The Failure of The Last of Us Part II

Never judge a medium by its front cover. Never judge a material without context. Never judge a game by its leak. As it turns out, this does not apply to The Last of Us Part II. The leaks turned out to be worse inside the actual context of the video game. This following is not an attack in its financial achievement, but instead of the content of the video game. The following article will contain spoilers.

Father Joel

One of the best things of the original video game was the relationship between Joel and Ellie. In the beginning of the original game, Joel loses his biological daughter and this loss snaps his personality. Over time, he comes across Ellie, whose relationship later develops into a father-daughter bond. In the new video game, Joel dies early on. Not only this, but he has prolonged duration of suffering before finally being knocked out with his brain bursting as a result. The best part of the original game is now gone, in a brutal fashion.

And how did this happen in the context of the video game? Joel decided to help a group of survivors against the clickers and take them into a safe house. This characteristic is entirely against Joel of the first game, who is extremely cautious on who he can trust and travel with. This is totally ignored just to allow Joel to die.

Trailer Deception

The various trailers of the video game all had one thing in happen. A visual and dialogue representation in regards to the interactions between modern day Joel and Ellie. This turned out to be nothing more than a red herring. There was no significant modern interaction between the two. One example of this is the aging of Joel between the trailer and the game:

As seen from the above, the trailer shows an aging Joel, whilst the video game shows a younger version of Joel. This led to the assumption, based on the trailer, that there would have been some of modern involvement between Joel and Ellie, only to find out that most of the interactions were instead part of flashbacks.

Not only this, but to an add an icing to the cake, there was another similar encounter. In the Release Date Reveal Trailer, Ellie turns back to Joel to hear him say “You think I will let you do this on your own?”, leading players to naturally assume there will be a lot more Joel-Ellie adventure. But from the actual game, this entire conversation by Joel was replaced by a character named Jessie. This is a character who later dies quite soon anyway, making such an encounter even more redundant.

Killer-Player

Joel was killed by a character known as Abby (or as Pewdiepie calls her, Debby). However, for whatever reason, the game forces the player to play as Abby for the entire second half of the video game. Naughty Dog wants people to play as the killer of Joel for a decent portion of the game. Perhaps this was because of the feeling to generate sympathy towards Abby, but this is unlikely to happen. With Joel being brutally struck and murdered by a golf-stick, it is near to impossible to feel any sort of sympathy for Abby.

After Ellie kills a bunch of people, including pregnant individuals, on her quest to gain vengeance for Joel, one would think that she would finally get revenge by killing Abby. However, after the entire massacre of various members of Abby’s groups, Ellie suddenly gets a change of heart. Instead of players achieving a satisfying end by brutally murdering or at the very least killing Abby, Ellie allows her to escape. This basically means there is no payoff in the entirety of the game, making the entire 20-hour journey useless.

Also I should say that for more than 50 percent of the production, Ellie used to kill Abby at the end — Neil Druckmann

A terrible alteration.

Critical Deception

Over at Metacritics, the critical review of 9.5/10 is disproportionate against the user review of 4/10. Whilst some user reviews are simply there to bomb the numbers, there is another factor to take into consideration: Not all of the negative reviews were averaged as part of the overall critical rating. Some of them were unscored and hence technically not part of the overall average:

In this case, as of this writing, the game has a 95/100 critic review score (though many of the negative reviews I link to above are unscored and therefore don’t impact the overall aggregate number) while the user review score is just 3.4/10. — Erik Kain

Most of the gaming reaction channels on YouTube are overwhelmingly negative. People who have livestreamed the event, such as PewDiePie and others who simply react to the story cutscenes all have negative reactions. This simply shows that the general audience simply does not approve of the sequel.

The responses provide a hint on how people felt about the leaks and the game itself in comparison to the 10/10 review given by IGN. And now, there are allegations that Metacritic is now not allowing any more negative reviews.

Identity Politics

Another aspect which fans definitely do not like is the amount of social politics which are being depicted in the game. The fact that Ellie is in relationship with a girl is nothing in of itself. However, whenever the conversation alludes to the gender of the relationship itself, referring to haters as “bigots” inside the actual game itself makes it obvious that Naughty Dog is shoving these elements into the throats of the players by portraying the nature of this relationship as a focal point. This does not exclude the possible implied sodomy either. Games are entertainment first and foremost and this should not be used as a tool of promoting certain behaviours and politics. The killing of prominent white heterosexual males (Joel to Jessie to Tommy) only to be replaced by people of a desired characteristic simply to promote a given agenda should not happen. It should flow naturally as part of the story and not be perceived as virtue signalling. Otherwise, this sort of practice can affect the franchise financially by narrowing the target audience, responsible for flops such as 2016s Ghostbuster. The movie also received a higher critical praise, but a lower audience approval. Only this time, it costed Sony a lot of money. The gaming side is extensively covered by YouTubers Geeks & Gamers and Ryan Kinel, to name a few.

This was not the only change they did. They also purposely made the more feminine characters more masculine, just so the transgender community will not be offended. The character of Dina was based on the model Cascina Caradonna, but to avoid offending anyone, the characters’ more feminine features were basically reduced in prominence.

It’s not really about the sexual objectification of women, Women, like men, come in all shapes and sizes; to say that having big busty women is unrealistic is untrue. This is only true for trans people. A trans woman can’t naturally grow large breasts, and not all trans people can afford implants. If you see a game where the women are a little less curvy, it’s not to because the game designers are worried about receiving backlash for sexualising women, it’s because they are worried about offending the trans community. — Anonymous Seasoned Artist

This goes as far as criticising people who had a different take on the game, something not on lines with the mainstream media.

DRM Abuse

In the early days of the leaks, there had been a lot of copyright strike on Youtube channels for simply talking about the leaks. By this point, the leaks were a common knowledge. Not all of the channels showed any leaked footage and some didn’t even mention any spoilers, yet Sony decided to copyright the videos simply due to the fact they had a different opinion to what Sony wanted. These strikes also extended towards twitter memes. Luckily, various YouTubers slowly started to recover from this censorship, something which was ignored by video game journalists. Speaking of abuse, it appears that people who possess negative views on the game are now unable to express their views on Metacritic. This is far from an isolated incident.

Tweet Transcript:

Metacritics doesn’t let me give my review on the game, which is really weird because the site is working 100%, that only happens once i submit my own review. — Dante H

In the most recent reviews, it’s suspicious that there almost 5 consecutive 10/10 scores for a game which has been overwhelmingly negatively received:

It definitely feels like there are reviews out there just to bomb the numbers. From both sides.

Conclusion

This entire game and all the revelations which have arisen seem to be a form of damage control. I have not played the video game, but I have seen the reaction of prominent game reactors and user critics to know this was game was not universally approved. The graphics and gameplay on the other hand were definitely impressive. Perhaps if I play this game and actually experience everything, I might get a slightly different view. But that shall not happen until there are significant discounts.

Writer. Reader of Novels. Video Gamer. Documentary Watcher. Tech nerd.

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