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The Last of Us Part II

Spoilers on this whole game and the previous one.

These are just my rambles on this game. I have completed it a couple of days ago and wanted to give my thoughts.

The TL:DR is, I like this game. I enjoyed it. It's too long I think, but I would say that this and Uncharted 4 have Naughty Dogs (ND) best gameplay. In this particular genre anyway. Definitely worth a play if you haven't done it yet and need something to play. If this applies to you though, don't read on as you will get spoiled.

In terms of the story. Look, a lots been said about it. But I wanna look at it like this. ND could've very easily have peddled out the same game as TLOU1 and it would've sold millions and people would've probably been happy. They could do it until the cows come home.

However, instead they took lots of risks. And I respect that. They told the story they wanted to tell. And that is admirable in my opinion considering how entertainment has kinda become now, with them peddling out as much stuff as possible and not willing to do anything challenging or creative or new.

With this comes another potential issue with stuff like TLoU2. Expectations. I think it's fair to say that ND are probably Sony's most valuable studio. They are both the Mario and Zelda team for Sony in terms of importance. For more than 15 years (longer if you include Crash), they've consistently delivered blockbusters for the company. When it comes to making a sequel to a game as adored as TLoU1, it's almost impossible to meet these expectations. When the first game came out, did anyone have expectations for this game besides of course it being a ND game and a zombie one? We didn't know at the time how attached and adored to these characters people would become. The first game didn't have to deal with this expectation. People are expecting things now with TLoU2. They had bucket lists, headcanons, their own interpretation of how it went, and of course would be disappointed if they didn't get what they want.

I'm not saying that the game's story is perfect or excusing it because of this or whatever btw. If you don't like this story, that's okay. I'm not trying to change anyone's minds or start a fight or whatever. Just maybe see a different perspective.

For me, I liked the story. It was messy at times, but it was real. Characters make mistakes, do stupid things and grow and become different people over time. Are you the same person you were from a few years ago? Ellie isn't. Because her curiosity led her to find a crushing truth she feels very guilty about. And living in this game world, and being around a Joel, and dealing with death constantly can absolutely lead to frustration and anger and jadedness and mental health issues too.

Joel dying wasn't just to shock or upset people. His death plays a very integral part to the story, it literally doesn't happen without him dying. Maybe the problem then is the story as a whole. But where else could they go with this story at that time that would be interesting? Joel having to face up to what he did needed to be addressed here imo.

In terms of Abby, while I agree that a lot of her stuff was filler to start with, she won me over after a few hours. The fight with Ellie was disappointing because of the gameplay, but the idea of the fight wasn't. It was a very weird feeling fighting her. Knowing how much of a badass ellie was because we were playing her and literally did what she does makes her a much more threatening boss than anything else they could throw in tbh.

I dunno, me personally, I would've liked to see Ellie and Dina have their happy ending. But characters here aren't perfect. Characters are allowed to do stupid things. Characters are allowed to be messy. I just think they should've gone all the way and had Ellie kill Abby at the end. But they've left the door open for a 3 game with the two of them instead.

Again, I'm not trying to be contrarian here or discredit anyone's opinions. I just wanted to share mine and say that I enjoyed this game. Give it a chance if you can and you're still on the fence (though if you are, why are you reading this lol).

I absolutely adore how enemies interact here. More with the presentation than anything. They discuss tactics, they move more intelligently than previous ND games and actually try and swarm you. They exclaim when they see one of their own die and call them by name. It isn't much, but it's more emotional and whatnot. Instead of killing hundreds upon hundreds of code, it maybe let's you think just a little more that these are people. I like that. I really liked for example back in Assassin's creed 2, how if you get swarmed by enemies, they talk tactics and how they can try and out manoeuvre you. Now games can actually do it.

And of course, this game is a technical masterpiece. ND are masters at their craft, and everything that can be said about how absolutely incredible the graphics, the presentation, the fluidness, the world design, the acting and performances etc has already been said. But it is truly incredible. They have honed their craft for 15 years and made a really top game imo. The hghlight for me has to be the semi-open world at the start of Seattle. It's reminiscent of sections from Uncharted 4, and I really enjoyed it. Going through a derelict and destroyed city with a pal, finding lore and secrets, dealing with zombies and just having fun. It's great. And the island horse section. It's amazing how in this particular set piece they can nudge you into the right way while making it seem like you're doing the work. And the fire and the horrendous destruction and shooting, it's like being in a war. It's really something.

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