The Last of Us 2 - Two cowgirls murdering each other's loved ones

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by CT Phipps, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    https://www.grimdarkmagazine.com/review-the-last-of-us-2/

    Ever get the feeling that you’re not in the majority of a public opinion? I feel like Grimdark Magazine‘s review is going to be this way because the rating I’m giving The Last of Us 2 is an extremely high one. 9 out of 10 and it would be higher if not for the fact that it is being compared to its predecessor. I’m a fan of the gameplay, the visuals, the stories, and the characters. The game is a real gut punch in places but that’s exactly what the developers were going for and they achieve it. I’m going to talk about what I think some of the reviewers have a problem with and why I think it makes the game better (at least to grimdark fans).

    One thing to discuss before we begin with is the fact that this is a direct continuation of The Last of Us, which is a bit different than a sequel. Many of the themes, ideas, and storytelling beats depend on you having a familiarity with the first game. If you’re unfamiliar with The Last of Us, you basically shouldn’t play this game. That’s not necessarily the case with many other franchises as nothing really hurts you if you play Uncharted 2 or Dragon Age 2 separately from the first game. If you want to play The Last of Us 2, boot up the original game and play it first. If you don’t care, then I’m going to spoil the hell out of the first game and how it relates to the continuation below.

    Do you consider yourself warned?

    Okay then.

    The ending of The Last of Us is a delicious use of what literature teachers like I used to be call dramatic irony. Joel and Ellie travel across a post-apocalypse Earth overrun with fungus zombies (called cordyceps) to deliver the latter to a group of scientist-terrorists called the Fireflies. Ellie is the sole human immune to the zombie plague and in her brain lies the secret to the cure. The Fireflies then reveal that to make the cure, they must chop up poor 14-year-old Ellie’s brain. Joel, in a fit of paternal instinct, murders all of them and carries Ellie away to a walled town called Jacksonville. It’s one of the best endings of all time and equally one of the most controversial because both sides believe they’re the right side.

    Before we continue, I should state I’m with Joel and I hate every one of the Fireflies with a passion reserved for Walder Frey or the Southern Union in Mafia III. If you subscribe to Utilitarianism, then it’s a perfectly valid decision to chop up a little girl to save the world. If you don’t, then they’re a bunch of murderers. A lot of good science fiction has been made from this very premise including Cold Equations and Those Who Walk Away from Omelas. Joel’s act that restores his humanity is the same act that may doom humanity, but I don’t remotely condemn it.

    The game picks up immediately after this as Joel does his best to reconnect with Ellie despite the gulf existing between them. Eventually, Joel manages to win her over and they forge a life together as father/daughter. Unfortunately, Joel can’t escape from his actions and he’s eventually tracked down by a girl named Abby (Laura Bailey) along with her friends. They’re here for revenge on the sonofabitch who murdered all the Fireflies. I won’t spoil what happens next but Ellie proceeds on a mission to murder Abby and her friends in a decidedly cyclical act of revenge.

    In simple terms, I love this story and it reminds me a lot of the Coen Brothers’ version of True Grit. The Last of Us and post-apocalypse stories in general are very often reskinned Westerns. Hell, the title of my second most famous book is Cthulhu Armageddon: A Post-Apocalypse Western. I’m very much a fan of the latter incarnations of the Western like Unforgiven that highlight the hero being barely any better than the quarry they seek. Ellie’s survival in the rough and tumble world of the fallen United States has meant she’s become more like Joel than the child she used to be. I like that as it resonates me a lot with the same sort of themes that I enjoyed in the early seasons of The Walking Dead.

    Part of what makes the story work for me is that we do get to follow Abby enough to understand that, essentially, she and Ellie are identical. Both are daddy-loving down-home girls who are forging their lives as best they can in the hellscape they’ve found themselves in. They settle on murdering the people who ruined their families, only to bring holy hell down each other’s lives as more people get involved in their vendetta. If you have any knowledge whatsoever of blood feuds in real life such as the kind that afflicted Sicily, Albania, or other nations then this is true to life. Real life rarely works like John Wick. It’s much more like Taken 2 where you find out that even scumbags have friends, family, and loved ones.

    Some reviewers have expressed a disdain for the game’s narrative. They dislike Ellie’s journey from being an adorable innocent (which she never was) to someone who is willing to commit murder to avenge her loved ones. They also dislike the fact that Ellie very consciously chooses revenge over building a life for herself as well as other survivors. There’s also the fact that Ellie is an LGBT+ protagonist, one of the few in modern gaming, who goes through nine different kinds of hell to enact dreadful retribution on those who wronged her. Honestly, I think it’s a credit to Naughty Dog that they gave such a meaty story to not only a woman but a queer one. Arya Stark is beloved because she’s Death’s Chosen, not because she was a sweetie pie. Though she was both now that I think about it.

    Gameplaywise, the game is fine. It’s pretty much The Last of Us with the addition of the fact that Ellie can now swim. There’s a bigger focus on mortal enemies than there is on the cordyceps but I’m fine with that. This isn’t a game about the fungus apocalypse but the effects on humanity after the survivors have managed to weather the worst of it. I think humanity will survive without a vaccine but it’s because we’ve become a bunch of hardass brutal survivors. We just need to keep the Ellies and Abbys of the world from killing each other. Visually, the game is gorgeous and a lot of it is just going to be you stopping to look at the “Fallout 4 if it was real” natural beauty.

    So, ignore the naysayers and pick this up if you don’t mind a pair of blooded cold-blooded killer gals on a mission to take the other out. I certainly don’t.
     
  2. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Cynical Cunt

    Jun 15, 2015
    For a guy who hated The Last Jedi, I am shocked that you consider Neil's aborted baby of a game and ending amazing. It is pretentious dog shit but don't take my word for it.

    LOL2.jpg
     
  3. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2017
    I like using CT as confirmation that a game is shit when a bunch of people are saying it's shit, but he says the game is good.

    I wasn't going to play it anyway because i don't care for these "muh feelings" Sony games, but it's always nice to have a confirmation on its quality.
     
  4. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Honestly, I was fully expecting to hate the game and pretty much realized how completely full of shit every single reviewer who felt "betrayed" was. Obviously, none of these assholes have ever watched a decent Western in their entire lives. They're apparently a bunch of man babies who can't stand a little dark and heavy subject matter or GOD FORBID, have violence by women.

    I was a big fan of Unforgiven and True Grit [the remake] as I mentioned above and this basically follows that plot. Ellie goes on a mission to kill the person who killed Joel with her merry band of friends and they proceed to get horribly killed in the process because, guess what, Abby's people are hardened killers. However, Ellie ends up murdering them one by one only to find out they're not exactly one-dimensional psychopaths either. Then by the time Ellie finds the person she really wants to kill, Abby's half-dead already and has already lost everyone she loves because Ellie took them from her.

    Killing her is perfunctory and she decides against it. Don't see the problem with it.

    I also liked the subversion of "women are sweet and kind" with the fact Ellie chooses vengeance over her girlfriend.

    So by that logic, I assume you think Fallout 4 is good and fallout 76 because I felt the former was a gross betrayal of Fallout 3 and the latter was dogshit. Anyway, I still have Bloodlines 2 to look forward to.
     
  5. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Cynical Cunt

    Jun 15, 2015
    No, it's just shit. The characters act out of character that was established in the first game, the characters are unlikable, Neil self-inserts himself TWICE in the game. Also, where the hell have you seen "Women are sweet and kind" from entertainment today? All I see from female characters is them being man hating Mary-Sues who don't need no man, are super geniuses, can do anything and can kick the ass out of a 6'7, muscle bound 300 pound man while the female character is 5'5 and weighs 115 pounds. Kill Bill did violence by women perfectly. This did not and I speak as someone who loves Western books and movies.
     
  6. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2017
    Weren't you enjoying this fucking game and saying it was good? Don't backtrack now.

    https://www.nma-fallout.com/threads/okay-im-starting-to-enjoy-it.217010/


    And nah, most of the time when you praise something, it's mostly likely shit. Specially when you start to say to ignore the naysayers. And of course, when they are on your side, they are suddenly "right".
     
  7. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    That's where all the bullshit reviews are about. They don't like seeing Ellie become a hardened vengeance obsessed killer so they review bomb the game. They also don't like Abby because she's a ruthless nasty killer. Not a single fucking review has anything to say about the game other than how they just wanted another "baby Ellie and Joel" game versus a much more interesting, "Ellie comes into her own" story. I fully think Ellie is now ready to be the star of the next game and I'm ready for it.

    FYI - The game illustrates that if you go after grown men as Ellie, you'll get neck lifted and strangled to death. You need to be far stealthier than Joel and your hits are almost cherry taps as Ellie so her being weaker than Joel is in-game. Plus you're not fighting only men this time but women too.

    Nope, I quit by the time we got to the Raiders camp. I gave it way more time than I should have because I kept hoping it would become like Fallout 3 and it's set in my home state. I hate crafting so I should have known I'd never get into it.

    I gave them every chance and was disappointed the entire way.
     
  8. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Cynical Cunt

    Jun 15, 2015
    If you enjoy the game Phipps that is fine and it's in your right. Sophia Narwitz, one of the few game journalist I actually trust, seems to enjoy the game but she also acknowledges the problems that people have with it. Sony and Naughty Dog treated people like shit, nearly ruining the livelihoods of several YouTubers with false DMCA strikes and Neil Cuckmann acted like Round Head Rian Johnson when it came to respecting the characters and legacy of the first game. You can not call people "man babies" when they have legitimate concerns and were treated like shit by Sony and Naughty Dog. Another thing I will say is don't call people "man babies" for not wanting to play this game and give the likes of Sony and Naughty Dog their money.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  9. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2017
    Please show me evidence of this or i'm gonna call bullshit on this. Sounds more you're butthurt that a bunch of people don't like your game more than people being unfair to the game.

    I always see this hyperbole bullshit when people are criticizing people for their apparently unfair reviews, but most of the time it's them blatantly falsifying their reviews to make them seem like "man babies".
     
  10. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    So what do you think the complaints are about?

    Oh no, Naughty Dog is a pile of shit developer who doesn't pay their employees. That has nothing to do with the game, though.

    The complaints I've seen about the game are the killing of a certain character, the belief Abby is trans [she's not--but who cares if she was], the horrible torture that LGBT characters go through during the game [different crowd than the first], the dark and depressing storyline [which I love], and the absurd overthetop suffering of the characters as well as ending [which I also loved].
     
  11. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2017
    Given your previous history of purposely misinterpreting valid complaints (i'm being one of them), i take what you say about any negative review with a gigantic pinch of salt.

    Does that mean they deserve money after being a bunch of pieces of shit? You can make the best thing in the world but if you are piece of shit about it, people have every right to boycott you. Personal image and PR matter.
     
  12. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Thanks man. Now that it's confirmed you're just here to shitpost me, I can block you.

    Buh-bye.
     
  13. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 7, 2017


    This man got so butthurt with me asking for evidence of his claims that he blocked me. I'll answer his edit even though he won't see it.

    They killed a beloved character, how dare people be angry about it? Emotional investment be damned.

    That's not a complaint, that's people making jokes. The fact you can't tell shows how humorless you are.
    Without context, this means nothing.
    Vague.
    Vague again.

    Not a single shred of evidence of your claim of bullshit reviews.

    The mere fact you blocked me after asking for evidence of your claim just showed me your actual intention of this review was to try to discredit the negative backlash a lot of people gave it more than actually inform people about the quality of the game.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  14. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    From what I've read of this entire shitstorm it does seem like Joel wasn't really meant to be that good of a person, and that the world that is portrayed in these games is fittingly bleak. A story of hollow revenge with sudden deaths and everyone involved being shitty doesn't seem that out of place.

    That being said, I've played neither game. Just says a lot that I have by osmosis absorbed the storyline of both through the sheer volume of hurricane shitposting.

    the people complaining about gays being in it are dumbasses though. fuck those people.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  15. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    I loved Joel. He's one of my all time favorite protagonists but he's also a guy that was never going to live happily ever after. Weirdly, I'd argue Joel would be one of the first guys who would say that whoever hunted him down and killed him probably had good cause.

    Which makes Ellie's desire to avenge him all the more bitter as Joel would never want that. It's pretty similar to the ending of the original RDR where John's son becomes exactly the kind of person he didn't want him to be.
     
  16. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Cynical Cunt

    Jun 15, 2015
    This fucking, pretentious piece of shit is rated higher then Fallout New Vegas, Planescape Torment, God of War, Red Red Redemption 2 and The Witcher 3 with critics. Can we please stop taking critics seriously now?
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  17. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    May I ask what you dislike about the game? This is serious. I was curious also if you've played it.
     
  18. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Cynical Cunt

    Jun 15, 2015
    I have watched playthroughs, I am never giving Sony my money again after what they have done recently, damn shame as I wanted to get the new Spider-Man game and the Demon Souls remake. What I dislike is Neil Drunkmann's pretentious attitude, the flasely DMCA'ing YouTubers and Twitter users for memes, Sony's double standard with sexual content, the pretentious "revenge is bad" story line (which is funny given that Ellie murdered hundreds of people to get to Abby only for her to get to her and go "Revenge is bad!", characters acting out of character from the first game, the beating over the head with progressive and social justice politics, Neil self inserting himself TWICE into the game and being one of the main characters love interest, and of course this:

    Look Phipps, I am of Jewish blood. My grandfather was Jewish and Neil is also Jewish. This makes Jews out to be weak. Ellie's girlfriend goes on about how "Jews are survivors" yet you are not allowed to shoot at Jewish religious objects. Yet shooting Christians and Christian objects is okay. I mean, the bad guy cultists are Christians are they not? This is a game where a kid gets punched in the face, a pregnant women gets beaten to a bloody pulp and you are forced to kill a dog and watch the owner cry over it but shooting Jewish objects is going too far. How little faith do you have in your audience to do that? Yeah, there is always going to be some 15 year old edge lord that is going to go "Haha! Take that Jew tard!" but if that is your main concern being a Jew is 15 year old edge lords from /pol/ then you need to get your proprieties straighten.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  19. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    1. I don't think the Seraphists are remotely Christian, just a deranged cult like many that have existed.

    2. What double standard regarding sexuality do you mean?

    3. Ellie gives up on revenge because she's already killed most of the people involved and its enacted a terrible cost.
     
  20. CerberusGate

    CerberusGate I should save my game in a whole new slot

    Jun 6, 2016
    I have played TLoU1, I wasn't captivated like the people calling it GOAT but enjoyed it. I even agreed with Joel's action after some further thinking (I mean, killing and extracting Ellie's brain cells for a chance to make a vaccine and their own issues to mass-distribute the potential vaccine does not make for a compelling case for the Firelies).

    So, I was not as angry at TLoU 2's weaker story but I am disappointed by it. It seems to want to do a deconstruction of a revenge and violence but without the dedicated approach of Spec Ops, Lisa the Painful RPG, Nier and Undertale that makes it seem shallower.

    Full disclosure: I haven't played the game and probably won't buy the game to avoid giving ND any money for their business practices (voting with wallet) but have seen cutscenes and read some sypnosis of the story.

    The story contrivances for Joel's death seem rather abrupt by having him uncharacteristically lower his guard around armed strangers (even if they did help him, he should have been aware of caution per his actions in TLoU1) and casually revealing his name and Abby attacking him as soon as he identifies himself as Joel (and not with his full name, I imagine there are a lot of similar looking men named Joel with busted knee-caps).

    Then, while the story is about revenge being pointless, it seems to ignore how Ellie has left a line of corpses to pursue Abby and there does not appear to be consequences. Sure, the game's unable to cover all that but I doubt all those mooks' families would come together to hunt and kill Ellie down for TLoU 3 (unless that's what Druckman wants...). So, it seems like an abrupt cop-out that Ellie gives up on killing Abby after all the deaths she has caused to reach her while not having many scenes of her contemplating forgiveness and it feels like Abby faces little karma for her own actions that have ruined Ellie (even if she loses friends who seem to suffer in her place). I feel that this is where player choice would have been good, where you decide whether to take revenge or stop rather than have it abruptly chosen for you.

    I don't mind a bleak story in this setting (post-apoc with no hopes for any vaccine) but they maybe should have used new characters in this setting for this story. Less impact, yes, but it would be able to tell this sort of story without feeling like it robbed Joel and Ellie of everything.