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I replayed TLOU2 and I still don't know what to think about it...

RCU005

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SPOILERS AHEAD (1st and 2nd game)

Let's get the most brilliant part of the game first: The graphics, OMG this game looks awesome! It even scares me how PS5 games will look like at the end of this gen.

Secondly, the gameplay is great. I normally suck at games, but I know many people have praised this game for its combat mechanics.

Then comes the story, which is what I like the most of playing single payer games. This game is still confusing me about liking it or not.

I believe many people hate the story, not because it's good or bad, but because it didn't go they way they thought it would. I can say I definitely did not imagine things would go this in a sequel when I finished the first one.

Then there's the story itself. IMO, before considering if it's good or bad, I think the thing that it affects it the most (at least for me), is that they focused 99% on the characters and they forgot the world they built in the first game. The first game we were introduced to a world that was being consumed by a virus, and we saw the beginning of it in the introduction, as well as the world after the outbreak in the course of the story. In fact, the story focused on the cure which Ellie was the hope of it.

In the second game, the world passed to be practically irrelevant. We don't really see the outcome of Ellie being immune (except with Joel's lie), but as a world in general, is like nobody cared if there could be someone else like Ellie. Also, even without someone like Ellie, it's like everyone just stopped looking for something of a cure. I thought that in the second game, we would se more of the world affected by the virus. Like other countries, etc, but didn't happen, obviously.

So. said that the second game focused way too much in the characters, and while it's not a bad thing. If you take the story as is, and place it in another world, it would make sense. Make it so that they are in war, instead of an apocalyptic world, they could still do the same story. Like, why would a group of people be more dangerous than freaking zombies?! It's like if you are playing Resident Evil 2 and you would fear more the mob destroying the city, than the actual people getting turned into zombies, or something like that.

Going into the story, I think it was good in general, but not for this franchise. It would have made much more sense to make a new IP to do something like this revenge cycle, because I think the characters would have to focus more on the dangers of the world than. the drama of revenge. The moment the focused the story in revenge, the zombies and the different groups were just an obstacle, instead of real dangers our characters should look for.

I liked the Sepharite group because I believe that in such a world, in real life, many of these groups would be created in order to survive each in their own way. Some will go back to 0, others will have luxuries, etc. That's good, but they were just merely plot devices to get to the revenge main plot.

So the story was serviceable, it does make you feel many emotions, and it goes to places that not many writers dare to go and I think that's why it caused so much controversy, and to me that's great. Whether it was good or bad, I wish many writers in games and movies dare to do things as different and exciting as they did with this game. They need to take risks.

Joel's Death:
One of the main criticism about the game was the death of Joel. In the contained story that they were telling, it made a lot of sense, and it was executed well, but like I said, this particular story should've been made into other game. I believe that Joel should have died defending Ellie from some huge danger, not from being the target of revenge.
 

Markio128

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What I find odd is that fans of Game of Thrones (of which I am) loved it when popular characters were being brutally killed, however, when it happened in a game, gamers went nuts. All that says to me is that some gamers need to grow the fuck up.
 
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Not to derail and thank you for your post. It has been an infinitely fascinating experience playing 1, being spoiled on 2 and losing interest on actually playing it, and then seeking out people's first hand experience and musings. It has to be the optimal way to experience this work.

It almost one ups MGS 2 with being subversive in that way. Not just: I will make fun of the players who think they are macho men playing a military game by switching to Raiden. People who actually play it have a worse experience than those who can enjoy the show, and the show is actually really one my better game experiences.
 

Woggleman

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I think the people still alive in that world know how to deal with infected but the world has arranged itself into different tribes who all gunning for power which explains the WLF and Scars fight. Right now the world is in a much less serious pandemic and people are already at each other's throats. You have twenty years of one that completely collapses society and it is all out war. That being said the hospital level with Abby is some brilliant environmental storytelling with the notes showing just how desperate the situation was at the start of the outbreak.
 

omegasc

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It's a great game!
Play it. Embrace the story that is being told to you. Reflect on it and that's it. You don't have to agree to everything in the story, every outcome, but that's how it is.
The girls might regret everything they did in the end - or not - but that's how their life turned out to be, based on their decisions.
 

Guilty_AI

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Any writer who killed a popular character.
So i take it you didn't watch the video. Here, i'll go to the trouble of transcribing it for you

*sarcasm on*
"Thats what audiences like now, lots of dead characters!
I wanna be like George R.R. Martin!
I'm sure his success is entirely based on how he kills his characters, rather than his stellar characterization"

*sarcasm off*

In case you still didn't get it:
Thinking that characters being brutally killed left and right, by itself, is something that elevates the value of a work. Thats an extremely dumb line of thought, a line of thought only amateurish authors follow.
If that was true, you would be implying any b-horror movie from the 80s would be a masterpiece on the same level of Hitchcock and Game of Thrones.
 
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Markio128

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So i take it you didn't watch the video. Here, i'll go to the trouble of transcribing it for you

*sarcasm on*
"Thats what audiences like now, lots of dead characters!
I wanna be like George R.R. Martin!
I'm sure his success is entirely based on how he kills his characters, rather than his stellar characterization"

*sarcasm off*

In case you still didn't get it:
Thinking that characters being brutally killed left and right, by itself, is something that elevates the value of a work. Thats an extremely dumb line of thought, a line of thought only amateurish authors follow.
If that was true, you would be implying any b-horror movie from the 80s would be a masterpiece on the same level of Hitchcock and Game of Thrones.
Fair enough. Whatever I listened to, I think the sarcasm was lost on me. I guess that Joel being killed was so controversial because he was so well written as a character to begin with. Otherwise, nobody would have given a shit.
 
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Beautiful game. Feels good to play. Very visceral. Music is bomb. Voice performance, motion capture and facial animation is great. Story is a bit try hard and silly and could be easily remedied if anyone talked about anything or still had a soul in the world. Pacing is terrible. The infected are an afterthought. I'm very lukewarm towards it.
 

Guilty_AI

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Fair enough. Whatever I listened to, I think the sarcasm was lost on me. I guess that Joel being killed was so controversial because he was so well written as a character to begin with. Otherwise, nobody would have given a shit.
He was also one of the only two characters people were actually interested in when they started the game, that got practically no development at all thanks to Senator Armstrong's golfing session. Neither did Ellie whose character progression is flatter than her chest.
The only exception are the few flashback scenes between the two, which also happened to be some of the few moments critics actually liked in the game.

Then the game proceeded to shove in a bunch of uninteresting characters up your face, tell you should care about them, then off them from the story before you could even start to slightly get moved by whats going on. Then force you to play as a sociopath for 10 hours, who somehow manages to have even less interesting friends, while really really wanting you to sympathize with her because the author said so.

This is, plain and simple, a very poolry written story.
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't like or enjoy it. Everyone has some trash that they like.
 
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STARSBarry

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He was also one of the only two characters people were actually interested in when they started the game, that got practically no development at all thanks to Senator Armstrong's golfing session. Neither did Ellie whose character progression is flatter than her chest.
The only exception are the few flashback scenes between the two, which also happened to be some of the few moments critics actually liked in the game.

Then the game proceeded to shove in a bunch of uninteresting characters up your face, tell you should care about them, then off them from the story before you could even start to slightly get moved by whats going on. Then force you to play as a sociopath for 10 hours, who somehow manages to have even less interesting friends, while really really wanting you to sympathize with her because the author said so.

This is, plain and simple, a very poolry written story.
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't like or enjoy it. Everyone has some trash that they like.

This is it pretty much, audience's I would say specifically American audience's have recently began to mistake characters being in deep emotional pain and suffering as good writing... it makes it "mature" and "adult" so therefore you must be a "mature adult" to enjoy it right? Naaaa because the rest of the show lacks any substance what so ever, once your past the grimdark surface you realise there's nothing of value.

The issue with these is because they take themselves so seriously they can't even be so bad there good, there just bad, there's no way for them to end up slocky fun you can laugh at, you just have to cringe.
 
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Inspector Q

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I haven't really discussed this game in a long time. The game just kind of upsets me whenever I think about it. Similar to what has been said above, graphics, audio, voice acting are all top notch, but I just hate the damn story so much it brings the whole experience down for me.

Allow me to go on a poorly written mini-rant, lol.

The game essentially broke for me during the Abby flashback sequence. Her father is begging Marlene to go through with the surgery on an unconscious Ellie. Abby knows this, we the audience know that she knows this. She even says to her father, "If that was me I would want you to go through with it." She doesn't understand that we aren't asking her to sacrifice herself, but her child. However, I can give her a pass in this scene since she is somewhat young at this point.

Fast forward four years and she still goes through with the kill. I can STILL give her a pass here, but seeing Ellie's reaction to her killing Joel should have really sparked something in her. She should have seen herself in Ellie. It should have really haunted her the rest of the game. Those nightmare sequences where she sees her dead father should have culminated in a nightmare where she walks in and instead of seeing her father, she sees Ellie crying over a dead Joel hammering the point home. She should feel personally responsible for the deaths of all of her friends. Lev and all that other bullshit weren't even needed for this story.

Hopefully, that all made sense. Just a really disappointing experience for me and it's all because of the way Abby's character was written. Oh well.

Still looking forward to Factions 2 or whatever the hell it's going to be called. At least there I won't have to worry about some shitty story bringing down the whole thing...at least I hope not, hah.
 

Ulysses 31

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Fast forward four years and she still goes through with the kill. I can STILL give her a pass here, but seeing Ellie's reaction to her killing Joel should have really sparked something in her.
To be fair, Joel saved her life showing he's not some mindless killer which should've sparked something in her as well but Abby's just not that kinda girl to return favours at the start of the game.
 
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Markio128

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He was also one of the only two characters people were actually interested in when they started the game, that got practically no development at all thanks to Senator Armstrong's golfing session. Neither did Ellie whose character progression is flatter than her chest.
The only exception are the few flashback scenes between the two, which also happened to be some of the few moments critics actually liked in the game.

Then the game proceeded to shove in a bunch of uninteresting characters up your face, tell you should care about them, then off them from the story before you could even start to slightly get moved by whats going on. Then force you to play as a sociopath for 10 hours, who somehow manages to have even less interesting friends, while really really wanting you to sympathize with her because the author said so.

This is, plain and simple, a very poolry written story.
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't like or enjoy it. Everyone has some trash that they like.
It sounds to me like you expected too much from the game, particularly from what is essentially a 3rd-person shooter, with horror elements. I didn’t feel any of those things you mention. Maybe because I didn’t go into it thinking the story was going to be written by Charles Dickens. Not that I have an issue with your opinion, but then, other people have a different view, such as myself, who believe the characters and story were perfect for the medium. The fact is, Joel essentially put a stop to any chance of freedom from the virus, by killing an entire hospital worth of good guys, to save Ellie. One of those good guys was Abby’s father. How the circumstances unfolded was of no surprise to me and I completely empathised with both Abby and Ellie, thus allowing me to go along with the story and enjoy it for what it was. That is my take. It didn’t set out to be Citizen Kane.
 
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Yeah, they try to build a realistic world and nuanced characters, but give them black and white opposing character motivations and it just falls apart. Whatever they were trying to do with Abby fell flat. She just felt like a self important witch. It's disappointing, because it's like she encompassed two characters and swapped between them at the flip of a switch. Honest engine, I actually enjoyed Abby's gameplay sections more than Ellie's, and I thought her character development and hero's journey were well thought and reflected actual believable growth. Then we go back to the theater, and she instantly reverts into a dumb, angry, blood thirsty she hulk, undoing every ounce of what I THOUGHT the game was telling me she had learned. Abby the WLF defector and Abby the golfer are two separate characters stuffed into one model. A game with her, with the same arc, sans the cold blooded torture/murder plot stuffed in the beginning and ending, would have been AWESOME. But alas, I'm not a professional.
 

Danjin44

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My opinion is different than most people here, my problem with TLOU2's story is has nothing to do with Joel's death, if they wanted us care about the Ellie's revenge then it was right choice. My problem was it had more casts than original game but I didn't care about any of them and didn't care about Abby's story or her love triangle issues and at end of the game I didn't care Ellie herself.

To me Part 2 was trying too hard to shock me with violence and deaths without making it meaningful like original games did.
 
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Guilty_AI

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It sounds to me like you expected too much from the game, particularly from what is essentially a 3rd-person shooter, with horror elements. I didn’t feel any of those things you mention. Maybe because I didn’t go into it thinking the story was going to be written by Charles Dickens. Not that I have an issue with your opinion, but then, other people have a different view, such as myself, who believe the characters and story were perfect for the medium. The fact is, Joel essentially put a stop to any chance of freedom from the virus, by killing an entire hospital worth of good guys, to save Ellie. One of those good guys was Abby’s father. How the circumstances unfolded was of no surprise to me and I completely empathised with both Abby and Ellie, thus allowing me to go along with the story and enjoy it for what it was. That is my take. It didn’t set out to be Citizen Kane.
I had zero expectations for this game, i barely liked the original. All i'm doing is addressing your very first point:

What I find odd is that fans of Game of Thrones (of which I am) loved it when popular characters were being brutally killed, however, when it happened in a game, gamers went nuts.
Its not odd. Many people just find it to be poorly written, with good reasons. Its not because of characters being brutally killed, many actually expected joel to die.
And lastly:

All that says to me is that some gamers need to grow the fuck up.
Who needs to grow up in the industry.
Very few people actually know how to make stories in this medium, and Druckmann is far from being one of them. All the corporativism doesn't help either.
 
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Saber

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For what it takes, this game is pretty much the death of the main characters, pushed aside by 2 characters you don't give a shit about. People like to kid themselves when they create endless retard remarks that protagonists doesn't matter. But Joel and Ellie are the bread and butter of this series and they were terribly handled so you could like the poop ones the director push through your throat.

What I find odd is that fans of Game of Thrones (of which I am) loved it when popular characters were being brutally killed, however, when it happened in a game, gamers went nuts. All that says to me is that some gamers need to grow the fuck up.

Its all about execution. John Martson is a perfect example. Brilliant character, died in the end but he do so defending and make up for his family. Did you see people spamming "bUt hE iS A sCuM"? Nope, people dont care what he was in the past, only what he is doing now: the best for his family.

Funny take though. When it comes to LOU2, people aways act as if theres 2 sides: the right side(defend the game, its perfect) and the wrong side making a criticism(tagged as either hater, homophobic, problematic, not a grow up, etc).
 
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Markio128

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Yeah, they try to build a realistic world and nuanced characters, but give them black and white opposing character motivations and it just falls apart. Whatever they were trying to do with Abby fell flat. She just felt like a self important witch. It's disappointing, because it's like she encompassed two characters and swapped between them at the flip of a switch. Honest engine, I actually enjoyed Abby's gameplay sections more than Ellie's, and I thought her character development and hero's journey were well thought and reflected actual believable growth. Then we go back to the theater, and she instantly reverts into a dumb, angry, blood thirsty she hulk, undoing every ounce of what I THOUGHT the game was telling me she had learned. Abby the WLF defector and Abby the golfer are two separate characters stuffed into one model. A game with her, with the same arc, sans the cold blooded torture/murder plot stuffed in the beginning and ending, would have been AWESOME. But alas, I'm not a professional.
Or Abby was a conflicted character who was never too far from the red mist. That’s how I saw her.
 
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Or Abby was a conflicted character who was never too far from the red mist. That’s how I saw her.

I mean, that's valid enough, it just didn't resonate with me as heavily as I would have wanted it to. I could tell what the narrative *wanted* me to feel, but it's like I could see behind the curtain and look at the people pulling the strings. The first game fared better in this regard.
 

Markio128

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I had zero expectations for this game, i barely liked the original. All i'm doing is addressing your very first point:


Its not odd. Many people just find it to be poorly written, with good reasons. Its not because of characters being brutally killed, many actually expected joel to die.
And lastly:


Who needs to grow up in the industry.
Very few people actually know how to make stories in this medium, and Druckmann is far from being one of them. All the corporativism doesn't help either.
The fact that you have such an opinion on a game you barely liked, or have zero interest in, is bewildering to me. Life is much more fun if you save your energy for things you do like.
 

Sleepwalker

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I did not enjoy it as much as the first but the gameplay is good.

The way the story shifts from first to second game reminds me of the walking dead in the way it was less about the zombie apocalypse and its resolution in order to become more about the relationships between the surviving communities and its characters.


Which sucks because I dropped TWD because of this. In TLOU2 there are very little characters I care about and in that sense I didnt give a fuck about their struggles. Hence me not really enjoying the story.
 
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Markio128

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I mean, that's valid enough, it just didn't resonate with me as heavily as I would have wanted it to. I could tell what the narrative *wanted* me to feel, but it's like I could see behind the curtain and look at the people pulling the strings. The first game fared better in this regard.
Well, whatever people think of the games story, it was still a lot better than the stories in most of the dumb but fun action flicks that millions flock to see every year.
 

Chiggs

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What made the original great was Joel and Ellie's relationship. The best part of TLOU2 is those few glimpses we saw of that relationship while everything else fell flat.

Completely agree. I also never once bought the revenge storyline from Ellie’s angle, either. How many people can you shoot, how many dogs can you pipe-bomb, and how many pregnant women can you stab before you just call it quits?

The whole thing is just so goddamn tawdry.
 
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The first game's story was all about the characters, so I don't know what you're talking about OP. The Fireflies found about this special girl, and that gave them hope they could find a cure, nothing guaranteed. Joel killed the lead scientists trying to discover a cure. Joel did a very terrible thing, not only to Abby but to all humanity.

Only a few years pass after the events of part 1 and with the main scientists gone you wouldn't expect them to be on the path to make any breakthroughs with a vaccine. Again, the first game didn't focus in the cure, it was all about the characters, especially Joel and Ellie. It was about Joel and Tess, Ellie and Joel, Sam, Henry, Tommy, David...
 

Guilty_AI

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I mean, that's valid enough, it just didn't resonate with me as heavily as I would have wanted it to. I could tell what the narrative *wanted* me to feel, but it's like I could see behind the curtain and look at the people pulling the strings. The first game fared better in this regard.
True. When they showed her dad at the beginning of her arc, the way they were trying so hard to makes us sympathize with him "Look, he's saving a Zebra! And hes such a positive energic person, he's definitely a good guy!". Forget obvious, it crossed over to parodic territory.

The fact that you have such an opinion on a game you barely liked, or have zero interest in, is bewildering to me. Life is much more fun if you save your energy for things you do like.
Thinking about the stories you read/watch/play regardless of their quality is enjoyable in and on itself. And not really any less productive than consuming them.
TLoU2 is a good case that deserve analysis given its reach and people's reaction to it, even if it is as case example on how you shouldn't write one.
 
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DForce

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While The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world, the story has always been about Joel and Ellie.

"Future Days" by Pearl Jam is what Joel feared if he lost Ellie, but it only foreshadowed Ellie's descent into darkness in The Last of Us Part II. While I may prefer all stories to have a happy ending, it doesn't always turn out that way and I respect them for making this bold decision.

I like stories that make you think well after you're done playing the game, and I can't say that for the majority of the games that I play.

Joel made a decision is what cost him his life, but it's a decision most of us would have made. Getting revenge for someone you love is easy, but what's harder is to accept that the person you love is also flawed and his death is the result of his own consequences.
 

Markio128

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True. When they showed her dad at the beginning of her arc, the way they were trying so hard to makes us sympathize with him "Look, he's saving a Zebra! And hes such a positive energic person, he's definitely a good guy!". Forget obvious, it crossed over from dramatic to parodic.


Thinking about the stories you read/watch/play regardless of their quality is enjoyable in and on itself. And not really any less productive than consuming them.
TLoU2 is a good case that deserve analysis given its reach and people's reaction to it, even if it is as case example on how you shouldn't write one.
In your opinion. That’s key to civilised conversation.
 

Raonak

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Naughty Dog wanted to make a rollercoaster of emotions. And they fucking did it.

The revenge plot could only work on something like TLOU2 because we are all sooooo invested in Joel and Ellie as characters. If it were a new IP the anger and hate would feel unearned. Where in TLOU2 when Joel died I felt just as sad as Ellie did. I absolutely wanted to smash Abbys face in. Then going through the journey and seeing why Abby did the things she did. Wow. The whiplash from wanting Abby dead, to wanting Ellie to spare her was some brilliant stuff.

I haven't had such a emotionally resonant game since MGS4 (which was also polarising) to me it's easily the most memorable game of last gen (my gotg too)
 

bender

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Completely agree. I also never once bought the revenge storyline from Ellie’s angle, either. How many people can you shoot, how many dogs can you pipe-bomb, and how many pregnant women can you stab before you just call it quits?

The whole thing is just so goddamn tawdry.

I know jorno's loved throwing around ludonarrative dissonance a few years ago but ever it were appropriate, TLOU2 would be it. It felt as tonally def as Niko in GTAIV.
 
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In your opinion. That’s key to civilised conversation.

It's also obvious to anyone with a base understanding of conversation and linguistics. It's a pet peeve of mine to have to say "in my opinion," at the end of every thought to avoid the risk of offending someone. Yes, of course It's in my opinion, nothing that I say is objective unless I'm quoting a scientific study. I know you weren't addressing me, but shit. Carry on.
 

Guilty_AI

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I know jorno's loved throwing around ludonarrative dissonance a few years ago but ever it were appropriate, TLOU2 would be it. It felt as tonally def as Niko in GTAIV.
I actually didn't find that too be that much of a problem. Or rather, Ellie was just acting too much like a retarded, while surrounded by retarded friends cheering her on to do retarded things. Can't say I expected characters who seem to have less than 7 brain cells to question the morality what their actions.

And even though the game was trying really hard to make Abby look good, she's still a paperbook sociopath. Feels like slitting the throat of a pregnant woman would be as worrying to her as having slightly burned sunny side up eggs for breakfeast.