This isn't some post looking for validation or just to shoot down any hater of the game because it's a very subjective medium but I was genuinely surprised to see basically everyone hating this game right now. I have probably seen 2 positive (non reviewer) comments in a sea of negative comments so I just wanted to explain why the story works for me so far. Now I haven't finished the game yet but I'm pretty far in and I think the game does an excellent job with providing context and expanding on the original premise. The crux of the first game was Joel reconnecting with his humanity when Ellie gave him a chance at having a familial bond again. It wasn't until the final moments where Joel made a very controversial, selfish but believable choice and he caused a lot of carnage to doing so. For years we've been justifying this choice as 'what would you do? Would you give up your only chance at forming a bond in the hopes of providing a cure for people who have been trying to kill you for 20 years? Of course not.'
Well, I think TLOU2 answers this dilemma incredibly well. We're all happy watching anyone who gets in Joel's way die because it brings him closer to Ellie yet, the man who was just doing his job, trying to find a cure for humanity, trying to give his daughter a better world, gets killed by some angry man and suddenly there's no consequences for that? We grieve with Joel over losing Sarah or Ellie losing Joel but not Abby? We saw them bonding over the Zebra just like we saw Joel and Ellie bond over the Giraffes. They mirror each other very intentionally. Why did she deserve having to lose a father? How wasn't her revenge justified when Ellie's is? I feel like a lot of people are missing this detail because they personally have a lot of vitriol for Abby as she killed one of gaming's best protagonists and I do understand that but, it'd be hypocritical to suddenly harp on Abby for making this choice when we want Ellie to do the exact same thing. The whole point of the character swap was to define revenge. Regardless of how it plays out, the set up is still there. We all knew Joel was going to die. Naughty Dog knew we knew. That's why the point of the game isn't his death, it's how the all of this is just cyclical (as cliché as it sounds).
I don't know, it's late at night and I'm bummed at how much hate this game is getting. I don't disagree entirely that Joel wouldve acted differently in the beginning because he's always been an alert and intelligent man when it comes to survival but I guess I just saw it as Jackson changing him. I felt like his falling out with Ellie changed him completely. He just seemed empty in the beginning of the game even though he was his normal self in the flashbacks. Perhaps it was intentional, just poorly executed? I don't know, I haven't finished the game yet, I'm about after a particular sex scene so I'm hoping the themes don't get all lost in the game
Please refrain from spoiling the final moments of the game. Just here for the sake of discussion and providing another perspective.
PS I think the gameplay is pretty fantastic and the enemy AI is some of the best I've seen in a stealth game. It's a good improvement over the first game and the set pieces along with the amazing visuals and animations make for some very memorable moments. I do have some gripes with the game for sure but that's more for another time (for one I finally finish the game).
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