TLOU2 Review Thread

hanselthecaretaker

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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.
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.

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.
 

Phoenixmgs

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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.
The only AAA game that I'm currently anticipating is Deathloop. Just about every game from AAA is something I already played before. The industry keeps only utilizing our better hardware to make prettier versions of things we already have instead of using the better hardware for other things that aren't graphics. Also, the industry is addicted to combat gameplay because it's easiest to develop for. Combat gameplay greatly limits the characters and stories we experience, and obviously the gameplay itself. Hell, Ghost's whole health system requires combat, that's why you bump into combat so constantly when traversing the world. When you gotta bring up Knack as a counterpoint to all AAA games aren't "that", I think says it all. I don't think Team ICO actually exists anymore within Sony or at least their director left IIRC, Gravity Rush wastes its really interesting concept IMO, Uncharted 4 was like a poor man's MGS forgoing very scripted linear sequences and combat encounters for a mix of stealth and action (Lost Legacy and UC2 are the only good ones in the series), GOW4 is basically said "open world stealth action games with crafting and collectibles" but replace stealth with character. TLOU2 and Ghost fit the description with TLOU2 being well TLOU2 and Ghost having pretty bad game design overall. What's Sony's PS5 lineup look like outside of Demons Souls, Spiderman, GOW5 (I assume), and Horizon sequel? Spiderman fits the bill outside of crafting (IIRC) and has loads of collectibles. Horizon is exactly that but it was at least a really well designed and a good game. Demons Souls is obviously more Souls, I really can't be more tired of them and I only played like 2 and a half of them (DS1, BB, and like half of Sekiro); the game design is really out of place in any game that isn't literally a Souls game like say Sekiro. I don't even know if 7th gen was worse or better in the hardcore copying of games though I feel like 7th gen had games that shined brighter than 8th gen; at least a COD or Gears copy could be legit good games and far better than the originals. Hell, I went back to playing PS3 online games during Covid lockdown because they're better than anything from this gen. 8th gen has the copying of worse things IMO like battle royales and looter shooters/games as a service and "open world stealth action games with crafting and collectibles".
 

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What's Sony's PS5 lineup look like outside of Demons Souls, Spiderman, GOW5 (I assume), and Horizon sequel?
You must have already forgotten.

The Pathless
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Sackboy's Big Adventure.
Destruction All Stars
Godfall
Returnal
Astro's Playroom
Ghostwire
FFXVI - I have not been invested with an FF game since XIII. And I could not even bother finishing that total turd. The fact XVI has the combat designer from DMC5, really has got me interested.

Clearly, a majority of them are not stealth/grind fest. I am looking forward to the God of War 5, and already heard your criticism of the previous game, because it's just white noise at this point. I don't bother with most Western AAA games anyway, so I give little to no shits at this point, and play whatever interests me. Ghost of Tsushima is a good game despite it's problems, and is the most fun I had with a open world game in a long time and cannot wait for free content update.
 

Casual Shinji

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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.

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.
I have an issue with Rockstar games in that they just love hearing themselves talk. There's just too much talking that really appears to go nowhere. For all the problems I might sometimes have with Naughty Dog's dialoge it's at least concise. Another issue with Rockstar is the story progression in their games, because you can always bet the main protagonist and his gang will get into somekind of trouble, which'll force them to move to another area of the map. I could just see it coming a mile ahead in RDR2. Similar to Naughty Dog with its dependence on contemporary settings, it might help Rockstar to make a game that doesn't feature a criminal as a protagonist, or maybe at least just a woman - I have to say, I found Sadie Adler a lot more engaging as a character than Arthur.

I will give Rockstar points for at least not using the typical videogame voice actors though - they always pick relative unknowns. I mean, did Naughty Dog really have to pick Laura Bailey again? I mean, I like her and I like Troy Baker, but no matter how good they are you recognize their delivery and it stops the character from really coming into their own.
 
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fOx

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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.
I'm not sure what you mean by "emotional bonding between player and game," but if you want some examples of mature, intelligent, character driven narratives in games, then Silent Hill 2 is the absolute gold standard. I would also highly recommend Lisa the Painful RPG, which is quite brilliant in its own right.

I've actually gone to bat for TLoU 1 as a genuinely well written and well made game, but narratively it only stands out in the generally low quality area of AAA gaming. If you're after narrative, you're better off looking into the indie game and mid shelf market.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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I have an issue with Rockstar games in that they just love hearing themselves talk. There's just too much talking that really appears to go nowhere. For all the problems I might sometimes have with Naughty Dog's dialoge it's at least concise. Another issue with Rockstar is the story progression in their games, because you can always bet the main protagonist and his gang will get into somekind of trouble, which'll force them to move to another area of the map. I could just see it coming a mile ahead in RDR2. Similar to Naughty Dog with its dependence on contemporary settings, it might help Rockstar to make a game that doesn't feature a criminal as a protagonist, or maybe at least just a woman - I have to say, I found Sadie Adler a lot more engaging as a character than Arthur.

I will give Rockstar points for at least not using the typical videogame voice actors though - they always pick relative unknowns. I mean, did Naughty Dog really have to pick Laura Bailey again? I mean, I like her and I like Troy Baker, but no matter how good they are you recognize their delivery and it stops the character from really coming into their own.
Rockstar is kinda like watching a Tarantino movie, which I usually enjoy but it can get grating under the wrong conditions. Which is why I also got tired of GTA’s dialog because it’s just the same old obnoxious, often stereotypical characterization and I feel the contemporary setting doesn’t do the dialog any favors. To me RDR2 felt different right off the bat thanks to the setting change. It’s still heavy on talk but there’s far more variety and sincerity to it. Hell some characters also barely say anything and want to be left alone.

And yeah, Rockstar specifically mentioned in an interview they’ve made a point of staying away from Hollywood VA’s because it usually brought drama and inefficiency with it. And with projects their size that is never a good thing.
 
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Gyrobot

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Rockstar is kinda like watching a Tarantino movie, which I usually enjoy but it can get grating under the wrong conditions. Which is why I also got tired of GTA’s dialog because it’s just the same old obnoxious, often stereotypical characterization and I feel the contemporary setting doesn’t do the dialog any favors. To me RDR2 felt different right off the bat thanks to the setting change. It’s still heavy on talk but there’s far more variety and sincerity to it. Hell some characters also barely say anything and want to be left alone.

And yeah, Rockstar specifically mentioned in an interview they’ve made a point of staying away from Hollywood VA’s because it usually brought drama and inefficiency with it. And with projects their size that is never a good thing.
Well the 3D era gras were great because you had guys like Ray Liotta, Masden and Samuel L Jackson.
 

Phoenixmgs

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You must have already forgotten.

The Pathless
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Sackboy's Big Adventure.
Destruction All Stars
Godfall
Returnal
Astro's Playroom
Ghostwire
FFXVI - I have not been invested with an FF game since XIII. And I could not even bother finishing that total turd. The fact XVI has the combat designer from DMC5, really has got me interested.

Clearly, a majority of them are not stealth/grind fest. I am looking forward to the God of War 5, and already heard your criticism of the previous game, because it's just white noise at this point. I don't bother with most Western AAA games anyway, so I give little to no shits at this point, and play whatever interests me. Ghost of Tsushima is a good game despite it's problems, and is the most fun I had with a open world game in a long time and cannot wait for free content update.
Sony does have the most genre variety of probably any publisher honestly though their big hitters usually aren't pushing boundaries much, it seems less and less as time goes by.The Pathless looks interesting though not really AAA. Godfall is another looter game, not really interested. Returnal has a cool concept but that gameplay looks pretty generic. Just exploring a constantly changing world is pretty damn interesting, why does it have to have standard as all hell looking 3rd-person shooting? Ghostwire I was interested in until I saw the gameplay, I was hoping for something creepy/mysterious akin to like Fatal Frame but in Tokyo. FFXVI really has to prove itself to me, I'm still waiting for FF to go full blown action combat (or turn-based like say Tactics) but they keep trying to combine the 2 and it doesn't work. FFVII Remake wasn't a very good action game nor had much depth to the strategy side either. It's a plus they have an accomplished designer but again, it'll have to win me over.

My problem with Ghost was that every mechanic that was added after the beginning of the game (the core combat system) was really poorly designed. I only ever changed stances once to the wind stance for the kick and that was it besides for the times the game made me via forced tutorial prompts and the game liked to change your stance when you did duels for some reason. I wish the AI was a lot better, their pathing was pretty poor.

I have an issue with Rockstar games in that they just love hearing themselves talk. There's just too much talking that really appears to go nowhere.
I couldn't stand that in RDR1 from the very opening where the characters are talking politics on the train. Then, when you meet the chick-who-saved-you's father, they immediately start talking politics. I get it, you think you're making some super important script, Kojima is more fucking subtle. I got to Mexico and I was pretty done with the game, I didn't care for any of the characters because they were talking points instead of characters and the gameplay is extremely weak 3rd-person shooting.
 

BrawlMan

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FFVII Remake wasn't a very good action game nor had much depth to the strategy side either.
Tell that to the fans and newbies. They're loving it. Especially long times FFVII fans like Max Dood and Chip Cheezum. They would not care for either of our opinions.

Sony does have the most genre variety of probably any publisher honestly though their big hitters usually aren't pushing boundaries much, it seems less and less as time goes by.
Not every game has to "push boundaries". As long as the game is good, fun, and has replay value that is all that matters this guy.

FFXVI really has to prove itself to me, I'm still waiting for FF to go full blown action combat (or turn-based like say Tactics) but they keep trying to combine the 2 and it doesn't work.
I am looking forward, so I don't care. You gave the RPG combat speech over dozen thousand times already. It is getting old. (Johnny Bravo voice): So yeah, whatever.

My problem with Ghost was that every mechanic that was added after the beginning of the game (the core combat system) was really poorly designed. I only ever changed stances once to the wind stance for the kick and that was it besides for the times the game made me via forced tutorial prompts and the game liked to change your stance when you did duels for some reason. I wish the AI was a lot better, their pathing was pretty poor.
My only problem with the game was that stances were locked behind how many generals you killed. Sensless padding .I did a lot of side quest and liberating camps to quicken grind, but it was annoying. Stances I was able change fine with not much problem. I knew what worked, I never stayed in once stance aside from the 1-on-1 sword duels. Though doing so could be useful in breaking guards easily (Wind Stance Typhoon Kick). AI could be exploited in several ways, but I mostly avoided doing that. The forced stance switch tutorial was a problem, but when I got to the 2nd act, it stopped doing that for whatever random reason, but I was not complaining by that point. Still annoying feature that coddles the player and insults their intelligence. I will agree to that.
 

Phoenixmgs

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Not every game has to "push boundaries". As long as the game is good, fun, and has replay value that is all that matters this guy.

My only problem with the game was that stances were locked behind how many generals you killed. Sensless padding .I did a lot of side quest and liberating camps to quicken grind, but it was annoying. Stances I was able change fine with not much problem. I knew what worked, I never stayed in once stance aside from the 1-on-1 sword duels. Though doing so could be useful in breaking guards easily (Wind Stance Typhoon Kick). AI could be exploited in several ways, but I mostly avoided doing that. The forced stance switch tutorial was a problem, but when I got to the 2nd act, it stopped doing that for whatever random reason, but I was not complaining by that point. Still annoying feature that coddles the player and insults their intelligence. I will agree to that.
I didn't say every game needs to push boundaries but AAA should push way more boundaries than it currently does. Just look at that wasted rope from TLOU2, they could've done tons of interesting things with it; they probably could've made TLOU2 an environmental puzzler with the rope being the core element. Also, Horizon is just a really well made game built upon many common game design elements.

I didn't have a problem changing stances, I just found them pointless. I didn't find it enjoyable to be able to mash triangle to win fights. I wanted "samurai fights" with precision, reading the enemy, parries, etc. I found parrying, perfect dodges, and well-timed moves the most enjoyable aspects of the combat. You can take out an enemy fastest without changing stances whatsoever. I tried to "speedrun" every fight by using the least amount of input possible. I was far from perfect most of the time but it was far more enjoyable playing that way. I wasn't saying exploiting the AI, it's just that the AI was noticeably bad at merely transversing the environment and broke immersion quite often. One time an archer got off his horse and then immediately hit his horse with a fire arrow. I'm thinking that's why horses are programmed to run away like instantly during fights because the AI actually doesn't "see" horses in combat. One time the AI just broke and no one would attack me whatsoever.
 

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I didn't say every game needs to push boundaries but AAA should push way more boundaries than it currently does.
Yuhuh. That is why I mostly bother with the AA and indies. Could not give a shit about most of the AAA at this point (mainly the Western ones). Kind of a broken record now.

Just look at that wasted rope from TLOU2, they could've done tons of interesting things with it; they probably could've made TLOU2 an environmental puzzler with the rope being the core element.
I saw the video with the guy on the massage ball talking about it. All the rope in the world could not save that game.

I just found them pointless
For you.

I wanted "samurai fights" with precision, reading the enemy, parries, etc. I found parrying, perfect dodges, and well-timed moves the most enjoyable aspects of the combat.
The game does have that and gave me what I wanted. You can't mash triangle to win unless your on Easy mode and some parts of Normal. Hard and above, you're timing has to be super tight with parries and dodges. Button mashing will get you killed instantly. I don't knowwhat difficulty you were playing, but it was not Hard or Lethal.

Also, Horizon is just a really well made game built upon many common game design elements.
No shit, Sherlock. It clocked with gamers, and I have on interests in the game.

I wasn't saying exploiting the AI, it's just that the AI was noticeably bad at merely transversing the environment and broke immersion quite often. One time an archer got off his horse and then immediately hit his horse with a fire arrow. I'm thinking that's why horses are programmed to run away like instantly during fights because the AI actually doesn't "see" horses in combat. One time the AI just broke and no one would attack me whatsoever.
I never had those glitches happen in my playthough. I had a cool glitch that was later patched where you could mercy kill a crawling, headless, corpse.

Guess what? Bad AI can still be exploited, so it counts either way. I noticed the bad AI could be exploited. You have a habit of splitting hairs. That is all I have to say on the matter, because this conversation is going nowhere when it usually comes to you, so I am done. You have good night, I got work early in the morning.
 

Phoenixmgs

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The game does have that and gave me what I wanted. You can't mash triangle to win unless your on Easy mode and some parts of Normal. Hard and above, you're timing has to be super tight with parries and dodges. Button mashing will get you killed instantly. I don't knowwhat difficulty you were playing, but it was not Hard or Lethal.
I played on Hard, the Wind Stance kick alone is pretty broken to break enemies (you can keep doing it over and over again) let alone using normal triangle attacks that are far quicker to break enemies.
 

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I played on Hard, the Wind Stance kick alone is pretty broken to break enemies (you can keep doing it over and over again) let alone using normal triangle attacks that are far quicker to break enemies.
I already mentioned the Wind Stance Kick being a game breaker. Still does not work all the time. Good luck spamming that on Lethal when most enemies will one or two shot you at full health.
 

Gergar12

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I am too chickenshit to beat a certain boss who I won't name. I know it's coming, but even while playing on easy, and blasting every undead, while sneaking for the human enemies I am too scared of it.
 

Gergar12

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Also as an anti-SJW person on video games, I think the characters look good, and the gameplay is very good. Don't know why everyone is mad, I guess Joel dying was bad, but writers gonna do what a writer's gonna do.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Also as an anti-SJW person on video games, I think the characters look good, and the gameplay is very good. Don't know why everyone is mad, I guess Joel dying was bad, but writers gonna do what a writer's gonna do.

That’s interesting, because this game seems to have largely had the opposite effect for people who share a similar stance. I really don’t care either way. I thought it was a solid sequel with an overblown controversy that ultimately took away from what actually mattered about the game’s narrative drive. It literally tainted a lot of people’s perceptions and opinion about it from the get-go and it’s too bad. As a gameplay experience it was a significantly refined improvement over the original, but pacing issues, pointless skill tree upgrades and some awkward plot progression hurt it more than anything imo.
 

CriticalGaming

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I'm surprised that this thread is still going. :)

I guess new people are still playing the game and popping in.