The Last of Us - It can't be for nothing (Part II announced)

A place to discuss music and video games.
User avatar
Posts: 697
Joined: July 2012
Location: Korova Milk Bar
An unforgettable experience. And a landmark in video game storytelling. Got spoiled by the leaks and felt conflicted, but took a wait-and-see approach. Turns out the things I felt most conflicted about were either: a) executed well, or b) flat-out not true (still don't read if you haven't played the game)
"Abby kills Joel, then kills Ellie, the end?" "Muh cycles of violence," as the thematic summary... I kind of knew even back then that the leaker had it out for the game and wanted it to sound like trash, but man, they couldn't have been further from the truth if they tried. No mention of the flashbacks either? You know, the narrative spine of the entire fucking game?! Yes, the barebones plot is about revenge, but the game is about forgiveness, understanding, and letting hate go before it poisons our humanity; coincidentally, the three keys for unpacking Joel's fateful lie. Which is exactly what a sequel to the Last of Us had to be. The final scene is absolutely devastating, and the idea that the key to Ellie's journey was in remembering Joel as he was, warts and all... Oof, goosebumps.
It's been a pleasure following this thread with you guys as I played through the game. Hope others continue to post their thoughts as they play too. Bravo to every last Naughty Dog employee; this game works because of the contributions of every single department.
Last edited by o SHAKESPEARE o on June 26th, 2020, 6:21 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Forum Pro
Posts: 55456
Joined: May 2010
Location: Arrakis
Fuck it, I'll click on your post this once, in hope of reason and good faith.
But MGS2's mindset is not "war is bad."
Yes it is. Just like The Godfather's mindset is 'mafia is bad'. But also: family is everything. Blood is everything. Blood is on everybody's hands. There's no good or bad. Love can save you. Hate can devour you. Cycle of violence is a cycle for a reason, and not a finite line. etc. etc.

Every story known to man can be shortened down to a single sentence, and can be talked and analyzed for substance: for hours, days, months or years. The better the story, the bigger discussion that follows.

So yeah, why shy away from those three words: WAR. IS. BAD. After all it's the word you hear at least a dozen times in MGS4 intro. Kojima doesn't shy away from being the most obvious person in the room. What he also does the best is he takes what is obvious and turns it into something more, something substantial, layerific, narrative rich.
P2's storyline (which I got spoiled on, and decided to look into before I invested sixty dollars while I'm unemployed during a global pandemic) is very much a revenge storyline, which they've said from the beginning, and the savagery/characters exist to serve that message and show the brutality and unforgiving nature of revenge.
Let's see here... it is a revenge storyline. Right until it isn't.

But Neil said 'the first one is about LOVE and this one is about HATE, the creator said it himself!'

Easy now. First of all, yes, he said it. Second, watch the podcast from yesterday, where he says this, paraphrasing: 'I know I've said it, I know the second one is supposed to be about hate, but when you play it, you realize it's not. It's also about love. It's about all the complicated feelings in between but it's also about love.'
Mind you, that is from a person who switched character models in the trailers to make you think you know the plot and the timelines and everything. He's not a newbie when it comes to deception before the release.
Click on this one if you're fuck all anyway but it won't spoil you on specific plot points.
I said right until it isn't because it's actually two stories, or two and a half stories. Exactly 15 hours of the game (which is half) is about a different character who already accomplished her revenge goal. Her revenge is done at the start of Part II.
See how it works? WAR IS BAD. IT'S A REVENGE STORY. MAFIA IS BAD.

Sure. But is it just that? Is there more to it? Of course it is. There's so much more to it that has to be experienced and not judged based on the internet narrative. It has to be judged solely on one's own personal experience while playing it.
The storyline in P2 tries its best to make you feel for all involved
See, this sort of line makes me just want to check out. It's like reading synopsis for Tolstoy's Ana Karenina and spending hours deciphering her final decisions and her husband's decisions, based on that discourse, and not based on actually reading the book. Sorry but that is just wrong approach in my eyes, no matter how you put it, and I'm always against that notion.

but the core context of the basic story and characters is not really anything I haven't seen before in film or video games before.
So... just like the first game?

Similar, honestly, to how the first game works.
See, you do get it.
But the biggest draw of the first game is how the relationships and emotional connections of the characters draw players into a familiar concept with intense and complicated characters, differentiating it from the rest of survival/zombie games players are used to.
So... just like the second game?

Dude. On the last couple of pages I made a list of TOP 10 characters from Part II, and even added three for 'honorable mentions'. It's full of humanity on all sides of the story. Exactly how you described the first game, and perhaps even more so this time.
P2 tries to do the same thing
Again with the Leo Tolstoy thingie... You can't do this and expect people who've played the game to rationally respond because it's meaningless unless you play the game and THEN say the same thing.
but I think it backfires by making decisions throughout to subvert fan expectations and solicit visceral reactions rather than working cohesively to serve the story.
I'm going to quote Neil on this one: 'game doesn't judge and game doesn't take sides. You do that. And that is how it's supposed to be.
Kill the dog as one character, pet the dog as another character, it doesn't matter. What happens happens but you are the one making the judgements.
Abby's early game actions are meant to be divisive, and the game has to do so much leg work to try and fix the damage done by her in order to make the player care about her at all. For some it's successful and for some it's not.
Absolutely. Yes. You nailed it here. The game narrative is challenging you into accepting all of the sides of the story. But when was the last time that even happened in a mainstream video game? When were your beliefs challenged the last time? Perhaps in TLOU? Now take that choice and put it into almost every single character. That's growth right there. Controversy, emotional roller coaster, lot of play hours spent, but it challenges your perception of what should and shouldn't be right, or wrong.
The issue arises when a story's themes become the only thing driving the story/characters rather than the consistency and strength of the writing of said characters (Kojima's games ride this line and do this too).
Leo Tolstoy x3. But I'll add more onto this one: they don't. That's the point. Many times you may think they do, but they absolutely don't. And especially during the final hour of the game, which is the tipping point that negates this notion.
My insistence in responding here stems solely from the hypocrisy of those who love this game, acting just as rudely and insensitive as the annoying fans who are vocal online about their dislike for it.
Ah, the legendary 'this is bad but they are bad too!' LET'S ALL JUST YELL IN CAPS TO FEEL BETTER. I believe it comes from frustration, on both sides. There's no meet me in the middle, because one side played the game and liked the game, while other won't even hear it. Ideal meet me in the middle would be: let's all play the game and then discuss the game.

Rate it 5/10, or 7/19, or 10/10, I. DON'T. CARE. Rate it 0/10... but only after you've played it.

Something like this:
Vader has responded with nothing but friendly, relevant remarks the entire time (as have many fans of the game). But somewhere it seems like every person glowing over the game has to make the self-righteous move of bringing political ideologies into the discussion (and I'm someone who *loves* talking politics).
Don't victimize yourself. You can take it, you're a big boy. Otherwise you wouldn't constantly push the same reasonings over and over again.

And you cannot really not talk political ideologies when the game has them, and has them plenty. Vague side (but central) character spoiler:
I'd love to talk to you about a specific character called Lev, who came from a specific and particularly conservative religious environment, who is also a trans character, who is smart, brave and capable, and who's only 'sin' is that he shaved his head. That's it. All he did.
And that's just one of many examples of various socio-political ideologies within the game that are way beyond the start of discussion here: it's a revenge story.
Anyone that knows me or follows me anywhere knows of my progressive and left-leaning and my radical change from my conservative upbringing, so it's insulting to have my (and many other peoples') distaste for a plot direction be reduced to us wanting a "safe bubble zone" or showing "misogyny and prejudice." This kind of dialogue is used repeatedly, by the same kinds of people, in such a repeatedly sarcastic and patronizing manner, and it's unfair and, frankly, embarrassing to the community similar the actual minority of misogynists shouting into the void. Calling people trolls or misogynists simply because they're angry, worried, concerned, or undecided about the game is only going to make those people more hardened and against the idea of even trying it.
That's good. Good for you. I believe that is the only way to live in this world personally. Why are you feeling like you were being called out on those specific points though? Beats me. I will, however, always call out the real misogynists, trolls and bigots of this world. Always. Won't get the fluff talk from me there. Just don't feel called out on that one, why would you, when you said it all the best yourself.
I'm genuinely trying to explain the frustration and unavoidable expectations that trying and playing this game has on every level.
I believe you do. But don't expect the emotions will change, on both sides, until you:

a) play the game
b) think about the game
c) rate the game

And fucking rate it with honesty, I mean, be it 0, 5, or 10 out of 10.

However, and I repeat myself here, I already said it but you didn't want to listen, so parhaps listen now: as long as you're here and as long as you're disappointed in the game without paying the bucks (and I understand 60 dollars is too much nowadays)... if you continue engaging in this whole 'Part II is disappointment to the fans' story... You will never, ever, give it a fair shot. Not a chance. You have preconditioned yourself into hating it, like many YouTubers, and the only way to remove yourself from it is to remove yourself from it. Buy it and play it when you're done thinking what should've been and start thinking the opposite. How do I play this and marinate... as it goes?

The notion that Naughty Dog and all of the creators who are responsible for existence of these characters are somehow 'hating their fans' and 'hating these characters' and 'don't know what's best for them' is ridiculous. Again, pointing at the yesterday's lengthy but essential podcast. It's just silly.

Troy:

Image

And that's what you'll get from me on this matter.
Last edited by m4st4 on June 26th, 2020, 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒕. 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒊𝒅𝒏'𝒕 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝑱𝒂𝒘𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒘𝒊𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒐𝒐𝒍.
- 𝑫𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒔 𝑽𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒖𝒗𝒆

Posts: 8218
Joined: August 2012
i honestly don’t get how people can write these long ass paragraphs without having played a game

people like that are absolutely part of this toxicity they claim to be calling out

like i’m not even playing this but i’m emotionally invested in this drama for some reason

User avatar
Posts: 15488
Joined: June 2010
Location: You're pretty good.
I mean, sure some that played it still disliked it (unheard of right), but "where we're actually at" is a point where armies of people who haven't will still tell you that "full context doesn't matter". In what universe is that reasonable?

Grab from reddit:
Image

Notice the deliberately but proudly ironic nickname? It's just so down to earth and noble of the guy to spare us the effort to call him what he already gladly embraces as status - means that we can't hurt/offend him now with all that armor. Best of all for him, of course, is that he can't be argued with on that high ground of irony. He doesn't need to play it and you just don't get that.

User avatar
Forum Pro
Posts: 55456
Joined: May 2010
Location: Arrakis
o SHAKESPEARE o wrote:
June 26th, 2020, 6:19 am
An unforgettable experience. And a landmark in video game storytelling. Got spoiled by the leaks and felt conflicted, but took a wait-and-see approach. Turns out the things I felt most conflicted about were either: a) executed well, or b) flat-out not true (still don't read if you haven't played the game)
"Abby kills Joel, then kills Ellie, the end?" "Muh cycles of violence," as the thematic summary... I kind of knew even back then that the leaker had it out for the game and wanted it to sound like trash, but man, they couldn't have been further from the truth if they tried. No mention of the flashbacks either? You know, the narrative spine of the entire fucking game?! Yes, the barebones plot is about revenge, but the game is about forgiveness, understanding, and letting hate go before it poisons our humanity; coincidentally, the three keys for unpacking Joel's fateful lie. Which is exactly what a sequel to the Last of Us had to be. The final scene is absolutely devastating, and the idea that the key to Ellie's journey was in remembering Joel as he was, warts and all... Oof, goosebumps.
It's been a pleasure following this thread with you guys as I played through the game. Hope others continue to post their thoughts as they play too. Bravo to every last Naughty Dog employee; this game works because of the contributions of every single department.
Sorry, didn't realize you posted right before my longass post, deserves to be in a spotlight.
looove your spoiler summary, chef's kiss

Glad you finished the game and that the spoilers (fake and real ones) didn't diminish your overall enjoyment!

Prince, that whole 'exchange' is exactly why all of this has been so frustrating to discuss.
Didn't we have that same talk with RIFA in this same thread? He argued TLOU isn'y goty material and that watching YouTube playthrough was enough for him to judge it. Highly doubt he took 13 hours to actually watch the whole thing.

Edit: look at this bullshit



The entitlement here is just... :lol: :clap:
𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒕. 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒊𝒅𝒏'𝒕 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝑱𝒂𝒘𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒘𝒊𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒐𝒐𝒍.
- 𝑫𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒔 𝑽𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒖𝒗𝒆

User avatar
Posts: 15488
Joined: June 2010
Location: You're pretty good.
Eventually even RIFA loved TLOU but I wouldn't bet on that for P2.

About the jpeg, it's funny because I feel like half of those are split on their idea of what should've happened and they don't even know or discuss that.
I think a lot of them feel that Joel was like a tragic saint and that his image shouldn't have been questioned or complicated, while the other half think that he can be but only as long as he became a full-blown villain and Ellie remained innocent herself. Both options are much, much simpler than what we got and are inconsistent with what Part 1 was about.

User avatar
Forum Pro
Posts: 55456
Joined: May 2010
Location: Arrakis
I loved Spider-Man PS4 but...
We’re delighted to report that 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. This milestone would not have been reached without the support from our amazing fans, so on behalf of everyone at SIE, thank you!
https://blog.playstation.com/2020/06/26 ... on-copies/

Congrats to Sony and Naughty Dog for finalizing this generation with a record seller.

Previous records:
God of War - 3.1M in 3 days
Spider-man - 3.3M in 3 days

Last edited by m4st4 on June 26th, 2020, 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒕. 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒊𝒅𝒏'𝒕 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝑱𝒂𝒘𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒘𝒊𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒐𝒐𝒍.
- 𝑫𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒔 𝑽𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒖𝒗𝒆

User avatar
Forum Pro
Posts: 3426
Joined: October 2014
Location: Philly
Bacon wrote:
June 26th, 2020, 1:03 am
TIL continuing a comparison that the creator of this game makes and explaining why I find it applicable but less successful is trolling. Good to know for the future.
being intentionally obtuse about a game you’ve never played to prove why it’s bad or you dislike it, IS trolling

if you dislike the direction, fine. what you’re doing is discounting the story, because you don’t like where it goes based on what you’ve read and watched and based on, frankly, a lot of unintelligent internet streamers and trolls who do stuff for views - jumping on the hate bandwagon. your opinion is not based on experience or quality of writing.

is it not telling that everyone on here who avoided the leaks, and didn’t go in with preconceived opinions, have loved it?

also, for what it’s worth: fuck fans. they’re not entitled to anything. as a writer myself, i find it offensive that anyone would suggest i write a story about my characters to please people

User avatar
Posts: 4051
Joined: May 2014
Location: [insert non-spoilery location here, that wasn't a spoiler to begin with]
Alright, since no one else will say it, I will; .....

Please shut up, Bacon

User avatar
Posts: 26288
Joined: February 2010
Location: Texas
At the risk of turning this into a rant, I want to say some stuff on this game (without having finished it yet). I think I know where it's headed in terms of its messaging and themes, and I wanna strike while the iron is hot in my mind.

It's ironic that many online critics of the game haven't played it, because the most profound things in this game actually hinge on you ... you know ... playing it.

There's a tiny thing about the game that I particularly love and seems to encapsulate what Naughty Dog are trying to get across here:
Throughout the early parts of the game, playing as Ellie, you come across a lot of seemingly insignificant non-infected enemies who have names. Like when you stealth kill one in an area, another enemy will call out to them.

Initially I thought, "huh, that's a cool little detail". Because you don't see that in big games like this that have a lot of killable NPC's. They're cardboard cutouts for you to grind through until the "boss" at the end, right?

When you get to Abby's story it becomes crystal clear why. Obviously, the reveal that Abby is the daughter of the doctor Joel kills is shocking enough. But you also follow Abby through the WLF camp, and you are forced to confront many of the characters you killed as Ellie.

Cue the shocking realization of what ND are attempting and then me setting my controller down and putting my face in my hands. The game isn't about Ellie or Abby. It's about me. It's about you. The gamer. What do you think of this? Are you willing to put your own biases and/or love for Joel and Ellie aside for a moment and understand the consequences of their actions? Are you willing to confront your own?

I mean, any game is ultimately about the gamer in one way or another, but TLOUII plays with that in a different way. It forces you into disagreeable or uncomfortable scenarios that make you question the characters, and maybe yourself if you are open to it. Perhaps there are other games that do this too, I just haven't played many of them. Off the top of my head, Assassin's Creed III or Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons have elements similar to this.

The game isn't trying to punish you or be deceitful like many people seem to be crying about. It is offering you perspectives of different characters, and allowing you the gamer to project all of your biases onto them.

It's a perfect foil to the first game, which is a singular and emotional ride that keeps you basically in the head of one man. This game is less of a sequel and more of a challenge to what TLOU does. It's saying, "hold on, you did all this shit in the first game, and here are the consequences. Not only that, here's why the character you hate may be justified in their actions."

It annoys me that many folks are either dismissing this or missing this point entirely. It's the crux of the experience of playing this game. If anything, the game is a rebuke of people like Bacon or people who watch games for a few minutes over a stream rather than actually experiencing it themselves.

I'm not saying I have any more authority or intelligence on this game than the next person, or that my opinion is any more or less valid, or even that this game isn't flawed or messy in some ways. But I do think there is a shallower, visceral way of reacting to the game, and there is way to let yourself trust it and let it take you on whatever journey it wants you to have.

It must be fascinating to be Druckmann or any of the other creators behind this game right now, seeing how the reaction is unfolding. Because it seems to be happening the way the story of their game intended.
If that makes any sense.

Post Reply