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Last of Us 2 Discussion [Spoilers]

Discussion in 'Gaming and PC Discussion' started by KHAAAAAAAN!!, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. KHAAAAAAAN!!

    KHAAAAAAAN!! Troll in the Dungeon ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Anyone got their hands on Last of Us 2 and are playing through it?

    Most of the critics seem to love it, but general public reviews are hating on it heavily, saying it's joyless, emotionally exhausting, and undoes a lot of the development from part 1.

    There also seems to be quite a lot of fake negative review bombing going on (as the game has only been out for a few hours and there hasn't even been enough time for full story completion), so it's hard to make sense of what's what.

    I really have no interest in playing a Last of Us game that has a shitty story just for the graphics and mechanics, so let me know what you think when you finish your playthrough. I trust DLP opinions more than your average internet rando.
     
  2. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    My impression of reactions is that the more someone is attached to the characters the more they hate the game because it does disservice to them in their opinion. For people who are indifferent about them the game is probably one of the best in this console generation because it's excellently made.
     
  3. Meerkats

    Meerkats Auror

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    Finished the last of us 2 last night. Absolutely incredible game, no piece of media has ever made me feel such strong emotions.

    I would give the story an 11/10 if I could and the gameplay an 8. Though at the same time I'm sure that the gameplay choices made were 100% intentional and for all its faults it only served to give me a more visceral reaction.

    Absolutely do not want a third one. Even though it would be really funny to see Internet gamer communities bust millions of brain cells at once.
     
  4. Viewtiful

    Viewtiful Groundskeeper

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    Just finished The Last of Us II. I thought it was a great game, and I'm honestly struggling to understand a fair bit of the critical response. While I knew there were always going to be a lot of people very angry and upset about how the story develops, I'm a little more surprised about how dismissive some of the other criticism is. There's a WIRED article that seems popular that basically derides the game as nothing more than misery porn with a 'revenge is bad' plot, which just seems like a really shallow level of engagement with the narrative, and Reddit is nothing but complaints that the game is trying to make you feel guilty for things you don't have control over.

    It's not perfect - I think the first game is arguably better, there's some major pacing issues, and I'm torn over whether the game should have continued past a certain point - but a lot of people seem to think it's the worst game ever made.
     
  5. Agayek

    Agayek The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    A lot of it is simply down to emotional engagement with the characters from the first game. Essentially, Joel gets offed early on, and this creates a supremely negative response in the people who were really invested in him and wanted to see more of him, and so the rest of the game is approached in the mindset of actively looking for problems to be mad about and/or exacerbating small issues to justify the umbrage. Add on top of that the instinctive reaction to being told "fuck you this is perfect" and/or "fuck you this is awful", and you get a lot of shitposting on the internet about it.

    That said, I haven't played it (or the first game, for that matter) myself, but everything I've heard, from sources both praising and damning the game, paints it as one of those artsy depressing narratives, like you'd see at a hipster's favorite film festival, with some ham-handed elements to force "the message" home. It feels an awful lot like a generic up-its-own-ass narrative that is being forgiven for a lot of issues just by virtue of being a game and, by extension, not having a lot of worthwhile competition to compare against the boring and honestly fairly cliche thematic and narrative choices.

    Spoilered -- Zombie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2020
  6. The Iron Rose

    The Iron Rose Minister of Magic

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    Probs want to spoiler that bit @Agayek

    that being said if all the controversy is about that specific event then lol, suck it nerds, the game is great and also lesbians.
     
  7. deyas

    deyas Groundskeeper

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    It wasn't. Categorically. He is/was one of the best writers in the industry. Unfortunately, however much I want to defend him, and however much I think cancel culture is generally absolute bullshit (not least because I'm heartily opposed to mob rule, which is all cancel culture really amounts to) there seems to be enough substantiable evidence of consistent wrongdoing, and of generally disagreeable attitudes towards women, that I can't say the reactions against him are necessarily unreasonable. A lot of this is predicated on the claims of his being banned from cons being provable, though, and for the reasons claimed. Ideally more women coming forwards, as well, since it seems at the very least that he's a pretty disagreeable drunk, and it doesn't seem improbable that if his behavior is as bad as one of the women is claiming, that there will be more claims coming forwards. If neither of those things proves true, well, we'll see.

    On The Last of Us Part 2, a lot of the internet backlash comes from the unapologetic existence of lesbians in the game, since none of the depictions of Ellie's relationship seem even remotely able to be construed as pushing an agenda, unless you believe the very existence of lesbians in a game constitutes an agenda.

    Some of it is how Joel's storyline was ended, although I am beyond perplexed how anyone who's seen the ending of the first game could be in any way surprised by it; that doesn't change that people had a pretty heavy emotional investment in him, and it wasn't a pretty ending for him. Then again, it's clearly intended to make the player feel helpless, feel angry, angry at the villains. It's unfortunate that a lot of people are deciding to redirect that at the developer for doing their job well, but what can you do. Besides which, the games have never been especially positive, pleasant experiences. If anything, they're defined by their utterly grim, melancholy look at a post apocalyptic, zombie world.

    Some of it is also that the game in general isn't quite as good as the first one. The pacing isn't quite as good, and some of the same problems that existed in the first one also exist in this one. Though, to be clear, it's still spectacular. None of these things on their own would be all that big a deal, but mix them together, add in internet brigading/botting from alt-right shitheels who don't like that lesbians exist, and you get a pretty decent sized shitstorm.

    Not that it ultimately matters all that much. The game has been selling exceptionally well, and while gamer bros are mad, it doesn't seem that many other people are; a blessing to be sure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
  8. Agayek

    Agayek The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    Eh. From what I've heard, it's not "just" that, but more that that is representative of the issues with the game; that is, a relentlessly grim/nihilistic tone and constant need to beat the audience over the head with the central theme. Probably the most consistent thing in the criticism I've seen has been that characters frequently make decisions that serve the plot (and the aforementioned "beat the audience over the head" thing), rather than their character, and when that's combined with the ludonarrative dissonance of "game says 'violence is bad' at the same time game says 'here's a pointy stick, go murder a thousand people'", it doesn't really play out very well.

    The second most consistent thing I've seen has been "You guys really think this is the pinnacle of storytelling? Oh man, I am gonna blow your mind. There's these things called 'books' and 'movies' that have already told this story, and oftentimes much better, thousands of times." Like, a lot of the criticism isn't that it's bad, just that it's insipid; "vengeance bad, don't do it" is among the oldest tropes of mankind, and it's been done so often that yet another exploration of the same concept without anything new to say about it just isn't very engaging.

    If I had to summarize the criticism of the game as I understand it, it's that it's decent enough mechanically, a fairly solid, if unexceptional, third-person stealth/shooter game, with a trite and uninspired story that's more concerned with making the player feel bad than being compelling.

    Then you take that, throw it into the cauldron of the internet with trolls, contrarians, and the variously excited peoples, and you've got a recipe for the current shitshow that surrounds the game.
     
  9. Myduraz

    Myduraz Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Been playing BDO the last month, yes I know I know, I'm a heathen.

    They recently, last week in fact, began something previously done in Korea - season servers. It's a 3 month thing, in which experience is increased, rewards given and enhancing simplified. After the season the gear carries over to real servers, although you can reach Max at season servers it'll equal softcap gear on real servers. Still me and my irls have had a blast and can actually recommend the experience.
     
  10. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    This is the problem, the parroting of narratives from people who haven't played the fucking game.

    Dunkey's review hits the nail on the head regarding the themes, and 'violence/revenge is bad don't do it' is so hilariously wrong I don't even know where to start.

    As much as it pains me to say it (because I generally find the people who parrot these fucking narratives to be super annoying), I genuinely think a lot of the hate regarding the game comes from three places:

    1. People hilariously thinking Abbie is trans (she's not), and how that hurts their feelings for obvious spoiler reasons
    2. Homophobia (also weird, Ellie's sexuality has been known since Left Behind)
    3. The event at the beginning of the game

    It's frustrating because there's a lot that can be critiqued about this game - mainly the pacing - but the talk around it is just so ridiculously toxic that it doesn't even matter.
     
  11. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    I managed to remain unspoiled on The Last of Us 1 until I finally got round to playing it a few weeks ago, but less than a week for the sequel, when I drop into a general videogame thread and it's the first unread post that pops shows up. Cool.
     
  12. Agayek

    Agayek The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    Honestly? I think that's a part of it, but a decently small part. If I had to point to any single element sparking the backlash, I'd say it's probably

    That you spend a solid third or so of the game playing as "the bad guy".

    Essentially, Abby beats Joel to death with a golf club, and then six hours later, the game is bending over backwards to make her sympathetic and 'force' the player to empathize with her. I think a lot of people sit through that whole sequence going "I really don't give a shit about this cunt and her problems; I'm aware she's a person, but she crossed the line already so fuck her", and when the game keeps doubling down on that messaging rather than aligning with their opinion on her, they get annoyed with it.

    Combine that with the ludonarrative dissonance I mentioned earlier, where the primary theme/messaging of the game is at odds with the core gameplay loop (or alternatively, that the theme only seems to apply to narratively important characters and not all the other meatsacks populating the levels), and you've got a pretty good recipe for a decent chunk of people really not liking the story at all.
     
  13. Arshunk

    Arshunk Squib

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    I appreciate what Druckmann was trying to do, but for me personally, it didn’t land. I think the backlash has been pretty excessive and a LOT of it has gone too far, but I also think that ND is missing the point as to why fans disliked TLOU2. I think it was mainly the manner in which Joel died, as well as a sort of forced empathy that you’re supposed to feel for Joel’s killer, that drags the story down. I didn’t want to empathize with Abby because she killed Joel, a man that I had spent over 10 hours with in the previous game.


    My empathy for Abby never matched the fury I felt when she killed Joel, so when Ellie spared her, the game didn’t feel satisfying. I know Druckmann was going for a different angle on the ending, but as a player, the ending simply made me fill unsatisfied, like everything I had work for up to that point had been for nothing. (It also doesn’t translate well that “Revenge is bad” when you glance behind Ellie’s shoulder and see all of the bodies of those you killed to get to Abby.)


    They want to force the player to feel empathy for Abby and I think thats where the story failed for me and a lot of people.


    It fails not only because she is an angry orangutan but mainly because the writing is so in your face.


    Abby pets the dog, Ellie kills the dog and so on, so on. They do everything to show that hero is the real monster and Abby is the real hero. Like wtf and none of this works. She still comes off as unhinged sociopath... and ND lied about the game direction. The trailers made it seem like You play as Ellie and Joel, especially in on of the trailers saying "I would've not let You do this on your own kiddo" and in real game... it's not him.


    She does not show any remorse even after she receives his help. We even get a flashback showing how she saves zebra and is a loving person lol. She should totally understand what Joel had to do... but she goes on torturing. not even ending it quick.


    I’m not trying to say Joel was a perfect man but just take a look at it this way. Joel killed the doctor because he was in his way and was going to attack Joel with a knife. Also in the first game there is a note which says Fireflies aren’t 100% sure if they can make the cure.


    Then there is Abby who slow kills Joel who has saved her from death 30 minutes ago when she’s surrounded by her gang. She’s a coward. She shoots his leg and then starts to smash with the club repeatedly. When Ellie opens the door, Abby is still swinging the club. That’s why I will never like her.


    My disappointment in this game was immeasurable. Also it sure seems odd that everyone likes to point to LGBT stuff as the only type of criticism coming in, yet the first game is one of the most beloved games of all time, plus its dlc? Quit using it as a shield all the time.


    Also my head cannon is that when Abby bites Ellie’s fingers she gets infected. We know that Ellie cannot infect other persons but earlier that day her hand was bitten so I like to think that her blood is infectious at that time.
     
  14. Agayek

    Agayek The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    Kek, thanks for proving my point @Arshunk
     
  15. Viewtiful

    Viewtiful Groundskeeper

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    Across both games, I honestly find Abby more likeable than Joel.
     
  16. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'm not gonna address people's critiques of the game because they're your opinions, but know that the majority of people spoiling shit on every social media platform are doing it for one of those three reasons I mentioned earlier.

    As for ludonarrative dissonance, I'm starting to hate that term. Especially when it's thrown around by reviewers who want to sound smart, even if it's not relevant.

    At no point is the prime theme/message of the game at odds with the gameplay. The theme of Ellie's journey is one of obsession, and the cost she, and her friends/loved ones will pay for that obsession. It's treated as a sickness, closer to a mental illness. She's not well, for obvious reasons.

    Also what?! Majority of the fucking main cast is killed in this game. Ellie and Tommy are on a rampage, killing everyone in their way. Tommy stops because he physically cannot carry out his revenge after being shot in the head (and surviving). Every single one of Abbie's friends is murdered by the two of them. The only reason Ellie didn't kill Abbie was because she couldn't, she got the jump on them, murdered one of Ellie's friends and almost beat her to death.

    I'm not gonna keep going point by point through the plot, but the claim of ludonarrative dissonance has no basis here (unlike it does in, say, Uncharted). There is no handwaving on what they're doing for plot conveniences, you're on a rampage, and it's part of the story. Both in gameplay and in cutscenes.
    --- Post automerged ---
    They're similar characters with similar arcs... but this is objectively wrong :p
     
  17. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    They're similar characters with similar arcs... but this is objectively wrong :p
     
  18. Agayek

    Agayek The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    Sure, but it actually applies here.

    The big example I'm thinking of is the final bit where Ellie lets Abby go. It's supposed to be a big moment about forgiveness and breaking the cycle of violence, but then you turn around and there's a dozen corpses laying around the area, which makes that revelation ring more than a bit hollow. It's like... "yes, the cycle of violence has been broken... up until the family of any of the hundreds of people you violently murdered to get to that point catch up with you". The narrative completely ignores all of those people, and none of the narrative themes matter except specifically for the major characters.

    That kind of thing is exactly what I mean by ludonarrative dissonance. The gameplay, sneaking around murdering dudes, actively undercuts the narrative climax, the idea of the cost of vengeance. It works fairly well together early on, highlighting the viciousness with which Ellie is pursuing her vengeance and how it eats away at her, but it becomes at odds in the climax, where Abby is treated one way while the dudes that hung her up are treated very differently thanks to being mook NPCs that only really exist for the gameplay.

    It creates a clear separation, a dissonance if you will, between what the gameplay tells the player, that violence to achieve your aims is fine, and what the narrative tells the player, that violence will eat you up inside and destroy you.
     
  19. Viewtiful

    Viewtiful Groundskeeper

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    I disagree that the gameplay is at odds with the narrative here. Sure, the game doesn't explicitly condemn the murder of the mooks you kill on your way to Abby, but I feel like the implication is clear throughout that everyone Ellie kills on her path to revenge just as human as Ellie, or Abby, or Joel. The whole point of Abby is that prior to seeing things from her perspective, she could be dismissed as a mook too, just the daughter of someone Joel killed without any regret. Everyone Ellie killed could be her, and have loved ones who want to hunt her down for their own revenge. I don't think the gameplay is telling you that the violence you commit to achieve your aims is fine when its clear that your aims are inherently self-destructive, and literally everyone you kill has the potential to start the whole thing anew. I don't see the gameplay and narrative as being at odds at all, they both inform the other - the narrative re-contextualises the gameplay, and the gameplay heightens the intimacy of the narrative.
     
  20. Agayek

    Agayek The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    Not really what I was trying to get at, though that's a perfectly valid read on the themes and the gameplay (and is what I was trying to get at when I said it works fairly well up until the climax).

    What I was trying to get at is that the gameplay incentivizes and rewards being a violent killer (primarily through reducing difficulty) while the narrative thirty seconds later is going to great lengths to explain why violence is bad and you shouldn't do it.

    A rough analogy is if, for example, your boss came up to you during work and said "I hear you yelled at that Karen the other day. That was fucking awful and if you do it again, you're fired. By the way, here's a $500 bonus.". It's not quite the same, but it's in the ballpark. The game mechanics push you to play a certain way, to adopt a certain mindset and approach, but in the next cutscene, the game tells you that that mindset is fundamentally wrong. There's a disconnect between what the mechanics say you as the player should do, and what the narrative says you should do, and that's why the term is ludo-(Latin for "play") narrative dissonance.

    Now to be clear, this isn't always a bad thing (Spec Ops: The Line is a pretty beautiful example of how to play with ludonarrative dissonance in storytelling). I just think that the way it's done in last of us 2 detracts from the message rather than enhances it.
     
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