TLOU2 Review Thread

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Not to question your principles, but considering you specifically mentioned western developers, how do you know it's not running as rampant at japanese studios? The whole #METOO movement seems to be more relegated to the West anyway, so maybe Japan just has less of a whistleblowing culture. I mean, they have, like, 100-hour work weeks over there at a lot of companies. I mean, most anime are made by exploiting the shit out of animators, and I'm sure this kind of abuse is not much different at their gaming studios.
Japanese devs and execs are nasty about it, while they believe in the idea of guilty until proven innocent. The people up top are untouchable to the day they enter their graves. Lots of talents from Johnny Kitagawa wrote biographies about Johnny's abuses and he never saw a day in court until the day he died. Meanwhile the accusers are basically unemployable in talent because they are seen as gossips and leakers who can't keep quiet
 

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Japanese devs and execs are nasty about it, while they believe in the idea of guilty until proven innocent. The people up top are untouchable to the day they enter their graves. Lots of talents from Johnny Kitagawa wrote biographies about Johnny's abuses and he never saw a day in court until the day he died. Meanwhile the accusers are basically unemployable in talent because they are seen as gossips and leakers who can't keep quiet
Specifically regarding rape and sexual abuse in Japan, there was a prominent story around MeToo about a Japanese journalist who came out about her boss raping her. The only effect that had in Japan was to make her unemployable, as she was seen as a disloyal liar, while the boss in question didn't even get a cursory investigation his way. If we think corporate culture in the West can be bad, we should always remember that it is nothing compared to the almost sect-like loyalty and commitment that Japanese corporations demand as the baseline.
 

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Specifically regarding rape and sexual abuse in Japan, there was a prominent story around MeToo about a Japanese journalist who came out about her boss raping her. The only effect that had in Japan was to make her unemployable, as she was seen as a disloyal liar, while the boss in question didn't even get a cursory investigation his way. If we think corporate culture in the West can be bad, we should always remember that it is nothing compared to the almost sect-like loyalty and commitment that Japanese corporations demand as the baseline.
@hanselthecaretaker

That fear and threat thing is exactly what I was talking about. Now you know.
 

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@hanselthecaretaker

That fear and threat thing is exactly what I was talking about. Now you know.
Yeah that needs to change. Those types of threats should be what punishments are towards anyone trying to suppress the incident if they are undeniably guilty of it. About the Naughty Dog one in particular I was mostly taking issue with why he could say he was harassed, but couldn’t say anything else. Not sure if that’s part of it, but he was apparently fired for reasons connected to it. So by that point, what did he really have to lose by giving some context to why that all happened.
 

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Pretty interesting video mainly about TLOU2 obviously. He got ludonarrative dissonance wrong like many people (it wasn't Uncharted that has LD, it's Bioshock that has LD). It's pretty interesting comparison to how MGS3 actually did what TLOU2 tried to do over 15 years ago. It's kinda funny how MGS so often comes back as games that did something years before "it" was originally done like MGS2 and Bioshock. Also, something as commonplace as going prone in TLOU2 is something major to be added to the TLOU2's gameplay? Again, MGS3 in 2004, been there done that.

Also, the following question that Bruce Straley asked in this interview is a question I've been asking the gaming industry to answer for years now.

"Can you create a game that's as interesting and character-driven and compelling as an Uncharted story or Last of Us story without shooting? I think you can. Again the concept has to be... 'how can I create a rich enough world to allow for interesting core mechanics?'"
 
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Pretty interesting video mainly about TLOU2 obviously. He got ludonarrative dissonance wrong like many people (it wasn't Uncharted that has LD, it's Bioshock that has LD). It's pretty interesting comparison to how MGS3 actually did what TLOU2 tried to do over 15 years ago. It's kinda funny how MGS so often comes back as games that did something years before "it" was originally done like MGS2 and Bioshock. Also, something as commonplace as going prone in TLOU2 is something major to be added to the TLOU2's gameplay? Again, MGS3 in 2004, been there done that.

Also, the following question that Bruce Straley asked in this interview is a question I've been asking the gaming industry to answer for years now.

"Can you create a game that's as interesting and character-driven and compelling as an Uncharted story or Last of Us story without shooting? I think you can. Again the concept has to be... 'how can I create a rich enough world to allow for interesting core mechanics?'"
It's like I mentioned before in previous posts, there are so many games that have done things better than the LoUS I/II in general. Whether it be themes, characters, and especially gameplay. Speaking of Metal Gear....

 

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The bulk of MGS3: Subsistence and MGS4’s first two chapters...hell even bits of chapter three, are still benchmarks for action/stealth gameplay. All MGSV did was go all kitchen sink on the sandbox toys and turning the playing field into...well...field exercises. TLoU2 basically refined how good it feels to perform the different core movements and make it look better.

What needs to be done differently this upcoming gen is take advantage of more dynamic opportunities to engage with the characters and environments. I’d love to see game mechanics and progression stop relying on upgrade systems so much. There’s no reason for that to be a core tenet anymore unless the goal is to pad game length and waste the player’s time.
 
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What needs to be done differently this upcoming gen is take advantage of more dynamic opportunities to engage with the characters and environments. I’d love to see game mechanics and progression to stop relying on upgrade systems so much. There’s no reason for that to be a core tenet anymore unless the goal is to pad game length and waste the player’s time.
I have feeling it will be in the smack dab in the middle of next gen when AAA companies reduce on this. Let alone, stop. Indie games and certain AA mid tier budget games have stopped relying or over relying on upgrades. You still get a couple now and then, but most keep it simple enough and short.
 

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Pretty interesting video mainly about TLOU2 obviously. He got ludonarrative dissonance wrong like many people (it wasn't Uncharted that has LD, it's Bioshock that has LD). It's pretty interesting comparison to how MGS3 actually did what TLOU2 tried to do over 15 years ago. It's kinda funny how MGS so often comes back as games that did something years before "it" was originally done like MGS2 and Bioshock. Also, something as commonplace as going prone in TLOU2 is something major to be added to the TLOU2's gameplay? Again, MGS3 in 2004, been there done that.

Also, the following question that Bruce Straley asked in this interview is a question I've been asking the gaming industry to answer for years now.

"Can you create a game that's as interesting and character-driven and compelling as an Uncharted story or Last of Us story without shooting? I think you can. Again the concept has to be... 'how can I create a rich enough world to allow for interesting core mechanics?'"
It's always nice to see Nakey Jakey make videos like this, but I have to disagree on MGS3's Sorrow section. I mean, it's a neat Kojima gimmick, but it barely got any emotional response from me. And on subsequent playthroughs it just becomes that section you want to get through as quickly as possible. So ironically it's an early example of a slow walking section in games. And I can without a sliver of a doubt say I much prefered controlling TLoU2 than MGS3.

Naughty Dog needs to learn to be more abstract with their games. The Last of Us 2 shows how trying to go for this unwaverly grounded depiction of characters, story, setting, and mechanics will completely fall apart as soon as you try to apply a similar game structure in a sequel. Uncharted suffers from this as well, but to a much lesser degree, and TLoU1 arguably is the most balanced it can get. But Naughty Dog has painted themselves into a corner, leaving very little wiggle room within the third-person action genre for the grounded stories they wish to tell.

This is why games that feel more "gamey" leave themselves open to much more creativity and much less scrutiny. Even GoW '18, for as "realistic" as it apparently is, has Kratos punching open opulent treasure chests within the first 10 minutes of the game. And this works because Kratos is a god and the game takes places in a weird fantasy realm. This awards the game liberties to get a bit silly without breaking the player's suspension of disbelief. The Last of Us 2 doesn't have this sense of silliness to any aspect of it, so as soon as these more game-like moments occur the illusion just breaks. Which is probaly why Naughty Dog tries to avoid them as much as possible, but then you're left with a game that feels pretty lacking in creative gameplay mechanics.

A good first step for Naughty Dog would be to maybe have their next game NOT take place in a contemporary setting. And eventhough TLoU takes place in a future zombie apocalypse it still feels very modern day in how it presents itself and its characters. They need to go for a future sci-fi or high fantasy setting that feels more removed from the settings they've been using for the last 13 years. It can still be quite realistic and even a third-person action shooter, but maybe just a change in scenery alone can loosen Naughty Dog up a bit. I already felt this would've been a good choice when TLoU2 was first announced, and before it became apparent how terrible it was, but now I REALLY do.
 
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The bulk of MGS3: Subsistence and MGS4’s first two chapters...hell even bits of chapter three, are still benchmarks for action/stealth gameplay. All MGSV did was go all kitchen sink on the sandbox toys and turning the playing field into...well...field exercises. TLoU2 basically refined how good it feels to perform the different core movements and make it look better.

What needs to be done differently this upcoming gen is take advantage of more dynamic opportunities to engage with the characters and environments. I’d love to see game mechanics and progression stop relying on upgrade systems so much. There’s no reason for that to be a core tenet anymore unless the goal is to pad game length and waste the player’s time.
Upgrade systems work in some games and not in others. Like in GoW4 for example, those were all very well implemented. Meanwhile in Ghost of Tsushima buffing your blade doesn't do anything outside of just make it do more damage, (or IK faster for the tantou) it doesn't unlock new moves or make it even look different, those already are separate systems. You can cut that upgrade system out entirely and just pace the enemies better based on how far you are in your playthourgh.


But I also don't think the presence of these systems precludes a more organic environmental thing like what you're looking for, either. You can have both things. Generally speaking I do like upgrade systems, but I can easily tell when one of them isn't really adding anything and is there just because the game feels it has to be there.


You can do the "you have the same sword the entire game and upgrades only just buff damage" thing right, btw. Brave Story New Traveler does that with the hero's blade, but it also changes look when you upgrade it and it's a BIG DEAL story-wise with cutscenes celebrating the event, so it feels cool when you fight with your new blade. If you tie those upgrades to the story of the game and make them feel important then I think you can have upgrade systems in any kind of modern game.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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Upgrade systems work in some games and not in others. Like in GoW4 for example, those were all very well implemented. Meanwhile in Ghost of Tsushima buffing your blade doesn't do anything outside of just make it do more damage, (or IK faster for the tantou) it doesn't unlock new moves or make it even look different, those already are separate systems. You can cut that upgrade system out entirely and just pace the enemies better based on how far you are in your playthourgh.


But I also don't think the presence of these systems precludes a more organic environmental thing like what you're looking for, either. You can have both things. Generally speaking I do like upgrade systems, but I can easily tell when one of them isn't really adding anything and is there just because the game feels it has to be there.


You can do the "you have the same sword the entire game and upgrades only just buff damage" thing right, btw. Brave Story New Traveler does that with the hero's blade, but it also changes look when you upgrade it and it's a BIG DEAL story-wise with cutscenes celebrating the event, so it feels cool when you fight with your new blade. If you tie those upgrades to the story of the game and make them feel important then I think you can have upgrade systems in any kind of modern game.

To be clear I still like when you can acquire new abilities, like the runic stuff in GoW or new gear that gives special perks or protections. I thought it was cool how some armor seemed to act synergistically when combined with other runes and such.

But on the other hand, spending x amount of time grinding for y stat to do .zzz more damage, gaining one more inventory slot, carry more items when it makes no sense you couldn’t have done so in the first place (seriously The Evil Within for example has an upgrade option to carry more matches...wtf) is just...attritional and tiresome. Yeah it has its place, like fans of Japanese RPG’s probably still love that grind, but in general it’s become overused in other genres and seemed to be the “thing” this gen. Hoping next gen’s design trend is more forward thinking and innovative.
 
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Gyrobot

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It's always nice to see Nakey Jakey make videos like this, but I have to disagree on MGS3's Sorrow section. I mean, it's a neat Kojima gimmick, but it barely got any emotional response from me. And on subsequent playthroughs it just becomes that section you want to get through as quickly as possible. So ironically it's an early example of a slow walking section in games. And I can without a sliver of a doubt say I much prefered controlling TLoU2 than MGS3.

Naughty Dog needs to learn to be more abstract with their games. The Last of Us 2 shows how trying to go for this unwaverly grounded depiction of characters, story, setting, and mechanics will completely fall apart as soon as you try to apply a similar game structure in a sequel. Uncharted suffers from this as well, but to a much lesser degree, and TLoU1 arguably is the most balanced it can get. But Naughty Dog has painted themselves into a corner, leaving very little wiggle room within the third-person action genre for the grounded stories they wish to tell.

This is why games that feel more "gamey" leave themselves open to much more creativity and much less scrutiny. Even GoW '18, for as "realistic" as it apparently is, has Kratos punching open opulent treasure chests within the first 10 minutes of the game. And this works because Kratos is a god and the game takes places in a weird fantasy realm. This awards the game liberties to get a bit silly without breaking the player's suspension of disbelief. The Last of Us 2 doesn't have this sense of silliness to any aspect of it, so as soon as these more game-like moments occur the illusion just breaks. Which is probaly why Naughty Dog tries to avoid them as much as possible, but then you're left with a game that feels pretty lacking in creative gameplay mechanics.

A good first step for Naughty Dog would be to maybe have their next game NOT take place in a contemporary setting. And eventhough TLoU takes place in a future zombie apocalypse it still feels very modern day in how it presents itself and its characters. They need to go for a future sci-fi or high fantasy setting that feels more removed from the settings they've been using for the last 13 years. It can still be quite realistic and even a third-person action shooter, but maybe just a change in scenery alone can loosen Naughty Dog up a bit. I already felt this would've been a good choice when TLoU2 was first announced, and before it became apparent how terrible it was, but now I REALLY do.
Or maybe how about they don't pay heed to the youtube commentaries and focus on their own creative vision for better or for worse? Because they prove that games can become art by being focus on grounded and commentary that is relevant for its time instead of escaping to some fantasy lala land. TLOU works because it's more relevant than ever and unlike fantasy there is no silver bullet solutions or Full House/Brady Bunch style conflict resolutions. But games like these were purely in the realm of indie devs, not AAA devs with something to lose.

But no, gamers who want games to be brain numbingly fun or weebs angry that Sony is mistreating them constantly go on hate filled tirades against the company and their newest releases that they had to disable ratings and comments.
 

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I’d love to see game mechanics and progression stop relying on upgrade systems so much. There’s no reason for that to be a core tenet anymore unless the goal is to pad game length and waste the player’s time.
I really only ever seen upgrades/unlocks as a way to not overwhelm the player with everything at the start of the game. It doesn't matter if we're talking a pen and paper RPG or a Ubisoft game. If you're using upgrades/unlocks for anything other easing the player into the game, you missed the point as a dev.

It's always nice to see Nakey Jakey make videos like this, but I have to disagree on MGS3's Sorrow section. I mean, it's a neat Kojima gimmick, but it barely got any emotional response from me. And on subsequent playthroughs it just becomes that section you want to get through as quickly as possible. So ironically it's an early example of a slow walking section in games. And I can without a sliver of a doubt say I much prefered controlling TLoU2 than MGS3.
I recall it working really well on an initial playthrough because I kinda definitely made it a point to interrogate and slit every guard's throat in my 1st playthrough and when I got to the Sorrow section, I was like "damn, that's a lot of guards I killed". You can sorta "skip" it by not killing people in subsequent playthroughs though. Also, MGS4 did a better "pointless" fight with Snake and Liquid at the end vs the last Ellie vs Abby fight.

Upgrade systems work in some games and not in others. Like in GoW4 for example, those were all very well implemented. Meanwhile in Ghost of Tsushima buffing your blade doesn't do anything outside of just make it do more damage, (or IK faster for the tantou) it doesn't unlock new moves or make it even look different, those already are separate systems. You can cut that upgrade system out entirely and just pace the enemies better based on how far you are in your playthourgh.
I wasn't a fan of GOW4's upgrade system. You unlock moves that could mess up the controls for other more important moves in the game and a lot of the moves were very situational. Ghost wasn't very good either. I recall having 15+ skill points just sitting there because only like 10% of the unlocks were worthwhile. The stance system was entirely pointless in the game, making its unlocks pointless. Lastly, every new item/move you got was just a slightly different "I win" button from the last one you got. The charms were actually like the only interesting upgrades in the game.

But on the other hand, spending x amount of time grinding for y stat to do .zzz more damage, gaining one more inventory slot, carry more items when it makes no sense you couldn’t have done so in the first place (seriously The Evil Within for example has an upgrade option to carry more matches...wtf) is just...attritional and tiresome. Yeah it has its place, like fans of Japanese RPG’s probably still love that grind, but in general it’s become overused in other genres and seemed to be the “thing” this gen. Hoping next gen’s design trend is more forward thinking and innovative.
Upping stats is indeed the worst because it offers no gameplay impact whatsoever and only serves to keep the game playing the same (if you play just the right amount of content), making you underpowered (if you're not doing enough content), or making you overpowered (if you do too much content). Having a power level or god level or light level or whatever the fuck GOW4's character level was called was fucking stupid in a game where you're playing as a fucking God. I very much doubt that's going away because, as Yahtzee put it, AAA games are only one genre now "open world stealth action games with crafting and collectibles".
 
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Pretty interesting video mainly about TLOU2 obviously. He got ludonarrative dissonance wrong like many people (it wasn't Uncharted that has LD, it's Bioshock that has LD). It's pretty interesting comparison to how MGS3 actually did what TLOU2 tried to do over 15 years ago. It's kinda funny how MGS so often comes back as games that did something years before "it" was originally done like MGS2 and Bioshock. Also, something as commonplace as going prone in TLOU2 is something major to be added to the TLOU2's gameplay? Again, MGS3 in 2004, been there done that.
Now, if only someone could come along and do those things well.

You know, I have a sickening feeling that in about a years time, we're going to see more and more youtube videos about how TLoU 2 was criminally underrated as a game, and was actually a mature, thoughtful take on the idea of revenge. Which I'm not looking forward to. The simple reality is that Last of Us 2 was a poorly paced mess of a game that had a narrative that was all over the place.
 

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It's like I mentioned before in previous posts, there are so many games that have done things better than the LoUS I/II in general. Whether it be themes, characters, and especially gameplay.
Sorry, but can you repeat that list? What game did the emotional bonding between player and game through character narrative better than tlou1?
That was why it is so well regarded in the first place, so I'm curious to hear what you think surpassed it.
 

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Or maybe how about they don't pay heed to the youtube commentaries and focus on their own creative vision for better or for worse? Because they prove that games can become art by being focus on grounded and commentary that is relevant for its time instead of escaping to some fantasy lala land. TLOU works because it's more relevant than ever and unlike fantasy there is no silver bullet solutions or Full House/Brady Bunch style conflict resolutions. But games like these were purely in the realm of indie devs, not AAA devs with something to lose.

But no, gamers who want games to be brain numbingly fun or weebs angry that Sony is mistreating them constantly go on hate filled tirades against the company and their newest releases that they had to disable ratings and comments.
I know it's tempting to just completely ignore all criticism of TLoU2 since so much of it is hateful, bigoted garbage, but it would be a mistake if Naughty Dog closed themselves off to all voices of disent regarding this game. There's a lot wrong with it, and there are plenty of non-anti-SJW dickheads who make a clear, reasoned case as to why, like Nakey Jakey.

The label of 'art' also isn't necesary since that's a given for every game.

But if Naughty Dog wants to maintain focus on more grounded settings and characters, they need to diversify their gameplay mechanics beyond running/shooting/punching/maybe jumping, and the occasional walking around. If you choose to tell a grounded, serious story with these mechanics, you're pretty much forced to make it about some dark character with questionable motives. And it leaves your options pretty limited, or results in breaking character (Ellie).

And it's very dismissive to just claim all Fantasy as escaping to lala land. Stories don't need to be steeped in extreme misery and violence in order to be profound. To use one of Naughty Dog's own examples; Uncharted 4 was more impactful and sincere with its mid-game scene between Drake and Elena than anything in TLoU2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses made me feel 100x the guilt over killing an established character than TLoU2 did, and that game is anime-Harry Potter, where you can invite people over for tea. Yakuza is some of the wackiest shit out there, but it has way more intriguing dialoge and plot than Naughty Dog games do.

I like Naughty Dog, but other studios that craft more interesting plot and gameplay are catching up to them in terms of cinematic presentation. And the charm and heart that their games have generally coasted on was completely absent in TLoU2. If they don't want to pay any heed to Youtube commentaries, I hope they at least have enough introspection to notice and work on their own failings.
 
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Sorry, but can you repeat that list? What game did the emotional bonding between player and game through character narrative better than tlou1?
That was why it is so well regarded in the first place, so I'm curious to hear what you think surpassed it.
There have been many. First of all, the whole two people bonding in a wasteland/apocalyptic/war torn country scenario has been done death in film. So TLOU is not even doing anything new, on top of being another zombie game with not much standing out from the crowd. The characters are full of assholes and terrible people with not much good or sympathetic characters that die or leave the story early. A problem only made worse in the sequel.

In terms of the themes cycle of violence and vengeance: Killer 7, No More Heroes 1, 2, and Travis Strikes Again, Metal Gear Solid (mainly 1-3), Devil May Cry 3 and Devil May Cry 5, God of War 4, Ghost of Tsushima, Nier & Nier:Automata, and Radiant Silver Gun (a SHMUP of all things from 1998).

Two people bonding in a wasteland/apocalyptic/war torn country: God of War 4 and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Keep in mind, I am not exactly a fan of Enslaved's gameplay. There is also the original Nier too.

In terms of games and characters in the actual grey areas or characters in the grey (written and done better than TLOU): Evil Within 2 has Myra, Hoffman, Torres, Sykes, Kidman, and O'Niel. Silent Hill 2 with James and most of the rest of the cast. Metal Gear Solid in general. Bayonetta 2 when you and by extension, the title character herself, learn of Balder's past. Killer 7 and all of the No More Heroes games again. Shadow of the Colossus.

It's funny how most these game journalist have the attention span of a rodent and want to forget or act as if other games never accomplished what TLOU did before it came in to existence or afterward. They are more than happy to abandon other games for the sake of looking profound, intellectual, or pleasing who look down on games in the first place would not bother regardless.
 
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Now, if only someone could come along and do those things well.

You know, I have a sickening feeling that in about a years time, we're going to see more and more youtube videos about how TLoU 2 was criminally underrated as a game, and was actually a mature, thoughtful take on the idea of revenge. Which I'm not looking forward to. The simple reality is that Last of Us 2 was a poorly paced mess of a game that had a narrative that was all over the place.
And most of those people would and will be full of shit. The game made it sales regardless, so calling it a misunderstood masterpiece or criminally underrated is laughable. Funny thing, there have been some Evil Within 2 videos already popping up claiming the game was underrated. Most of the reviews and press was positive (not to mention the former Two Best Friends glowing playthrough of the game), but sales were lacking. A combination of people being felt burned by the first game, and being released in a crowded season was not helping. Bethesda had the the bright fucking idea to release this and Wolfenstein II within a few weeks from each other, and both suffered in sales. Despite that, EW2 still got a bunch of updates, including a first person mod which was originally done by PC players. And then later on they brought back Akumu difficulty (everything kills you in 1 hit).

Back on topic of the vids, all of sudden you have these people defending the game or in the comments section. Either that or debating which EW game is better. I consider the 2 to be better and do like first game. In the middle of all of this, I thinking "Where the fuck were you guys and gals when came first came out? EW2 could have really used your help then!". I am not that upset, but find it frustrating at times.

I very much doubt that's going away because, as Yahtzee put it, AAA games are only one genre now "open world stealth action games with crafting and collectibles".
I can't help, but feel you are being too cynical and narrow in this regard. The Japanese side of things are not doing it and have their own thang. The Western AAA side has an obsession, but it's just another trend/fad that will fade as soon as the next best thing breaks out. Plus, I'd say following the leader was at its worse was during the 7th generation where nearly everyone was trying to be COD/Gears of War in gameplay or tone. Failing really badly. Besides you have seen to have forget about all of the Dark Soul clones that have come out for the past decade (Western or Japanese). Not tomention Sony has plenty exclusives that are not about sneaking or crafting: Knack I & II, The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush Remastered & 2, Uncharted 4/Lost Legacy (minor stealth and all variety set pieces), and God of War 4.Then you got the 3rd party exclusives too that avoid this. Not to mention Sony's PS5 line up is lacking most of the open world stealth action game with crafting and collectibles.