A Different Take On The Last Of Us 2

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last of us 2 ellie joel-1

There’s been plenty written and said about The Last of Us 2, and we’ve had a few takes of our own. But it’s always good to promote different voices where possible, and there’s one today that’s definitely worth listening to.

It comes courtesy of one of the most underrated channels on YouTube, Girlfriend Reviews. The channel’s always been great at drawing a ton of humour from a different perspective. And the latest spin on The Last of Us 2, typically, has plenty of good bits and jokes as well.

But what’s great about the channel’s take on The Last of Us 2 is the neat way it flips a lot of the anger people have around Joel and Naughty Dog’s characterisation. The game is designed to make you uncomfortable. It’s meant to make you feel the way Ellie and Abby feels, whether you want to or not.

And, sure, that’s a lot to take in right now. As Ash wrote earlier today, there’s enough misery, brutality and unnecessary violence in the world. We’re living through an especially upsetting time, moreso if you or your family have been directly affected by the coronavirus or indirectly affected through job losses, declining mental health or general uncertainty.

It makes The Last of Us 2, a product and piece of entertainment that most consumers would expect to entertain, difficult for many. But straddling that divide also makes for a property that’s fascinating to discuss, and gaming as a medium is better when studios can take massive risks on blockbuster properties with stories like these.

“Isn’t it fascinating that a cautionary tale about the damage grief can cause to ourselves and others has resulted in months of confusion, anger, vitriol, bigotry and threats of violence,” the review adds.

In the end, how we deal with pain says it all.

 

Comments

    • Just happened to watch this on my lunchbreak and I couldn’t agree more.

      This game will age like a fine wine.

      • Im already trying to replay it and I just don’t think I have the fortitude to… its just too sad. I rate Girlfriends review, its a very solid take and one I am onboard with.

      • Yep, history will be kind to the game. From reviews, I was expecting it to be scoldy and didactic but didn’t find it like that. They just made Abby’s motivations as relatable as Ellie’s, that’s all they had to do. The main thing that made it work, I think, was the richness of the characters in the Abby part – Owen and Mel, Lev and Yara. You really regret what happened to Owen and Mel by the end of Abby’s part.

        • Thankfully avoided press for the game entirely so went in without preconceptions. I agree it wasn’t scoldy and didactic. While I can understand how people feel this way, I didn’t feel like the game was gratuitously emotionally manipulative or masochistic. I just felt like it was telling an emotionally conflicting story that required my participation through which to communicate the themes. And it worked for me – I fell hook, line and sinker for its ruse. I hated Abby and audibly groaned when I realised I would have to spend half the game playing from her POV. However, by the end of her arc, I think I actually empathised with her more than I empathised with Ellie and, when I realised that, I knew the game had succeeded, for me at least.

    • Same. A powerful blurring of lines between protagonist, antagonist. Right and wrong is a perspective. There are no “heroes” in this story.
      Loved it from start to finish.

      With regards to the vitriol, there are some disgusting people out there and hopefully one day they’ll look back and realise how much of a piece of shit they were.

  • Interesting. I don’t think anyone cuts it down the middle as well as Alex generally.

    I found GF review to be a tad on the pretentious side though. Anyone who has seen enough Dunkey would struggle to make it past the “it makes you feeeeeel like Ellie” line. The meaning behind the game’s story is fairly self evident and the merits and flaws are as clear as day. Does it need further explanation?

    Tbh I quite like the game but I swear I have never looked forward to playing a bright and colourful game as much as I have during my playthrough of TLOU2.

  • This take isn’t new… And countless arguments about the game being designed to make you feel this or that were trotted out early on.

    I’d personally go so far as to say there’s room to argue that the story is actually objectively bad. Because the major problem a lot of people I know have with the so-called story isn’t actually the content. It’s that it’s inept in its storytelling. It’s not a story they just personally dislike, but a story that is extremely poor in construction and execution.

    It’s the fact that it’s just an absolute fuckin’ mess of shambling pieces frankensteined together into a generic, amateur hour revenge plot, and then protected under the “Art!” argument as if you better not question it.

    • Kind of my thoughts exactly… from what I can see a majority of the better critical reviews of this game its not really so much the whole blurring of lines and no one is right in this world or even the attempt to make you uncomfortable..

      Its just the complete and utter shambolic execution – the utter reliance on both deus ex machina to protect characters, cheap emotional techniqiues to either humanise or dehumanise charatcters and the reliance of diablos ex machinas as well to ratchet tension or increase emotional stakes

  • This will be one of those games that lives in peoples heads, rent free for a long time. At the end of the day some really enjoyed it, some really didn’t. Those carrying on like a broken record over all forms of social media is giving me déjà vu of TRoS and GoT. Be happy with it, be angry with it and then move on.

  • I really loved the game, including the narrative (although admittedly only after having finished it). Playing as Abby, I was quite happy to have her be bitten or ripped apart at any opportunity, until I found that she redeemed herself somewhat by helping Lev and Yara.

    Also, the Rat King can fuck RIGHT off. I lost count of how many times that thing killed me because I was too scared to turn my back on it and just tried to dodge around the pillar in the area where you initially fight it. It eats an insane amount of damage, even on the easiest difficulty. Scary as hell. That and the conference centre stalker encounter were the scariest parts of the game for me.

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