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How The Last of Us Part II Doesn't Quite Live Up to Its Predecessor (Spoilers)

Khayl writes: "The Last of Us is one of the critically acclaimed games ever made, and although it comes close at times, its sequel doesn't quite reach the same heights."

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SCW198237d ago

Great opinion piece. I however feel like it soars past the first game in every way.

anonymousfan36d ago

Oh it soars past the first game in at least one clear category; the subversion of expectations, yay!

JesusBuiltmyHotrod36d ago

No, it's better period, combat and gameplay is better, the narrative is riskier and far better realised.

wwinterj36d ago

The narrative wasn't as good for me and could have been more coherent. The gameplay, A.I, graphics, sound and level design has been improved. It's not a bad game at all.

NukeDaHippies36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

This is one of the worst written and structured stories, i've seen for a while. It's so poor, it seeps into the gameplay and makes it one of the most long and boring experiences ever.

Gameplay wise it does almost nothing to innovate over the first game. So much for "soaring past" it.

Imalwaysright36d ago

Exactly. I get it when people say that it has better gameplay and that the presentation is on another level (hard not be considering that it's a PS4 game vs PS3 game) but I find it hilarious when people say that the story is better. The story was just bad, at times borderline nonsensical, poorly executed and disrespected established characters.

rainslacker36d ago

I just feel they were two different kinds of stories, going for very different things. I felt the first was better, while the second had some serious pacing issues, but the overall narrative was good for what it was trying to achieve. If it had been trying to achieve the same thing as the first game, then I'd feel it failed miserably, but it obviously wasn't.

I do get that people want something akin to the first game story wise....it is a sequel after all....but I think that narrative dynamic would be hard to replicate without feeling like a rehash. It was said many times when talk of sequels were made of this game by the community, that it'd be very hard to follow in it's footsteps. There was a major theme that they'd maybe have to move on from the characters to achieve a similar story, because the overall themes and characters were already played out. Instead, they found a way to continue with the characters, in a way that made sense. It didn't happen in a way many had hoped, but they managed to do it in their own way.

I think the game play in the second one was much improved from the first. It didn't try to throw every new game play mechanic it could into the mix to be super innovative, but it refined what was there before, and added in new game play elements which worked pretty well. It still wasn't perfect IMO, but much better than the first in almost every way.

bangoskank36d ago

Did you want a Joel & Ellie buddy movie?
While I loved Joel's character I predicted his demise when the game was first announced because there really wasn't anything interesting left to do with him. I like the direction they went because it helped build Ellie's character and introduced another excellently developed one.

NukeDaHippies36d ago

@Rainslacker
Two stories that are completely unrelated to each other AND wholly interesting. As the main plot device, revenge almost never works, especially when it's so awfully executed here. And Abby's story was nonsensical and added nothing of importance. You really think to destroy and ruining every character left from the first game was "continuing the story in a may it made sense?".

A quick example of the poor writing in this game - A character doesn't want you to go get revenge, then supports you on stopping partway through the game. Then comes back at the end of the game, pissed off you're not going to get revenge.

Thats one of MANY instances, of how laughable this story gets. Don't give bad writing more credit it deserves, because the cover looks nice.

Combat was the same, there's nothing I'd miss going back to the first one. The game doesn't do much to keep combat fresh and new, for how long it goes for. I switched it to the lowest difficulty setting, cus I was bored in the last 10 hours.

@bangoskank
You know what? sure, I woulda taken that. The ONLY good parts of the game involved Ellie and Joel. But for most of this game, Ellie loses everything fun and interesting about her character. I was begging for Abby to kill Ellie, because I couldn't stand her by the end of the game. And thats not because they turned me around on Abby. It's cus they forced Ellie to be so unlikable.

My final thoughts? The Evil Within 2 is a better Last of Us sequel. A completely unrelated story. They should have tried to make an Abby game completely removed from the first game OR incorporated them into a later part of the game. And simply switching both stories around wouldn't work, because they were both snoozefests.

conanlifts36d ago

*spoilers*

I disagree and really enjoyed the game, the new characters were great. My only conflict is whether it was too removed from the original. Abby and her story arc could have been better told in a seperate stand alone game. It would have made a good post apocalyptic story as a seperate franchise. For me the enjoyment was almost on a par with the original, but it certainly lacked the wow factor of the original and does leave you conflicted as to whether it was the right direction to take.

I also wonder if the addition of the space capsule is an Easter egg to a new space game from naughty dog.

rainslacker34d ago

"As the main plot device, revenge almost never works,"

I agree with this sentiment. More often than not, revenge narratives are usually pretty shallow. They tend to play out in one of two ways. One, they end with the revenge being enacted, and depending on the reasons for revenge, we either feel vindicated on behalf of the protagonist, or we don't. Two, they end up with the main character realizing that revenge isn't the answer, and we tend to get the predictable live and let live trope.

However, this game I don't feel followed this typical shallow narrative path, and instead, showed revenge, or violence as a whole, as being cylindrical in nature. Not just the revenge plot, but also the sub-plot of the war between the WLF and Scars. The narrative being told from both sides, with both having the same motivations, was used to draw the player into a narrative that was set up to make you empathize with both characters, and see more than most revenge plots offer, as most don't offer up the idea that perception of one's justification isn't unique to themselves. Antagonists tend to be more clear cut, and generally, you're supposed to hate them, and only empathize with the antagonist. In this game, people go in assuming Ellie is the protagonist, and they want her to be, because they already have this connection to her. But she ends up becoming the person that she hates. The game ends with the second of the two outcomes above, but it's approached in a different way.

Abby's story was important to the narrative, because this was the actual narrative. This wasn't a revenge plot narrative theme at it's core. It was a violence is cylindrical theme. It was about how hate and anger leads you to lose yourself, and lose all that you care about, and by the end, Ellie had lost much more than Joel. The only thing Abby took away from her was Joel. The rest was on her.

"You really think to destroy and ruining every character left from the first game was "continuing the story in a may it made sense?".

They didn't ruin or destroy every character left from the first game. Stop being so hyperbolic. And yeah, I do believe this game continued the first game's story, and characters in a way that made sense. Joel's actions from the first game came back directly to haunt him. Nothing in the game indicated that Joel felt differently about Ellie at any time. Ellie's own feelings for Joel were strained due to her learning the truth, but she still hadn't changed her fondness for him. Given that already established character, it made sense she'd wan't to seek revenge.

I won't deny there are some writing inconsistencies within the game. But the overall plot wasn't poorly delivered. The conclusion was muddied, and could have been better. Not because of the actual outcome, just in how it came to be.

"Combat was the same, there's nothing I'd miss going back to the first one."

Overall yeah, it was, but as I said, it was more refined, with some added elements. I wouldn't miss them if I were gone, but I felt more engaged in the combat in this game than the first. We'll probably have to agree to disagree on this matter though. I didn't get bored with it, however, I did feel maybe the game could have been shorter, or at least better paced narratively in the early segments of each characters story arc.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 34d ago
Game-ur37d ago

I feel ND are on a decline ever since the U4 upheaval. Starley steadied the ship until U4 released but since then it's been a downward slop.

remember this happened to Sony Santa Monica, they were originally the A team for Sony. but hubris ruined the studio. Barlog essentially rebuilt the main team to restore it.

Krangs_Uncle36d ago

You my friend are quite sick in the head.. It is sad that Xbox has NOTHING that comes close to this, ha. No reason to be so salty.

I hope you don't conduct yourself in such a cowardly manner in real life - it's pretty cringe worthy.

Time to grow up, champ!

anonymousfan36d ago

He is allowed his opinion and expresses himself in a much more mature manner than you.

SyntheticForm36d ago

Buddy, he's wrong, but not for that reason. People can in fact oppose this game without being Xbox fanboys. It's a thing, believe or not.

There are people who disagree with the game that aren't Xbox fanboys. Some people just don't like it; doesn't mean they're an Xbox fanboy.

Just stop.

MWH36d ago

is it too challenging for you to engage in a civil discussion? I've read most of Game-ur comments and they are among the most constructive arguments around here and yet most of the replies are personal attacks. if that's your best defense then by all means go on, it only reflect your flat thinking.

SyntheticForm36d ago

@MWH

None of his arguments are particularly thoughtful nor are they in any way constructive. You only favor them because they happen to coincide with your opinion.

I look at all arguments opposing and agreeable and none of his are constructive; they all fit a my-way-or-the-high-way pattern - this is this and that is that. He doesn't take anything into account but his own, often uninformed views.

Anyone who states "You just can't accept that Druckmann failed" doesn't have a sound argument - only an opinion that comports with views that are anti.

seanpitt2336d ago (Edited 36d ago )

I am the biggest Sony guy, never bought a Xbox and never will unless Microsoft shows me games I want to play. I must say I was very disappointed in the last of us Part 2 story it was a kick in the teeth to all the die hard fans of the first game,

I waited 7 years to jump back into this world with Joel and Ellie what I got was Ellie lost absolutely everything, Joel dead in 2 minutes and I played a character who killed the guy I loved for 12 F#£king hours I couldn’t wait for the game to end and when it did the whole experience was pointless Telling me that revenge is bad and the cycle needs to end sometime well we all knew this I could of told you that before you started making this pointless story.

They could of killed tommy and his wife at the beginning trying to get to Joel then Joel and Ellie’ went to get revenge Giving the fans what we want! then near the end (Joel dies if you really wanted him to die) saving Ellies Life give him the ending he deserved showing he died for her and then Ellie after taking everyone out spares Abby because going for revenge got Joel killed etc... look at that wrote a better script in 5 minutes

MWH36d ago

@SyntheticForm

"You only favor them because they happen to coincide with your opinion."

lol I wonder what gave me away! Yes, as a matter of fact they do, so what does that make me?

Anyway, my point was, all the comments that I read for him he never insulted anyone he was just expressing his opinions on a video game but when you look at the replies from the other camp, most of them are abusive and direct insults. I think that's a poor approach don't you agree?

And I disagree, he did present some good and thoughtful points but the thing is, you just don't want to see them because like you put it; they don't coincide with your opinion.

Game-ur36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

@MWH & @anonymousfan
Thank you.

so far the only defense some have for the game is that..

1) critics are Xbox fanboys
2) critics are anti-something

this would most likely mean that those who defend the game are just doing so because they are the opposite of these 2 things and not doing it because the game deserves it.

Andy_Dee36d ago

What are you even babbling about? Coward, sick? You should take a look in the mirror and grow up sir.

sevilha8236d ago

Funny,because as a Ps fan and Naughty Dog fan , i agree with him,and think he´s absolutely correct…

rainslacker36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

lol @ Game-ur having among the most constructive and well thought out comments on here. He can't cite examples in game about what he's talking about. He never specifies beyond a general stance what he wants to make an argument over. His argument process amounts to, "because I said so", he makes sweeping generalizations about the feelings people have about the game, and he goes on tirades about how the studio and Druckman are in a downward spiral and somehow ruining gaming.

This is a guy who spent all his bubbles trying to insist that Abby was juiced up, in an article about why she was a good character. He hasn't had a single comment that made me think he's played the game, because he can't cite anything specific to anything that happens in the game, beyond what can be gleaned from the spoilers, or general talk that you see around the net.

If what Game-Ur offers is what you guys consider well thought out arguments, then you guys need to find a better class of troll to side with.

There are actual known Xbox fans on here whose opinion I take more seriously than this guys, but that's because they can actually form decent arguments, and I actually know some of them still play on PS, and can express in meaningful ways what they're talking about.

It's cool if you guys want to have the same opinion as him. Just make more reasoned arguments. Even Seanpitt here does that better than anything that I've read from Game-Ur, although he could maybe stay away from some of the hyperbole.

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 36d ago
TricksterArrow36d ago

The game is breaking all types of sales records for a Sony exclusive, including in Japan. It already received all sorts of accolades. Sure, some people may dislike the somber tone and rather play something more "joyous" like the first game, but deny this one's success is a complete fallacy.

ninsigma36d ago

It's not the somber tone that people dislike, it's the poorly written story the jumps all over the place and tries too hard to be meaningful.

TricksterArrow36d ago

@ninsigma Define people, because I loved the story.

ninsigma36d ago

Well why don't you define people because you said it first: " some people may dislike the somber tone"

Clearly I'm talking about the people who didn't like the game, not the people who did, just as you were with your statement.

DonDon300036d ago

Tired of first week sales being used as a measure of how good a game is/isn't. Right now the game's sales dropped 80% in the UK after innitial week's sales. Since you're so obsessed with sales.

TricksterArrow36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

@DonDon3000 To be fair, you seem more obsessed with sales than me. I know it's selling well and breaking records, not it's week-by-week sales drop. And games are not like movies, where you can simply go and watch it again with your family and friends. This is a one time purchase. I'd be surprised if, after millions of sales in it's first week, it was STILL selling millions on the next one.

Final_Aeon36d ago

Trickster - Japan just had an 85% drop in sales for the 2nd week... So I think they're past the initial euphoria.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 36d ago
ninsigma36d ago

I wasn't as sold on U4 as I was hoping to be but it was still good and I thought Lost Legacy was a positive entry to the series. TLOU pt2 is the only real disappointment I've had from Naughty dog ever. So I wouldn't call it a "downward slop" based on one game I didn't enjoy. I would however like to see a new game from them that perhaps moves away from TPS (that's what, 7 TPS games plus left behind DLC?) and not be written by Druckman.

Game-ur36d ago

Lost Legacy was good but not great. It wasn't bad but the start of the decline in quality. I thought it was a one off but it's becoming a trend.

Imalwaysright36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

I would like to see them making a RPG.

SyntheticForm36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

It's Straley, and he co-directed. Again, he didn't write. At this point you're just here to oppose, but you don't bring facts or insight, you just keep complaining that you don't like the narrative. Cool, man.

What upheaval? Lol. Don't tell me you're going to go on some nonsense Amy Hennig/Straley forced out-dysfunction narrative. Hubris? What do you actually know about the internal goings-on of SMS? Nothing at all. You can't actually corroborate anything (nor can I) you can only dabble in theory.

However, going on what's been said by Corey himself, lack of fresh ideas and triteness were far more the culprit than "hubris." The series needed to be refreshed because it was getting tired, and Corey helped facilitate its revitalization and new direction.

It's quite clear at this point that you have no knowledge of the subjects in which you pretend to have knowledge of. You may see a headline and type, but you haven't researched anything.

Game-ur36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

hubris makes you not realize your "lack of fresh ideas and triteness", and makes you waist time and resources on bad projects.

so after that wall of text you basically agree with me.

SyntheticForm36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

I don't basically agree with anything.

I don't think "hubris" is quite the word you're looking for here; especially after reading what Corey and other SMS employees have said about Ascension's relative failure, and how they arrived at the new God of War. Your charge of "hubris" isn't quite fair.

So, you proceeded to ignore the rest of my "wall of text" because you don't feel confident enough to acknowledge or back up any of your assertions of upheaval or Straley how "steadied the ship?" You're just being sensational and I think you know it.

Basically, the entirety of what you've said is unfounded and not based on fact. BS, really. "Hubris" is allowing you to post what you're posting. Your posts epitomize hubris.

TechnoGoat36d ago

Funny cause they just released their best game ever.. so... no.

JesusBuiltmyHotrod36d ago

@ninsigma, the story is poorly written? What? You don't even know what that means clearly, it is clear many man babies don't understand the difference in writing and not liking the direction the story went./ Grow up.

ninsigma36d ago

Lmao gotta love people getting so irate at people not liking something they do then telling them to grow up and call them man babies. Real mature. Perhaps it's you who has some growing up to do 😉

You trying to say that the writing doesn't include the direction of the story? Because it does. As well as pacing, dialogue between the chatacters (a lot of which was good), themes and how well those themes are woven into the story. There are a multitude of aspects that go into the story and to me the sum of the parts did not make a great story, hence why I said poorly written.

rainslacker36d ago

I sometimes wonder if these people that claim this really understand what a well written story would look like. I mean, well written stories do tend to stand out, but there are a lot of well written stories in gaming, or elsewhere. I see a lot of games with terribly written stories get claims of them having greatly written stories all the time, and I think it's because sometimes the story is good, but poorly delivered. FF13 would be a good example of this. Good story, terribly written.

To me, TLOU2 had a great story, that was well crafted, and well written. The only place it failed was in it's early pacing with both Ellie and Abby's side, but it was written like that to build the characters....which was done through writing. It faltered at the end with the conclusion.

I've seen some people claim there was no foreshadowing, but that's because much of what happened in regards to that was shown later in the story. There is probably a literary term for that kind of thing, but not sure what it is.

I've seen people claim that things don't make sense with plot points, yet when I read those things, I can immediately think of where it was explained, or at least hinted at.

This is the kind of writing that isn't always in your face. It doesn't make a point to consistently explain to you what is happening, but the actual writing does back up what is being shown or done....again, outside the poorly executed ending, which itself did have explanation, but it was too vague and sudden.

gigzamillion36d ago

You wish they were on a decline, FYI they're not.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 36d ago
Gatsu36d ago

I think it's just as good or perhaps even better.

JesusBuiltmyHotrod36d ago

It's better in every way sorry the man babies could not deal with a story that is more grounded in reality then the typical hollywood, father daughter together team up to beat thew bad guys again.

Final_Aeon36d ago

Real mature... In any case, I don't know how often it needs to be said that not liking LOU2's story does not equal only liking sappy, colourful stories. Many people like darker stories, if they're engaging enough to suck them in. LOU2 failed in that regard for me, not because I'm immature or can't handle Bambi's death...

BehindTheRows36d ago

It very much does, but opinions and all that.

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