Xbox's Internal Review Has High Praise For The Last Of Us Part II And Its Benchmark Narrative Design

Microsoft has nothing but praise for Naughty Dog's ability to tell and visualize a story, but it feels the developer could improve on its action design.


According to court documents published as part of the Epic Games vs Apple legal case, an internal review document that details how Microsoft keeps a competitive analysis on its rival Sony has been revealed. As spotted by Twitter account Game+, the documents feature an internal review written by Microsoft's Global Gaming Partnership & Development portfolio team that gives high praise to Sony's The Last of Us Part II.

According to the review by Xbox, the game sets a high benchmark for storytelling and is looked at as inspiration for where Xbox games can go in terms of narrative and visual design.

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"Last of Us Part II is the exceedingly rare video game where what it accomplishes in moving forward the art of narrative storytelling in video games as a medium ultimately outweighs whether or not everyone 'likes' it or even if everyone has 'fun' playing it," the document reads.

"That said we loved it, had a great time playing it, and find ourselves still thinking about its characters and stories even after finishing the playthrough. The visual quality and attention to detail in The Last of Us Part II is absolutely best-in-class in basically every area, and the overall presentation is significantly ahead of anything that other teams have been producing on console and PC."

Microsoft was especially enamored by the game's narrative-driven "walking simulator" chapters, which it says were well produced and should be "aspiring to accomplish with their character dialogue, presentation and voice acting."

Another interesting note in the review was the topic of not allowing the player to directly influence the ending of a story, which Microsoft acknowledged could be seen as a drawback by players but at the same time it argued that "not every video game must be about the player roleplayer their character's story."

While it had plenty of praise for The Last of Us Part II, Microsoft did criticize how the game featured poor gunplay from Naughty Dog, which it felt had become a calling card of the developer.

"Naughty Dog still can't seem to make decent gun combat in any of their games, and this one is no exception," the review added. "Luckily for them, it fits in with the game's overall theme and pushes the player toward using stealth over head-on."

Microsoft has requested that these documents be sealed by the court that is currently hosting the Epic Games vs Apple legal case which begins this week. For more on that case which could have big ramifications for both parties and mobile gaming, you can follow along right here in our court proceedings story.

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