Mainstream video game critics are raving about Last Of Us 2. One critic wrote “When the credits rolled on The Last of Us Part 2 I was still buzzing from the excitement of the final few hours. My loyalty shifted between characters. I grew to love who I hated and dislike who I loved. I laughed, I teared up. I felt anger and elation. It’s the new high water mark for video game characters..”
Another wrote ” The graphics and lighting make this one of the best looking games I have ever seen, especially on the current-generation of consoles.”
Metacritic has a score of 94%. ” The greatest game of this console generation? Of that there is absolutely no doubt. It’s also, quite possibly, the greatest video game of all time. ” Said screen rant.
Have these people actually played a video game before?
Last of Us 2 is the sequel to what most definitely COULD be considered one of the top 100 greatest games ever made, The Last Of Us. The Last Of Us was a survival horror adventure mystery action game all in one, where you follow a post apocalyptic world as Joel, a smuggler who lost his daughter on the night of a zombie apocalypse (well they’re technically people infected by a form of fungi that really does exist and infects bugs). The fungal infection drives people mad as it takes over their body, and spreads by bite. It slowly takes over the host body of those it infects, evolving (or decaying) them into more zombie like creatures. Joel navigates the post infection world as a smuggler. The government meanwhile had converted into some type of military dictatorship to maintain law and order after the outbreak. They set up Quarantine zones within cities across America where they maintain strict control. Every zone apparently faces some sort of civil unrest though from groups with different agendas. In the first Last Of Us, that group is mainly called the fireflies, who want to overthrow the government and return to a Democracy (or something).
To cut to the chase, Joel meets Ellie in Boston, and embarks on an epic cross country trip to take her to a firefly base somewhere on the other side of America on behalf of the fireflies. The reason is because she is immune to the infections from the spores. The fireflies have a doctor who for all purposes is probably the last doctor in the US with the skill to turn her immunity into a cure/vaccine against the fungus.
At the end of the game, as many of you will remember, Joel slaughters most of the fireflies to rescue Ellie after delivering her to a hospital in Salt Lake City. He had learned that in order to develop the cure, the doctor would have to kill Ellie. He ends up shooting the doctor, and taking her out of the hospital.
THE LAST OF US 2: WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THIS VIDEO GAME
A leak earlier this year caused a lot of outrage among fans, and then a lot of interest among the media elite. It turns out that a significant portion of the game involves Ellie in a gay relationship with another character, Dina.
There is also mention of a transgender character who is persecuted by the evil quasi christian religious cult that plays a role in the game (because what’s more edgy than making an evil christian cult).
Here’s why this game is at best an alright game, at worst a bad game, and absolutely not “the greatest game ever made.”
The plot is riddled with poorly conceived plot holes
The plot is discouraging, depressing, makes you feel bad, and not enjoyable. In Last of us, or any game for that matter, you feel a fulfillment in playing the game.
In every GTA game for example, there is usually an opening betrayal by somebody who makes you really want to finish it so that you can get revenge. In RDR2 which was released last year, there was a solid villian or antagonist you looked forward to kill, first the irish gang leader, and than the member of your gang who betrayed you all. In fact in any game at all, there is an antagonist you want to hate. In this game there is none. As (SPOILER) now mentioned often, in the first hour of the game, the main character of the Last Of Us is killed in part 2, bludgeoned in such a horrific uncomfortable way. It might be entertaining for a movie. Not really the way to start a video game. And he died in a way that made no sense for his character.
Joel had survived for all these decades by being cautious, clever and a bit cutthroat. He never let his guard down, and always was wary of any new place or people.
In his death, he walks into a room of strangers armed with guns, and has a naive reaction to it he didn’t have even on the night of the outbreak decades before, or at all in his times since. He casually walks into the room with these armed band of marauders after strangely rescuing this girl who happened to be very properly trained in combat, and doesn’t find any of it suspicious at all. Then he uses his real name, which you’d think by now after literally destroying most of the fireflies and betraying them, he would at least have the sense to use an alibi with armed strangers. His death made little sense.
On top of this, the obvious was pointed out that they leave Ellie and Tommy alive, without identifying them. Also knowing that Joel had rescued the girl who was immune years before, they don’t bother to even ask who this girl is that’s so attached to him, who matches the age that the immune girl would be at? It was poor writing, and meant for shock value.
But this is just the beginning. From there you go on a quest for revenge against the Washington Liberation Front (WLF, or wolves as they’re called). You can tell because the killers of Joel all wore WLF patches. So convenient.
Strangely there’s a massive wall outside Seattle, and even more strange is that there’ss not one person thinking to guard this obviously important wall, and playing as Ellie you sneak into Seattle to enact revenge. You also bring your pregnant girlfriend Dina with you (not pregnant by you of course). It’s an awkward forced relationship that could probably go down as worst chemistry between romantically involved characters in video game history.
There’s a lot more plot holes that fill this game as you continue to play. But we’ll spare any more for now.
The plot makes you not want to play
The plot goes downhill from what we mentioned above, at least for Ellie. You slowly learn that the person who beat Joel to death with a golf club, Abby, is the daughter of the doctor who tried operating on Ellie. Even more, it makes you feel like crap half way through when you actually have to PLAY as Abby, and see her side of things. All the people you spent the first half of the game killing as Ellie, you now have to get to know as Abby. You see that they are likeable characters with personalities and friendships. Mel, Manny, Owen. All characters who you butchered as Ellie or tortured to death, you now play with while playing as Abby in the second half of the game. There’s even a ferocious dog that had attacked you at some point in the first half of the game, and you stab to death. You later learn that this dog had a name, Alice, and that it was a much more likeable character than Ellie.
It’s not a game you feel good progressing in, as you slaughter yet another portion of humanity that has already been devastated by the outbreak, the post infection massacres by hordes of infected, and by multiple civil wars.
It is unfulfilling and dissatisfying.
The game doesn’t really expand on the original
The game also fails to expand really at all from the original. Levels are still just as linear. There’s no sandbox worlds to explore. The infected categories are all the same. Their tactics are also the same. The gameplay is the same. They let you smash windows, which they were so enthusiastic about in pre game trailers. But there’s barely anything else new at all.
In the first game you had a variety of infected types. Runners, Clickers, Stalkers, Bloaters. The idea was that as the infection of hosts got worse over time, they mutated into worse monsters. Well here we are years after the first game. By the logic of the original, the infected should be at some creepy, bizarre new and more challenging stage right? Could there be spider infected? Infected that fly maybe? Infected that burrow? Maybe just infected blobs, since the fungus slowly breaks down their host. But no, it’s the same old runners, clickers, stalkers, and bloaters. Part way through the game you get introduced to something new, the only new zombie type in the game. It’s effectively a bloater that emits….. wait for it…. gas.
Yes that’s right. Defying all logic about the well thought out infection by fungal spores, there’s a bloater that emits gas. Even the characters question how it’s possible, and then you proceed to shoot it a bunch of times until it dies. Naughty Dog failed miserably at an opportunity to totally expand on what happens to infected after decades of hyper evolution.
Another frustration is upgrades and crafting. You craft the same set of items from the first game, and upgrades are about the same. There has been no revamping of these at all. You can’t do anything else, can’t build anything new. It’s as if they just copy and pasted all the code from the first game onto the second.
As for the world of Last Of Us 2, there is the same as before. Instead of really showing the players something new about this world, and maybe showing civilian NPCs, making some kind of neutral part of society, letting us see how humanity is living in this devastated society, they resort to the same levels of either you the player, the infected walking in predictable patrol routes, or scavenging bands of armed enemies who pace around aimlessly trying to find you. There was zero expansion on the first game.
What’s more insulting to this point is that when you play as Abby, they actually give you a taste of what this could have been like if you could actually experience the world of Last Of Us from the civilian perspective. You start in the WLF base, a stadium transformed into a base and city for their people. It’s actually brilliantly done.
You start inside the stadium where you walk through a bustling arena packed with all aspects of life. There’s a mess hall filled with WLF troops eating, hundreds of NPCs filling it, and showing what Naughty Dog’s game engines are really capable of. Then you get to see what dorms are like for WLF troops, before going into a the center of the stadium and seeing agriculture, farming, laundry, and training occurring. It’s the first time in the series you actually feel like it’s a believable post apocalypse world.
You get to stop at a dog kennel and check out one of the dogs, Alice (who you had been forced to stab to death earlier in the game and now feel a hell of a lot of guilt doing). You stop at an armory and check out weapons. And then you go to a garage and check out a truck.
You then embark on what should have been the experience of last of us 2: a trip through the city with Mel (the medic), manny (the very experienced combat soldier), and Abby, a new and refreshing character suffering from the guilt of losing her father. It;s by far the most satisfying part of the game.
There’s even a part where you are fighting with the SCARS, the very creatively crafted christian religious cult that makes complete sense, and just as you’re about to be overrun, a team of WLFs comes crashing through a gate and rescues you. It feels great.
This is the game we should have had. But instead Naughty Dog teases us with it half way through, and after we butchered all this people for hours while playing Ellie.
Overall this game is bad, mainly because it fails to be what it should have been. It was lazy game play crafting, and a plot that seems like it was written by a 16 year old on a fan fiction forum. It was not what the Last Of Us fans deserved. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Ellie kisses Dina.