19 Reviews liked by VinceBen97

Just counting the days when I suddenly crave Minecraft and I play it non-stop for 2 weeks, only to drop it for half a year. This cycle will follow me til I die.

This review contains spoilers

I would like to preface this by saying that this is not my attempt to be a contrarian. As far as I know, TLOU2 was not consistently well-received by fans of the first game. This review reflects nothing more and nothing less than my personal opinion on why Part II is not a good game when compared to Part I. Had Part II been a standalone title and not a sequel to The Last of Us, I would probably have liked it a lot more. With that said, however, I am not of the pompous belief that those who liked this have innately bad taste. One is allowed to enjoy whatever one enjoys. It just so happens that I did not enjoy this.
Now for my review.
When the credits to this game finally began to roll, one thought plagued my consciousness. The Last of Us Part II is an insult to its predecessor.
Some claim that the tone of the game is the biggest culprit, but I firmly disagree. I find nothing wrong with stories that are bleak and dark. In fact, I quite enjoy them, and I don't think the disjointed structure is an intrinsic issue, either. Citizen Kane is one of my favorite movies, and its story is not told like a traditional narrative. But despite that, Citizen Kane's story is both engaging and structurally sound. The Last of Us Part II's story is not.
Admittedly, I don't despise the first half of this game. The death of Joel acts as Ellie's call to action and kickstarts her revenge quest. As Ellie (and by extension the player) progresses, the narrative tension slowly does the same until it reaches a crescendo during the eventual confrontation with Abby, who is Joel's killer and the main antagonist of the story. Just as the game reaches the crux of its narrative, however, it abruptly cuts to several days prior and forces the player to follow Abby as she uncovers the results of Ellie's personal crusade.
Every well structured plot should have a conflict that slowly builds, snowballing until the inevitable confrontation between the protagonist and the antagonist. That is not the case for Abby's section of the game. Roughly three quarters of Abby's story are entirely inconsequential to the overall narrative, and that is because she lacks a personal goal until she discovers that her friends have been killed by Ellie. Once that happens, the tension builds hastily until we view the confrontation for a second time, but this time from Abby's point of view.
After their climactic fight, the player experiences something akin to an epilogue, but because Ellie still wants Abby's head on a stick, the two of them have a second confrontation, which is effectively a second climax. Then the story finally ends.
That is a repugnant way to structure a plot. I have nothing against multiple climaxes, but I do have a problem with the level of tonal dissonance that is present during the shift from Ellie to Abby. The midpoint between the inciting incident and the climax should provide something that catalyzes a great deal of change within the plot. But this should be expressed to the viewer through the protagonist's characterization, not by restarting the story entirely. Instead, the player is forced to carry out what amounts to little more than a series of menial sidequests until Abby finds out Ellie killed her friends. Beyond the fact that most of Abby's story is muddled and incoherent, it's a drag to actually play as her.
I'm now going to address the elephant in the room. Joel dies. Rather early on, in fact. While I don't consider that an inherently poor decision, I do think it was poorly timed in the context of the narrative. When I reflect on the reasons I loved The Last of Us as much as I did, one major thing comes to mind–– Ellie and Joel's relationship. Joel is a cynical man who has lost both his daughter and his faith in humanity as a result of a zombie apocalypse. Meeting and befriending Ellie help Joel become more like the man he was before he lost everything. This comes full circle in the final sequence of Part I, when Joel selfishly decides that he would rather save the life of his surrogate daughter than have her killed in order to save humanity. >For the record, farming her brain would not actually help create a vaccine–– it's a fungal infection, damn it!–– but that's an entirely different can of worms. I'll just suspend my disbelief in the meantime.
Because Joel and Ellie's relationship is at the forefront of Part I, it's something that should be explored and expanded upon in Part II. That becomes impossible to do if Joel dies as early as he does. I think it would have made a lot more sense for Joel to remain alive throughout Part II so he could have proper character interactions with Ellie outside of mere flashback sequences. There was so much potential for their relationship to develop in Part II, especially because the two of them would face fallout from Joel's actions at the end of Part I, assuming the writers would still have Ellie find out (and why wouldn't they?). I think it would carry much more emotional weight if Ellie repeatedly pushed Joel away, effectively removing him from her life, as Joel struggled to gain her forgiveness and make her understand just why he did what he did. If Joel were to die only after their reconciliation, it would have completely broken Ellie emotionally, allowing for a fascinating character study, and I would have had no problem with that. I acknowledge that the game does make an attempt to do this, but only in the form of two short flashback sequences. That is inexcusable. Watching Joel and Ellie go from total strangers to father and daughter was one of the biggest reasons that so many people adored The Last of Us. Not providing the same level of characterization in Part II only hurts the narrative and alienates a large portion of the fanbase.
One of the things I hated the most about Part II was Abby herself. During the final fight with Ellie, I decided to let Abby die in hopes that it would affect the narrative. W̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶I̶ ̶f̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶d̶i̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶,̶ ̶I̶ ̶l̶e̶t̶ ̶A̶b̶b̶y̶ ̶d̶i̶e̶ ̶a̶g̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶b̶e̶c̶a̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶I̶ ̶h̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶s̶t̶u̶p̶i̶d̶a̶s̶s̶ ̶m̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶f̶u̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶i̶e̶c̶e̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶y̶a̶n̶k̶e̶e̶ ̶d̶a̶n̶k̶e̶e̶ ̶d̶o̶o̶d̶l̶e̶ ̶s̶h̶i̶t̶ When I found out that it did not, I let Abby die again because I abhorred her character that much.
In most cases, a revenge story works the most if the antagonist is downright detestable, as that helps solidify the protagonist's motivations and get the audience to resonate with said protagonist. I would like Gladiator much less if Ridley Scott had tried to make Commodus a likable character. If viewers were to sympathize with Commodus, then Maximus's goal would be undermined, and the final confrontation between the two men would not be nearly as satisfying to witness. Abby's story is like that. Druckmann attempts to get viewers to forgive Abby by depicting her as a victim of circumstance, but that fails when her motivations clash with Ellie's, simply because we players already like Ellie. That's part of why so many of us tried to kill Abby.
Another reason why Abby is so unlikable has to do with her inconsistent characterization. In a section of the story, Abby slaughters dozens of her own allies and is completely unapologetic about it. This is a trait she demonstrates throughout the entire game; she is consistently callous with regards to human life. For that reason, it struck me as contrived when I witnessed Abby mourn the deaths of her friends and spare Dina and Ellie just because Lev told her to do it. Sparing them would be the equivalent of asking them to try killing her again, and that is exactly what happens.
Speaking of things that are contrived, several characters make decisions that are completely idiotic and not in-line with their characters. To mention just two examples, Joel reveals his name to a group of strangers, goes into a room with them, and does not stand near the exit. These events lead directly to his death. This is the same character who refuses to help an apparently injured homeless man in the previous game, choosing instead to mow him with his vehicle for (correctly placed) fear of a trap. While the argument can be made that Joel loses his survival instincts in his time at Jackson, I find that notion to be both unbelievable and unrealistic. Unbelievable because the writers made no attempt to convey it with foreshadowing, and unrealistic because battle-hardened military veterans are known to carry their own survival instincts for the rest of their lives. Many vets isolate themselves from their families specifically because their minds are perpetually hardwired to be in battle mode. While Joel is not a military vet, he can absolutely be compared to one, and it is completely out-of-character for him to do something so dumb. And Joel is just one of many examples of characters who behave stupidly. In another instance, Ellie conveniently leaves her marked map near the corpse of one of Abby's friends, and that leads Abby right to her. And during their final confrontation, Ellie forgoes her firearms for a knife as she fights Abby to the "death." In Part 1 as well as the Left Behind DLC, Ellie demonstrates herself to be much more pragmatic and resourceful than this.
Unlike some, I actually took no issue with the fact that Ellie chooses to spare Abby in the very end, since it allows her to repay the life-debt that she owed. My issue is that there should not have been a debt in the first place. Sparing Ellie and Dina is inconsistent with Abby's character, and that level of illogical characterization is something that is omnipresent throughout The Last of Us Part II.
The Last of Us came out when I was 13 years old, and my bratty younger self absolutely LOVED it. I had never been so engrossed by a narrative in a video game before, but what really struck me was just how much I could KEEP enjoying The Last of Us as I got older. The Last of Us was a profound and heart wrenching experience that ended on the perfect note. Naughty Dog left just the right level of ambiguity in the ending, but there was still enough closure to keep me satisfied. But despite that satisfaction, a part of me was disappointed that I would never be able to experience The Last of Us for the first time ever again.
When the sequel was announced, I was ecstatic and giddy with anticipation. After so long, I could finally spend more time with the characters and world that Naughty Dog had created. In the months prior to launch, I deliberately avoided looking at any leaks. I ignored the negative feedback and simply assumed that trolls were being trolls. I popped in the disc with an open mind, and took it out with a broken heart. I cannot recall a time when I had such high hopes for anything, only to have them toppled to such a degree.

otherwise captivating and groundbreaking [THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN INTERRUPTED BY A RANDOM ENCOUNTER]
game with a beautifully composed sountrack, [THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN INTERRUPTED BY A RANDOM ENCOUNTER]
was completely tarnished by the most abysmal [THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN INTERRUPTED BY A RANDOM ENCOUNTER]
random encounter rate that I have ever witnessed.
Play this ONLY if you want the full Earthbound experience and have [THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN INTERRUPTED BY A RANDOM ENCOUNTER] A LOT of patience.

I fucking love Hey You Pikachu!. Every morning I wake up, turn on my Nintendo 64, wipe off my Hey You Pikachu! microphone, and get into the game. I love interacting with my best friend, Pikachu. The divorce has been really hard on my so Pikachu gives me comfort instead of my counselor. I hate Bryant, he doesn't understand anything. Pikachu does. He loves me. He knows why I'm hurting and that's why I play Hey You Pikachu!.

Every time I play this game I just find myself putting it down after a while. I don’t know why, but there’s just something about this game that just doesn’t keep my interest for long.

almost cried when diddy said "we truly are the donkey kong country: tropical freeze"

remember when we spent a decade trying to pretend this was bad actually
fucking lol

pikachu spends all your money and calls you gay

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