TLOU2 Review Thread

hanselthecaretaker

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I've played them, they're both stealth games. Would TLOU2 become a RTS if you were able to switch between controlling Ellie, Tommy, Dina, and Jesse? I guess FFVII Remake is a RTT because you can switch characters on the fly. That's literally all Desperados 3 is, a stealth game that allows you to switch between multiple characters. Guess what, TLOU2 is played in REAL-TIME da-da-daaa!!! You know, just like every other stealth game that isn't Invisible Inc.
In other news, Super Mario World is an action/adventure game, because there’s action and adventure!
 

Phoenixmgs

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In other news, Super Mario World is an action/adventure game, because there’s action and adventure!
Literally the description of Desperados 3 from the developers on the Steam page:

Desperados III is a story-driven, hardcore tactical stealth game

In most of the gameplay of both games; you're avoiding enemies by a combination of staying out of sight or hiding in bushes/tall grass, you're analyzing patrols thinking about different tactics to take out enemy/enemies without alerting the other enemies, and both even have guards that have dogs with them that have smell radius vs view cones. Oh, and both games are played in real-time. Yep, these games are completely different genres!!!

When you stop using labels and just simply describe what you do in both games, how are you going to say they're vastly different games? They're obviously in the same genre, you could definitely say different sub-genre. The biggest difference between them is that TLOU is far more concerned with player execution skill whereas Desperados is far more concerned with developing the plan of attack.

It's quite funny that the official product description of gameplay for TLOU1 includes platforming when there's no jump button.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Literally the description of Desperados 3 from the developers on the Steam page:

Desperados III is a story-driven, hardcore tactical stealth game

In most of the gameplay of both games; you're avoiding enemies by a combination of staying out of sight or hiding in bushes/tall grass, you're analyzing patrols thinking about different tactics to take out enemy/enemies without alerting the other enemies, and both even have guards that have dogs with them that have smell radius vs view cones. Oh, and both games are played in real-time. Yep, these games are completely different genres!!!

Gameplay descriptions of each -
Desperados III is a real-time tactics stealth video game. The game features five playable characters, with each having access to unique weapons and abilities. Players can play the game as a stealth game, in which they can assassinate enemies silently or disguise kills as accidental deaths. It is possible for players to complete missions without killing anyone by knocking out and tying up enemies. Bodies of incapacitated enemies need to be hidden or else other enemies patrolling the area will discover them and trigger an alarm that calls for reinforcement.[3] The cones of vision of all enemies are displayed, allowing players to navigate the map without alerting them.

Players can also play the game as an action game and utilize the showdown mode to temporarily stop the game, allowing players to coordinate and chain up the actions of the player's squad. In showdown mode, players can issue commands to each of the character in the party. When the player exits showdown mode, the characters will execute the commands issued by the player simultaneously.

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective featuring elements of the survival horror genre. The player traverses post-apocalyptic environments such as buildings and forests to advance the story. The player can use firearms, improvised weapons, and stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus. Control intermittently switches between Ellie and Abby; the player also briefly controls Joel in the opening sequence. The nimble nature of the player character introduces platforming elements to the game, allowing the player to jump and climb to traverse environments and gain advantages during combat. The player can break glass objects such as windows to access certain areas or obtain supplies. Some areas in the game are navigated by horse or boat.

In combat, the player can use long-range weapons such as rifles and bows,and short-range weapons such as pistols and revolvers. The player is able to scavenge limited-use melee weapons such as machetes and hammers, and throw bricks and bottles to distract or attack enemies. Collected items can be used to upgrade weapons at workbenches or craft equipment such as health kits, Molotov cocktails, and makeshift silencers. The player can collect supplements to upgrade skills in a skill tree; training manuals found throughout the environment unlock additional skill tree branches, allowing upgrades to attributes such as the health meter, crafting speed, and ammunition types.

Though the player can attack enemies directly, they can also use stealth to attack undetected or sneak past them. "Listen Mode" allows the player to locate enemies through a heightened sense of hearing and spatial awareness, indicated as outlines visible through walls and objects. In the cover system, the player can crouch behind obstacles to gain advantages in combat, and can also crawl in a prone position to evade enemies. Hostile enemies use artificial intelligence; they may take cover or call for assistance, and can take advantage when the player is distracted, out of ammunition, or in a fight. The player may be impaled by an arrow, which will progressively decrease their health meter and disables Listen Mode until removed when in cover. Player companions, such as Dina, assist in combat by killing enemies or announcing their location. The game also introduces guard dogs that track the player's scent, which can be visualized in Listen Mode.

But let’s say you’re accurate in figuring them both as stealth games. That still doesn’t mean they play much alike. Hence, apples & oranges.


 

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Gameplay descriptions of each -
Desperados III is a real-time tactics stealth video game. The game features five playable characters, with each having access to unique weapons and abilities. Players can play the game as a stealth game, in which they can assassinate enemies silently or disguise kills as accidental deaths. It is possible for players to complete missions without killing anyone by knocking out and tying up enemies. Bodies of incapacitated enemies need to be hidden or else other enemies patrolling the area will discover them and trigger an alarm that calls for reinforcement.[3] The cones of vision of all enemies are displayed, allowing players to navigate the map without alerting them.

Players can also play the game as an action game and utilize the showdown mode to temporarily stop the game, allowing players to coordinate and chain up the actions of the player's squad. In showdown mode, players can issue commands to each of the character in the party. When the player exits showdown mode, the characters will execute the commands issued by the player simultaneously.

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective featuring elements of the survival horror genre. The player traverses post-apocalyptic environments such as buildings and forests to advance the story. The player can use firearms, improvised weapons, and stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus. Control intermittently switches between Ellie and Abby; the player also briefly controls Joel in the opening sequence. The nimble nature of the player character introduces platforming elements to the game, allowing the player to jump and climb to traverse environments and gain advantages during combat. The player can break glass objects such as windows to access certain areas or obtain supplies. Some areas in the game are navigated by horse or boat.

In combat, the player can use long-range weapons such as rifles and bows,and short-range weapons such as pistols and revolvers. The player is able to scavenge limited-use melee weapons such as machetes and hammers, and throw bricks and bottles to distract or attack enemies. Collected items can be used to upgrade weapons at workbenches or craft equipment such as health kits, Molotov cocktails, and makeshift silencers. The player can collect supplements to upgrade skills in a skill tree; training manuals found throughout the environment unlock additional skill tree branches, allowing upgrades to attributes such as the health meter, crafting speed, and ammunition types.

Though the player can attack enemies directly, they can also use stealth to attack undetected or sneak past them. "Listen Mode" allows the player to locate enemies through a heightened sense of hearing and spatial awareness, indicated as outlines visible through walls and objects. In the cover system, the player can crouch behind obstacles to gain advantages in combat, and can also crawl in a prone position to evade enemies. Hostile enemies use artificial intelligence; they may take cover or call for assistance, and can take advantage when the player is distracted, out of ammunition, or in a fight. The player may be impaled by an arrow, which will progressively decrease their health meter and disables Listen Mode until removed when in cover. Player companions, such as Dina, assist in combat by killing enemies or announcing their location. The game also introduces guard dogs that track the player's scent, which can be visualized in Listen Mode.

But let’s say you’re accurate in figuring them both as stealth games. That still doesn’t mean they play much alike. Hence, apples & oranges.


The core thing you're doing in both is the same, I literally described in normal words (not marketing speak) what you do in the moment-to-moment gameplay of both of them, which is the same thing. I explained why the real-time part of describing Desperados makes no sense because most games are real-time including both of these games or say the OG Metal Gear or OG Thief. It just shows how stupid some of gaming's labels are. I explained how one game focuses on THIS aspect of stealth and the other focuses on THAT aspect of stealth. They're both stealth games. It's perfectly fine to say they're different sub-genres. Apples can be tarty or sweet, they're both apples.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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The core thing you're doing in both is the same, I literally described in normal words (not marketing speak) what you do in the moment-to-moment gameplay of both of them, which is the same thing. I explained why the real-time part of describing Desperados makes no sense because most games are real-time including both of these games or say the OG Metal Gear or OG Thief. It just shows how stupid some of gaming's labels are. I explained how one game focuses on THIS aspect of stealth and the other focuses on THAT aspect of stealth. They're both stealth games. It's perfectly fine to say they're different sub-genres. Apples can be tarty or sweet, they're both apples.

Once again my point is that they play very differently, because they are technically designed very differently. So saying one is better than the other isn’t saying much other than you prefer a certain type of design. It’s why when I googled “Desperados 3 vs...” the first thing that came up on autofill was “Wastelands 3”, because even though it technically has no dedicated stealth mechanics it shares a lot more design similarities with it than something like The Last of Us 2.
 
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Once again my point is that they play very differently, because they are technically designed very differently. So saying one is better than the other isn’t saying much other than you prefer a certain type of design. It’s why when I googled “Desperados 3 vs...” the first thing that came up on autofill was “Wastelands 3”, because even though it technically has no dedicated stealth mechanics it shares a lot more design similarities with it than something like The Last of Us 2.
How are you gonna say either Desperados 3 or TLOU2 is not a stealth game? Stealth games can play rather differently from each other, just like any other genre. As Mark Brown put it, we want [genres] to be as broad as possible. Wasteland 3 isn't close to Desperados 3, they only thing they share in common is the isometric view. Wasteland 3's combat is TURN-BASED like XCOM (which is basically DnD combat but with guns) and it's an RPG.

Are you going to say what you're doing in the vast majority of gameplay is not the following in both of these games?
"avoiding enemies by a combination of staying out of sight or hiding in bushes/tall grass/behind objects, analyzing patrols thinking about different tactics to take out enemy/enemies without alerting the other enemies"
 

hanselthecaretaker

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How are you gonna say either Desperados 3 or TLOU2 is not a stealth game? Stealth games can play rather differently from each other, just like any other genre. As Mark Brown put it, we want [genres] to be as broad as possible. Wasteland 3 isn't close to Desperados 3, they only thing they share in common is the isometric view. Wasteland 3's combat is TURN-BASED like XCOM (which is basically DnD combat but with guns) and it's an RPG.

Are you going to say what you're doing in the vast majority of gameplay is not the following in both of these games?
"avoiding enemies by a combination of staying out of sight or hiding in bushes/tall grass/behind objects, analyzing patrols thinking about different tactics to take out enemy/enemies without alerting the other enemies"
Sure you can paint a broad side of a barn stroke saying they both have the player doing the same thing, but ffs are you going to say this -


plays the same as this -


I mean, bloody hell.
 

Phoenixmgs

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Sure you can paint a broad side of a barn stroke saying they both have the player doing the same thing, but ffs are you going to say this -


plays the same as this -


I mean, bloody hell.
They don't have to play the same, you can use different mechanics to accomplish the same thing. Video games have a problem with naming genres and we do some based on the mechanics like FPS or platforming and we do some on generally what you do like RPG or stealth. You can't really have a FPS or shooter in general without shooting stuff, 2D shooters obviously play very differently than 3D ones though. A FPS has to be a 3D shooter with the 1st-person perspective, which is down to mechanics. A platformer probably 99.9% of the time requires jumping, yet Bionic Commando has no jumping. A puzzle game can have puzzles in any manner of mechanics used to solve said puzzles (Portal, The Witness, Braid). Portal is a puzzle game, not an FPS for example even though you're using FPS mechanics to solve puzzles. The reason I play TLOU or Desperados or Invisible Inc or Hitman is because I want to play a stealth game and they all accomplish that in vastly different mechanical ways. The reason I play Mass Effect or Wasteland 3 or Divinity Original Sin is because I want to play a game in which my decisions make a difference to the characters and story. I'm not playing Wasteland 3 because I want more XCOM, which is why they aren't considered the same genre even though they greatly share game mechanics. It's why an RPG can have literally any kind of mechanics from FPS like Deus Ex, TPS like Mass Effect, XCOM combat like Wasteland 3, an adventure game with Disco Elysium, etc.

Here's an old Extra Credits video describing the exact same thing on why WRPGs and JRPGs are actually 2 different genres because you play them for completely different purposes. It's exactly why I don't even consider say Final Fantasy an RPG because you have no choice whatsoever with regards to character development and story. It's basically an adventure game where you fight every few steps.
 
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CriticalGaming

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I saw on twitter that Abby was trending and sure enough Naughty Dog has released a new story trailer which highlights Abby's side of the game. At first I thought they were doing new DLC side stories or something. But nope, they literally just made a story trailer for a game that released six months ago.

And almost every video game news outlet has covered it like it's some new thing.

I wonder if they are desperate to boost sales for Christmas.

Also i like how this highlights Abby as the "hero" of the story, because Naughty Dog really really wanted you to be on Abby's side.
 

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I saw on twitter that Abby was trending and sure enough Naughty Dog has released a new story trailer which highlights Abby's side of the game. At first I thought they were doing new DLC side stories or something. But nope, they literally just made a story trailer for a game that released six months ago.

And almost every video game news outlet has covered it like it's some new thing.

I wonder if they are desperate to boost sales for Christmas.
Either way they are all idiots. Fuck you, Naughty Dog! Burn in hell!


Also i like how this highlights Abby as the "hero" of the story, because Naughty Dog really really wanted you to be on Abby's side.
I'd sooner root for Afro Samurai (manga version). That version is a straight up villain and less anti-hero compared to his original anime counterpart and later video game counterpart. I'd sooner root for Risky Boots, Juri Han, Bison, or Dr. Eggman, or Shang Tsung.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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What I don’t understand is why they didn’t just do this in the first place. Apparently it’s for introducing “new” players to her story, so it’s not like spoiling anything seems to be a concern this time. It was already spoiled with the leak.

Hindsight I guess.
 

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What I don’t understand is why they didn’t just do this in the first place. Apparently it’s for introducing “new” players to her story, so it’s not like spoiling anything seems to be a concern this time.
Because the first time around a lot of people wanted to go in spoiler free and ND wanted to keep spoilers away to maintain the emotional punch of the twist. Now, with Christmas coming up and Covid still being a major thing, I bet Sony thinks that they can get another wave of sales by being more open about how the game plays out (since it has already been massively spoiled anyway) and riding on the wave of TLOU2s strong GOTY-sweeps. This is to pick up the sales that were hesitant the first time around and for people looking for Christmas gifts.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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Because the first time around a lot of people wanted to go in spoiler free and ND wanted to keep spoilers away to maintain the emotional punch of the twist. Now, with Christmas coming up and Covid still being a major thing, I bet Sony thinks that they can get another wave of sales by being more open about how the game plays out (since it has already been massively spoiled anyway) and riding on the wave of TLOU2s strong GOTY-sweeps. This is to pick up the sales that were hesitant the first time around and for people looking for Christmas gifts.
Abby’s side is more interesting imo. They did more interesting things with her gameplay, like simulating a fear of heights in the skyscrapers. Honestly, if they took out Ellie’s half the game it would pretty much mirror the original’s premise. A flawed protagonist reluctantly gets involved with someone younger, more vulnerable and dependent, then learns about them and forms a bond which changes their opinion. Then ultimately they influence the protagonist in a climactic, scripted choice before escaping together.

I also thought this was kind of interesting-


This would also be a pretty neat way of wrapping up a trilogy-

In any case, to me the controversy is and always has been overblown to the nth. The game to me is the most impressive thing I’ve played since RDR2 in terms of ambition, art design and technical execution. Probably better in terms of core gameplay mechanics. The animation blending alone for a motion captured playable character is pretty much unequalled.
 
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Abby’s side is more interesting imo. They did more interesting things with her gameplay, like simulating a fear of heights in the skyscrapers. Honestly, if they took out Ellie’s half the game it would pretty much mirror the original’s premise. A flawed protagonist reluctantly gets involved with someone younger, more vulnerable and dependent, then learns about them and forms a bond which changes their opinion. Then ultimately they influence the protagonist in a climactic, scripted choice before escaping together.

I also thought this was kind of interesting-


In any case, to me the controversy is and always has been overblown to the nth. The game to me is the most impressive thing I’ve played since RDR2 in terms of ambition, art design and technical execution.
Abby's story progression is definitely more engaging, because you're actually doing concrete things; Find Owen, escape with Yara and Lev, find and help Yara and Lev, go to the hospital with Lev, etc. Whereas with Ellie it's just 'head over in this direction for a clue or whatever to finding someone who'll end up being already dead.' I can't say Abby herself was interesting though, but with a few tweaks to her backstory she could've been. She certainly wasn't as annoying to sit through as Ellie's incessant Dirty Harry impression. The only thing that made me "like" Ellie more than Abby was simply due to me love of the first game, because Ellie in the sequel was terribly written.

The only characters I found genuinely interesting though were Yara and Lev, since they were ex cultists and weren't the typical scowly "badasses" that most of the other characters were. Yara was presented as a more gentle character than you typically get to play in games like this, and it would've been interesting to actually play a character like that within this setting.

But yeah, Abby's... fine. I don't even have an ounce as much dislike for her as I do for Mary-Jane in Spider-Man PS4, or Talbot in Uncharted 3.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Abby's story progression is definitely more engaging, because you're actually doing concrete things; Find Owen, escape with Yara and Lev, find and help Yara and Lev, go to the hospital with Lev, etc. Whereas with Ellie it's just 'head over in this direction for a clue or whatever to finding someone who'll end up being already dead.' I can't say Abby herself was interesting though, but with a few tweaks to her backstory she could've been. She certainly wasn't as annoying to sit through as Ellie's incessant Dirty Harry impression. The only thing that made me "like" Ellie more than Abby was simply due to me love of the first game, because Ellie in the sequel was terribly written.

The only characters I found genuinely interesting though were Yara and Lev, since they were ex cultists and weren't the typical scowly "badasses" that most of the other characters were. Yara was presented as a more gentle character than you typically get to play in games like this, and it would've been interesting to actually play a character like that within this setting.

But yeah, Abby's... fine. I don't even have an ounce as much dislike for her as I do for Mary-Jane in Spider-Man PS4, or Talbot in Uncharted 3.
Can’t vouch for PS4 iteration of Mary-Jane, but yeah, I barely recall who Talbot was after playing the game at least two full play throughs and change. I personally think Hennig was overrated in terms of writing. The first two games were charming as hell as pulpy adventure stories, but she seemed out of her depth in 3, where the aim seemed to be adding more dramatic flair and personal conflict. It’s almost like she attempted to merge the two styles but it detracted from each.
 

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Can’t vouch for PS4 iteration of Mary-Jane, but yeah, I barely recall who Talbot was after playing the game at least two full play throughs and change. I personally think Hennig was overrated in terms of writing. The first two games were charming as hell as pulpy adventure stories, but she seemed out of her depth in 3, where the aim seemed to be adding more dramatic flair and personal conflict. It’s almost like she attempted to merge the two styles but it detracted from each.
That's the difference between Henning and Druckmann; Henning is great with punchy/funny dialoge, but sucks at character depth (at least, judging on the Uncharted series). Druckmann is great at character depth, but sucks at the more surface level fun. I mean, I'm still puzzled at who wrote the museum section in TLoU2, because of how not-Druckmann the writing felt, not just in tone but in how snappy and funny the dialoge was.
 

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Speaking of Neil https://www.destructoid.com/stories/naughty-dog-promotes-neil-druckmann-to-co-president-612352.phtml homie is moving up in the world. Expect more pretentious drivel in Naughty Dog games for the foreseeable future.

Abby's story progression is definitely more engaging, because you're actually doing concrete things; Find Owen, escape with Yara and Lev, find and help Yara and Lev, go to the hospital with Lev, etc. Whereas with Ellie it's just 'head over in this direction for a clue or whatever to finding someone who'll end up being already dead.' I can't say Abby herself was interesting though, but with a few tweaks to her backstory she could've been. She certainly wasn't as annoying to sit through as Ellie's incessant Dirty Harry impression. The only thing that made me "like" Ellie more than Abby was simply due to me love of the first game, because Ellie in the sequel was terribly written.

The only characters I found genuinely interesting though were Yara and Lev, since they were ex cultists and weren't the typical scowly "badasses" that most of the other characters were. Yara was presented as a more gentle character than you typically get to play in games like this, and it would've been interesting to actually play a character like that within this setting.

But yeah, Abby's... fine. I don't even have an ounce as much dislike for her as I do for Mary-Jane in Spider-Man PS4, or Talbot in Uncharted 3.
Biggest problem with Abby is she has no character depth whatsoever. She is an unshakable killing machine who shows no regret or guilt for torturing and murdering Joel, yet she somehow spins on a dime to feel sorry for Lev and Yarra who are part of the group that is esstentially been long time enemies of her and her clan for however long? Why, because they help her escape being tortured? Because Joel helped her escape zombies, and she had no qualms killing him.

Her motivations serve only to fit the story and that story is to try and make her appear as the best person ever, which is why the game never really brings up Joel during her entire segment, other then very short snipets of "That Joel guys sucked huh?" And that's it.

It makes her come across as contrived, and it also means that her journey is essentially meaningless because her reasoning makes no sense.
 
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Biggest problem with Abby is she has no character depth whatsoever. She is an unshakable killing machine who shows no regret or guilt for torturing and murdering Joel, yet she somehow spins on a dime to feel sorry for Lev and Yarra who are part of the group that is esstentially been long time enemies of her and her clan for however long? Why, because they help her escape being tortured? Because Joel helped her escape zombies, and she had no qualms killing him.

Her motivations serve only to fit the story and that story is to try and make her appear as the best person ever, which is why the game never really brings up Joel during her entire segment, other then very short snipets of "That Joel guys sucked huh?" And that's it.

It makes her come across as contrived, and it also means that her journey is essentially meaningless because her reasoning makes no sense.
Well, not exactly.

Lev outright asks her why she's doing this, helping them, and Abby answers with 'guilt' and 'needing to lighten the load', probably refering to Joel. Is it done well? Not really. You also have Owen bring him up as a way of confronting Abby with how fucked up it was that she did that. Joel is only ever mentioned by name at the start of Abby's section, and it would make sense for two WLF members to casually dismiss his death and torture. And obviously she would still kill Joel even after him having saved her; she's been fostering hate for the guy for four years. While Yara and Lev are just two strangers to her. Two strangers from the enemy side, but not people that she knows by name and who she feels have hurt her as deeply as she feels Joel has.

The story itself though treats Joel with a lot of reverence, too much if you ask me. If you ignore the fact that he gets beaten to a bloody pulp, every scene he's in he's presented as the most precious father figure. Even in the scenes where Ellie is perfectly in her right to be royally pissed at him, the game presents him as this old labrador who just got kicked. Tommy even takes his side with what he did at the end of the first game, and goes out on a revenge quest for him. And the final scene with Joel in it shows him crying like the sweetest sad dad. All while the game conveniently ignores how he executed Marlene in cold blood. So all these complaints by fans about Joel being done dirty are BS.

And yes, Abby's motivations come across as contrived, but so do Ellie and Tommy's. The overall problem with this game's story is that the plot requires characters to behave a certain way, eventhough it breaks character. The fact that this is a revenge plot itself clashes heavily with Ellie's character - because this needs to be about revenge Ellie is suddenly super blood thirsty and willing to risk the lives of the people she loves. When Ellie is never shown to be like that. Not even in the opening hours of TLoU2.

To compare how I feel about Abby and Ellie; If Abby is a slice of stale, white bread, than Ellie is a nice, tasty peanutbutter sandwich... that someone found it fit to urinate on. So in that case I prefer the slice of stale, white bread.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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That's the difference between Henning and Druckmann; Henning is great with punchy/funny dialoge, but sucks at character depth (at least, judging on the Uncharted series). Druckmann is great at character depth, but sucks at the more surface level fun. I mean, I'm still puzzled at who wrote the museum section in TLoU2, because of how not-Druckmann the writing felt, not just in tone but in how snappy and funny the dialoge was.
Would have to guess that’s a big part of why Hennig left. Druckmann had more pull for whatever reason, for better or worse. Just read he was named Co-President now too.
 

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