The Last of Us: Part II
Set 5 years after the events of The Last of Us, we see the return of Joel and Ellie. Driven by hatred, Ellie sets out for Seattle to serve justice. However, she begins to wonder what justice really means.
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My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.
One of the most gripping, intense, and best games I have played in a long time. Something happens in the beginning of this game I didn't expect, and I thought that would be the most shocking thing. Then at about the half way point of the game, the story flips and gives you a whole new perspective to the characters and story. Now, every previous thing you committed while playing the game suddenly has consequences and actually makes you think about your actions. I am trying to be as vague as possible for spoilers, but let's just say I can't think of any major games like this willing to take a risk. All the performers give award worthy performances but this is all about Ashley Johnson and Laura Bailey. Bailey is especially tasked with a difficult part and ends up becoming one of my favorite video game protagonists in a long time.
If the gameplay had been about the same as the first one I still would have loved it but they even improve upon that one. Fights are intense and there are multiple ways to beat enemies. The AI behaves in a way that makes it feel like you are actually in a post-apocalyptic world. They'll alert each other, panic, look under every nook and cranny, and converse with each other like humans do. The infected in this game are still terrifying and there is a boss battle with one that is almost like something out of Resident Evil (and I mean that as a compliment). I almost forgot to mention the graphics but the level of detail applied to the environments made me want to explore every inch of this world. All of this really helps to immerse yourself in the game.
I am honestly shocked at some of the responses to this game cause it does exactly what a sequel should do: enrich the world of the previous one, provide a new arc for the characters, tell a new story, and provide a new perspective that can make you see this world in a whole new light. All of this makes me excited to see what HBO will do with this but more importantly where the story could go from here. If it is even half as good as this one, then it will be a success.
There's no game that challenged my empathy, compassion, and will to keep pressing buttons like The Last of Us II did. It took me to the breaking point of my ethics, played with my perspective and biases, and ultimately took me to the extremes of the emotions video games can evoke.
TLOU's gameplay has never been my favourite, but its cinematic storytelling is a cut above the rest. While the length of the game could've been shorter, it's undeniable that the game made good use of it.
In a game that is centered around cyclical violence, I finished its story without the stomach for it anymore. It evolved into something so human and so resonant that the very foundations I started the game on started to crumble.
If you like to have your expectations subverted, and enjoy moral conundrums, there's really no better game to sink into this year.
an imperfect but truly ambitious masterwork on forgiveness and revenge with an all-timer ending
What more can be said on this emotionally crippling critique on the vicious cycle of violence and revenge.
What's most impressive about Naughty Dog's most recent games, both The Last of Us and Uncharted, is their sense of pacing. TLOU2 is roughly 30 hours of mostly linear gameplay and there's just enough interchanging of survival action, stealth horror and exploration for things to never get truly repetitive - I found this to be one of the only real issues with the first game.
The sound is most incredible with headphones, to the point where you hear creaks and bumps hollowing through distant rooms, subtly foreshadowing and creating dread in anticipation of the next dreadful threat. You can hear just about every clicking crevice of your gun as you take them apart to modify them. The sound and stunning presentation of the world helps to form Naughty Dog's most immersive game.
It's also a truly engaging piece of drama, not only with existing characters but new ones too. The polarizing use of gay and trans characters are justified in their own narratives - this is a game in which violence is brought upon people for simply being the person they are, whether its their sexuality, gender or relation to a political group. As much as TLOU2 is set in a world at the end of an apocalypse, it never feels far from our own, and the kinds of people who inhabit it have certainly not changed.
pee pee poo poo, sinple. dont care bout abby parts and thats half of the game so that it