The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheats!

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:02 pm

Finished the hospital and yeah... This is exactly what I was worried about when the marketing hit.

The scene with Nora is strawberry floating bad. Just bad. We're going down the Spec Op: The Line route only done worse, and it strawberry floating sucks. That scene was exploitative, manipulative and neither engaging nor half as clever as it thought it was.

And then immediately after we see Ellie's reaction, which again fell flat as the game has rubbed in our face how in the wrong she is. It's obvious you're supposed to dislike her, to question the actions the game is making you take to continue, but instead of engaging with those actions it's using shock tactics. It's like trying to stitch a moral onto Hostel and it doesn't work. Or at least, it doesn't so far.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Denster » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:42 pm

Just keep playing.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Denster » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:44 pm

Its gratuitous and cynically manipulative but just keep playing.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Denster » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:54 pm

I felt bad killing the girl with the vita more tbh.
Knew id be torturing Nora but when she goaded ellie about Joels suffering before he died - it hardened my resolve to be honest. Yet i still felt her shame and self loathing and Dina is a wonderful conduit for our judgement and pity as well as our regret and fear for Ellie.
Ellies transformation into an instrument of vengeance is a key theme.
Its not finished yet.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by jiggles » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:55 pm

You’d think “maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge this thing at face value” would be a lesson learned as he’s approaching the halfway point but here we are.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:40 pm

I'm posting my thoughts as I go. I said that at the start.

The game is using cheap shock tactics to make the player feel bad, while the characters themselves refuse to learn or grow or have an iota of self awareness. I genuinely hated that scene and almost immediately think less of the game because of it.

Maybe there's something coming that will go a way to explain its reasoning. But right now, I dislike what it's doing

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Captain Kinopio » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:45 pm

I think he's only going to hate it more as it goes on.

I don't really blame him. But I don't really get the anger that goes with it.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:46 pm

I probably am getting more wound up then I should be tbh. I think once I've finished I'll have a think about why that is.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by jiggles » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:59 pm

I don’t think the level of agency you have with this series lays the morality of the decisions the characters take at the player’s feet, nor does I think it intends to. I always feel more like I’m an actor playing a part rather than living the role as Ellie.

What they’re going for (and this will be abundantly, anvil-over-the-head clear as you enter the latter half of the game) is that Ellie’s actions are abhorrent, but that Ellie is *not* you. They are not stressing that *you* should feel bad for her actions, that’s not what it’s about at all. One of the most common complaints with the first game is that the player didn’t get a say in Joel’s questionable decisions, and a lot of the sequel seems structured to specifically address that. Not by adding that choice, but stressing “that’s *really* not what you should be taking from this”

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Denster » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:02 pm

Thats fair enough. It is a videogame. Telling its own story. The beauty of this story is our engagement with the characters. Its not achieved with cheap tricks but with the quality of the acting and the immersion provided by the story.
Theres going to be anger. Lots more.
But if its balanced with some reflection and the self awareness that you promise - then it should be interesting to see your playthrough unfold to the end.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Denster » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:04 pm

jiggles wrote:I don’t think the level of agency you have with this series lays the morality of the decisions the characters take at the player’s feet, nor does I think it intends to. I always feel more like I’m an actor playing a part rather than living the role as Ellie.

What they’re going for (and this will be abundantly, anvil-over-the-head clear as you enter the latter half of the game) is that Ellie’s actions are abhorrent, but that Ellie is *not* you. They are not stressing that *you* should feel bad for her actions, that’s not what it’s about at all. One of the most common complaints with the first game is that the player didn’t get a say in Joel’s questionable decisions, and a lot of the sequel seems structured to specifically address that. Not by adding that choice, but stressing “that’s *really* not what you should be taking from this”


Yeah. I think thats a reasonable stance to take.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:15 pm

Getting to Abby's backstory and yep. Called it.

EDIT: I don't think I've played a "intelligent" game that's stupider than this. Jesus Christ

EDIT2: Expanding on this as that's a bit disingenuous.

Hideo Kojima got loads of stick for all his characters straight up expositioning for 2 hours at the end of Death Stranding. So far, TLoU2 has spent 10 hours doing the same thing, although perhaps more subtly. So far there's been one message in this game and that message is: killing is bad mmkay? Every encounter has the NPCs acting distraught when you kill their friends, and often begins with them casually talking about their lives. "These aren't bad people!" the game is saying. But you're required to kill them anyway.

I've just reached Abby Day One and the game seems to be treating it like a twist that the WLF was, in fact, Not That Bad. It digs this in with the most unsubtle of intros. I actually eyerolled at the school because of course there's a school. With adorable little kids and everything.

Of course Abby is just like Ellie. Of course. That was obvious from the moment the game started. Yet here we are, 16 hours later and the game is only now deciding to acknowledge this. It's strawberry floating...dumb. So dumb.

The character dialogue is still excellent. The combat is still fun. But man.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by OrangeRKN » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:51 pm

jiggles wrote:I don’t think the level of agency you have with this series lays the morality of the decisions the characters take at the player’s feet, nor does I think it intends to. I always feel more like I’m an actor playing a part rather than living the role as Ellie.

What they’re going for (and this will be abundantly, anvil-over-the-head clear as you enter the latter half of the game) is that Ellie’s actions are abhorrent, but that Ellie is *not* you. They are not stressing that *you* should feel bad for her actions, that’s not what it’s about at all. One of the most common complaints with the first game is that the player didn’t get a say in Joel’s questionable decisions, and a lot of the sequel seems structured to specifically address that. Not by adding that choice, but stressing “that’s *really* not what you should be taking from this”


Very much agree

The player does not have any narrative agency, there's no reason as a player to feel bad for Ellie's actions and I don't think the game wants you to. I don't think the Nora scene is meant to make you feel guilty for "making" Ellie do what she does - if anything it's the point at which it becomes clear the player and Ellie have separate motivations. By playing as her you are just experiencing the story from her perspective.

(pretty sure I posted similar in this thread before lol)

Tafdolphin wrote:Getting to Abby's backstory and yep. Called it.

EDIT: I don't think I've played a "serious art" game that's stupider than this. Jesus Christ


Stupid in what meaning? I'd agree the character motivations are simple and obvious, but they make sense and are consistent.

EDIT: Seen your above edit, I think it is the "obvious" part you mean then.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:10 pm

It very much treats the player like they're either an idiot or not paying attention. It not about the motivations, it about the game being incredibly overbearing in its moralising.

And I have...thoughts about player agency, but those are probably best left until after I finish

To be clear, I'd still rate it a solid 7/10 so far. It's enjoyable to play and I do like some of the characters, but it's not any sort of revelation, nor has it, in my eyes, justified it's existence as a sequel yet.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by jiggles » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:02 pm

What part of what you said the game is “treating like a twist” has made you feel that way?

A lot of what you’re complaining about here seems to be under the pretext that it’s not respecting your intelligence by thinking you couldn’t have guessed this already, but is that even the case? Is this expected to be a surprise? I’d say the game subverts the expectations of the usual simplistic morality you see in AAA games, but I don’t think it’s ever trying to fool the player.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:21 pm

I personally think the opening of the Abby section is mean to be an "Oh gooseberry fool" moment but that's not my major reservation. My problem is that it's taken 16 hours to say 'murder is bad.'

I'm actually enjoying this bit more as the characters aren't, you know, deplorable. It's still cheap as strawberry float though: laughed out loud at Bear reappearing.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Captain Kinopio » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:38 pm

I didn't care how long it took because the game is always fun and it's brilliant seeing new areas and situations and how the characters react to it. The story and character motivations are massively one note though and ultimately what I found most disappointing because it doesn't go anywhere interesting and I kinda already new violence was pretty bad.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Tafdolphin » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:53 pm

Captain Kinopio wrote:I didn't care how long it took because the game is always fun and it's brilliant seeing new areas and situations and how the characters react to it. The story and character motivations are massively one note though and ultimately what I found most disappointing because it doesn't go anywhere interesting and I kinda already new violence was pretty bad.


I actually agree with this!

The game is fun, I've enjoyed the spectacle of it (it really is strawberry floating gorgeous, and the animations are just unbelievable sometimes) and the moment to moment gameplay is great. But the story is very, as you say, one note... something the first game never was.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Denster » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:29 am

I think people take from the game what they want to. I think if you come in with a few very fixed preconceptions youre going to seek to reinforce those views.

On a personal level the first game really resonated with me as I really identified with Joel as a father and my daughter did with Ellie (she was the same age) a huge part of the games appeal are those dynamics and accepting this game would mess with those was a big factor in seeing how it would play out.

I'm afraid the story/intelligence post smacks of someone playing a game that they were determined to dislike and are now proceeding to explain it away. Your previous posts during the reveals and trailers and your initial posts post release indicated such very clearly. It's becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

The story is not anything new or groundbreaking but it is extremely bold and took huge risks (with extremely popular and established characters) and while it has a clear message it isn't always sledgehammer like in its subtlety. It's dismissive to use terms like one note (see edit) but its a result of that willingness to find fault in something.

We all played it straight away and had this amazing journey to many varied degrees. Most of us fully immersed in it and posted fairly brief updates. You've approached it with a clear agenda and it shines through. In fact its far more transparent than the writing you're criticizing. What you're writing reads like a dissection at times. Not a balanced and considered review or narration of your experience.
By mocking the 'intelligence' of the game and its creators in the way you have - you're in danger of just wanting to highlight your own cleverness at spotting these obvious things.

Carry on though. It's always good to have a contrary argument and viewpoint. It already is generating decent debate.

One question - have you tried replaying areas and messing with the huge amounts of difficulty and accessibility options? It's a fun and very clever approach to game design.

Sorry - ive quoted you there for the one note comment. It was Herbie. Apologies. Wouldn't want to tar you with that brush.

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PostRe: The Last of Us II - Update to add lots of stuff, inc. Grounded mode, perma death and gameplayer modifiers. And cheat
by Songwriter » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:15 am

;)
Captain Kinopio wrote:I think he's only going to hate it more as it goes on.

I don't really blame him. But I don't really get the anger that goes with it.


I’m gonna defend it a tad.

You’ve seen how angry some humans have got to the fact they had to wear a mask to pop to the shops in the biggest world shift in human behaviour.

It’s far to say every character in THAT world of a zombie apocalypse, is going to be angry, suspicious, paranoid, sick, depressed, hungry and frustratingly bored.

If you put that angry and aggressive characteristics into Spider-Man’s world for example - it’s ridiculous.

For this, it’s explainable.

Imagine how angry Karen would be if she needed a mask AND a machete to go to the shops, and when she got there was no shop, just a massive diseased stay puff with a temper. And a dead dog.

Poor Karen.


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