The Last of Us 2 is a game that tries to deliver a message about violence and the vicious cycle of revenge, and a game that tries to be a slow but tense and grounded experience. It is also a game that fails spectacularly at both aspects. To get to the bottom of how and why that happened, I need to talk about Part 1.
I love The Last of Us Part 1, and always have. It was one of the very first games I played that managed to make me genuinely care about it's character and their fates. It is also one of the very few works of fiction that I can describe with confidence as having a perfect ending. It's gameplay was never that great. It is basic and slow and sometimes even boring, but through Naughty Dog's usual and frankly impressive ability to craft well-paced and entertaining adventures, some of the best characters in video game history, and an exceptionally well-written story, The Last of Us Part 1 becomes much more than the sum of its parts.
With that being said, The Last of Us Part 2 loses all of that magic, because it lacks the great characters of its predecessor, it lacks the well-written story, and it is painfully unaware of its own shortcomings. The characters are bland. The writing is clichéd when it's not cheap, and cheap when it's not contrived. The frankly basic gameplay loop that Part 1 managed to keep fresh through keeping it short and to the point loses all of its appeal by the halfway point. While the game does improve on almost every core mechanic, that improvement is still minimal, and coupled with the game's length, which is too long for the basic loop, and its atrocious pacing, it makes for an unsatisfying gameplay experience.
To make matters worse, the small interactions and witty entertaining dialogue that made the long and slow exploration segments of the first games tolerable and even fun are either gone or massively worse than their Part 1 counterparts, and that should not come as a surprise, considering how underdeveloped and/or unlikeable most of the new characters are. This goes beyond bad writing and becomes frankly an insult when the game tries to force an emotional reaction out of the player by killing off one of these characters, that you, likely, never even gave a fuck about.
Credit where credit is due, the game's presentation is almost flawless. This is, hands down, one of the most graphically impressive game I've ever played, but otherwise, the game feels empty. Style over substance.
The Last of Us Part 2 is a game that has something to say, but it says it in the most blunt and forced way possible, and its gameplay is too bland to soften the blow of that atrocious story. It is a misguided attempt at artistic expression through the medium of video games, and it is kind of sad to watch it fail that miserably.


This review contains spoilers

Toem's charm lies in its simplicity. Simple puzzles, simple story, simple art, but it all comes together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. Even the game's big finale, experiencing Toem, manages to be a significant moment because of a very simple idea: It's the only time you see color in the game, after only seeing shades of white, grey, and black for the entire runtime.
I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did.

It is not often that I'll play a game that captivates me this much, to the point where it makes me consciously give up on sleep just so that I can get more of it, and it is not often that I'll play a game that I'm genuinely sad to have finished, because I'll never get to experience it blindly ever again. Everything in this game from the soundtrack to the art style to the RPG elements to the narrative design and themes work together to an impressively cohesive degree, delivering a story that is entertaining, enthralling, funny, and tragic, all at the same time.
Pentiment is visually striking, beautiful, captivating, and extremely well-written and well-designed. If it wasn't for the third act dragging a little bit, it would've been a perfect 10.

This review contains spoilers


I didn't even buy this and I still want a refund.

Had to play the original Resident Evil 4 before the remake.