The Last of Us Part II

I heard they completely ruined a characters story! There is a lot of pissed off fans! Can’t say I’m a fan since this game is not my thing. But something has to be said:

The disrespect for the subject material and story is quite evident as seen by all of the thousands of negative user reviews. I talked about this before.

Its not just movies and t.v. shows such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who that are being destroyed and bastardized but video games as well…it’s pretty sad to see. As I’ve heard they fired 70% of the original Last of Us development team.

Something highly disrespectful happens to a main character and the story is never fully resolved or for that matter, never reaches any kind of satisfying conclusion. I feel sorry for the fans. I know how it feels…

I haven’t finished the game yet, but I found this spoiler free article which talks about how Naughty Dog kept running up against the limits of the PS4 hardware.

Even though I’m playing The Last of Us Part II on the PlayStation 4 Pro and visually it’s probably the most impressive game I’ve ever played, some compromises were clearly made to make it look this good, most noticeably the low framerate. If the framerate can be bumped up to 60fps on PS5 (like The Last of Us Remastered was on PS4) I will certainly be happy. As it stands, even Part II running on the base PS4 is already running at higher framerate than the first Last of Us on PS3.

There’s a really nice PS4 theme that comes with the collector’s edition, featuring art of the main characters and the relaxing music “It Can’t Last” from the game’s soundtrack. I’ll be keeping this installed for a while.

I finished the game. Some spoiler-filled thoughts below:

The Last of Us Part II has a controversial story! I can see why some people didn’t enjoy it. While The Last of Us ended with a thought provoking choice about different values in a hard place, many of the choices in Part II feel like they weren’t required to begin with, often brought on by the characters themselves. You could argue whether Part II is still about survival; even though the events of Ellie’s journey are not required for her survival, she seems to have a belief in revenge being required for her psychological survival.

I did greatly enjoy this game though, in that it extends and goes beyond the themes of the first game, showing that from each point of view actions may seem somewhat justifiable, only to look at it from another perspective so see the horror those actions are actually are. Everyone is both a victim and a perpetrator of violence.

And I enjoyed the ending; to me, it closed off this part of Ellie’s arc well by her realising that Abby and Lev weren’t inherently different from Joel and her. By playing as Abby, we get to experience this firsthand, and I think this makes the Abby sections very important to the overall story. I also really liked the flashbacks and jump forward in time that broke up the present day story and gave more context to the actions within.

I’m not sure where The Last of Us series will go from here, if indeed there is a Last of Us Part III. Potentially they can revisit the story of Ellie being the cure, although The Last of Us has always been a story about personal motivations rather the grandiose world-saving ideas. It feels like there has to be more to Ellie’s story than just this; the end wasn’t has conclusive as Uncharted 4: A Thief End and Neil Druckmann has suggested that there will be a Part III.

It’s almost certainly the finest crafted game on PS4, it’s characters, world, and visuals all unparalleled creating a level of immersion greater than any game before. I’ll replay this on PS5 (hopefully at either 1440p or 4K at 60fps instead of 1440p/30fps on the PS4 Pro), along with The Last of Us Remastered at 1800p/60fps which wasn’t possible on PS4 Pro. You can see the build up to Ellie’s darker side in the encounter with David in the first game, and to me both games are two sides of a coin that encompasses one big story.

Man, where do I even start.

This game has reached a very small club of games (or indeed, media) that has left me thinking about it long after I’ve finished it. The best sequels are, in my opinion, the ones that continue on from the first iteration instead of just making a new, unrelated story with the same characters. Joel’s actions at the end of the first game are what cause the events of the second to occur, and we get the pay-off we’ve been waiting for in seeing how his lie to Ellie affects their relationship from that point.

Joel was always of questionable character, we know he did some bad things before the events of the first game, and the way he goes about trying to get rid of Ellie on Tommy half way through and then the events of the end show this hasn’t really changed. He’s still selfish, to the point of ridding humanity of the potential of a cure. I think the writing was always on the wall for Joel, but it’s still brutal and shocking how it happens. Some opinions I’ve read believe this was simply ND trying to repulse us, trying to make us hate Abby even more, but actually I think this is the kind of brutal world these characters live in, and it’s a fitting way for him to go out all things considered.

Ellie’s journey then starts off as a simple one of revenge, but quickly we learn that she’s willing to do everything to accomplish her goal. Allowing Dina to join her is her first mistake, as it puts her at risk. Then she decides to go after Abby instead of going with Jesse to help Tommy, before beating Nora to death and finally killing Mel and her unborn child. It’s clear that Ellie is driven by this singular goal with no rational thought about how her actions might impact those she loves. When Abby confronts her at the theatre and tells her, “We let you go and you wasted it”, it’s the whole truth.

But then we have a whole second half of the game AS Abby, which I, like others, didn’t particularly like the idea of at first. But I thought back, about how Bungie made me play as the Arbiter in Halo 2 and how I wasn’t keen on that either to start with and how it grew on me, and I pressed on! Abby’s arc starts as she’s just accomplished her singular goal of revenge, and we get to see how she comes out the other side. I don’t think she really has much character growth before she meets Lev and Yara (apart from playing with doggos, which I enjoyed greatly!), but it’s at this point where she finds a new purpose, and begins to question how the ‘other side’ aren’t as black and white as perhaps she’s seen them so far.

For me Abby’s interactions with Lev were a real highlight (maybe THE real highlight?) of the game. Yes they were very similar to Joel and Ellie’s interactions from the first game, but Abby always seemed more interested in Lev than Joel was in Ellie at the start. And Lev in turn slowly opens up to her, and they reach this mutual understanding and then affection for each other. It really is a rather wholesome part of what is otherwise a really grim and bleak tale.

Abby wins her fight with Ellie back at the theatre, and this is really symbolic because at this point Abby is the one not just in control of her emotions, but her destiny. This is why we play as her during this section, because Ellie is an uncontrollable mess. At this point ‘good’ has won over ‘evil’ as much as it can in this series - none of the characters are angels and all do bad things in the name of revenge, or protecting others, but it’s always what they think is the right thing to do at the time, which is all any of us can really do in life. But Abby has squared up with her past actions, whereas Ellie is still struggling with what she did to Mel, and how really she has actually never been in control of the major events of her life up until this point.

So, Ellie goes away with Dina and JJ, and she tries to have a normal life. She chooses to try and let go of it all, but she can’t. She’s still haunted by what happened to Joel, haunted by her inability to effect the outcome she wanted in her quest for revenge, and whilst she has this idyllic life now it isn’t enough for her because SHE isn’t enough for HERSELF at this point. No matter how Dina pleads, when Tommy gives Ellie a change to follow up a lead on Abby she is unable to resist the chance to try and square up with her past.

Ultimately we have control over Ellie in the final fight with Abby, but this isn’t because Ellie is in control when the fight starts, it’s because she gains control when the fight is won. So far Ellie has learnt nothing from her journey, and she’s fully prepared to kill Abby - in fact, it’s the only way she can save herself. But then when Abby is beaten, and all Ellie has to do is hold her underwater to finish the job, she realises that she’s gained the revenge she’s after, she has won, and now has the power to spare Abby for an even greater victory - one within herself where she can finally be at peace instead of continuing this cycle of vengeance.

And this is the real story that TLOU2 is telling, as far as I can see it. No matter how dark a path Ellie walked down, she managed to find her own redemption, judged only by herself and regardless of what anyone else might think. She sacrifices her relationship with Dina for this (she has no idea if she will be able to repair things when she returns home), because Dina’s opinion is not as important to Ellie as her own. Ellie has to be able to live with herself, and she thought that she would be okay with killing Abby for revenge, but in the end she realises that this isn’t the case, that after everything she has been through and lost, it isn’t worth it.

The final flashback shows how Ellie was prepared to try and forgive Joel for stealing from her the chance of her life meaning something. Although she is never able to follow through with this with Joel himself (he dies the next day), she is able to do it vicariously through forgiving Abby, and finally taking control of her own destiny too.

Overall I loved the game and there is nothing I would change. It’s so riveting, deep, and multi-faceted. I’ve never played a game that has made me feel so shit but enjoyed it so much, and that is a telling testament to the quality of it. It’s definitely better than the original, but is it my favourite game of all time? Only time (and a second play through) will tell.

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If you like it Shadow, then it must be good. I saw a lot of positive reviews, but I always consider biases that people might have.

Naughty Dog has written a story outline for The Last of Us: Part 3, but isn’t making the sequel right now. Creative director Neil Druckmann says he hopes it can “one day see the light of day.”

I’m much more interested in playing this than the recently revealed remake of the first game, which isn’t needed so soon. Following the release pattern, maybe we’ll see Part III at the end of the PS5’s lifespan.

My money is ready.

60fps patch for PS5. :anjou_happy: Keen to replay this if I can ever find a PS5…

I finished my second play through today; it is indeed now my favourite game of all time…

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A remaster is coming to PS5 (and presumably PC later):

It sounds like mainly small improvements to a game that otherwise didn’t need a remaster so soon, but it’s only $10 to upgrade from the original PS4 digital version if you want these improvements. I’ll be holding out for a PC release.

Loved the game and while its a bit early for a remaster, it’s still good nonetheless. I would take it this means that The Last Of Us 3 is now in production

I really wish SONY would remaster Astrobot and Rush Of Blood for VR2

I suspect TLOU Part II remaster is largely due to a combination of these factors:

  • The Last of Us is a popular series
  • Season 2 of the TV series is on the way
  • Part III won’t be out for a long time, so it acts as a stop-gap
  • Part I was remastered on PS4, so historically Part II on PS5 follows
  • They’ve re-released Part I on PS5, so it would be odd to keep the later game in a PS4 case
  • They’ll want to release a version on PC at some point and gamers would expect improved visuals
  • They can charge for the new modes + native 4K

For me, I’m fairly content with the current lineup of Sony remasters, but if they could bring Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian to PC in some form I’d appreciate seeing those games exposed to a wider audience.

I agree I think it be an easy remaster with minimal resources needed while Naught Dog no doubt work on the sequel to both TLOU and Darkes.

I also wish SONY would remaster the PS4 VR version of Astrobot and Rush of Blood for VR2 on the PS5.