lot of mechanical / gameplay / quality of life improvements over the first game. The combat is wonderful - definitely found myself going into some encounters thinking "I'm going to stealth my way through this area and kill as few people as possible", then obviously something goes wrong, and a minute or two later I find myself running around murdering people in creative ways and really enjoying it. Not sure if that's what they were going for. Playing as Ellie particularly, you are incredibly mobile and get a lot of options as to how to approach combat. At times it feels like you're playing as Nathan Drake, but with physical capabilities that are actually somewhat realistic - and fewer bullets, obviously. The gameplay loop of having expansive combat arenas with verticality, where you can go in and out of stealth as needed and there are no hard failure states, really is very similar to Uncharted 4. The game does a very good job of encouraging you to play a situation out - I am a pretty bad save scummer most of the time, but I rarely tried to go for a "perfect" run through an area here. It often didn't feel advisable to take that approach, or even possible. This is a good thing because obviously having to think on your feet and improvise is more fun, and a risk averse player like me will often optimise the fun out of a game.


I felt a bit tanky at times and like I could take on most situations, a far cry from the dread and trepidation I remember feeling during most of the combat in the first game. May have been a consequence of me playing on Normal - as I did on my initial run through the first game though, to be fair - and maybe I would've experienced gameplay that is perhaps more tonally consistent with the story if I'd played on Hard. I didn't though, because I was a bit worried about the game being 30 hours (I ended up putting about 35 hours into it I think) and therefore possibly being a bit of a slog. TBH I think this game couldn't have come out at a worse possible time in terms of my enjoyment of it - I was concious of it maybe being very difficult to avoid spoilers as a lot of people have plentiful free time right now (unemployment / furlough) and therefore would finish the game quickly and start talking about it. I think I would've liked to take it a little more slowly tbh - it's the kind of game you need a break from every now and again. Also to be honest with what's going on right now, I don't need much help feeling some of the emotions this game was trying to bring out of me. I've wondered in earnest if it would've made more sense if released episodically. I don't think the game should've been shorter, if anything given the scope of the story it was trying to tell, it could've been longer. But can you imagine Netflix (for example) releasing three seasons of a popular show in one feel swoop, then asking viewers to either set aside enough time to consume it all, lest they get plot details spoiled, or more generally miss out on the converation around it?


Anyway, about that story. I felt like it had some pacing issues, although maybe I'm being unfair because the first game was almost perfect in that regard. The opening was brilliant. The issues begin after you leave for Seattle - the pace slows right down, right as you are supposed to be chasing after Tommy, who for all you know is going to get himself killed on your behalf. It perhaps didn't help that I felt very strongly that Ellie had made a terrible mistake in leaving at all. The first game made a very brave decision in the last half an hour or so, forcing players to take actions that won't have sat well with a lot of them. From my perspective, the first 15 or so hours of this game was essentially repeating that trick. Stretched over a longer timeframe, the dissonance between player and character doesn't work as well. It seemed to be trying very hard to make me feel a certain way about the first game's events, which happened to be pretty close to how I already felt. I was angry at Ellie for what she was doing - and also at her friends for enabling her. Every time one of them said "it's alright" or something similar to her - usually when she is having a panic attack after having done something unspeakably horrible - I wanted to throttle them. Although judging by the visceral and confused reaction from some to the plot of this game, which I understand is at least partially down to Joel's early death, maybe I'm in the minority in terms of not being on board with Ellie's single-mindedness. I never felt that he deserved a happy ending tbh - although I'm not saying he deserved to be brutally beaten to death with a golf club either. I was genuinely struggling to maintain interest in the game at one point, but I was brought back on board by two excellent sections that brought a desperately needed spell of calm and reflection - when you first get to the theatre, and afterwards Ellie's dream about visiting the museum with Joel.


I found the parts where you play as Abby much more interesting - her motivations were more credible and relatable, and the moral questions she was asked were more interesting. It helped that the interactions between her younger companions were so touching - I am not sure Naughty Dog have figured out yet how to make the player invested in a relationship that is already fully formed before the game's events. I loved the dynamic between Nate and Tenzin, Joel and Ellie, Chloe and Nadine, and now Abby and Yara / Lev. Ellie and Dina or Jesse left me somewhat cold by comparison. I doubt that is a consequence of the performances or the writing - it is just that if you were not there to watch the relationship grow or at least change, you kind of feel like a third wheel. It seems that the game was trying to make the point that violence begets violence, which on the face of it seems somewhat trite - but it was quite affecting seeing Owen first of all and then Abby wrestle with questions they've been ignoring. The game seems to concentrate on a revenge story between individuals, but there is a much smarter story going on in the background about cultural clash and the need for dialogue and empathy between different societies. The seraphites would be very easy to demonise - they are a bigoted cult seemingly intent on sweeping the country with their religion, and killing anyone who does not join them. I'll admit that I had a much easier time killing them than I did wolves - particularly as Abby. But seeing their towns burning, and their culture seemingly being wiped out, was very disturbing. It was very clear why Abby felt the need to break the cycle. She's firstly influenced by Owen, whose world view seems to be shaken by the discovery of the Aquarium and Max's art. He seems to have formed a relationship with this boy in absentia, even though he knows he has run off and joined his enemy. Then she is shown mercy by Yara and Lev, and they come to rely on each other. Kindness begets kindness, violence begets violence. It's a simple and perhaps an obvious message, but I do think framed in the context of a more "basic" culture fighting a "superior" one, it is an important one. We do not always appreciate the humanity of people who do not share our own values. The game seems to be making a surprisingly subtle and sensitive comment about how separated groups of humans can lead to in-vs-out group conflicts, and portays a believeable escalation from a truce, to skirmishes, to genocide.

 

I don't think I will play this again in a hurry. I've played the first game somewhere between 5 and 7 times I think, and it had a pretty huge impact on me. Any sequel would've always struggled to live up to that of course. It is not a classic and I'm not sure it entirely justifies its own existence, given how brilliant the first game was as a self contained experience. Nor I am sure it ever really justifies its use of such gratuitious violence. But it's certainly an impressive achivement in many regards, and I'm glad I got to experience it. I'll leave it at that for now.

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About the work bench. First time(s) sitting through these animation I asked myself what's the point of this waste of time. Soon that turned "yes you put that scope on there nice and tight" and "ooh I like how you rub that cloth over the shotgun barrel and throw it to the side like the dirty rag that it is".

 

I may have issues.

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I’m back to Hillcrest in NG+ and I’ll be honest, I think it’ll be weeks before I move onto the next section.

 

Having too much fun trying to clear as many enemies as possible, using all my weapons - I’m pretty much fully tooled up with everything - that I’m loathe to advance the story. And I don’t want to replay this as an encounter with 3 arrows, a bottle and a switchblade. 
 

godamm, I love grabbing people, headshotting them with the silenced pistol and then planting a mine on their body. 

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

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

 

I did miss the hats on my first play though.

The face thing in the mirror was astonishing technically 

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21 minutes ago, Glasgowchivas said:

I’m back to Hillcrest in NG+ and I’ll be honest, I think it’ll be weeks before I move onto the next section.

 

Having too much fun trying to clear as many enemies as possible, using all my weapons - I’m pretty much fully tooled up with everything - that I’m loathe to advance the story. And I don’t want to replay this as an encounter with 3 arrows, a bottle and a switchblade. 
 

godamm, I love grabbing people, headshotting them with the silenced pistol and then planting a mine on their body. 

I imagine the combat to be similar to that of a night out in Glasgow.

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I've been trying to write my summary post on this since I finished it a week ago but feel so wonderfully conflicted about the whole thing that I just can't work out how I feel about certain bits. What was intended to make me feel certain ways, what's me reacting positively or negatively based on my own preconceptions/feelings. It's really really cool to have these feelings about a game, possibly for the first time ever? The way stories are told in games I tend to come away with a pretty clear idea in my head what I thought about it and why, but with this I just can't work out my emotions around it. I'll get there, I just need to keep thinking/reading/talking about the experience. It's definitely the most I've felt emotionally engaged by a game, both in good and bad ways. 

 

I'm mainly posting here to say what a cracking job everyone's done in this thread though. It's really cool to see people posting things they like/dislike about the game and having spirited debate that hasn't soured into bickering etc. Maybe it's because we're so close to release still and it's such a big complex thing, but it's nice to see either way.

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OMG, I just realised Manny's "you only need three fingers" comment was some deeply macabre foreshadowing.

 

I see there's some chat earlier in the thread about how well Ellie would be able to play guitar. I think she'd be looking at relearning to play left-handed.

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3 minutes ago, Liamness said:

I see there's some chat earlier in the thread about how well Ellie would be able to play guitar. I think she'd be looking at relearning to play left-handed.

While possible, I highly doubt it. 

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I thought I was quite thorough on my first playthrough, but apparently not. Playing day 3 of Ellie's part yesterday, I seemed to have missed that children's corner of a bookstore in which you find the mushrooms and a page from a children's book the first time through, as well as that area with infected in which you get a false sense of safetey only to be ambushed by a few of them later on.

The combat encounters play out completely different as well, in part because I have more knowledge of the areas. I managed to bypass a huge chunk of enemies this time when entering the hospital, including Bear who now lives. :)
Shame the same can't be said of Nora. :(

The level design just gives you a lot of options, it's really great. Seems the creator of Hyper Light Drifter agrees.

 



 

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One of the things it pulls off very well is not making it completely obvious which spaces are for combat, and which are for exploration. There are plenty of spaces with tall grass / foliage, chest high walls, and things to crawl under where there are also zero enemies. They gave the game away a little by ensuring you had enough supplies before some encounters. But otherwise, when entering a new area it always took me a few moments before I was completely sure I could run around opening filing cabinets.

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I wonder if Days Gone had a bearing on this game's direction or vice versa?

 

I always found it strange that Sony would green-light another 3rd person zombie game with scavenging/crafting and with a gruff male lead character when they already had a Last of Us sequel in the works.

 

But then you look at what happens plotwise and who you play as in LoU2 it kind of makes sense for Sony to have Days Gone on the market to keep those gamers happy?

 

Alternatively, Naughty Dog saw that Sony had another similar game in the works, so they killed Joel off to differentiate their product? Or Did Sony Bend create their lead character on the knowledge of where Naughty Dog were going with their game?

 

How much knowledge does each Sony studio have of each other's games in development do we think?

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17 minutes ago, AI1 said:

I wonder if Days Gone had a bearing on this game's direction or vice versa?

 

I always found it strange that Sony would green-light another 3rd person zombie game with scavenging/crafting and with a gruff male lead character when they already had a Last of Us sequel in the works.

 

But then you look at what happens plotwise and who you play as in LoU2 it kind of makes sense for Sony to have Days Gone on the market to keep those gamers happy?

 

Alternatively, Naughty Dog saw that Sony had another similar game in the works, so they killed Joel off to differentiate their product? Or Did Sony Bend create their lead character on the knowledge of where Naughty Dog were going with their game?

 

How much knowledge does each Sony studio have of each other's games in development do we think?


They know. But ultimately, Days Gone is pretty different from TLoU, both in terms of narrative and gameplay. I think it's just the game Bend wanted to make and Sony let them. Paid off for them too, as it sold really well. A sequel is a given at this point.
I don't think killing off Joel had anything to do with Days Gone. Druckmann just wanted to tell a certain story. The real question is whether or not he's done with TLoU (not counting the HBO series). Especially after all that happened, I can see ND giving TLoU a rest for a while.

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9 minutes ago, Dirty Harry Potter said:

Interesting to hear that the first versions of TLOU2 were open world, but Drunkmann scaled that back as it feel like they couldn't control the narrative s tightly as he wanted to.

That is interesting, because of the all the complaints people have of this game, the one I think is most valid is its pacing. If the game was open world its pacing would suffer even more.

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1 hour ago, Dirty Harry Potter said:

Interesting to hear that the first versions of TLOU2 were open world, but Drunkmann scaled that back as it feel like they couldn't control the narrative as tightly as he wanted to.

Where did you read that?

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10 hours ago, Liamness said:

One of the things it pulls off very well is not making it completely obvious which spaces are for combat, and which are for exploration. There are plenty of spaces with tall grass / foliage, chest high walls, and things to crawl under where there are also zero enemies. They gave the game away a little by ensuring you had enough supplies before some encounters. But otherwise, when entering a new area it always took me a few moments before I was completely sure I could run around opening filing cabinets.

The section where you get attacked at a work bench also hits you where it hurts 

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Oof, just finished. That last section was a bastard, and the fight with Abby just draining. But the kick in the gut emotionally as you realise she’s lost everything. Man. 
 

This is an astonishing achievement. I can’t say I always *enjoyed* it, it’s so bleak and unpleasant. But unlike a lot of people I don’t feel it was horribly padded - only the island rescue bit felt a bit off after the tension of the ascent/descent and terrifying hospital basement section. The level design, mechanics, story and acting were just mind blowing really. 
 

Bit overwhelmed - God knows what I’ll play now. Wow

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