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Last of Us Part II

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18 minutes ago, Ronnie said:

I can't see anyone being negative who hasn't played the game. Just ones who have, and don't like it.

Look one post below yours...

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2 minutes ago, bob said:

Look one post below yours...

I making more of a criticism about the dialogue around the game. It annoys me that the majority of the discussion around what will not doubt be GoTY, has included very little discussion about the actual game. 

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6 minutes ago, LazyBoy said:

I making more of a criticism about the dialogue around the game. It annoys me that the majority of the discussion around what will not doubt be GoTY, has included very little discussion about the actual game. 

As a guy from the outside looking in, it does look baffling. The plot seems to be the main reason why people held the first game in such high regard.

I mean, plot is all well and good, but it kinda sits in the middle of my list of things a game should have. (And that changes wildly depending on the type of game I'm playing)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bob said:

Look one post below yours...

And me. I've not played it and I probably haven't been very positive about it.

I don't hate the game and I'm sure it's a masterpiece. It's just not for me.

I think enough time has passed. So I'll spoiler why.

Spoiler

I don't like that Joel dies. He's one of my favourite characters and I loved his story in the first one. I have no interest in seeing him tortured and beaten to death. I'm sure it's brilliant in relation to the games moral message, but it's still something I don't want to see.

The first game also stressed me out, which was a brilliant way to match the tension of the in-game situation, but I have no desire to go through it again.

 

Edited by Goafer
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Posted (edited)

Official confirmation on the audacious sales figures, fastest-selling PS4 first party game:

Quote

We’re delighted to report that The Last of Us Part II is now the fastest-selling first-party PS4 exclusive ever with more than 4 million copies sold through as of June 21. This milestone would not have been reached without the support from our amazing fans, so on behalf of everyone at SIE, thank you!

Insane numbers. 

Edited by Julius

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7 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

That being the case then I would think there is going to be backlash regardless of what story they put out (not that naughty dog will care going by the sales figures). Cause after all this isn't high fiction, it's fan fiction. The comparison @CrowingJoe79 made with the Last Jedi is quite apt in that sense. People turn up to find out what happens to their favourite characters. And if what happens isn't what they want, then that's the game ruined for them. That's what you get when the game is just a vessel for the story.

MGSV had a dogshit story, but the game is still loved. Why? Cause who gives a crap about an unfinished, poorly thought out story when you have gameplay that is so fun, varied and replayable? You know who cares? People who should realise maybe theyre engaging with the wrong medium. 

This is such an odd point to end on. People like games for a variety of reasons - they don't have to be the reason that you happen to play games. Equally, many people didn't get into MGSV for the reasons you state.

The games that have really stuck with me over the years - Outer Wilds, Shadow of the Colossus, Edith Fitch, Inside, even something like Celeste, haven't done so solely because of the gameplay, but because of how the gameplay has supplemented a story or 'vibe' that has resonated with really me. People always talk about LoU's story because the gameplay is perfectly tailored around the story that it's telling, capturing the desperation of the characters. It's cool if you prefer games that just feel great to play, but that's your preference - it doesn't mean that other people are engaging with games for the wrong reasons. See the strong sales and critical acclaim of Life is Strange of early Telltale games.

Again - I've read a lot of books - I did an English degree! But games can be unique in how they can tell stories - and it's a diservice to games to claim otherwise. As an example, in a weird way, no other medium has managed to capture the experience of losing a parent and the strange relationship between father and son afterward as God of War did for me.

Lastly, there are some parallels to Last Jedi but in the case of that film, its failure was ultimately more about the execution of that film -  a totally whack, poorly directed mess - than simply that it didn't show how they imagined their characters to end up. For Lou2's flaws, (from a few hours in) it feels like it's doing exactly what its creative leads are setting out for it to do.

 

(Side note: totally see where @Goafer's coming from (not opened that spoiler mind). This game isn't for everyone - I can totally see why people wouldn't want to engage with this game - that's cool - again it just shows how games now are way more diverse than ten years ago, and that different games are for different people)

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@dan-likes-trees good post. 

So games can tell stories in unique ways, and they're great for supplementing gameplay. Agree 100%. No debate there.

Is that the case here though? Is this game telling story in a unique way? No. Production values through the roof, superb voice acting. But still 30 minutes of gameplay followed by 10 minutes of non-interactable cut scene, as triple AAA have been doing since the PS1.

And supplementing? Not here, as the dialogue around the game confirms. The story is the main event here. It came first, the focus of all the innovations and effort, whilst the gameplay languishes in generic last gen third person.  

That's what kind of game this is and the kind of game Naughty Dog make. And loads of people enjoy them - wonderful. But if those people turn around and say they don't like the game because what happened in the game isn't what they want, with no mention of the game itself, then what is the game to them? A chore just to pass through to get to a cut scene? 

All I hear about this game in the media is either:

story good = game good OR story bad therefore game bad. 

Does the gameplay not factor for you in this paradigm? Then why play a game? That's my point. 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

That being the case then I would think there is going to be backlash regardless of what story they put out (not that naughty dog will care going by the sales figures). Cause after all this isn't high fiction, it's fan fiction. The comparison @CrowingJoe79 made with the Last Jedi is quite apt in that sense. People turn up to find out what happens to their favourite characters. And if what happens isn't what they want, then that's the game ruined for them. That's what you get when the game is just a vessel for the story.

Well, yes.

Big franchise and a lot of love for the characters and world means that it's a prime target for backlash if things don't go as expected. I think it was @Ronnie that mentioned The Last Jedi, but for other examples of this see the controversy and backlash surrounding the eighth season of Game of Thrones, Final Fantasy VII Remake, etc. 

You get backlash like this when there's any degree of differing opinions these days though, in any medium, which can result in a lot of toxicity seen surrounding massive franchises, and this is not as a result of the game itself having a focus on story, but a result of fans just not being able to discuss things in a reasonable way. 

Quote

MGSV had a dogshit story, but the game is still loved. Why? Cause who gives a crap about an unfinished, poorly thought out story when you have gameplay that is so fun, varied and replayable? You know who cares? People who should realise maybe theyre engaging with the wrong medium.

Okay? 

Metal Gear Solid V is also a completely different type of AAA game to The Last of Us Part II: it's an open world sandbox where you're left to your own devices to do the best you can with the tools at your disposal. But let's say that it's a great from a gameplay perspective (I played for about 5-10 hours a few years ago, and had a lot of fun with it). 

Just because it's great from a gameplay perspective, given just how steeped the franchise is in storytelling and cinema - Kojima is pointed to as an auteur and has deep roots and respect for cinema and storytelling, clearly - we're really just going to say that fans can't care about not getting a story that they're happy with (especially considering how development on that game ended?) because the gameplay is great, or vice versa?

I'm not really sure how that contributes to the argument that you're making about this likely being a GOTY contender and the gameplay not being discussed as much. 

It's a game which is telling a story in a massive franchise renowned for both excellent gameplay mechanics and storytelling. Why can't a game do both? Why does it just have to be one or the other? And why is it a problem when there's a focus on story? 

10 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

I making more of a criticism about the dialogue around the game. It annoys me that the majority of the discussion around what will not doubt be GoTY, has included very little discussion about the actual game. 

Surely that's just down to the discussions that you've seen, though? And again, in a narrative-oriented game packed with story beats, of course the story is being discussed as much as it is. But I've seen the gameplay being talked about too, and I spoke about it myself before. 

There are moments in this game where the game asks you to interact with it in a way which honestly asks a lot of the player, and is heavy and exhausting. The intensity of encounters and the survival aspect just wouldn't be nearly the same as in a book or film - as someone who shrugs at best at horror films, The Last of Us and Part II genuinely scares me at times. I love it because of the interactivity, that connection to the game world and that thing chasing you is much more visceral in the heat of the moment for me as opposed to in films, where my mind a lot of the time just wanders off to the production side of things. 

It's different strokes I guess.

10 hours ago, Glen-i said:

As a guy from the outside looking in, it does look baffling. The plot seems to be the main reason why people held the first game in such high regard.

I mean, plot is all well and good, but it kinda sits in the middle of my list of things a game should have. (And that changes wildly depending on the type of game I'm playing)

Again, I think it's just different strokes, which is fine! 

Honestly I think a terrific example to bring up here would be a bunch of JRPG's which both you and I love @Glen-i, such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. @LazyBoy, those are renowned as great video games, frequently featuring in many personal Top 10's that I've seen, and are mechanically sound in every way a JRPG should be. But asides from the production side of things which we're throwing away for Part II and other linear, narrative oriented games I suppose - what makes these games great? Memorable? 

It's the marriage of solid gameplay and a great story. Those games just aren't as memorable or beloved today if we strip aside so much of what they are - the stories - and boil it down to the core mechanics of a JRPG. Final Fantasy and many JRPG's, at least for me and many others, aren't great just because of potentially great mechanics unique to the genre in some of the games.

I mean, isn't X-2 widely lauded as having one of the best turn-based combat systems in the entire franchise? Yet, while I'm sure it has its fans, it's the games which marry these two sides of a game most effectively - off the top of my head, often mentioned are IV, VI, VII, IX, and X - which are cherished the most. 

I'm sure those stories would make great books, but there's just something about interacting with these worlds through having them as games which make them mean that much more. 

For me, it depends on the game, and what exactly the game is aiming to achieve. Whether story or gameplay is more important varies from game to game, but I think great gameplay is of course important in how it immediately determines how well a game might age. 

9 hours ago, Goafer said:

And me. I've not played it and I probably haven't been very positive about it.

I don't hate the game and I'm sure it's a masterpiece. It's just not for me.

I think enough time has passed. So I'll spoiler why.

  Why I lost interest (Reveal hidden contents)

I don't like that Joel dies. He's one of my favourite characters and I loved his story in the first one. I have no interest in seeing him tortured and beaten to death. I'm sure it's brilliant in relation to the games moral message, but it's still something I don't want to see.

The first game also stressed me out, which was a brilliant way to match the tension of the in-game situation, but I have no desire to go through it again.

 

I don't really want to comment on the actual spoiler in the spoiler tag, but just want to comment on what was mentioned after that in the tag (non-spoiler). 

This game is super intense, and you absolutely have to be in the mood to play it, to, well, experience it. It's grueling, unforgiving, harsh, intense, and at times honestly a bit much. In certain scenes I would wince at what was being shown, or look away from the screen, because it can honestly have that impact on you. 

@Goafer honestly given that you've seen/read (some of?) the spoilers, and how you feel like this game just wouldn't be for you, I'd be especially interested in your thoughts in the game if you ever did get around to playing it. It's absolutely not for everyone, but I'm surprised by just how many accounts I've seen of people saying similar things to you who came around on the game (likewise, there are those that just didn't enjoy it in the end, and that's fine too!). 

I think knowing what you can stomach and what your limits are when it comes to games and other forms of entertainment, and knowing what you like, is so important for enjoying any particular form of entertainment. 

3 hours ago, dan-likes-trees said:

This is such an odd point to end on. People like games for a variety of reasons - they don't have to be the reason that you happen to play games. Equally, many people didn't get into MGSV for the reasons you state.

The games that have really stuck with me over the years - Outer Wilds, Shadow of the Colossus, Edith Fitch, Inside, even something like Celeste, haven't done so solely because of the gameplay, but because of how the gameplay has supplemented a story or 'vibe' that has resonated with really me. People always talk about LoU's story because the gameplay is perfectly tailored around the story that it's telling, capturing the desperation of the characters. It's cool if you prefer games that just feel great to play, but that's your preference - it doesn't mean that other people are engaging with games for the wrong reasons. See the strong sales and critical acclaim of Life is Strange of early Telltale games.

Again - I've read a lot of books - I did an English degree! But games can be unique in how they can tell stories - and it's a diservice to games to claim otherwise. As an example, in a weird way, no other medium has managed to capture the experience of losing a parent and the strange relationship between father and son afterward as God of War did for me.

Lastly, there are some parallels to Last Jedi but in the case of that film, its failure was ultimately more about the execution of that film -  a totally whack, poorly directed mess - than simply that it didn't show how they imagined their characters to end up. For Lou2's flaws, (from a few hours in) it feels like it's doing exactly what its creative leads are setting out for it to do.

(Side note: totally see where @Goafer's coming from (not opened that spoiler mind). This game isn't for everyone - I can totally see why people wouldn't want to engage with this game - that's cool - again it just shows how games now are way more diverse than ten years ago, and that different games are for different people)

Excellent post @dan-likes-trees.

It's funny, because there's a lot of overlap there in the games you listed as having stuck with you and myself, Shadow of the Colossus and Inside being the two that come to mind most when talking about games with a clearly defined message with very little dialogue and conveyed mainly through gameplay. I can imagine Inside as an animated film, and would it be interesting? Sure. Nearly as powerful as having made my way through that unforgiving world myself? I don't think it would even be close. Absolutely agree with what you said about The Last of Us as well - I've mentioned this before, but horror films I shrug at but something about the interactivity of horror games just intimidates me at times - I do feel like it's a great example, like the games you mentioned and like some of the JRPG's I mentioned before, of where the gameplay and story meet at a good point and both build up the other. 

With your point in God of War, I feel similarly about that game and even more so the first Last of Us. I'm 21 years old, but there wasn't a question in my mind that if I were in the same world and situation that Joel, with all that had happened before that, that I would do exactly what he did. That's not the case for everyone, of course, but the point I'm trying to make is that I don't think the ability of a game to suspend your disbelief and make me, a 21 year old, feel as weathered by the world and like a guy in his late forties who has been to hell and back, can ever be fully appreciated. 

Games succeeding at putting you in other people's shoes and making you empathise in ways you might not have otherwise been able to is such an important thing, and even more so in a world like the one we live in right now. 

2 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

@dan-likes-trees good post. 

So games can tell stories in unique ways, and they're great for supplementing gameplay. Agree 100%. No debate there.

Is that the case here though? Is this game telling story in a unique way? No. Production values through the roof, superb voice acting. But still 30 minutes of gameplay followed by 10 minutes of non-interactable cut scene, as triple AAA have been doing since the PS1.

To be very clear, I don't think that @dan-likes-trees was simply suggesting that stories are great for supplementing gameplay. The examples he gave were of games which balance both gameplay and narrative in a way where neither is just supplementing the other, just adding some context or adding a bit more, but rather complementing it. 

As for the cutscene argument...have you played the game? Because I totally get what you mean and plenty of games are guilty of this - the early Uncharted games, heck as much as I love them the Yakuza games lean very heavily into telling the story through cutscenes - but I don't think The Last of Us Part II is one of them. I genuinely don't think I encountered a cutscene window which was longer than five minutes, and I think that came at a story climax, and was followed by contextualising where the story transitioned to next. In fact, cutscenes are dramatically shorter, and there were multiple times where a cutscenes was a minute or so in length and only there to really serve as a short transition into the next area. 

In fact, Part II does a great job with something which could have just been a cutscene but isn't, and those are little parts where you "play" the guitar, which transitions seamlessly into cutscenes. That would have been such an easy thing to leave out, and though I think it's a little clunky, again, it's the interactivity of it which just helps to connect you further to the game. 

Also, there's a wide linear section early on which I think I spent an hour exploring and playing through with no cutscenes. 

Quote

And supplementing? Not here, as the dialogue around the game confirms. The story is the main event here. It came first, the focus of all the innovations and effort, whilst the gameplay languishes in generic last gen third person.  

That's what kind of game this is and the kind of game Naughty Dog make. And loads of people enjoy them - wonderful. But if those people turn around and say they don't like the game because what happened in the game isn't what they want, with no mention of the game itself, then what is the game to them? A chore just to pass through to get to a cut scene? 

All I hear about this game in the media is either:

story good = game good OR story bad therefore game bad. 

Does the gameplay not factor for you in this paradigm? Then why play a game? That's my point. 

Huh?

If you haven't played the game, are you really just going to run with the whole "well, I've seen a lot of articles focusing on the story more than the gameplay, so that must mean the gameplay is bad" argument? That seems kind of ignorant - especially if you haven't experienced the game yourself yet - are you really that trusting of games media? I honestly don't trust 95% of games media to write a good review, let alone effectively convey gameplay in their words which couldn't just be replaced with a video of gameplay or playing a game yourself. 

And if you don't like something, be reasonable and either decide to commit to seeing it through or put it down, it's that simple! I would do the same if I weren't enjoying this game, and the same would go for a book or show or a film. Time is short, why waste it? Heck, a game which won many awards and is seen as pushing the industry forwards is Breath of the Wild, and yet so many here and elsewhere loathe that game. One of the critiques despite its well received gameplay is the lack of narrative or world design focus! Good balance is subjective, but storytelling is at the heart of practically everything we do as a species and is a fundamental human instinct (recommend: The Storytelling Animal). 

I think the core of what you're saying just serves to highlight the ineffectiveness of the vast majority of journalists in the gaming industry. Story is easier to discuss and much easier to write about, and it's controversial. Why exactly wouldn't we be seeing a ton of these articles now for a narrative oriented game? Journalism relies so heavily on attention these days. I highly doubt that an amazing piece which accurately talks about the gameplay of this game at length would garner half of the interest potentially shown for a hot take on this game's story. 

And again, this closing statement you made:

Quote

All I hear about this game in the media is either:

story good = game good OR story bad therefore game bad. 

Does the gameplay not factor for you in this paradigm? Then why play a game? That's my point. 

The parts I made bold make me think this whole argument - one I can honestly appreciate! - should in fact be directed at the media who are telling you what you've heard about this game. That you've not heard more about the gameplay in this video game is a failing on their part, not Naughty Dog's. 

Edited by Julius
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Great post. I would rather not write something of similar length in reply. Kindly give me a bit of time to distill that all in my mind. 

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Posted (edited)

Man, this game is long. Got to what I thought was the end only to have a shit load more to do. Was a bit exhausted by the end, it definitely suffers with pacing problems in its latter half. Anyway, the credits finally rolled and I loved it for the most part. 

Spoiler

To be fair, there wasn’t really much in the way of story progression other than revenge = bad and it can make a villain out of even the most beloved character. I sighed heavily when Ellie left Dina and the baby to go off after Abby again only to predictably return as a broken husk of her former self. I searched for pretty much every collectible (yes, I missed a few) but I felt that the Scars were never really fleshed out, we didn’t find out much about their beliefs unless I just missed that part. We just got a story about how the followers twisted the Prophet’s teachings after she died, I can’t even remember hearing how she died but again, maybe I missed it.

I never had a problem with playing as Abby- I hadn’t read any of the leaks so had no preconceptions going in. I actually found following her to be more interesting than playing as Ellie. Getting to know the characters you murdered as Ellie in flashbacks was a stroke of brilliance seeing as at the time, I barely gave it a second thought as I caved Nora’s head in or killed Mel. But later on I was thinking “how could you?” I honestly wasn’t expecting to dislike Ellie in the second half of the game so props to the developers for making me feel that way.

As opposed to the first game, where it was all centred around Ellie’s intriguing immunity and search for a cure, the sequel lacked any kind of story progression as I mentioned before. The war between the WLF and the Scars was pretty uninteresting and the late game faction in Santa Barbara served little function other than more brutality to be dished out before the game’s climax. 

I was hoping Ellie would just let Abby go without having the fight scene first. There was really no need for it, Abby was already broken, waif-like and in pain. This felt like a gaming trope - there has to be a last boss fight, but hey ho.

Gameplay wise, very similar to the first. I don’t think it did enough to keep it fresh all the way through but enemy encounters were never anything less than exhilarating. I was glad to see the back of the wooden pallets from the first game, and the planks of wood and ladder puzzles were kept to a minimum.

 

 

I’ll probably try new game plus to mop up the rest of the trophies, perhaps earn my very first platinum seeing as there are no difficulty related ones (I tend to struggle on anything above Normal mode)

Overall I enjoyed it. 9/10 for me.

Edited by Dog-amoto
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Posted (edited)

Great post @Julius

5 hours ago, dan-likes-trees said:

Lastly, there are some parallels to Last Jedi but in the case of that film, its failure was ultimately more about the execution of that film -  a totally whack, poorly directed mess - than simply that it didn't show how they imagined their characters to end up.

What failure? It's sitting at a 90% review score on Rotten Tomatoes, sold a ton at the box office and plenty of people, myself included, love it. It didn't resonate with a group of fans but that was absolutely not down to the execution. It was for story reasons, because people couldn't deal with the film not lining up 100% with their expectations of how they wanted the story to unfold, after a thirty year build up of expectation. Just because Luke wasn't mowing stormtroopers down with his green lightsaber or Snoke didn't explain his backstory in pointless detail does not = a poorly directed mess. The hysterical disappointment in some quarters says more about hype and fan expectation/entitlement, than the final product itself.

It's almost a carbon copy situation with the Last of Us 2, something that reviewed well, that's technically extremely accomplished, but that made story decisions that a big group of fans didn't like. Conversely plenty of people love it, just as they do Last Jedi. They just don't shout and scream about it over and over online or on social media like the hate crowd do.

Quote

a totally whack, poorly directed mess

Couldn't disagree more. Rian Johnson is an excellent director and his next big film, Knives Out, got even better reviews than The Last Jedi did. People adored that film.

But hey, opinions. You didn't like the film, I loved it. For me personally, I can watch the opening space battle, Rey/Kylo Ren's Force connections, Kylo betraying Snoke, the guard fight scene, the Holdo manoeuvre, any scene with Porgs, the gorgeous Crait battle and tons more bits over and over, and I intend to. :heart:

Edited by Ronnie

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3 hours ago, Julius said:

Again, I think it's just different strokes, which is fine! 

Honestly I think a terrific example to bring up here would be a bunch of JRPG's which both you and I love @Glen-i, such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. @LazyBoy, those are renowned as great video games, frequently featuring in many personal Top 10's that I've seen, and are mechanically sound in every way a JRPG should be. But asides from the production side of things which we're throwing away for Part II and other linear, narrative oriented games I suppose - what makes these games great? Memorable? 

It's the marriage of solid gameplay and a great story. Those games just aren't as memorable or beloved today if we strip aside so much of what they are - the stories - and boil it down to the core mechanics of a JRPG. Final Fantasy and many JRPG's, at least for me and many others, aren't great just because of potentially great mechanics unique to the genre in some of the games.

I mean, isn't X-2 widely lauded as having one of the best turn-based combat systems in the entire franchise? Yet, while I'm sure it has its fans, it's the games which marry these two sides of a game most effectively - off the top of my head, often mentioned are IV, VI, VII, IX, and X - which are cherished the most. 

I'm sure those stories would make great books, but there's just something about interacting with these worlds through having them as games which make them mean that much more. 

For me, it depends on the game, and what exactly the game is aiming to achieve. Whether story or gameplay is more important varies from game to game, but I think great gameplay is of course important in how it immediately determines how well a game might age.

Oh, don't take me the wrong way, I absolutely think a good plot can elevate a game, but it's a fine balance that is unfortunately skewed too far towards recreating a cinematic experience in a lot of AAA gaming, which I think misses the key selling point of games in the majority of cases.

I know talking about E3 is weird because it's only a matter of time before it becomes obsolete, but whenever a game gets revealed there and one of the selling points is something along the lines of "cinematic experience", then it's a pretty good sign that I won't enjoy it.

Of course, there's loads of exceptions to this, I actually think Breath of the Wild would have been better if it focused more on the plot, it had a cool idea, but never really took the time to flesh it out. Then again, maybe I just think that anything that stopped me playing BotW would be a benefit to BotW. (That's a totally different matter)

And yet, despite all of this, it is weird that I'm such a fan of JRPG's, arguably some of the most plot-driven games in the industry.
Honestly? I don't care about the plot of most games when I jump into them. If it's good, great! If it's bad, meh, no big loss. It's when the plot starts having a detrimental effect on the gameplay that I start having a bit of a tissy.

But then we get to the issue of how much plot is the right amount of plot. And we can argue about that until the end of time, because it's different for everyone. So why argue about it? Because I'm a massive nerd that needs to get my thoughts across.

A lot of people want Pokémon to focus more on having a better plot. Meanwhile, I look at that suggestion and give a big massive shrug.
But jump to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games and I suddenly expect some kind of plot.
Maybe it comes down to expectations? Or maybe I'm just some kind of plot hypocrite? It's probably both.

Anyway, plot is not important to me in the majority of games, but it's more important than graphics at least.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

@dan-likes-trees good post. 

So games can tell stories in unique ways, and they're great for supplementing gameplay. Agree 100%. No debate there.

Is that the case here though? Is this game telling story in a unique way? No. Production values through the roof, superb voice acting. But still 30 minutes of gameplay followed by 10 minutes of non-interactable cut scene, as triple AAA have been doing since the PS1.

And supplementing? Not here, as the dialogue around the game confirms. The story is the main event here. It came first, the focus of all the innovations and effort, whilst the gameplay languishes in generic last gen third person.  

That's what kind of game this is and the kind of game Naughty Dog make. And loads of people enjoy them - wonderful. But if those people turn around and say they don't like the game because what happened in the game isn't what they want, with no mention of the game itself, then what is the game to them? A chore just to pass through to get to a cut scene? 

All I hear about this game in the media is either:

story good = game good OR story bad therefore game bad. 

Does the gameplay not factor for you in this paradigm? Then why play a game? That's my point. 

I see your point a lot more clearly now - actually I don't necessarily disagree and am probably too early in the game to say for sure where I land - as I say, some of the stealthing does seem pretty dated - I'll come back to this thread when I'm done to see if my opinion changes.

The game that I really think of reading your post, though, is Red Dead II. I wound up quite liking that game but all the discourse seemed to be about story rather than how awful and totally monotonous the gameplay was but still garnered insane critical acclaim - and that game has much more of a gameplay > cutscene > gameplay structure.

Here, I do think the gameplay here supplements the story - As Julius notes, it's not told just through cutscenes, and much of the relationships are fleshed out by 'unlocking' optional conversations whilst exploring nooks and crannys (there's one lovely early section in a synagogue which fleshes out a secondary character) - the gunplay feels suitably desperate to the story it's telling, finishing fights with your last bullet, scrambling to find a melee weapon to kill off a last, rather than arbitrary in the way of many AAA games.

@Julius has covered a lot of it in his (excellent) post so I won't repeat too much, but I agree, touches like how beautifully constructed the guitar mini-game is really elevate those moments above putting your controller down and watching them

Lastly - I think it's a good sign when a game inspires this much heated (and well written) debate from all sides. Whether or not you like what it ends up doing, it's great to see a massive game that's divisive in this way (similar in a way to sayDeath Stranding last year - not for me but I'm glad it exists) especially given how bland and 'safe' a lot of AAA games are these days.

 

9 hours ago, Ronnie said:

What failure? It's sitting at a 90% review score on Rotten Tomatoes, sold a ton at the box office and plenty of people, myself included, love it. It didn't resonate with a group of fans but that was absolutely not down to the execution. It was for story reasons, because people couldn't deal with the film not lining up 100% with their expectations of how they wanted the story to unfold, after a thirty year build up of expectation. Just because Luke wasn't mowing stormtroopers down with his green lightsaber or Snoke didn't explain his backstory in pointless detail does not = a poorly directed mess. The hysterical disappointment in some quarters says more about hype and fan expectation/entitlement, than the final product itself.

Yeah my bad you are right - I'm always getting confused between the titles of that and Rise of Skywalker (generico names don't help). My points apply to the latter so I basically agree with you. I don't think LJ is a great film (I thought it was ok, LOVE knives out tho) but certainly the online hate was way overboard and as you say there are certainly parallels. As with that film though - just because a load of internet folk hated on it doesn't mean it was a failure, as you note - and same with this game.

I would also throw in that some of the hate for LJ was bound up with...

Spoiler

...how it was pushing further from Star Wars as being something very male, hetero, and white (see: online hate for Kelly Marie Tran) and I wonder if that's a factor here

Particularly that it's the white male protagonist that's killed off early, and that the central character in this game is a lesbian (or bisexual) woman.

By the way, I think it's pretty extraordinary that one of the biggest games of all time features same sex relationship between it's two main characters, particularly without making a big deal out of it - can't think of a similar scale of TV show or film that has done that.

Possibly I'm reaching here as I've not read much of the online hate due to spoilers - and I'm definitely saying this is only a small minority of people - but still, I suspect it's a factor.

Edited by dan-likes-trees
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IGN = 10/10.

Nearly everyone else = 0/10. 

On IMDb, it has like a 7.5 overall. 🤑

I heard Amazon and Metacritic are removing the negative reviews. What happened to freedom of expression? 😏

My score...

Graphics: 10/10. 😎

Gameplay: 8/10. 😜

Story: 4/10. 😭

🦒

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1 minute ago, CrowingJoe79 said:

IGN = 10/10.

Nearly everyone else = 0/10.

Well, that's a bald-faced lie.

You've been spending too much time on the Last of Us II subreddit. Those people are delusional.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, CrowingJoe79 said:

IGN = 10/10.

Nearly everyone else = 0/10. 

giphy.gif

Edited by Cookyman

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18 hours ago, CrowingJoe79 said:

Go on YouTube then. 

Ok then.

Oh and just so we're clear just found the following article - The Last Of Us Part 2’ Reviews Say It’s The Best PS4 Exclusive With 44 Perfect Scores.

Here's the link.

The article I've linked to was from the 12th so that figure has probably went up.
  

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I want to write a lot about this game, might do so tomorrow. Certainly one of those most complete and incredible games I’ve ever played, despite some kind of glaring missteps. It’s so strange, it’s as if everything they did, the amazing production values, visuals, audio, voice acting, world building... elevated the game to a point that it has to be judged on a whole new level. Things that people are unhappy with would be so minor on a lesser title, and yet the game basically forces you to hold it to a higher regard.

I can’t wrap my head around anyone thinking the story is anything less than fantastic. But in order to really accept and appreciate it I found I really had to separate out the components, the parts that were there to make it compelling, parts that were there to show what a shitty world it is and how terrible people can be, parts that actually wanted to hint at redemption... and then parts that had to go “hey yknow this is just a video game and we really need the player to just shoot some people for five minutes so they don’t get bored”.

Such a weird dissonance, so much to dissect. A few real moments of frustrating disappointment. And they almost detracted from an outstanding video game. Almost. But man. How much of this game did I spend not pushing the analogue stick all the way? Yknow? Just... taking it in.... What a game.

Gonna write in more detail (and spoiler tags!) next time I’m in front of a keyboard!

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Man I want, want to write a load about this game. But I feel like there just isn't time. I'd almost rather have a whole podcast about it where I sit with three other people, who felt similarly or disliked but at least completed the game, and really hash it out. There's so much to say. The "ludonarrative dissonance", the disappointing lack of choice, the incredible world-building.

I just want to spoiler tag a list of things that I liked and didn't like about the game, and thoughts I had on the way. I can't possibly gather together all my thoughts on the game so I'm just going to reel them out instead. It ended up mostly being a list of complaints, which I always find myself falling back on when I finish a game. I find it much easier to list the things that annoyed me. And it's weird in TLOU 2 because what's great is so passive, and what's bad is so aggressively prevalent, that it's much easier to bounce around the bad and hard to come away saying "but it's still... good?" Anyway...

Spoiler

Did anyone else find themselves just not pressing square, a few times? I felt throughout the whole game that I was robbed of choice, and I couldn't always tell if it was by design or not. Abby had disarmed Ellie, turned the knife back towards her, and the game told me to rapidly tap square because evidently right now, Ellie is the hero and Abby is meant to die. So I let go of the controller, and Abby sunk the knife into Ellie's chest instead, and I said, maybe out loud, "yep, I'm okay with that". Why shouldn't that be the ending? But no... the game just faded back in from the beginning of that QTE.

Similarly, I tried to exhibit choice to not kill my fellow Wolves. The first time I had to run through that warehouse with Lev, I turned to my partner sitting next to me and exasperatedly said "What?? They've really fucked it up this time".

Similarly, I tried to exhibit choice to sneak past the dogs. But the game thrives in making this nearly impossible, or at least so frustrating that you eventually won't want to try. The game suggests, even outright states in some of its hints, that avoiding combat is regularly possible. But it rarely is. And this is made clear by the way they litter areas with collectibles that you could only safely find after wiping out every enemy in the area. After any encounter you find yourself able to restock huge amounts of ammo as if the game was saying "hey, you probably just shot your way through this place in the end, here's some more bullets for next time!"

Most of the time I found myself thinking that each encounter would've been much, much better with about 20% of the number of enemies. Make each encounter deadly, force me to be smart, but don't drag it out and out. There was a few points where my jaw dropped at the sheer number of enemies I was suddenly surrounded by. And the time I was most patient but most deadly became a ridiculous pile of bodies at the top of a staircase, as scar after scar showed up to investigate their missing friends and fell victim to the same fate as the previous one. Duck round a corner. Press triangle. Press square. Repeat. Other than that though, enemy patterns are wild and stressful and frequently encroach on you in pairs or pincer formations, if you've levelled up the right way you might manage, on your third attempt, to run and dive into the grass and crawl into a doorway but if you're fed up like I was regularly, you might just throw a molotov cocktail at someone's face and then draw your shotgun, instead.

I'm sure many people are more patient than I am and stealthed their way through the whole thing, but at times I was exasperated. I embraced the faceless cannon fodder they had forced on me and I rolled with it because I wanted to pretend that hadn't really happened and go back to wandering through beautiful rainy Seattle instead.

Because man, when it wasn't in violent combat, when I wasn't hating all the main characters for being miserable little serial killers, I was absorbing one incredible world. Like I can't really believe that something quite so amazing has been created. In terms of narrative, in terms of character models, in terms of leaves and moss on trees and lighting and skyboxes. In rain and snow and the movement of horses, and music. The little notes, the dusty PS3s, the reality of every building you crawl through.

And it's only because everything else about the game is so good, that I'm so shocked when it has to settle back into combat mechanics that just feel like they belong in a lesser game. Because if this was just some other shooter, a Resident Evil or an FPS or whatever, nobody would be sitting around talking about how horrible it was that you had to shoot so many bad guys. But the more real, the more impressive and high fidelity the world and everyone in it, the more accountable the developers become. Which seems unfair in some ways, and at the same time that accountability is probably important to elevate higher tier games beyond their glaring foibles. Although cynically I find myself imagining there's a certain about of shareholder appealing, a degree of trailer appeal or streamability, a separation from being just a story walkthrough, all of which means the devs hand is regularly forced into adding in another shooting gallery.

And it's important to say combat mechanics, not just gameplay. Because there's plenty of other gameplay that shouldn't be tarred with the same brush as the needless violence. Riding your horse, finding out which truck to climb on and get over a wall, reading a note - whether it leads to a safe key or is just some insight into what happened there. Searching for a few bolts to craft a new item is gameplay, being creeped out and crawling around a basement with the light on and choosing to run away from Shamblers or Stalkers is gameplay. Alternating between equally engaging characters and companions, trying out all the different and very well designed weapons, even occasionally approaching a well laid out bit of combat in a satisfying way... Just because it's mostly designed around absorbing the story doesn't mean it's not a game with wonderfully immersive and interactive gameplay. It's just punctuated all too often by these visceral missteps that quickly cut short any sympathy the game was trying to make you feel for the characters.

I kinda want to say more but I'm in danger of just deleting this whole lot because I know it doesn't have a satisfying conclusion, so instead I'll just hit submit and get back to work....

There are a lot of other things I would like to touch on, things that deserve more than a bullet point like the excellent diversity and accessibility, but there's so much to unpack. At the end of the game I couldn't believe it said I'd played for 28 hours, because it felt like hundreds (does it not count reloads? Cutscenes? Or was it really not that long?)

Edit: Wow, I avoided any forums, reviews or journalism from this game until after I'd finished it. It's a crazy world out there. Reddit specifically seems so hate-filled about the story. I dunno, whole thing feels like too much of a minefield to debate. Also some of Naughty Dog's reactions have been pretty un-cool. But I think I'm firm in saying that I loved what I loved, and what I hated didn't stop it being what it was.

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While I can see why the story bothered a lot of fans, it's like they put the plot over everything else this game achieved. Namely the awesome gameplay and stunning graphics. I think people just wanted the same sweetness of the original. Upon finding out it was anything but that, the floodgates were opened. It's sad that few users criticized the game normally. Although I can see why the false advertising was offensive too.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @dan-likes-trees for thoughtful posts as usual. Feeling similarly overwhelmed @Shorty in terms of the amount of things I could discuss having just completed it, although I'm probably less bothered than you are about questions of player agency (and in the instances you mention I think the inner conflict of pressing square is actually the point). Overall I thought this was an absolute riot. Loved it. Somewhat surprised to hear about the fan backlash, but then again not so surprised either. Trying to defend a game against entitled, butt-hurt fanboys is a pointless and thankless task, so I'll steer clear of that. Getting on the sesh now so I'll post thoughts in full at some point this weekend.

 

 

Edited by dwarf
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While the fans on Reddit get accused of being "haters" and whatnot, I've found that site to be quite articulate (not to mention, way more active) than 98% of all other lame forums I post on. They're sympathetic towards other fans who aren't happy about the outcome of the story and the supposed lying from Naughty Dog. Plus, there's forums on there for pretty much everything. Of course, do expect to encounter some bad moderators and arrogant members, just like on every other website.

I did take a quick look on GameFAQs, and they're generally being open minded about the game as well. Like, some people don't like it over this, that and the third, but at least they're actually saying why that is. And yes, folks. To anybody who bullies Laura Bailey on social media due to Abby, that's just so wrong. She's a bloody professionally contracted voice actress. She doesn't need these online man babies threatening her life, all for playing a character who few people like. It's not real life. She's playing a part in a game. Duh!

By the way, is anybody still interested in the upcoming HBO series? Would you be turned off by it if the story incorporated themes from the sequel as well as the original game? Well, maybe I would be, but I guess they have to stay faithful to the mediums that establish the lore. Unless it's like the Resident Evil live action movies, that totally disregard what occurs in the video games as being canonical. 

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