Why The Last Of Us Part II Is Actually Good
At least, in my opinion.
There was a lot of backlash over the controversy in TLOU2. Despite what everyone thought of all the twists and turns the game made, there are still good qualities that are being overlooked! The Last Of Us series has always been full of unpredictability, and the second game is no different. If anything, TLOU2 has shown us that no one is safe from the dangers that humanity can make even in the apocalypse. Here’s why The Last Of Us Part 2 is actually good.
Action and Consequences
Action and Consequence is the biggest lesson in this game. If the first game taught us a lesson on humanity and taking responsibility, this game is more about accepting the consequence of our actions. It starts as early as the first game. Rescuing Ellie and killing everyone in the hospital resulted in his own death. Keeping it a secret from Ellie resulted in her blowing up on him. Abby getting revenge on Joel resulted in all her friends getting killed. The most important of all is Ellie going after Abby, in the end, resulted in losing Dina and JJ. The over arching question in the plot resides in the back of your mind, as you play, being “should they have done this?” Yet the answer to that question is never the same each time. It also asks “should they have done this?” to which the answer is also never the same. The answer to these questions for every character in the game is never an easy one either. For Ellie, it’s hard to say whether she should have made her decisions or not. Had she not perseud Abby, she would not live with PTSD and she would still have Dina and JJ by her side. Yet, if she didn’t, would she live the rest of her life with the guilt of thinking she could have saved Joel? It’s hard to say, but she now lives with the consequences of the choices she made. However, for someone like Yev, the answer is a reluctant yes. Yev was finally ready to be who he really was, nothing was going to change that. However, in doing so, Yev’s decision to identify as a man resulted in the death of his sister, having to kill his mother, and watching his whole clan burn to the ground. However, if he didn’t do so, he would be living in a lie, never would have met Abby, commit atrocities against other people, and die along with his clan. So in his case, he lives a life better than what he could have had. This applies to every character in the game, and it teaches us that if we follow through with our actions, we need to be able to live with the consequences that follows.
This game was extremely controversial upon its release. Despite your thoughts, on what happened, you can’t help but respect Naughty Dog for making the bold choices they did. For one, killing off Joel, the main protagonist of the first game and a fan favorite, truly illustrates to us that The Last Of Us Part II is Ellies story. While the opening of the first game shows us a father that loses a daughter, the opening of the second game shows a daughter that loses a father. Plus, it’s not like TLOU fans didn’t see it coming. In the very first reveal trailer, we knew Joel’s death was going to be a part of the second game. Yet Naughty Dog still managed to surprise us with it. Then, just when you thought you couldn’t be surprised any more, you played as Joel’s killer. To make your fans play as the killer of their favorite protagonist and give her a sympothizing motivation for doing so, and show the world from her perspective is an extremely bold move. One that you don’t see in video games or stories very often, if ever. There are always people who say “the entertainment industry doesn’t make anything original anymore” but don’t seem to understand the amount of risk that comes with making new things, to which people may love or hate. Not to mention bringing in an LGBTQ+ cast of characters into their franchise, instead of just one person to fill a quota of diversity, which was bound to upset people already . Naughty Dog went the extra mile to create something so bold and new, and deserves more commendation for it.
The Last Of Us games have alway been about showing you the beauty of the world despite living in a post apocalypse. However, in the first game, you kind of stuck to a linear path to progress the story. Which, we didn’t seem to mind since we loved the plot so much in the first game. What separerates the second game from the first is that the developers and design team worked hard to create a lifelike simulation of the world and they made sure we could stop and enjoy it. While it’s not quite an open world game, we were put into fragments of big spaces to stop and take a breath. That especially shows, everytime you find a guitar in the world. You could just enjoy the environment around you, seeing the sunlight shine down and enjoying the mix of natural and man made earth, If you wanted to lay in the grass and look at the sunset, you could do so with an amazingly natural feel to it. This game was not an easy one to get through emotionally, and they knew that, so having those moments to stop and breathe were extremely important.
Anytime you play The Last Of Us, it is recommended to go into survival mode. Which means resources are scare so conserve what you have and find as much as possible and if you’re in danger, keep moving. When you’re in a fight, the game recommends you go stealth first but it’s not mandatory. So you could go in guns blazing, but that might mean having no ammo and health bandages in the next fight. You have always been able to craft supplies and weapons out of the things you find, but that’s in hopes the items you’re looking for are there. The gameplay is interactive with making you adapt your playstyle and yet simplistic and fun. The second game keeps that similar gameplay, which is nice when a company knows some things don’t need to be changed. However, they add a twist to it that does enhance your gameplay. The AI are now smarter and more relistic, dogs can track your scent. If you make a noise your enemies will advance to your position and try to flank you. Some zombies have mutated into stealth gremlins, which means you have to be more stealthy and think of your movements several steps in advance. However, you’re not without advantages either. Stealth has always been a big part of the series, but now you can use the environment to your advantage. If you’re outside, you are small enough to hide in tall grass. If you’re inside, you can use holes in the wall to manuver and manipulate your enemies. Sometimes, you can get through whole areas without fighting anyone, if you’re crafty enough. However, that isn’t always the case and you have to be really good at it to get through. Naughty Dog does a phenomenal job at keeping the best parts of the gameplay from the first game and yet making it feel new and exciting in the second. The Last Of Us Part II is a better game than we gave it credit for and I’ve just barely scratched the surface.