Just to make a little disclaimer, writing this test hurts me in my flesh. I wouldn’t be able to express the ways the first game, it’s world, it’s characters, it’s story and it’s music ( good lord, it’s music ) touched and influenced me.
I feel like saying this is unnecessary but due to the controversy about bad faith downvotes this game gets I guess I have to do it.
To establish this right away, from a technical point of view, this game is a MASTERPIECE. Regarding all the working methods controversy the development had, what the developers achieved here brings them to the top of the industry. Hats off to them.
Now, WHY has this game failed to me?
It would be tempting to say that the game actually “failed me”, that the game is simply not what I wanted, but I wouldn’t agree, and like to prove it in 2 points:
* During these 7 years, I imagined everything that could possibly happen to our beloved characters, and mostly when Druckmann and Baker started warning us by saying “ This will be a divisive story “ or “ Don’t expect to relive the first game “, my body was ready. In fact, every key plot of the game was expected.
1- Remember the first 2016 trailer? Everyone was guessing that the Joel asking if Ellie was “really gonna go through with this” was a reminiscent image coming to Ellie’s mind.
2- When later on it was revealed that the game was gonna be about the cycle of hate and PERSPECTIVE, we pretty much foresaw that we would be brought to requestion our beliefs by putting ourselves in the shoes of Ellie’s wrongdoers.
Now, HOW has the game failed to me?
Actually, it concerns these exact two points.
1- Joel’s death: Now, I won’t go to the extremes of thinking they meant to disrespect him with the crazy theories of the Druckmann looking guy spitting on him.
I understand that this death HAD to be brutal in order to put us in a grieving storm to put us in a raging hate towards the killers, but how this death has been brought up simply ruins the effect and just keeps us wondering why it had to happen LIKE THAT rather than why did it have to happen to Joel?
I can’t accept it. How the hell does this vicious and clever smuggler had to get ambushed surrounded by armed nobodies while he’s randomly in the middle of them scratching his ass? And please don’t tell me “ well, he got soft with these years of peace. “, this argument wouldn’t have any backup for that and even Druckmann hinted the opposite by saying that a place like Jackson needs “ killers like Joel”.
2- Now once again I have to point out that to the really end of the game, I was all in for it. The totally absurd conditions of Joel death were thrown in the back of my head, and I kept going on.
As said earlier, I knew that I was gonna be brought to live Abby’s side of the story, and knowing that the game was meant to blur the lines of who is the good and the bad of this story, the game had a critical duty to create the empathy necessary to bring us to that uncertain point of the final battle
And unfortunately, although I had sympathy for Abby, I was nowhere near getting a dilemma at the end, since the characters didn't have much susbtance beside their function: One is a worried son, another is pregnant and hates Abby, Abby is a " garbage" although nothing comes backing this up ( unlike Joel who knew for the first game's ambush because .. ).
The worst part is that they even made Ellie so distant and bleak that at the ending battle, I wasn't wondering on which side I was, but I just knew that I hated Ellie AND Abby.
We are left with nothing in the end. A dark game so badly written that it seems that it's just for the sake of being dark.