The Last of Us Part II (PS4)



  • Just seen credits. Have to say, fucking epic game. Need to take a day or 2 to process my thoughts properly. Either this or God of War (Sorry Bloodborne haven't played you yet) for best PS exclusive this gen.



  • Haters gonna hate, for some reason, but
    "The Last of Us Part II is now the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive ever with more than 4 million copies sold through as of June 21."
    https://blog.playstation.com/2020/06/26/the-last-of-us-part-ii-sells-more-than-4-million-copies/



  • God damn TLoU outsold Spider-man's launch numbers, that's something I wasn't expecting tbh.



  • So I started diving into the fan criticism of this game now that I've completed it. I also dove into some professional criticism as well, which I have more appreciation for, but I'm having a hard time racking my head around some of the major complains of the story.

    I'm seeing complaints like: "The first game had a clear goal, but what is the point of this game?" or "the characters are completely different and don't grow" and finally "the game spends its whole time just forcing simple ethical questions."

    I completely disagree with those first two points. Like COMPLETELY disagree. But I wouldn't necessarily disagree with the last point. People who say "it's has nothing that made the original great" are missing the fact that you aren't going to have another cross country bonding / survival journey between Joel and Ellie again.

    Do people forget grade school English class where we learned plot structures; man vs man, man vs world, man vs himself? I'd argue that TLOU 1 is Man vs World. Joel and Ellie are tip toeing around different factions in different areas of the USA. They are dealing with self purpose through the ideologies of survivors, Fireflies, and FEDRA camps.

    TLOU Pt 2, is clearly Ellie vs Herself (man vs himself). Everything that happens in this game builds up Ellie to face herself in ways that they never explored until now. I think the use of the guitar as a symbol of Ellie's growth and deterioration was really clever. Especially considering how much optional interaction you have with it. It's one of those things you don't recognize is so meaningful until it is. Ellie asking Joel to teach her guitar was such an important part of the original game. It represented the turning point in Joel. He was originally willing to pawn Ellie off on another smuggler, but when Ellie proclaims she never wants to be left alone, Joel hears her out, stays with her, then finally gets himself attached and agrees to teach her guitar when everything is done and over with. It is what we all looked forward to but wouldn't have seen come into fruition if Joel let her die. In this sequel, the guitar is Ellie's connecting tissue to Joel and her journey with him. It's both a symbol of her life that Joel allowed her to have, but also a symbol of her survival of the surgery, something she didn't ask for.

    When Ellie loses her fingers in the final fight, she finally recognizes how she's completely lost herself. She no longer has any physical connection to Joel because she can't play guitar anymore. She also struggled to forgive him for what he did in the first game and I think she put a lot of personal meaning into her guitar playing. Joel gave her a life despite how much she tries to deny she cares about it, and she threw away everything.

    I know my assessment is a bit meandering, but TLOU plays out like any good novel where you can interpret so much from so many different conversations, different symbols, and the actions of others. The game is explicit enough to annoy some people, but vague enough for the masses to extrapolate their own meaning.

    I will agree that the plot is far too steeped in its own pathos where it tries to wring so much out of the player whether there is anything to wring out or not. I think this is by virtue of trying to tell an epic. Lo and behold, this game's co-writer is a TV writer and despite us being in the golden age of television, I still think most TV shows are drawn out one-notes that struggle to conclude or go beyond dramatic interpersonal politics. So maybe I'll agree that this criticism is valid, but it isn't meaningless.

    I think the people who struggle to find meaning in this game are the same people who prefer their plots and especially conclusions spoon fed to them. It's ironic they complain this game evokes "nothing" that made the original great, when I would argue that the original is a classic game because it also didn't spoon feed the audience. You can take as much meaning out of both games as you put into it.



  • @dipset Great Post well thought out. Couldn't have said it better myself.



  • @sentinel-beach Wow. I'm both surprised and not surprised at the same time. ND absolutely deserved it.

    Edit: some extra insight regarding the sales



  • Can anyone confirm or deny for me whether there is a cinematic viewer in the game? I cannot find one (I'm halfway through) but I'm wondering if one unlocks upon completion? TLOU1 had one from the main menu and it was a convenient way for my wife to enjoy the plot without having to watch hours of gameplay, especially since I usually play after she goes to sleep. Thus far in TLOU2 I have been maintaining saves before major plot developments and catching her up with replays but it is not ideal.



  • @ozymandsss
    Probably upon completion, like the first game



  • @ozymandsss There's no such thing unfortunately, looking at my post-completion menus right now. There's only the option to play select encounters from the whole game, outside of the typical new game-load game option.



  • @bam541 @DMCMaster Ugh. Bummer. I wonder why they decided against it. The night before TLOU2 came out my wife and I watched the original game's cinematics beginning to end and it was an awesome way to recap the game given I didn't have time for a full replay.



  • @ozymandsss probably because it's all running real time now, unlike the PS3-era games where some of em' are pre-rendered videos. It's a shame though for sure, I just noticed that Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy didn't have this feature as well.



  • @bam541
    I thought Uncharted 4 had a movie viewer but yeah it's missing. Although considering the PS5 SSD they might be able to patch the mode in

    Anyway still a bit more to go but life has kinda gotten in the way so will have to save the final push that said.

    Abby's story turned out much better then I my intial impression from Day 1 left on me, although I do wish there was more time where you were hunted by both Wolves and Scars. I also wish we could of learned a bit more about why the Wolves and Scars are at war with one another. Also is it me or is the restaurant where you trap Tommy the same TLOU1 where you encounter David? That said I am in California and it is so far a nice visual change from rain soaked Seattle which just reminded me too much of home (doesn't help it was raining all last weekend)

    That said there are two things I want to add

    Dinah and Jesse get virtually no development whatsoever, and honestly I can't think of any reason why Dinah decided to join Ellie seeing as they only had one (well 2) moments before Joel was killed and that was seemingly enough for her to travel out to Seattle on a revenge mission? I mean from what little time Jesse was on screen he seemingly had more reason to join the Revenge bus with Ellie and Tommy. That said why did he look up to Joel?

    Also

    I can't help but feel like this was a compromise on two or three different competing ideas for TLOU2, especially in regards to Abby's segment, it feels like as soon as something is introduced or talked about, it's gone. Meanwhile Ellie's flashback scenes seem like they end just before returning to gameplay in that scenario. Like I can almost see a more full featured versions of both characters stories but was truncated because a whole other story got attached to it. Like I can see a story about Ellie and Joel during the 4 years, I can see a story where Ellie and Tommy hunt down Joel's killers (and that pairing makes more sense honestly), and I can see a story where Abby says "screw it" towards her group affiliation and ends up being hunted on 3 fronts (Just accounting for the infected). Like if I could ask Niel one thing it would just be was the final game as is a sort of comprised vision towards a "The Last of Us" sequel was the original idea a story separate from the events of the first game (something I've said before is how any sequel in TLOU should be handled) but then had Joel, Ellie and Tommy thrown in, or was it originally a game about Joel, Ellie and Tommy with characters meant for a 3ed game then thrown into thier story? Like I just can't shake this feeling and I just want a answer.

    P.S

    Fuck that thing in the hospital, like holy shit that whole sequence felt like I just hopped into a completely different game



  • this part's only for the preview so there's no spoilers popping up please understand

    @dmcmaster said in The Last of Us Part II (PS4):

    Dinah and Jesse get virtually no development whatsoever, and honestly I can't think of any reason why Dinah decided to join Ellie seeing as they only had one (well 2) moments before Joel was killed and that was seemingly enough for her to travel out to Seattle on a revenge mission? I mean from what little time Jesse was on screen he seemingly had more reason to join the Revenge bus with Ellie and Tommy. That said why did he look up to Joel?

    From what I've seen...

    ...in Ellie's Journal, and the things she says, I think it's very safe for me to think that Ellie, Dina and Jesse has been hanging out for a long time. Dina might already like Ellie more than as a friend for a while now, even while she was with Jesse (I'm not sure about this completely). So, I think the reasons are pretty obvious already: one of them is that she cares about Ellie a lot and probably would be uncomfortable if she just left Ellie to do her mission alone.

    I feel like Joel brought a lot of his experience dealing with the dangers of the wasteland to the townspeople. A hint of this is that Jesse got scolded by Joel a day before Joel died, since Jesse got put in with Ellie in the same patrol schedule. As someone who's helping keeping up the town patrols, I think it would be quite natural for Jesse to look up someone as dependable as Joel. Plus, Jesse cares a lot about his people, as seen when he prioritizes Tommy's safety over Ellie's adamant opinion to go straight to the Aquarium in Day 3. With Tommy, Ellie, and Dina's lifes being involved, I think someone like Jesse would certainly try to help them.

    I guess they could make these more obvious, but for me, the writing feels so natural already, explaining more of things like these would hurt it. I think they gave enough hints to give me a picture of pretty much most things in the story.

    @dmcmaster said in The Last of Us Part II (PS4):

    Like if I could ask Niel one thing it would just be was the final game as is a sort of comprised vision towards a "The Last of Us" sequel was the original idea a story separate from the events of the first game (something I've said before is how any sequel in TLOU should be handled) but then had Joel, Ellie and Tommy thrown in, or was it originally a game about Joel, Ellie and Tommy with characters meant for a 3ed game then thrown into thier story? Like I just can't shake this feeling and I just want a answer.

    This won't answer your questions directly, but...

    ... I feel like the game we got is pretty condensed already. The funny thing is that one of the articles I read about this game says that it's gonna be a even bigger game, they have cut down quite a bit on things. So it's not a 3rd game ideas thrown into the story kind of thing. Abby's part is pretty much necessary for Neil, which makes a lot of sense for me. I can look up the article again, if you're interested.



  • Just finished the game earlier today. I think this game is pretty incredible. I'm still processing and thinking about everything that happened and everything it made me feel, but I have a lot of respect for the way they told this story. Whether it was the little moments that you come upon just through exploring the environment or being forced to be in the driver's seat for some uncomfortable moments, I thought it was all put together extremely well.

    Having the more open environments also made each encounter really cool, especially when I would either stealth my way through, or change my strategy when I would keep dying and then find a different building to attack from. It's fascinating to see from game to game how Naughty Dog evolves in its game design, and this felt like the real culmination of the PS3-PS4 era of the studio. I'm excited to see how they move forward into the PS5!



  • @bam541
    Yes please find the article if you can



  • @dmcmaster

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/06/24/storylines-characters-levels-cut-last-us-part-ii/

    So this is the article that I talked about earlier, but it has no part directly referring to...

    ...Abby's part being necessary for Neil

    I guess I must have pulled that conclusion in the middle of reading all the articles I read, sorry for that. The rest of my point still stands though, it's a pretty condensed game already, from what I've seen.



  • I know I keep on banging on about this guy but his level of nuance & understanding is worlds ahead of his contemporaries. Fantastic video even if you don't fully agree with his points he makes a case for all of them.

    Youtube Video



  • 25 and a half hours, and I'm done. Don't think I'll replay this for a very long time. This is an impressive game in every aspect I can think of.

    But that conclusion... hard to personally stomach right now.



  • @brannox
    Fuck, seriously? I know the first is like 6-8ish hours but is pretty easily replayable.

    There goes my plan to do a marathon replay session on my next holiday, cause I'm not doing another 30-48 hour session for awhile.



  • @paulmci27

    Nice to see his channel getting more love, also surprised to see him post something so soon for so recent.