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The Last of Us Part II

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The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II.jpg
The Last of The Last of Us on the PlayStation 4.
Protagonist(s): Joel
Ellie
Abby
Genre(s): Action-Adventure
Rating(s): ESRB: M
CERO: Z
PEGI: 18
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Release: June 19, 2020
Engine: Naughty Dog Game Engine
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Country: United States
Series: The Last of Us
Predecessor: The Last of Us


"For me, The Last of Us was The Last of Us, and this is just American Psycho 2 with Mila Kunis instead of Christian Bale."
Angry Joe

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is the sequel to The Last of Us.

Bad Qualities

  1. Joel, the main character from the first game, is beaten to death with a golf club by Abby. This is the most controversial part of the game for various reasons:
    • It occurs only two hours into the game, making it feel hurried and badly executed.
    • Joel knew in the previous game that he made a lot of enemies and that he would rarely, if ever, trust anyone and do things on his own will. However, in this game, Joel and Tommy come across as far too self-assured and act as though the WLF are completely trustworthy.
    • It also feels contrived. Not helping matters is that the player takes control of Abby immediately after Ellie's segment is done to show why she did it rather then show her flashback at the beginning of the game before she kills Joel. Doing this would make Abby's situation more understandable.
    • In actuality, the game should have began with Abby, then switched to Joel justifying his actions to Tommy, then lead up to Joel's death, but the entire plot should be kept hidden, revealed piece by piece as the game progresses.
    • It's also an example of the Stuffed into the Fridge trope, where a loved one is hurt, killed, maimed, assaulted, or otherwise traumatized in order to motivate another character or move their plot forward. "Fridging" is often given a very negative connotation as it is all too often a hallmark of supremely lazy writing — quickly hurting or killing an established character as "cheap anger" for the protagonist, and devaluing the life of that character in the process, instead of giving the villain something actually interesting to do that can involve all the characters and more emotions than simple anger and angst. This trope is also considered sexist when it's done with a female character, proving that the developers are hypocrites for not seeing any problem in doing it to a male character.
  2. Ellie, despite being the character that also grew heavily on players from the previous game, becomes a very unlikable and detestable protagonist in this game who was dumbed down from what she once was. Whilst this is understandable in terms of the plot due to the mental health issues she suffered from and what happened to Joel, it made it much harder for players to be invested in her journey.
  3. The sex scenes are comically terrible, extremely forced, and completely out-of-place (obviously, they were made to show how close certain characters are to each other, but these scenes are executed hilariously badly). It also shows Sony's hypocrisy as the PS4 version of Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal had its Intimacy Mode (which had players dressing characters up in various outfits, including bathing suits and other intimate attire, and using their hands and other objects to massage or caress them) removed.
    • Some speculated that Neil Druckmann (Naughty Dog's Vice President) had inserted himself into one of the scenes. To be more specific, the discussion is about the character Manny Alvarez, who shares a striking likeness to Druckmann, even sporting one of the haircuts that Druckmann is known to sport. To be fair, Manny does not participate in any of the sex scenes, but it was quite arrogant of Druckmann to have one of the key characters made to look like him.
    • One of the previous game's purpose was to show that not all females in videogames were sex objects and the game succeeded well without offending anyone, but the sex scenes in this game kills the purpose of the first game.
  4. Aside from a few moments, the story feels poorly paced as it constantly shifts from one scene to another without any breathing room.
    • To make matters worse, they try to make you feel sorry for Abby, but she comes off as a very unlikable character, especially given that she murders Joel at the start of the game, which only serves to make the player dislike her. Instead of enjoying the sequences in which you play as Abby, the player is more likely to rush through them so they may return to Ellie. This is jarring. It would have worked if the switches between Ellie and Abby had been properly executed.
  5. While Abby and Dina have at least some character development, the other new characters feel really underdeveloped and act really nonsensible and stupid at times.
  6. False advertising: In the early trailers, it appeared as if Joel and Ellie were going to journey together with Joel saying "think I'd let you do this on your own?". But in the actual game, it was actually Jesse who said that and wanted to journey with Ellie. This may have been intentional (and may have in turn unintentionally) mislead many in order to cover up BQ #1.
  7. The Infected aren't as prominent in the plot because there isn't much that's relevant to them and you largely fight survivors. While this makes sense because you're fighting another surviving group, it also makes the environment feel much smaller because the majority of the conflict revolves upon murdering survivors rather than simply surviving.
  8. Another way the world feels a lot smaller is because the game only takes place in Seattle, Jackson, Santa Barbara and the sheep farm. For comparison, the first game had Austin, Boston, Lincoln, Pittsburgh, Jackson, Boulder, Lakeside, and Salt Lake City.
  9. The game goes through a time-skip to where Ellie and Dina are at a peaceful refuge with Jesse's child. This wouldn't be so bad if this would have been exactly how the game ended, but instead, the game ends on a really bitter and harsh note (see below).
  10. The story tries far too hard to convince the player that Joel's actions in the original game's ending were incorrect. However, because it fails to address a critical plot hole from that game - the fact that it is impossible to create a vaccine for a fungal infection like cordyceps - everything still indicates that Joel was completely justified in doing what he did, making Abby even less sympathetic than she already was, and making Ellie appear incredibly ungrateful to the man who saved her life.
    • In fact, Abby's father had second thoughts about operating on (and thereby murdering) Ellie to create a cordyceps vaccine until she convinced him into it. This indicates that, rather than Joel, Abby is the one who is genuinely to blame for her father's death.
    • Tommy comes off as a massive jerk who berated Ellie when she said she can't go after Abby, not caring about the trauma she went through, rather than understand her situation and go after Abby herself or send someone in Jackson to go after Abby. It makes him unlikable and selfish. If you think more about it, his brother's death was actually his fault too and the situation in the game would not have happened if he kept quiet about it.
    • When Ellie comes back after failing to kill Abby, Dina disappears with the farm being empty and not leaving behind a note to say where she and her baby went. Not only does this makes her a jerk, but it also makes everything they went through in Seattle a complete waste. They always look out for each other no matter what, here it flanderize everything, making Dina uncaring and selfish.
    • The ending was meant to be sad and make you sympathize with the characters, but with points being shown above, the ending comes off as poorly executed and dumb. It would have been at least a little better if Ellie and Abby came to some sort of understanding between each other (more on that in BQ #16).
  11. The game is continually trying to make a point about how awful and destructive revenge is, but it fails miserably due to the poor plot and Abby and her pals being unsympathetic characters.
    • Made even worse is when the game criticizes you for being violent, but doesn't do a good job of making you think about your actions like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater or Spec Ops: The Line and (as NakeyJakey pointed out) is instead more like Bioshock Infinite, because you don't have a choice in whether or not to kill someone, which would've been interesting. Not helping is the amount of grotesque ways in which you can kill people and their dog companions.
    • The sections where you play as Abby are meant to make you feel bad for killing her friends when you were playing as Ellie, and make Abby look better by comparison. Yet going by that logic, Abby kills dozens of cultists who were just minding their own business, meaning that she still comes off as worse than the already-unsympathetic Ellie, thanks to Abby killing Joel as well, and even having the audacity to claim that they were merciful enough to leave Ellie and the others alive, except for Joel, as if killing them too would have been justified, and also being ready to kill Dina even after being told that she is pregnant (see BQ#13).
  12. The character designs and attitudes can be a little strange at times, and they even use the same models for some of the characters. It's notably obvious with cultists, who generally consist of the same two models, and infected, who had a decent diversity of models in the previous game, but here many models get repeated over and over again to the point where most Infected will consist of 2-3 models during various encounters.
  13. A lot of tasteless shock stuff was created in an attempt to make the game darker and grittier than the original. This features the Rattlers attempting to sell individuals as slaves, as well as the violent deaths of numerous characters.
  14. The game's cover image is a little forced and lazy because it has Ellie's bloody face all over it, as if the developers were trying much too hard to make this game look as edgy as possible. Fortunately, there is a reversible cover that looks more like its predecessor.
  15. There are way too many characters to keep track of meaning not all of them will get as much development. Characters like Jessie and Manny are prime examples with Manny only having 48 minutes and Jessie only having 39 minutes of screen time with both being abruptly killed and mentioned only once after their deaths (bare in mind, the game is about 25 hours long). There are also character plot points in the game that don't make any sense.
    • At the beginning of the game, Abby almost gets killed by the infected, but is saved by Tommy and Joel. Abby never thanked them and once Tommy and Joel revealed themselves, Abby goes on to kill Joel without any hesitation or sympathy.
    • As mentioned in BQ #1, why would Joel and Tommy immediately trust complete strangers and even reveal their names to them!?
    • Mel's pregnancy. You'd think in a world where the human race is endangered, she would be kept somewhere safe for her and her baby especially since she's medic, but no. This was obviously done to traumatize Ellie and guilt-trip the player, but just like everything else, it's done really poorly. This is further driven home by the fact that they live in a community similar to Jackson proving the characters including are being dumb.
    • Since the WLF is at war with the cult, the leader of the WLF, Issac Dixon, comes off as oblivious as he plans to invade the cult's island, but with the arrival of Tommy and later Ellie and Dina, first two of whom kept killing off a great number of the WLF soldiers with Tommy wiping out an entire platoon. This results the WLF losing the war at the end. It makes everything look inconvenient.
    • Towards the end, you have to fight as Abby against Ellie instead of the other way around. After the fight, the game poorly tries to get you to sympathize with Abby, who was about to cut Dina's throat, was told she was pregnant, but ends up saying "Good." and was just about to cut her throat, only for Lev to call her out by showing her grief over her dad's death. That does not make her likeable.
    • Abby's father is supposed to be a good man who was unjustly killed by Joel, despite the fact that he was willing to cut open a 14-year-old girl's brain on the slim chance that it would provide a cure to the cordyceps plague.
      • Related to the above, we see in a cutscene that her father was having second thoughts about operating on Ellie until Abby talked him into it. This could have actually made for a good plot point by having Abby eventually realize that she had spent years blaming and eventually killed Joel for something that was actually her own fault. Instead, the game passes this up in favor of demonizing Joel.
      • The game also demonizes Ellie just for trying to avenge Joel by making her look as evil as possible, and tricking players into thinking Abby killing him was justified.
    • Lev and Yara can come off annoying at times. In fact, Abby would travel with Lev which heavily mirrors Joel/Ellie combo from the last game. The problem is Joel/Ellie combo actually worked better than Abby/Lev combo since the latter doesn't have as good chemistry as the former and because we don't spend enough time to care as much.
      • There is literally zero reason why Lev is transgender. It barely comes into play in the game. It feels like he was made trans at the very last minute so Naughty Dog could claim to be progressive.
  16. Stupid ending: After finally having the chance to kill Abby and avenge Joel, Ellie just lets Abby walk away. When she arrives home, she discovers that Dina has abandoned her with Jessie's child. As if that wasn't horrible enough, her left hand is permanently crippled, preventing her from playing the guitar. She is now completely alone. This effectively negates all of Ellie's efforts and everything she has gone through, and appears to finish this way only for the sake of being gloomy and depressing.
    • There's also the fact that she forgives Abby because she has a flashback to Joel while drowning Abby, which is hilariously stupid.
    • Besides, losing the final boss on purpose (mainly by doing absolutely nothing) causes Ellie to kill Abby, making her whole journey meaningful.
  17. The events of the sequel (Joel dying before having a second chance to become a good father, Tommy nearly losing his eye while being divorced by Maria, and Ellie forgiving Abby and losing everything after her battle) is already made clear that Joel's late daughter Sarah died for nothing:
    • Sarah's death was the origin of Joel's character development, as a broken father had to endure for 20 years from the loss of his kid. That is, until he meets a 14-year-old Ellie, with whom he shares a similar bond after harsh events have occurred, and Joel begins to see Ellie as his new daughter, and uses this second chance to become a good father again, only to have his bond with Ellie broken, and being beaten to death by Abby before Ellie had a chance to forgive and reconcile with him.
  18. Overall, this game marked the start of Naughty Dog's downfall.

Good Qualities

  1. The idea of having two different storylines that eventually coincide with each other is actually not a bad idea, just not well-executed.
  2. There are new types of Infected:
    • Shamblers: People who have been infected for numerous years and often live in water-rich locations. Shamblers, while not as physically developed as Clickers or Bloaters, may grab victims and emit huge spore clouds from their bodies, causing acidic burns on prey's skin. When the spores are killed, they explode, releasing a final burst of cordyceps into the air.
    • The Rat King: A unique stage of Infected that developed in the Seattle hospital after over twenty years of infection. Formed from several Infected combining into one, the Rat King is colossal in strength and size, and able to take extensive damage from fire, bombs, and guns. Even after taking much damage, it does not die, but instead, its various Infected parts will start to break off from the larger mass and attack along with it.
  3. The graphics are fantastic, pushing the PS4 to its boundaries. The surroundings are dark, stunning, and gloomy.
  4. The voice acting is great particularly Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Laura Bailey.
  5. The story, although poorly paced, can be pretty decent at times.
    • The flashbacks between Joel and Ellie are equally memorable and heartwarming, and they are easily the most fleshed out aspects of the story. It also depicts how Ellie discovered Joel lied to her about the Fireflies and how this ruined their relationship, which is what the game should have been about.
    • The beginning of the game is not bad at least before Joel dies.
  6. The game offers numerous features that are accessible to people who are blind, deaf, or disabled.
  7. The AI is quite unique and complex, as they will work with other NPCs or dogs to track you down, beg for mercy, call out to their allies, and so on.
  8. There are times where you can play the guitar, which has actual chords to play and is pretty fun. People have even been able to play actual songs with this feature.
  9. Practically every structure can be explored, and almost everything can be interacted with. This is most likely because the game was originally intended to be open world before reverting to a linear design.
  10. The soundtrack is great and the Theme Song sung by Joel is amazing and really sets in stone of what the first game was all about.
  11. If you look around in a few places, you'll notice an abandoned PlayStation 3 console alongside Naughty Dog's other works (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, etc.), which was a great Easter egg.
    • There's even a small Easter egg about Crash Bandicoot. Too bad it was referenced via porn title.
    • There's a scene where you kill someone who's playing with a PlayStation Vita, you can see that this person was playing Hotline Miami.
  12. Patch 1.08 allows PS5 (backward compatibility) players to play the game in 60 FPS for a smooth experience.
  13. The game improves on the stealth allowing you to use tall grass to hide, go prone to hide under things, and craft silencers for your pistol. Similar to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
  14. Some characters, such as Jessie, are genuinely quite good; but, we don't spend enough time with them, and they don't get much development because they aren't particularly important.
  15. The game got an updated that added Grounded Mode and Permadeath setting which add challenge to the game.
    • Grounded Mode, like the last game, is the hardest mode with very few resources and several elements disabled, such as the HUD.
    • Permadeath is a feature that, as the name implies, makes you have to restart an entire level or chapter, or lose your game progress entirely, when you die.

Reception and controversy

Like its predecessor, The Last of Us Part II received "universal acclaim" from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. It was praised for its improved gameplay, graphical fidelity, cast performances, characters, audio design, and music, though critics were divided on its narrative and themes.

Unlike its predecessor, however, reception from fans and YouTubers tell a different story. Because the game's script got leaked early and sparked controversy, combined with a lot of critics and journalists giving the game perfect scores, the game itself got huge negative reception from users worldwide with many considering it to be vastly inferior to the original. Many of the negative reviews criticized the characterization and plot; some complained of "social justice warrior" politics, with vitriolic responses to LGBT characters. Some players criticized Joel's death in the game's opening hours, perceiving a discrepancy between his cautious nature in the first game and his more trustful and protective attitude in Part II. A subset of players criticized Abby. Some disapproved her playable chapters as they had expected to control Ellie for the majority of the game.

This was also the straw that broke the camel's back about crunch in the gaming industry. Many stories were released revealing horrifying stories about how the people working on the game had to be hospitalized due to awful crunch and bad working conditions by Neil Druckmann. While there were people who were trying to make changes in the industry before, this game made those pushes for a better deal more mainstream.

All of this led to the game being review-bombed on Metacritic with it receiving 3.4 user score on Metacritic when it first released, though it changed to 5.7 user score after Metacritic created the timer. As a result, TLOU Part II has become the most controversial and polarizing video game of 2020.

Despite the backlash, the game won lots of rewards including The Game Awards GOTY 2020. In fact, TLOU Part II holds the record for most Game of the Year awards, surpassing previous record holder The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This is something many players also criticized leading to some believing The Game Awards were paid off since there was a Player's Choice poll on Twitter for GOTY of which Ghost of Tsushima won. Even people who liked TLOU Part II agreed that the game shouldn't have won that many awards.

Users also noted that the reviews that were giving the game high reviews stated within the reviews that the reviewer didn't even want to keep playing, making people wonder why they would give the game a perfect score.

Despite the rating of 6/10 by Angry Joe Show, the game was ranked #2 on Angry Joe's Top 10 WORST Games of 2020! video.

As of 2022, the game currently has a Metacritic score of 93 and a 5.7 (average) user score.

Trivia

  • The game's unreleased original cut was described as "more open-world" than the final cut, and in there, we get to see more of Abby's backstory being fleshed out. However, it was culled because it would conflict with the linear theme that the franchise had conveyed.
  • The game was review bombed by numerous individuals after its release due to its bad qualities. This led to Sony censoring them with unspecified actions, made evident on Wikipedia and after the review bombing, Metacritic created a timer where users have to wait for 36 hours before being able to review a recently released game.
  • The leaks spawned some internet memes, like comparing Abby to the GameStop ma'am or Senator Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, as well as Ellie getting choked by Abby and Lev being punched by a hunter.
  • Abby (as the character in the game) was controversial enough that her voice actor, Laura Bailey, was sent various death threats and hate mail. Bailey herself said it's best to play the game first, and she was defended against the death threats and hate mail by fellow VAs Sam Riegel and Ashley Johnson (Ellie's voice actress), fans of the game, and fans of other franchises she had involvement in (Marvel, Persona, Halo, etc.)
  • The game credits include a tribute to Jerry Lavelle (programmer of Naughty Dog) and Andrea Arruti (Mexican voice actor who voiced Lev in the Latin-Spanish dub of the game).
  • Because of the game's story issues, many physical copies of the game have been sold to places that offer used video games (e.g. GameStop), making it one of the most returned games since E.T on the Atari 2600.
  • The composer of both the games, Gustavo Santaolalla, can be seen sat in a chair playing the theme on his banjo, just after you leave Ellie's and pet the dog.
  • The recurring guitar song that Joel first plays for Ellie in the prologue is called "Future Days" by Seattle-based band Pearl Jam. The album containing the song, "Lightning Bolt", was released on October 11, 2013, two weeks after the outbreak of the Cordyceps infection in the game's universe.
  • Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day" is heard playing during the part when Ellie finds Nora.
  • This game became Sony's fastest selling PS4 game, making it the biggest PlayStation launch ever.
  • One of the trading cards features Doctor Uckmann (or Dr Uckmann for short). The card features the likeness of director Neil Druckmann.
  • Before the game's release, director Neil Druckman stated, "While the first game was about love, this game will be about hate."
  • Ellie is 19 years old in this game. However, Ashley Johnson, the actress who plays her, was 36 years old during the game's release.
  • The LGBT themes as well as the sex themes in the game almost got the game to be banned in the Middle East with many stores refusing to sell it at launch since unlike games like God of War or The Witcher series, the sex scenes are unskippable.
  • Losing the final battle (on purpose) allows players to view an alternate ending via a game over screen where Abby is killed by Ellie.
  • This is the longest game Naughty Dog has ever made.

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