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I want to talk about The Last of Us Part II…

Gamingtodaynews1g - I want to talk about The Last of Us Part II...

I'm just going to get straight to the point: I really didn't like the story of TLOU2. I could get into why I may think the pacing is bad or why I may think the plot is "convoluted", but I want to bring up a slightly different perspective that you might want to consider whether you love or hate this game.

So, TLOU is one of my favorite narrative experiences ever. It's one of the only games in my collection where I can play it, get "the feels", and find absolutely nothing wrong with it at all. To me at least, it's a fundamentally perfect experience. I mean, yeah, the gameplay loop couldn't sustain a 30-hour long experience, but it's perfect for a game of its length. In terms of both story and gameplay, it's fantastic.

Probably one of the greatest things that TLOU managed to do was take a super popular genre (zombies) and make it fresh again by giving the outbreak a realistic twist and developing memorable characters.

When you think of TLOU, its wide variety of infected may come to mind, sure. You might also think of the gritty, impactful combat where you can feel every punch. But, the first thing that will come to mind when you think of TLOU will be Joel and Ellie – not one or the other, but both of them. They're on the front cover and the start-up screen. You spend the overwhelming majority of the game with them. They are the identity of this game, they are what makes TLOU what it is.

With that said, their relationship is crucial. Even Neil Druckmann explained this in a presentation where he went over the process of creating this game. No matter what changes were made along the way, it always came down to the father-daughter relationship between Joel and Ellie. They were always at the center of everything.

In TLOU, the narrative was tight and focused. To me, there were only two main characters (Joel and Ellie), and a cast of side characters that shaped the main ones' relationship as they went along on their journey, learning about how different parts of the country are dealing with the outbreak. There were no subplots or alternating perspectives; a lot of why this game works so well is that the spotlight is always on the relationship between Joel and Ellie. As I said before, this relationship is the identity of the TLOU. It really is the soul of the game.


So what happens when you destroy that relationship? TLOU2 contradicts a lot of what the original game was – it has multiple perspectives, a ton of flashbacks, inconsistent pacing, multiple different relationships at play, and it tries to say a lot by including a bunch of diverse characters; there's a lesbian relationship, a (visibly) strong female character, a transgender character, an oppressive religious society… this game tries to say a lot. And I'm not against that. What I am against, though, is the fact that so much of it betrays what was so great about the original.

I actually explained this view in a YouTube comments section once, and some of the responses said "if the game kept the core relationship between Joel and Ellie, it would have been predictable and boring", and that is a load of horse-shit. A sequel to a great original should find ways to expand on it, not try to do something completely different. Take the John Wick franchise for example; the directors always stick with the "gun-fu" style of action in every movie (since that is part of what makes John Wick so unique) but they expand on it. Instead of finding another style of action, they start throwing in motorcycle fights, horses, ninjas, throwing knives, etc.

When Joel died in TLOU2, the franchise instantly lost a huge chunk of what made it special. They could have made an interesting story that kept that relationship. Or, better yet, they could just not made a sequel at all.

What's cool about the first game is that Joel doesn't actually accomplish his goal – he delivers Ellie to the Fireflies, sure, but she doesn't actually have her operation. This goal which was the catalyst for the whole journey in the first place is left incomplete. In the end, the world isn't saved, a cure isn't found. And, even though we can sympathize with Joel's fear of losing another daughter, these feelings are conflicted with the fact that he just destroyed the world's only chance at curing the outbreak. Then, the game ends, and it leaves you to deal with these complex emotions. The game shouldn't feel over because you did not succeed at your goal, but it is. And that's why there should never have been a sequel to begin with.

Anyway, what are your guys' thoughts on this game's story? I know I kinda wrote a lot here, but there's more I could talk about.

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