The Last of Us Part II (2020) Video Game Review

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53 comments

  • Oh, that does not sound good. I don’t play much any more, but when I do, one thing is the most important factor in how I rate a game – story. It can be a story of building an empire in Civ, winning a II World War in one of many WWII strategies I play, or, on a smaller scale, a plot of RPG game. But story is my focus, not graphics, not even gameplay…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I completely understand your stance there, Piotrek. It’s what I hunt for too. As a reader, I think video games are very capable of achieving great story-telling if they care enough. Sometimes the gameplay dilutes it, but when done right, they both work hand in hand and that’s what I love the most. Here… It just wasn’t the case hahah

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      • Games are not a new medium any more, after 40 years, and they are more and more often becoming art 🙂 I have great hopes for Cyberpunk, and there’s a new game in the Civilization genre, called Humankind, that has a potential of telling a very interesting story on a much bigger scale… now I only need to find time to play 😉

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        • I am with you 100%. It’s what I’ve been telling people for years now. Especially naysayers who hate on video games (e.g. those who think that video games are the cause of violence and whatnot). It’s an art in itself and it has so much to offer if you allow it to!

          Same here for Cyberpunk. The delays have been cutting into my expectations though but I hope they know what they’re doing. That Humankind game by SEGA looks indeed very, very promising. I hope it delivers! And yes… Time is always the big question mark on anything fun huh? 😛

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  • Ha dang Lashaan! That’s too bad. But I am no gamer at all. Though I agree with you the art and how they made it is stunning. Games look so realistic now! One of my kid has a friend who is studying to make these kind of games and I had a hoot asking him tons of questions about their making of!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Right? I’m amazed by how far we’ve come with video games today. Some of them have achieved incredible levels of detail that almost feel like we’re playing a MOVIE and I love that! The making of a game is even more fascinating, especially when you realize just how much work and how many people are needed to achieve this kind of quality! 😮

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    • Hahahaah it would’ve indeed been banned for so many reasons years ago! I’m convinced that your son has already heard of this one though. It’s one of those games that everyone has heard about because of its controversial success! 😀

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  • Oh yikes 😬. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first game’s ending, but it’s still a bummer to hear how disappointing the story was in this game. I guess this is just another sequel I can forget exists hahaha. Really great review, Lashaan 🙂!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ohhh, that’s interesting! Not many people dare say that actually hahah Well, the second picks up on the narrative that was left of at the end of the first one. Maybe this one will surprise you. 😉 If you ever end up giving it a try, I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading, Belle! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Well, that sucks. I know you were looking forward to this one. And even all that amazing work on visuals can’t make up for major problems with story or gameplay. I don’t really play videogames anymore, at least not in quite some time, but those I enjoyed were always the ones that felt most open ended, that had a story but let you adapt it, that gave you some freedom within it, not those that forced you down a specific road. So I can understand some of the frustation you mentioned. Do you have another game to look forward to next?

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    • Yep, it was a bit sad that the change in directors and the shift in writing gave us a sequel that could’ve been spared on fans but I’m still glad to see them work hard to make such a polished game. It could only mean that future games are very likely to blow our minds even more! 😀 I agree. Manipulating players into feeling things is not a path that any developers should go down and hopefully they learn from this and not see all the high praise from critics as a thumbs up to repeat this… I am indeed looking forward to plenty of upcoming new releases but I’m currently going through a recent release called Ghost of Tsushima with a Japanese/Mongolian historical samurai lore to it. Having fun with it but taking it slow till the next big release which be after the Summer!

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      • Just watched a gameplay demo of Ghost of Tsushima. Wow, that looks awesome! I’ve never played a game quite like that. And, of course, what feature immediately stood out to me? Photo mode! I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

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        • This made me giggle hahahah But yes! I think you would’ve had a blast with the photo mode as the game really strives from its environmental design and visuals. Getting that perfect angle just feels so satisfying! Thanks, Todd!

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  • I loved the first The Last of Us game. Played through the PS3 version multiple times, and the remastered PS4 version once. I rarely find the time to replay games these days. But as of right now, I have no interest in playing The Last of Us 2. I know enough about the story to know that it leaves you feeling empty, not to mention the entire story is a revenge plot. I have no interest in playing a revenge game that leaves you feeling empty, nor do I have interest in playing a game that kills off the first game’s main character in the first hour. The relationship between Joel and Ellie, and the masterfully written character development behind that relationship, is what made the first game so special.

    When I do find the time to play games, I’d rather play something fun, or at least has a hopeful ending within a darker story. That is if I don’t spend my precious little gaming time playing online with friends I haven’t seen in person since February.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you on TLoU and I can’t blame you for not wanting to try out the second game for yourself. It’s unrewarding if you disregard the visuals/score/gameplay and that’s not always what players are looking for at the end of the day.

      Same here for gaming time. A lot of it is just our nightly Call of Duty online sessions that have been a habit since High School for us hahaha Those sessions are most of our socializing time too anyways.

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  • Uugh this for me is an unforgivable presumption on the developer’s part. What’s the use of playing a game if all your choices have basically been made for you already and worse, you don’t agree with them? Sorry to hear it was such a disappointment for you, Lashaan!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well put. I think the fundamental issue is that there’s an overlapping between creating a video game and creating a movie. Naughty Dog have been known for making games where their stories take the lead and I think they took that too at heart while forgetting that it’s a video game where players are supposed to be in control. Thanks for reading, Ola! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • That intro?! KILLED IT! AWESOMEEE😍😍😍😍

    Okay now…real talk..right now I feel exactly like I felt back when I read my first ever comic book review. It was by you, of course, and I had no idea what was going on. The only thing I DID know was I appreciated how beautifully and thoroughly you phrased it. AND THAT IS TRUE HERE AS WELLLL!! I LOVED READING IT! But I just…*sobs*….I dont know what you are talking abouuuutt!! 😭😭😭😭 Well, I will know more once I read one or two more – appreciate what it is you are soooo upset about with this video game!

    BUT AS ALWAYS – I LOVED IT. YOU ARE AWESOME! Keep the amazing posts coming! 😇🦋

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahahaha I can’t tell if it’s because I wasn’t clear enough on the various aspects I wanted to talk about or it’s just really abstract to people who don’t play video games at all! 😛 I usually try and make it as accessible as possible just so anyone can understand what’s going on hahaha I guess the next time I decide to do one of these video game reviews, your reaction will decide on how interesting those posts are for my followers! 😛 Thanks for reading anyways though! 😀

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  • I was looking forward to this review since your post regarding the collector’s item.
    I’m sorry to hear that you, like many others, did not enjoy the game. I almost thought of getting into it for a moment (have not played part 1). But I guess there’s no point.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can only HIGHLY recommend the first game, the original on the PS3 or the remastered one on PS4. I am, however, happily surprised to hear that you play certain games too??? You own a PS4? You play in-between writing stories??? What does the Great Goldie play in their free time?! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am more of a PC gamer. Or at least I used to be… Nothing really catching my interest as of late. But yes, I do have a PS4 and think about getting into it…

        Great Goldie… I like it!

        Liked by 1 person

  • Too bad that it did not live up to your expectations Laashan. I do not play video games, but my son sure does. I will have to ask him if he has heard of or played this one. It sounds pretty violent though, so he might not with the kids around all the time. It is disappointing when you wait for something and it does not measure up, especially when it is a sequel and you loved the first one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading, Carla! If he plays games, then there’s a good chance that he’ll know what this one’s about and all the controversy that surrounds it. And yyyeeees! Unnecessary sequels are a bit scary but also exciting. I just wish it didn’t go the direction it did here…

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  • Whew, man I got the impression from our previous exchanges that you were a lot more positive about TLOU Part II – sorry to hear that wasn’t the case but I totally take your viewpoint and you make some good arguments my friend, which obviously depends on personal tastes.

    I’m completely in the ‘other’ camp, TLOU2 is a 10/10 masterpiece for me – yes it’s tragic, brutal and bleak but there are certainly moments of hope and humanity in there, even if they can be bittersweet. This is the story Naughty Dog wanted to tell and it worked for me, since completing the game I’ve watched and read several creator interviews (mainly with Neil D, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker) and it’s only enriched my appreciation for the game and what the intentions were.

    I don’t think this takes anything away from the first game, which I also adore (side note: some are upset by the violence in Part II but after another recent playthrough of TLOU, it’s far more violent than I remember – I mean those moments as Ellie when you sneak up to an enemy and knife them…wow!). I know the second half of the game is a make or break moment for a lot of players. Man, I really want a Part III! Sorry if this seems rant-y I just couldn’t be more passionate about this game and disheartened by it’s divisiveness…got to point out there’s been some really sickening and unnecessary vitriol (i.e. Laura Bailey receiving death threats which included her kids!).

    Phew, take a breath Chris hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha I probably kept my thoughts at a minimum so that you could finish up the game without any kind of influence from my end! But I appreciate that you took the time to read this review that offers my honest take on my gaming experience with it.

      I am happy that you got to go through it completely impressed by what they had to offer. I did love everything else about the game and it’s probably why I could replay this without throwing a tantrum or something about the story. I’ll still end up supporting all of their future projects though but I do hope that they’ll move on from TLOU and work on something completely new for the PS5.

      And I’m with you. It’s a big no-no to go ahead and send death threats to voice actors and whatnot. Video games are an art form and it should be expected that it might sometimes not be perceived the same from one gamer to another!

      I honestly could see how they might have set up the story in Part II for a sequel too… They could make a “futuristic” post-apocalyptic story within TLOU with a whole new cast or even an older Abby + Lev combo. They could even bring back Ellie in her old age, sort of like Sarah Connor too! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, appreciate that my friend – I could tell you were trying to keep things non-specific and I thank you since I ended up ‘colliding’ with a couple of spoilers before finishing the game…ouch! But, yes I felt some very risky and bold decisions were made with TLOU Part II and I can see why it wouldn’t have worked for everyone but it pushed all the right emotional buttons for me. I definitely applaud Naughty Dog for telling the story they did in the manner that they did and it felt like an honest continuation of the story. I still enjoyed reading your viewpoint though which was intelligently presented unlike some of the hate-rage for the sake of hate-rage pieces I’ve seen!

        Anyhoo, I’m now enthralled by Ghost of Tsushima – amazing! Wonder how Avengers is going to turn out, the previews have been rather mixed…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Same here for Ghost of Tsushima. Such an exploration-heavy game and its visuals make it MANDATORY to take your time with it hahaha

          As for Avengers… I am heavily disappointed by the marketing for it but will still give it a try. I do hope it will be better than what it has failed to showcase to us though! What motivates me most about it is the voice cast, with two of my faves, I bet you can guess who they are as a Naughty Dog fan yourself, hahaah! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah man, where Troy Baker (playing Banner as you no doubt know) goes I follow hahaha! Laura Bailey too – she should make a good Black Widow. The game itself I hear is pretty much an on-rails arcade action game, disappointing but I’ll still pick it up and hope for fun at least!

            Loving Tsushima, the enemy A.I. can be a bit clunky at times but other than that it’s utterly brilliant and adds some fresh mechanics to the well-worn open-world game design.

            Liked by 1 person

  • Hmmm I started reading this post but then I stopped, does it contain spoilers for the first one? 😱😱 I love the intro and it looks like a wonderful review and I can’t wait to read but, but should I? 😱 If anything, now I really want to continue and finish the first one 😍 Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha I tried my best to keep it as spoiler-free as possible but I think this kind of review is best read after playing the game, to keep all the surprises as new as possible. 😛 I hope you get the chance to finish the first game though. That one remains a 10/10 masterpiece! 😀 😀 Thanks for attempting to read this one hahaha ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  • Seems like a let down, knowing now that there is pre-determined fate here. The developers took away organic free will . . .they compensated with great graphics, but not good enough, eh?

    Liked by 2 people

  • I will say that the actual gameplay of The Last Of Us Part II is improved from that of the original. Despite Druckmann’s aversion to the dreaded “F” word, I actually had fun with it at times, which is more than what I can say about the original. The problem is that it loses all of those points and then some with its story, which is an absolute mess.

    I didn’t like the original game, but really, 90% of its story problems would’ve been solved if it were in a film or miniseries because it ultimately didn’t benefit from being in a game. That wouldn’t have helped this story; it’s just that fundamentally broken. It has about eleven different concepts and none of them are fully explored. It’s kind of like The Last Jedi in that when I reviewed it, my readers were coming up with far better story beats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Despite adoring the first game, unlike you hahaha, I’m 100% with you on the issues this game had. It really is something wrong in what it’s fundamentally meant to be: a video game. For some reason, I just tried this instant to imagine it as a virtual reality game and it’s even more flagrant how its issues were exponentially more problematic. I do look forward to the HBO TV series adaptation to come. I’m sure it can work much better than the video game if done right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Druckmann has always had difficulties accepting that Ludonarrative Dissonance (in short, it’s when your story and gameplay are at direct odds which other) is a thing, and The Last of Us Part II is exactly the kind of thing I would expect from one who made his aversion to constructive criticism known long ago. He doubles down on his weakness, not affording his strengths a chance to shine. It’s a game with a crippling identity crisis, and it’s worse at both telling a story and providing players with a challenge as a direct result. I surmise that imagining it as a virtual reality game would be that one’s suspension of disbelief would be broken given the sheer number of stupid decisions everyone makes.

        Cynics will tell you that humans mess up all the time, but it turns out that poor writers love that philosophy just as much because it means not having to think through their implications. Your character does something no one in their right mind would do? Well, to err is human. No, characters have to make good and bad decisions according to their, well, character. You can’t just have them do stupid things because the plot demands it, which is extra insulting when it makes the player go along with them. Joel’s death scene in particular was so bad that one could write an entire essay detailing the individual ways in which it fails, though the other characters aren’t slouches either. As I said, only the exceedingly angsty tone separates it from a garden-variety bad horror film.

        I am kind of curious to see how that HBO series will turn out. It’s written by the same guy who made Chernobyl, which I really liked (hence why I used that joke in my September update post), so it does have a shot at restoring the goodwill the series lost.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow. You really have a way with words. As if your reviews don’t say that already, but wow. Thank you so much for even bringing up the whole “Ludonarrative Dissonance”. I didn’t know how it was called but that’s pretty much one of the main elements that killed the sequel for me.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh no, that term has existed long before I was writing reviews. If what I heard is true, it was originally coined in response to a particularly strange instance of it in BioShock, though Naughty Dog tends to be the poster child for the term because they’re way more obvious about it.

            Liked by 1 person

  • Huh. That’s strange. I left a comment earlier, but it apparently didn’t post correctly.

    Anyway, I will say that the actual gameplay of The Last of Us Part II is improved from that of the original. Despite Mr. Druckmann’s aversion to the dreaded “F” word, I actually had fun with it at times, which is more than what I can say about the original. The problem is that it loses all of those points and then some with its story, which is an absolute mess.

    I didn’t like how the original game presented its story because that lack of player agency was a major problem with the narrative. That said, 90% of those problems would’ve been averted had it been in a film or miniseries because its biggest flaw was that it ultimately didn’t benefit from being in a game. That wouldn’t have helped this story; it’s just that fundamentally broken. It has about eleven different concepts, none of which are fully explored, and the characters make really boneheaded decisions for no other reason than to advance the story. In the end, I find it’s not any better than a bad horror film – it’s just a lot angstier about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • This game is awesome I don’t know what to say its a masterpiece the ending is unsatisfying
    But I can’t say due to that unsatisfying ending that game is flop due to that unsatisfying ending only I wanna say its a masterpiece
    the people who hated it have not understood the message and the story of the game this game made enemies become friends to the player which causes dilemmas and plays with mind this game is so much good Such a great story writing and narrative.
    – 10/10.

    Liked by 1 person

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