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The Last Of Us Part II is a game that should become shorthand for “the best”, carve a place on a tomb of the gaming history. On Friday June 12th, some chosen gamers and media platforms got a chance to dive into the story of Ellie and Joel one more time. According to the Metacritic indicator, Naughty Dog’s new title earned 96/100, but surfing down the comments you can see that gamers scored The Last Of Us Part II as the best game ever made.

What is curious is that The Last Of Us Part II is a sequel of the original story, where we will see the missing details in Joel and Ellie’s journey. I won’t go into a narrative telling you the end of the plot, but until the end of their adventures, I have had the annoying disturbance that they left a shortcut of intrigue, causing me to Google fan theories to fill in the rest of the story.

What’s more interesting, according to comments from people who’ve played The Last Of Us Part II, is that you’ll notice a single hint of superiority over the first part because it seems like the missing continuation which couldn’t have existed without updated technologies.

Along with admirable comments and excited roars, there’s a thing some critics want to warn people of before they choose to purchase the game. Big thanks to Erik Kain who measured out the most controversial comments about the game for Forbes. 

Some viewers gave up on completing the game because of the violence, which is like a thistle that sticks to your sweater and walks with you all the way up to the end of the 25-30 hours long journey. Critics noticed the bleakness of the story’s plot, pointing out how violence changed Ellie, not as a development of a character but vice versa. 

What’s wrong? 

Naughty Dog succeeds with the task of outdoing itself as they have torn down the vicious cycle of failure and have guarded the tense expectations placed on the sequel. The second part goes far away from the events of the first. This time, all the events circle around Ellie, but you’ll notice that it’s not the same Ellie as she used to be.

The YouTuber SkillUp offers an interesting comparison of the two Ellies in his video, where he says her story in The Last Of Us Part II is similar to Daenerys Targaryen in the final season of Game of Thrones. And, you know, there is a drop of truth in this statement. You can watch the whole video, but I should warn about spoilers for the vulnerable part of our audience. Here are the most interesting outcomes Erik Kain prepared: 

  • Character choices and plot holes were so bad throughout that at times he would laugh out loud.
  • The game is 25 hours long and one section feels like a 10-hour side-quest. He says he wouldn’t have finished it had he not been reviewing it.
  • There are improvements to the graphics, combat, and exploration but enemy AI is still very bad.
  • The story is relentlessly bleak, there are no likable characters and no comic relief and everything you liked about the characters in the first game is gone.
  • There are very few interesting scripted/cinematic scenes and the game is far too long and boring.
  • On the plus side, it has the best difficulty settings fine-tuning ever and looks gorgeous.

Here is a full video review you could watch or not: 

 

SkillUp is not the only one who disliked events in the game, Andrew Webster writes at The Verge that The Last Of Us Part II is not about fun; the desire to turn off the game got stronger with every killed enemy. “I didn’t want to bash that lunging dog with a hammer or slice at that defenseless woman with a knife. I certainly didn’t want to watch a religious zealot’s head explode into a grisly cloud because of my well-placed shotgun blast. There are scenes so upsetting that they didn’t just make me uncomfortable; they made me question why I was playing this game at all.” writes Andrew.

But at the end of his piece, Webster points out, “I’m glad I pushed through — because those dark, disturbing moments are what makes The Last of Us Part II so powerful. It’s not just a game about violence. It’s one that grapples with the impact of that violence and shows players the consequences.”

However, other critics considered the violence in the game less charming and more disgusting. Polygon’s Maddy Myers has speculated on the topic of violence in the game. She’s mentioned that the game should achieve a relatedness to the real world, where during the global crisis people holed up together to overcome disaster, while The Last Of US Part II depicts the worst development of it. 

“Maybe the most surprising thing that The Last of Us Part 2 offered me was the surety that, while the game was made with great skill and craft, we are actually much, much better than Naughty Dog thinks we are,” said Myers.

The core idea of such an amount of violence in scenes is to deliver the point that it ruins our faith in humanity and we shouldn’t forget it. But according to Myers’ review, Naughty Dog came across the idea through constant killing points and not character development. Myers condemns Ellie for not making any logical conclusions by the end of the journey.

“What’s worse is that the characterization of Ellie makes it seem like she should also understand this part of the journey. I kept expecting her to grow and turn away from a life of constant violence, but she never picks up on the obvious didactic nature of the game she’s in, even as the designers beat you over the head with a very simple lesson about the value of human life,” Myers complained. 

I haven’t played the second part up to now and it is difficult to judge Myers’ thoughts. But it seems like Ellie exists in the game without our intervention, and I dream there will be a lot more cruelty behind the scenes. The post-apocalyptic world is not canceled and the law or any jurisdiction rights don’t come as a blessing after the end of credits. 

Ellie kills a random infected monster. Image credit: press-start.com.au

While playing the first part of the game in 2016, I was bursting with anger over not knowing how to overcome one scene, because goddamn fungus monsters have always chased me and I didn’t have enough knives to kill them. My aggression was the result of a long-standing standard in games — you have to kill or get killed. But Naughty Dog leaves a spare space to choose how to interact with the enemy on your own, applying to your personal preferences. 

I can’t insist people think as I do, maybe someone can share my anger with Kotaku’s Riley MacLeod who revealed his feelings after playing the game, “if the developers thought I was stupid, if they thought the existence of violence had just never occurred to me before.” 

MacLeod was primarily familiarized with the actions waiting for him in the game. Director Neil Druckmann noticed that the game shouldn’t elicit a fun reaction inside of you, but should touch on philosophical questions about violence and the role of revenge in our lives. It wasn’t the argument for MacLeod to turn his point of view upside down. 

“Over the course of my 27 hours with the game, it grew to the point of feeling nearly unbearable. This wasn’t because it asked me hard questions about my own capacity for harm or revenge,” wrote MacLeod. “Instead, it told me “brutality,” repeatedly and louder, until by the end I couldn’t hear what it was trying to say at all.”

It was necessary to highlight these comments because there isn’t a single thing in the world without positive and negative thoughts. We try not to persuade you to overthink your decision to buy the game but to create speculation over it because it’s interesting to note the contrast between people’s thoughts. Negative and positive comments on The Last Of Us Part II demonstrate the success of the game development.

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