My flask is half full
- Apr 5, 2020
After trudging through all the collectibles side quests in RDR2 I personally feel like Rockstar (yeah they have an insane budget but lesser studios with that kind of backing could still just as easily flub it) is a good step above ND in terms of characterization and performances; not only technically but also in delivering nuance and depth to their personalities. I was cursing the game on more than one occasion at all the running around it’s had me doing for these things, but every time I reached a story sequence it brought me back in.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.
One of the best examples of this is with the final collectible quest I did involving the Exotics dealer, Algernon Wasp
It got far too pompous and irritating in GTA, but I think the setting change here helps the believability and sincerity.