Feature Article

The Last Of Us 2's Focus On Tricking Players Undermines Its Characters

The convoluted structure of The Last of Us Part 2's story doesn't really serve its revenge tale--it's to trick you, the player.

Warning: Massive spoilers herein, for everything in The Last of Us Part 2. We suggest you turn back now if you haven't completed the game.

One of the weirder things about The Last of Us Part 2 is the way its story is structured. The game repeatedly breaks up Ellie's revenge-fueled rampage through Seattle with flashbacks revealing details about her relationship with Joel, portraying and weaving together multiple timelines simultaneously. As Ellie searches for Abby and the rest of her friends in the aftermath of Joel's murder, we learn more and more about Ellie's state of mind--and often have the whole story recontextualized in the middle of playing it.

The Last of Us Part 2 messes with your understanding quite a bit, and not just by shifting perspectives in the middle of the game to expand on the character of Abby, the focus of Ellie's revenge obsession. The developers also hold back critical information that informs Ellie's motivations. Those flashbacks repeatedly change our perception of Ellie by introducing new information, and the game treats them as plot twists that upend our beliefs about her and her quest.

Those alterations in what we know about Ellie can be jarring and confusing at times, in a way that feels like it doesn't always serve the story. Why would developers hold back our understanding of Joel and Ellie's relationship, if it's the driving force behind everything she does? Why would the game create gaps in our knowledge of what Ellie knows, when she knows it, and how she came to know it, if it wants us to understand her and relate to her as a character?

It's hard to see why Naughty Dog would design The Last of Us Part 2 this way--sacrificing a deeper understanding of Ellie's mental and emotional state at the start of the game in order set up a big reveal at the end, unless you consider how the game is trying to make you feel, not as an audience to the story, but as a participant in it. The game purposefully clouds your understanding of Ellie because Ellie is the villain. The Last of Us Part 2 wants Ellie's role in the story (as well as yours, as the player), to be its big twist--but it's one that comes at the expense of developing and understanding Ellie's character.

No Caption Provided

Say Hello To The Bad Guy

TLOU2 kicks off with Joel revisiting his decision at the end of the last game to kill the Fireflies in order to save Ellie from them. Joel didn't just remove Ellie from the hospital in Salt Lake City where the Fireflies intended to use her immunity to try to find a cure for the cordyceps infection--he murdered Marlene, the head of the Fireflies, and the doctor who was to carry out the procedure. Joel tied off the loose ends to ensure the Fireflies would never come for Ellie again in an attempt to make a cure.

It's a horrific decision on a lot of levels, and one that left The Last of Us with a lot of fascinating nuance for its characters. Joel lied to Ellie about what happened, something it seemed clear at the time she suspected. The Last of Us Part 2 deals with the consequences of Joel's actions in a way games usually don't as his decision comes back to haunt him. Regardless of how you feel about Joel, he's a guy who Had It Coming to a huge degree. Ellie might feel justified in going after Abby for revenge, but Abby felt just as justified in going after Joel. If other characters in The Last of Us deserve death for their actions, Joel certainly does.

But at first, The Last of Us Part 2 purposely obfuscates how much knowledge Ellie has about Joel, and you assume she doesn't know what he did to the Fireflies, and therefore, why he was murdered. That makes it easier to get behind Ellie when she goes after Abby--in Ellie's mind, we assume, Joel's murderers had no justification. When Dina speculates about who Abby and her group might have been and why they might have been after Joel, Ellie replies that Joel "crossed a lot of people." Most of them, however, were smugglers, criminals, fascists, and cannibals. They were Bad Folks, in other words, and as we progress into Seattle Day 1, we see that Ellie figures Abby is one of those as well. The story sets up dramatic tension by letting us in on more information than Ellie has. We expect that Ellie learning the truth about Joel could change her feelings, and maybe even her actions.

The game slowly changes that equation, though. Flashbacks reveal that Ellie has been troubled by the events in Salt Lake City, which damaged her relationship with Joel. After the scene with Nora during Seattle Day 2, when Ellie is at her most brutal, we learn the truth: Ellie discovered Joel killed the Fireflies years before the events of the game. She's been operating this whole time with the knowledge of how Joel wronged these people--and it didn't change her mind or her actions. When Nora recognizes Ellie as immune to the cordyceps infection, it's instantly clear that any doubt Ellie might have had about who Abby and her friends are is gone. She knows they're Fireflies. She knows what Joel did to them.

And Ellie tortures and murders Nora anyway.

From there, Ellie's descent only gets darker. As she makes her way to the aquarium, we learn that despite saying otherwise, she only cares about killing Abby, not finding and helping Tommy--which causes her to leave Jesse behind as he heads to Tommy's aid. Soon afterward, though she's somewhat forced into it, Ellie murders Owen and Mel, only to discover Mel was pregnant. But though that act in particular has a massive, traumatizing impact on Ellie, it's still not enough to stop her.

The Last of Us Part 2 most dramatically expresses the fact that Ellie is the villain through its shift to Abby's perspective. The game goes to lengths to demonstrate just how similar Abby and her friends are to Ellie and hers. Life in the WLF isn't all that bad and the people there look out for each other and care for each other. The bad guys are the good guys, depending on your point of view. As Abby, you meet a number of people Ellie killed in the first half of the game, and you learn more about them as people. You even play fetch with the dogs, knowing that in hours or days, they'll be dead because of Ellie's actions.

What's more, you see Abby choosing to help people and mitigate harm on several occasions, in contrast to Ellie. When Abby and her friends kill Joel, she specifically chooses to leave Tommy and Ellie alive because they weren't involved. And Abby spends her entire portion of the game aiding Yara and Lev, two people who previously would have been her enemies. Meanwhile, Ellie leaves only destruction in her wake, for her enemies as well as her friends. (Granted, the fact Abby also stacks up a massive body count does a lot to undercut the game's thematic thrust.)

Finally, TLOU2 drives home Ellie's villainy by making you play through her confrontation with Abby from Abby's perspective--at the climax of Ellie's revenge quest, you leave her perspective and fight her as a boss enemy (a fight that, because of Lev's influence, again ends with Abby winning but leaving Ellie alive). The situation is mirrored in the final fight between Abby and Ellie in Santa Barbara, too. Here, you play Ellie in that fight as she forces Abby into the confrontation by threatening to hurt Lev. As you slash away at Abby with Ellie's knife, it becomes instantly clear that this is in no way a fair fight. Abby is quickly bloodied and gasping, shielding herself with her arms as you leave thin streaks of red criss-crossing her skin. Even as you play Ellie in the final moments of her quest, moments from achieving her goal, the game is doing everything it can to make it feel wrong.

The Last of Us Part 2 holds back on the reveal of what Ellie knows and when she knows it because this is supposed to be a mind-blowing revelation. The character you care about, the character you play, is not the hero of the story, as has been the case in thousands of games before this one--the character you care about is the villain. By extension, to some degree, you are too.

No Caption Provided

Dig Two Graves

Except, if you've been paying even a modicum of attention, the fact that Ellie isn't justified in her revenge quest is obvious well before the game expects you to realize it. Ellie clearly is in the wrong from the jump, and not just because Joel definitely deserved punishment for his many crimes. Even if Ellie is justified in going after Abby and her friends, she creates massive collateral damage along the way for people who are, ostensibly, innocent--or at the very least, uninvolved.

In all likelihood, as Ellie, you kill a whole mess of members of Abby's group, the WLF, long before you get anywhere near Abby herself. During Seattle Day 1, if you kill "Wolf" patrols (who are searching Seattle for trespassers after clearly warning off anyone who tries to invade their territory), Dina will ask Ellie if she recognizes any of them. Repeatedly, Ellie says, "Nope." It becomes very obvious very early that it doesn't matter to Ellie if these Wolves were the ones who attacked Joel or not. They're in her way, and therefore, she can kill them. When Dina speculates who it is that might have murdered Joel, Ellie shuts her down. That's not because she doesn't know, because it's clear Ellie has some idea. Ellie doesn't care to guess, because Ellie doesn't care who, or why. Those questions are immaterial to her goals.

The brutality of stealth kills and combat in TLOU2 also show you Ellie's role in the story early on. Naughty Dog has said repeatedly that violence in The Last of Us Part 2 is meant to be realistic and therefore haunting, and it immediately demonstrates that Ellie is a cold, frightening killer. Enemies scream in pain as they bleed out after you blow off their limbs or shred their bodies with explosives. Their eyes bulge as you slash their throats so they can't scream. During the first two days in Seattle, TLOU2 provides you with plenty of reasons to follow Ellie's point of view that the Wolves are bad people and therefore deserve their fates, through notes and backstory that suggest they're an oppressive, brutal force that took over the city. But the emphasis the game puts on how horrifically these people die immediately makes it tough to justify her actions. She's an invading force, killing indiscriminately, and making zero attempts to prevent any amount of harm. And that's to say nothing of the damage she allows her obsession to bring to her friends.

TLOU2 doesn't need to hold back key characterization details to shock you with the realization that Ellie is a villain, because it's obvious from her actions and attitude, and the body count you can easily pile up even early in the story. The twists in the story play out as if the idea that you might not be heroically dispatching an endless parade of evil mooks is something that has never crossed your mind, but we get there long before TLOU2 expects us to. And that undermines Ellie and Abby's story, because it makes it harder to understand who they are and why they do what they do.

No Caption Provided

None of this discussion of Ellie as a villain in this story is meant as a judgment of her actions or her character, or the story Naughty Dog chose to tell here. This isn't to say, "Ellie should have been more heroic," or to wring hands over the fact that she made decisions I didn't like as a player. The trouble with The Last of Us Part 2 isn't the story it chooses to tell, but how it tells it.

The game is so hung up on the "gotcha" moment of revealing Ellie's true knowledge of Joel that it undercuts the much more interesting exploration of how she deals with her trauma and pain, and what effects that has on the world around her. We don't need to agree with Ellie's actions to identify with her--but holding back Ellie's real motivations feels like The Last of Us Part 2 believes it needs to trick us into empathizing with Ellie, and that it's going to shock us when it reveals who she has been all along. It feels like there's not enough confidence in the story to tell it straight, and that players can't be trusted to sit with and examine the nuances of how they feel about the characters for who they are and what they do.

I don't think that's the case. What I liked about The Last of Us Part 2 was its willingness to tell a painful and tragic story about pained, tragic people. Both Ellie and Abby are so damaged that they also create massive damage to those around them, and both struggle to stop themselves and heal themselves, with varying results. "When you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves" is a proverb for a reason, but in telling two revenge stories in parallel and letting both characters assume protagonist and antagonist roles in equal measure, TLOU2 finds a fascinating new way to cover the well-trod ground of this kind of story.

It's a shame the game can't just let the characters exist in that tragic space, or fully explore them. And it's a shame that TLOU2 doesn't seem to expect players to "get it" without structural gymnastics. Naughty Dog's games are strongest when it builds believable, well-rounded characters, and The Last of Us Part 2 often does that. It just doesn't feel like the game trusts us to understand or appreciate them if we can't be the hero of the story along with them.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: The Last Of Us Part 2 Spoiler Chat

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

GameSpot editor in Los Angeles, and the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory. Hoped the latter would help me get Han Solo hair, but so far, unsuccessful.

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II

Follow
Back To Top
248 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for maltnut
maltnut

214

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Wait, so you didn't know from the get-go that Ellie was hiding what she knew about Joel from her friends? Maybe it's just me, but all these points you tried to make about "gotcha" moments were pretty obvious. As for the rest of it, Ellie's only a "villain" in this game if you forget that the vast majority of protagonists murder nameless mooks all the godsdamned time, this game just pays more attention to the mooks. Yes, Abby and her friends had backgrounds, try applying that to every other game you play where you don't get to see it.

It's actually always bothered me how many "Heroic" protagonists can murder their way through an army of underlings, but spare the villain at the end because that would make them no better or some such nonsense.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP
Cikatriz_ESP

718

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This wasn’t an issue for me, like, at all. My main problem: if you’re going to make me play as Abby, make me care about Abby.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for id0ntkn0w7
ID0ntKn0w7

200

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

This is wholly predicated on the reader agreeing that because a vicious murderer murdered another murderer, the dead murderer's daughter must ignore his murder. But let's forget all of that, because Joel and Ellie are murderers who HAVE IT COMING. The creative team weren't trying to say anything about the endless cycle of violence and revenge, about blowback, no, they just wanted you to all of a sudden accept Ellie as The Villain.

This was a mess of an article

2 • 
Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

8656

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This game,imo,doesnt let you the freedom to play it like you want it.
Whatever you did before,a cutscene starts and you realize your actions have absolutely no affect on how the story is told.
The story must go on and like the devs wanted it,you have no choice but to accept it.
Yeah,i played it(not finished it and i dont intend to) and was several times caught surpised how the game doesnt care about "my wish" on how the game should evolve as soon you see how you murder someone in a cutscene,you wouldnt kill if i had the choice.
The main reason for me not to finish the game is the exesive brutality,i have not seen in any other game.
Never played the first Tlou so i had no prejustice about the main characters and their backstory but the lack of choices and the brutality in Tlou2 are very annoying.

Maybe it has to do with the limitations of current consoles and it could be better with new gens...i mean,the story would have few branches where you choices could trigger new paths.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@sladakrobot: No, that has nothing to do with console limitations. The Last of Us is not a game about you making choices. It's not an RPG. These are fully fleshed out characters who have thoughts of their own. You don't get a say in what happens. If you don't like that, that's fine. But The Last of Us is not about YOU making choices, it's about the characters making choices.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for rolento25
Rolento25

1668

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Crap game.

2 • 
Avatar image for Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

1438

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 0

I see people as viewing this in one way, with Naughty Dog having created it in another. There's a good article on another site that covers a lot of how unconventional the game is and why it doesn't jive with a lot of people, and while I disagree with some of it, it also makes a lot of good points. We say these things, stuff like what's written here, because TLOU2 takes on an unusual way to tell a story as a game. We could fault it for trying to be something it's not, if this were a movie or a book I don't think it would get thrashed like it has, but because we're playing it, it comes across as flawed to the point people hate it and it's not what they wanted.

Firstly, I don't think that either character is a villain or hero. There are certainly terrible people in this world, but neither Ellie nor Abby are outright good guy or bad guy. That kind of thinking comes from a lack of experience with these characters that we're simply not getting. In the world of TLOU, there is little to cling to. What people do have to cling to is maybe one or two others they can truly rely on. Sure, the beginning of the game paints a rosy picture of Ellie and Joel's life, but I hardly buy it. We've seen enough post-apocalyptic fiction to understand just how fragile communities are in a state of that world. While Ellie appears to have these connections to people like Dina, Jesse, and Tommy, it's fairly evident that Ellie really only has Joel. That's what makes it so painful when she learns about what he did in Colorado. You also can be sure she's not going to keep her word that they're through. Reconciliation seems inevitable. So naturally, when they take the one thing in the world Ellie has to hold on to, she's going to lash out irrationally. What else is she going to do? Go on with her life and try to forget about it? She needs catharsis. We don't have to like it. We don't have to agree with it. And Ellie certainly isn't right. But this is also not a world where our understanding of right and wrong exist as we see it. It's a violent world where revenge is likely happening in other stories beyond those of the characters we know. The fact that we play as Ellie taking her revenge is what makes it seem so off putting. We don't want her to do it, but we cannot stop her because that is the story being told. It forces us into a first person perspective where something like a book or movie would have us as outside observers, where we don't necessarily have to like or agree with the person we're following, but then we can deal with the inevitable outcome. But in the shoes of the person we're following, especially when we've already been through one story with them where things seemed at least hopeful, being forced to play as the character as they devolve into a mindless hunter for revenge is deeply unsettling and unlikable.

Abby, however, is not much better. Yes, we are sympathetic to her plight. But if we're going to declare that Ellie is wrong, Abby is no more right. She traveled hundreds of miles away to kill a man she spent years looking for. That is a less bloody, but similar quest to Ellie's in how mindless and narrowly focused it is. Was it absolutely necessary for her to go kill Joel? Not at all. Joel certainly deserved punishment, but she was determined to kill him as her dad. That is little more than revenge and not so much justice. Pure revenge does not often equate to justice.

Second, the structure of the story makes sense in the kind of story that Naughty Dog wants to tell. It's the format that muddies it up. Because of our unique perspective of the game, we're witness to a story that is traditional in another medium. As a story purely told, without gameplay or the first person perspective or the attachment we have to these characters as a result of the combined gameplay and perspective, it's not unlike other stories told. The gotcha moments are less out of pure surprise and more out of better understanding. We have an initial idea of what is going on and, yes, it does constantly realign our thinking, but that's the point. If we'd had all the information at the outset of the game, we would instantly craft our own ideas of what to think: "Oh, Ellie knew what Joel did and got revenge anyway? Why? Why is she being so stupid?" Instead of giving us the opportunity to make up our mind about the game early on, we're forced throughout to reevaluate what we understand about these characters. Are they bad? Are they good? Is what they're doing right or justified? It's far more nuanced than that, but at the end, the understanding should be that this is the world they live in and this is what life is now. The things they have and the things most valuable to them are easily broken, and that in turn easily breaks them. Both Abbie and Ellie have little in life to rely on and when that's taken, they both go on a quest of revenge, the only thing left to them. It obviously leaves them with little to nothing and it's completely self-destructive, but they live in a world that is fairly desolate and where nearly everyone gets by on a thread.

Now that I've had more time to digest the game, I find it to be a fascinating experiment in video game storytelling. It does something unusual that obviously didn't jive with people. But I also think a lot of people maybe get it wrong or don't really understand it.

5 • 
Avatar image for Undertow207
Undertow207

276

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 43

User Lists: 0

The constant flashbacks made the second half a complete drag. Plenty of "WTF were they thinking" moments.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for blindbsnake
blindbsnake

763

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

"The game purposefully clouds your understanding of Ellie because Ellie is the villain."

"the character you care about is the villain"

Well... I disagree... There are no heroes or villains... Nor Abby nor Ellie. Both suffer, both lose everything, and both let the other live. Ellie is the Abby of the first period of the game, both are different people in the end of the game.

The only reason we are saying that Ellie is portrayed as the villain is because for the first time we are seeing the enemy as more than an one dimensional character. And many people wasn´t prepared for that...

5 • 
Avatar image for mehrdad19872010
mehrdad19872010

203

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

I don't think I agree with almost anything that is argued in this article. I think many people are judging the characters' decisions from a position of privilege and from their own feelings of Ellie and Joel. I don't think you can always expect a person to do a right decision after a traumatic event. Many people destroy their own lives trying to make sense of a pain that has happened to them. Does it mean they are bad? Not really, it just means they are human. So, I don't think the game is going out of its way showing Ellie as a villain. There are no villains in this game. The game is showing her to be human. It is also refreshing to see a post apocalyptic story without characters learning the value of life after a terrible experience. Sometimes, you are broken after a traumatic event and you cannot put yourself back together and to me, this is what is going on with characters in this game. So, while I don't agree with their decisions, I do understand them.

The game is challenging us to look at heroes and villains differently. One of the weak points of the game was that every group that you fight is very evil. Whether it is the hunters, or cannibals, or even fireflies. They are hostile towards you and without much context on their own lives, most gamers think of them as evil villains worthy to be put down. But the second part shows you are not only killing digital people, you killing those with stories like those belonging to Ellie and Abby.

As for the game tricking you to feel something about someone, it is called story telling and we do it in books, movies, tv shows, even music. Art is to manipulate you, for good or bad. It is to entice you, to elicit an emotional response out of you. Paintings are disoriented in different styles to get you to feel a certain emotion. Music kicks in at a certain point in the movie to get make you feel sad or happy. Books hide the truth from you so you can see the world from the POV of the main character. In other words, artists lie to the audience to get them to feel and empathize with the subject of the art. It has been done for as long as the art of story-telling has existed. So, instead of playing detective to the most obvious mystery, you can argue how effective this was for you. The article says I was supposed to feel something at this scene but I didn't. It is almost as if he wants to rub it on the developers faces that see, I did not feel anything, you suck!! This has been the most pervasive argument I have seen of this game. We want to prove our intelligence by shown how a big game cannot make us feel anything and we consider that an achievement. Well, you don't have to be a robot and it is okay to be manipulated. It does not make you any less of a critic, even though you aren't one to begin with!! In movie criticism, Roger Ebert, Todd Maccarthy, Mark Kermode all write how they felt while also acknowledging having seen the director's hand as the puppet master. Because if you get affected, it doesn't mean you are weak or brainwashed. It just means you are human.

9 • 
Avatar image for naomha1
naomha1

654

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 0

@mehrdad19872010: I couldn't agree more. It's almost like this discussion was round-tabled first to come up with a argumentative side to the game story. As an avid and voracious consumer of books and cinema sometimes THAT IS THE TRICK in the story. To have you fully invest in characters that turn out differently than you anticipate and therefore leave you reevaluating your stance on those exact characters.

3 • 
Avatar image for sabredj
SabreDJ

191

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

Edited By SabreDJ  Online

I'm a fan of narrative games, but when you are given a game that's telling such a restrictive story without any player agency or choice on the story side, you better have a GREAT story and structure it well. This was like a bad season of The Walking Dead.

The narrative choices, the plot holes, the frustrating character choices, and making the player play Abby, starting over in the middle of the game basically was a padded and unsatisfying mess. The flashbacks that went on for far too long even when they were good, and the disjointed pacing of the game made it into a slog. Being locked into Ellie's baffling end game decision was just bad by any metric of what's good writing and good narrative. The mental gymnastics and cognitive dissonance people have to do to like the choices made by Druckmann and his team are laughable. The ending... just kill that ending with fire. This game could have ended twice before it did and be slightly better off. I think this game was an injustice to the first game, it's characters, and the story it told, especially with the retconning. What??? That's unforgivable...

Then there are non-story issues if we are fair. The gameplay was eventually very repetitive as the game wore on, the A.I. was ridiculous in how an enemy would be looking right at your companion 3 feet away, out in the open and not see them. The one part where they open the world space seemed to be such a good idea, and then they never did it again. So frustrating.... I am genuinely happy for those that loved or liked this game. Myself and many others wish we would have too. 5.5/10 and that's generous.

7 • 
Avatar image for hitemhigh
hitemhigh

36

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@sabredj: the game play is repetitive is not a valid excuse for why you hate the story. That you try to make that a thing is truly horrifying

2 • 
Avatar image for sabredj
SabreDJ

191

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

Edited By SabreDJ  Online

@hitemhigh:

"Then there are non-story issues if we are fair.The gameplay was eventually very repetitive as the game wore on"

What is "truly horrifying" is your inability or reluctance to understand what I said. The gameplay being repetitive had zero to do with the story being terribly written and structured, but it did have everything to do with the gameplay... becoming... repetitive.

4 • 
Avatar image for blindbsnake
blindbsnake

763

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@sabredj: "I'm a fan of narrative games..."

Me too...

"the plot holes".

Really? Which ones?

"making the player play Abby, starting over in the middle of the game basically was a padded and unsatisfying mess."

Unsatisfying? Yes... Purposely structured? Yes... It worked fine for me...

"the ending... just kill that ending with fire."

Tell me... What you think was wrong in the ending? Because I loved it, and I would love to be the justification to think otherwise...

"I think this game was an injustice to the first game, it's characters..."

Nah... It was a perfect (while terrible) continuation... And an injustice for the characters? I just hope you are joking...

"I am genuinely happy for those that loved or liked this game. Myself and many others wish we would have too. 5.5/10 and that's generous."

Yeah... I guess that sucks... 10/10 for me...

4 • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@sabredj: ''I am genuinely happy for those that loved or liked this game.'' But at the same time you insult us by suggesting that we have laughable cognitive dissonance for liking it? That's not how it works. We liked it because we just GOT IT. It spoke to us. If you held a gun to our heads and demanded that we not like it, we couldn't do it. We don't have to perform any mental gymnastics. In fact, I would have to perform mental gymnastics and deliberately ignore answers which make sense TO ME to dislike the choices. So if you want to be respectful about opinions, please don't suggest that those with differing opinions are delusional idiots.

4 • 
Avatar image for sabredj
SabreDJ

191

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

SabreDJ  Online

@gabe-kc: Hey it's my opinion that some people have chosen to ignore established rules of narrative and what generally makes good story structure and logical character development, etc..

I was probably a little blunt there and less nuanced than I should be, but the takeaway is if you liked it, despite what they did, then congratulations and I'm truly happy for those fans. Who cares anyway?

4 • 
Avatar image for blindbsnake
blindbsnake

763

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@sabredj: "Hey it's my opinion that some people have chosen to ignore established rules of narrative and what generally makes good story structure and logical character development, etc.."

Just LOL... "established rules of narrative" Double LOL...

4 • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@sabredj: You're still doing it. It's as if you were happy that our little autistic brains found something they can appreciate. Either try and stay away from linking the appreciation of this story to intelligence, or admit that you look down upon people who liked it. But then don't be surprised if people consider you an asshole. Because what you're doing is the exact same as someone saying: It's okay if you disliked it, complex stories are not for everyone. I would never say that because it implies that you are ignorant for disagreeing with me.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for sabredj
SabreDJ

191

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

Edited By SabreDJ  Online

@gabe-kc: It's a video game. Really? My opinion is really going to get you that upset. If you disagree with what I'm saying, fine.

How about focus that energy towards real world problems? Heaven knows we have enough injustices and pandemics to fight than my opinion that some people were determined to like the game regardless of it's actual quality. Some trolls hate the game without actually playing it at all, and that's even worse.

It's not a big deal.

3 • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@sabredj: Dude, I'm just trying to lead a discussion. This doesn't mean I find your phrasing to be a more important issue than any pandemic.

3 • 
Avatar image for Adser26
Adser26

27

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Adser26

There are 2 things that I honestly do not understand about Last of Us 2 storytelling and the discussions surrounding it.

1) Trying to divide the characters into good guys and bad guys:

It is a post-apocalyptic story, there are no good guys or bad guys, just survivors and monsters. All the characters in the story have been forced to take some horrible decisions to survive, and they all have blood in their hands. Joel dying because of the consequences of his actions in the first game is logical, but that is just it. There is no mayor morality to it, he acted to ensure the survival of what by then he considered her daughter and ended up screwing over a lot of people, and those people deciding to pay him back is neither good or bad, it just is.

2) Trying to make me feel bad about the fireflies:

The first thing we learn about the fireflies is that they are terrorist attacking the military and screwing over a lot of people because they demand a return to democracy, a system that is straight up impossible to do in a world were you wouldn't even be able to tally the votes of the population. They are show during the entire game as being dangerously incompetent, and by the time you get to the hospital their way of acting is so stupid that my reaction to being told that they will kill Ellie to "make a cure" was not horror or rage, or even to have a moral dilemma, my reaction was simply "wow, they really are idiots".

If the cannibals had told you that they planned to kill and eat Ellie to spread her immunity around the world and you decided to kill them before they do it, it wouldn't have been considered a moral choice because well, they are cannibals and what they are going to do is stupid, yet that has as much a chance as working as the fireflies cure. Ellie is not actually immune, her infection just doesn't have symptoms and the only possible cure that you could get from her would be to infect everyone with her inactive strain and hope that it works ok, a stupidly risky method.

Yes, they had loved ones and their loved ones are hurting because you killed them, but so does any other group in the story, why should I consider them that different?

If they wanted to make the last game ending an actual moral choice, then they could have given the fireflies actual medical competence, and instead of killing her the second they have her in their hands they could have done actual testing, damming Ellie to a long life of medical procedures and probably even pregnancies (to increase the number of subjects) in exchange for a damn good chance of better understanding her mutation and how to apply it safely to the population. That way when Joel kills everyone anyway you can make the case of him choosing Ellie happiness over the safety of the world and even her own decision making as the "evil", or at least selfish moral choice.

And if they wanted me to feel bad about killing a group, how about the military? You know, the people who are doing their jobs in keeping the population safe and that you kill at the start of the game for the completely selfish reason of getting some cash?

I can see what they wanted to do with the story in LoU 2, and by itself the idea is not bad, but the points they use to push the story foward and the honestly baffling way they decided to pace it really brings it down. And on a game where the story is so important you are just left with a disappointing mess. I don't love it, I don't hate it, I just no longer care.

2 • 
Avatar image for blindbsnake
blindbsnake

763

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Adser26: 1) Trying to divide the characters into good guys and bad guys:

Everyone who does that does not understand this game...

2) Trying to make me feel bad about the fireflies:

As explained, not the fireflies, Abby. They look the same but are not the same.

PS: Also, I always believed that Joel did the right thing, in fact the game tells you the same thing when Marlene asks the doctor if he would do it if it were his daughter... he never replied. A pather would never let his son/daughter die, no matter what would be at stake...

3 • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@Adser26: Your two issues conflict with each other. First off, you explain that there is no good or bad in this world. That is true. The game makes no judgements, people do what they have to do to survive. But then your second issue is about how the game makes you feel bad for the Fireflies. But it doesn't. You just explained that. The game not only shows you that it's a terrorist organisation, it TELLS YOU that it is one through multiple characters. Even Owen in LoU2 mentions that they were not that different from the Seraphites. They did what they thought was right, and that often included killing people. The ''problem'' with Joel's choice (considering you have a problem, it's very subjective) is not that he kills the hospital. It's why he kills the hospital. There is absolutely no indication that Joel ran through the logical breakdown you did about Ellie's surgery (gotta admit, this is a take I have never heard before and I appreciate you giving me a new way to look at the story). He simply refused to lose another daughter, and didn't even consider the alternative for a second. He didn't suggest waking Ellie up and asking her. He didn't try to talk about it. He made a decision on an impulse and then decided to lie about it, suggesting that he HIMSELF thought it wasn't a justifiable decision. As far as the second game goes, you are not supposed to feel sorry for Abby because she was a Firefly. It's just a matter of perspective. She is avenging her father, just like Ellie does. Even after Abby finds out who Ellie is, she doesn't try to ''continue his father's work'' or anything like that. She doesn't care about the Fireflies, the cure or humanity. She cares about HERSELF. It's the same with Ellie. By the time you reach Santa Barbara, she admits (in her journal) that she doesn't care about Abby anymore. She just can't handle the shame. It's essentially pride driving her, not Joel. Because Joel wouldn't want her to take revenge, Joel would want her to take care of her family (also something Ellie herself writes in her journal, and I trust her idea of what Joel would want).

2 • 
Avatar image for Adser26
Adser26

27

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@gabe-kc:

That is kind of my point and the reason why I do not understand the conversation around the game.

Joel choice was 100% emotional, he didn't give a shit about the facts and chose to ensure the safety of his family because that is what he cares about.

Yet all the discussions and even the writers of the game are trying to press this as something where morality was a factor, that you are supposed to think what Joel did was morally wrong and that you had been siding the whole time with the "bad" guys. They also want you to care about Abby and take her side over Ellie, or at least that is how the story structure is planned.

If it was just about their own ways of dealing with revenge and guilt, there would be no problem. But there is this morality meta-narrative that is the issue, and the more is talked about it from both sides (the writers and the critics) the dumber it ends and the weaker the game itself becomes.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@Adser26: ''Yet all the discussions and even the writers of the game are trying to press this as something where morality was a factor, that you are supposed to think what Joel did was morally wrong and that you had been siding the whole time with the "bad" guys. They also want you to care about Abby and take her side over Ellie, or at least that is how the story structure is planned.''

I'm sorry but this entire paragraph is wrong. First of all, Druckmann never said that he wanted you to disagree with Joel. In fact, he makes it clear on multiple occasions that the point of the first game was you taking Joel's side. He wanted you to THINK about what Joel did, and you clearly did. Your analysis of why Joel made the right choice is great. You examined the available information and took a stand on the question. That's what Druckmann wanted.

Another thing Druckmann constantly mentions is that TLOU2 is not about picking sides. The game never judges you for doing stuff. Have you ever seen what happens if you don't kill the dog or Mel or Jordan? Do you really think the game judges you or Ellie for avoiding a gruesome death? No. Ellie's perspective is just as justifiable, as Abby's. Both the WLF and the Seraphites want to kill her on sight. She is also doing the exact same thing Abby did. The ''Abby is just revenging her father the same way Ellie does'' works both ways. Ellie is JUST AS RIGHT as Abby. The game wanted you to see that Abby has her own agenda. That as much as you would like her to be a walking pile of pure evil, she is just another human being. Because that's how the real world works. That idiot you argue with on internet is seldom an actual fool. He's just a person with different experiences, maybe one with absolutely racist or intolerant parents, maybe someone who was abused. Every person on planet Earth is a complex personality who does what they do as the result of a sequence of experiences. You can't narrow the world down to ''good'' and ''evil'', and the game doesn't.

3 • 
Avatar image for hitemhigh
hitemhigh

36

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@gabe-kc: They also want you to care about Abby and take her side over Ellie, or at least that is how the story structure is planned.''

The devs said they want you to realize humans do human things. They don't ask you to chose one side as good and one as bad. The back story on the scars is a perfect example. No one in this world is good or bad. Everyone is alive. To be alive you do terrible things in this world. You missed the point.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@hitemhigh: How did I miss the point, that's exactly what I said. And once again, you contradict yourself. ''They also want you to care about Abby and take her side over Ellie...'' ''They don't ask you to chose one side as good and one as bad.'' Which one is it?? Either you're phrasing your thoughts wrong, or you are unsure about your own opinion.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hitemhigh
hitemhigh

36

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@gabe-kc: that was your direct quote. Wow.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gabe-kc
Gabe-KC

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@hitemhigh: Oh, wait. I see now. Yeah, my bad. I forgot that was part of the paragraph I quoted. But still, you addressed the reply to me, not the guy I quoted. So essentially you told me how the sentence I quoted misses the point, which is the same reason I quoted it. To explain how it misses the point. You should have replied to the guy who said it.

Upvote •