But that’s not my argument. I fully understand I am not getting the full experience, how the game plays or feels. My point is that I don’t grasp what’s going on with the characters themselves, why they do the things they do. They keep lurching from plot point to plot point, killing indiscriminately in the pursuit of their ultimate goal, which is to find someone specific to kill. Until they stop, for reasons. That, to me, is going to be separate from how the game plays, which for obvious reasons I am not commenting on.
The motivations are kind of explained thru flashbacks and dialogue. Elle is mad at Joel for not letting her be the sacrifice to save humanity. She really is pissed of at Joel being selfish for saving her in the last game. So the last few moments Elle has with Joel are kind of non forgiving and hostile… so she doesnt feel closure when he DOES get killed. SO to replace the PTSD she has of his beating she wants to beat the shit out of Abby.
Abby is mad at Joel for killing her dad. She buffs up and becomes a MMA supreme fighter.ala Ronda Rousey to avenge her dad.
The ‘shes pregnant’ theme does make Elle consider to stop, but its ultimately her remorse for trreating Joel like shit that makes her even more determinted to punish Abby at the end. Abby stops because she wants to help Lev (like a mom/big sister), shes done with revenge (unless she has to protect herself and Lev like in end fight).
Yeah, its not like super deep, but its all in the presentation and believability. It worked for me. Some people don’t think its earned. I get it. There motivations were pretty clear to me.
I’m still saying playing it and watching it, you get the little conversations and even the pacing where you as the player kind of ruminate on the situation of Elle and Abby situation better. Its more enjoying the ride and ‘getting’ it as a player than as an obersver, even the motivations.
With Ellie a big part of it is being robbed of agency. If they gave her the choice she would have sacrificed herself, the Fireflies never told her and Joel saves her without giving her the option. When Abby kills Joel she is robbing Ellie of the opportunity to patch things up with Joel, we see in the final flashback that while she doesn’t know if she can forgive him she wants to try, which feeds off the first issue. Her death could have meant something, but she’s alive because her life had meaning to Joel but now with him gone what is it?
While the core revenge quest is a mirror for both leads, Abby in many ways mirrors Joel. She’s struggling for years from the loss of family, has lived a checkered life as a result, and now is finding redemption through saving a child. This is even mirrored in the game mechanics where Abby has to craft shivs much like Joel did in the first game while Ellie does not.
Deleting a really long rant about how much my daughter and I loathed playing this game because talking it out here is only going to make me feel worse. Power to those of you who enjoyed this. We hated it more than any other game we’ve ever played through together.
Ah damn, sorry to hear that man. I hope it hasn’t ruined your feelings on the original, assuming you liked it.
I still find myself falling on the Telefrog side of the fence. Can’t say I found that the story resonated as well with me as it did others unfortunately. If other people enjoyed it though and felt that it did resonate with them though then that is perfectly fine, nobody is going to like everything. A decent game all things considered due to the improved combat, some of the encounter designs, and all that more gameplay-related stuff. For a AAA studio that prides itself on its narratives though, the story fell a bit flat for me by the end.
The narrative hit the point of feeling poorly paced and structured, for my tastes, when they introduced the character switch at the Theatre, and can get bogged down with flashbacks. Then on top of that the story dragged on far longer than it had to in my opinion to reach a satisfying conclusion. I was ready for things to end at the Farmhouse and after that moment it felt like it was definitely trying too hard to drive home its core theme and message for my tastes. The violence ended up being a bit on the nose to me by the end from a narrative point of view, and so juxtapositions awkwardly at times with the gameplay that accompanies it. I think the final “boss fight” was the epitome, for me, of Naughty Dog dragging something out longer than it had to be, embellished cinematography for the sake of it rather than because it served a critical purpose in my opinion.
Happy for those that did enjoy the story of the game, but wasn’t entirely my cup of tea in the end ultimately. After all that, get the feeling Ellie and me wouldn’t hypothetically get on very well as two actual people, haha.
Spoilercast with Neil Druckman, Ashley Johnson & Troy Baker https://youtu.be/g6rRfK-V2jY (sorry I can never get these to embed here)
Credits roll. 8 nights of playing (compared to 7 years for the first one). Very satisfying up til the end. I don’t think the 30k people who are petitioning for a rewrite are gonna get their wish but I can sorta feel their frustration where I didn’t AT ALL until the very end. I ‘get’ the eye for an eye leaves everyone blind message and I felt every bit manipulated along the way.
And an experience it has no peer. As a story it failed to stick the landing.
Glad I skipped this game. I remain ever secure with the “good” ending of the original game.
I think I may have totally missed this, but what was it that broke the true between WLF and the Seraphites?
There was some dialog early on in the Abby sequence about some WLF bad actors killing some scars and then the scars retaliated and then it escalated from there. Someone replied that the truce was always going to end eventually, iirc, in response to that.
Interesting - I actually thought the ending was incredible, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way.
Ah, okay. I was wondering if it might have been something done by Tommy, which would have been a nice touch as it would tie that whole final conflict in as a consequence of the central plot.
Eventually, I’ll absolutely replay this and pay closer attention to that, but I think I need to give it a bit of space first.
I finished this two days ago, and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. As a videogame, I thought it was very good. Technically, it is one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. I also thought the use of sound was excellent. I liked the gameplay loop. The maps were large if not very varied and I liked the mechanic of stealth until you screw up, and then either shoot it out, or run around until you can regain stealth. Level-ups, weapons, all serviceable.
On the whole, it suffers from comparison with the original. The story, frankly, wasn’t very interesting. What was brilliant about the original was the development of Joel’s character through his relationship with Ellie. THat dynamic was nonexistent in the sequel. Ellie’s character didn’t evolve, right up until the very end. The central relationship with Dina was just a romantic relationship. It didn’t suffer because they were gay, but it also didn’t add anything.
I think the game also suffered from extreme ludonarrative dissonance, which has never bothered me before. When the game switches from Ellie to Abby I was pretty disappointed. Mostly becuase I was ready for it to be over, but also because I really didn’t want to play as Abby. During the fight in the theater between Abby and Ellie, I really didn’t want to attack Ellie. I really didn’t want Ellie to go after Abby at the farmhouse, when she had finally found close to domestic happiness, and especially after Abby had spared her life twice.
I get that the point is that revenge destroys everyone, but I thought that the themes of the original (the good of the many versus the good of the few, or the one) were far more interesting.
I also thought the violence was overdone. It was pornographic. And I’m not one to get squeamish about videogame violence.
The first was possibly my favorite videogame of all time. I doubt I will play this one again.
Great comments 'graaf, you’re the first comment I’ve read in this thread since I’ve been avoiding while I played. I also just finished a day or two ago and I had pretty close to the exact opposite feelings about the game :P
The game landed almost completely for me - I loved it. I’m still working through my feelings on exactly why, but I also felt virtually nothing for the relationship between Ellie and Joel in the first game, while I found these character arcs more compelling (excluding some of the Seraphite stuff in the second half).
I’m rationalizing this in my head as another lesson of fatherhood that I’ll have to deal with in real life. I can’t control my daughters and prevent them from making mistakes. At times in life I’ll have to sit there and watch them make mistakes, hopefully less horrific than Ellie’s! Those parts still really bug me as it took the player’s will out of the story and forced you to continue on the path the makers had chosen.
I’m including a link to this review at The Atlantic because it explains my perspective on the game much more cogently than I did.
I find that revenge destroys everything is a little too meta in that it ruins the first game and overall franchise for me because it took the story in an unpalatable and unwelcome direction.
Have you even played the game? Did you watch the video I just posted? There’s more to the story than just revenge.