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Naughty Dog's Game Design is Outdated - NakeyJakey's TLoU: Part II video
Posted: Posted October 5th by Jet Presto
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Kind of a long video, but I actually think NakeyJakey's recent criticism of The Last of Us Part II is pretty spot on, both in terms of why The Last of Us works, and The Last of Us Part II does not, even though the games are pretty similar in design philosophy.

Feels like the best criticism of the game I've seen yet.




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ThorHighHeels also did a great video about it.

Posted October 5th by Hideous Destructor
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I love both of those reviewers! Although, Nakey Jakey kind of Retweets the most stupid crap on Twitter, not gonna lie. I know it's for the LOLZ, but still...

Posted October 6th by Alan
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Alan
 

Don't want to watch. Can anyone just post the bullet points?

Posted October 7th by Marvalo
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Marvalo
 

Basically, it's a lot about the ludonarrative dissonance and how there's the disconnect between the narrative with the themes it wants to tackle or comment on, because the gameplay is ultimately a generic, linear experience. That the pacing is not as tight as previous Naughty Dog games, so it doesn't mask the antiquated gameplay. And how the idea of having you play as both the initial protagonist and initial antagonist to show "there's two sides to every story," it ultimately makes it clear that you as the player don't matter. Which I think is a good point. I hated the boss fights between Abby and Ellie, and a big part of it, as he notes, is that the game has only one set route that contradicts the initial player motivation. So like, for the first 12 hours you play as Ellie and your motivation as both the character and player is to find Abby and kill her, but then when it switches to Abby, you get a fail state if Ellie kills you because the motivation is suddenly the total opposite.

I think the lack of player motivation is pretty key to why TLoU:P2 doesn't work. So much of why the first one did was the motivation was simple, and there wasn't necessarily a huge amount of dissonance with the gameplay until the very end, but that was the entire point and it built up to that so it's earned. Like TLoU1 maybe just has like, one moment at the very end where it has you as the player or makes you watch Joel do something you might not want him to do. But TLoU2 is constantly having Ellie kill people in cutscenes.

TL;DR - Basically, it notes how different it feels when you play as Ellie in a level and you shoot a dog, versus when the game makes you kill a dog in a QTE. But the game is full of that. And how it's commentary on violence feels shallow and hypocritical when the main gameplay is still built around brutal violence that actually feels satisfying as a player.

Posted October 7th by Jet Presto
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Jim Sterling also said essentially the same thing.

Looks like this particular metro moralist masterpiece went way up inside it's own asshole in cutscenes, but they forgot to make the gameplay relevant (in more ways than one).

lol

Posted October 7th by Hideous Destructor
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I fail to see how this very detailed description of The Last of Us as a concept is vastly different from the arguments I was making. The gameplay itself is very mundane. The story is what makes it interesting. And because the violence is so obviously overdone, it's hard to take the story seriously. Plus, it requires you to fall in line, not always with the things you want to do, and you don't have the option to just do what you want, you have to do what the story says. This is a vast departure from the adventure games of the early 2000s which intercut the gameplay, which was largely roaming, level-based, and puzzle-based, with cutscenes, then go back to the gameplay which was far superior. It's just a problem of accessibility, TLoU and Uncharted are incredibly accessible, but not too many people can take on something like Zelda: Twilight Princess, or Metroid Prime.

Posted October 8th by mariomguy
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Mariomguy said:
I fail to see how this very detailed description of The Last of Us as a concept is vastly different from the arguments I was making.


Probably has something to do with the part where you suggested that it was a bad game because it was linear and then tried to use Super Mario Bros as an example of a non-linear game.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Jet Presto said:
And how it's commentary on violence feels shallow and hypocritical when the main gameplay is still built around brutal violence that actually feels satisfying as a player.


This is the main complaint I hear about the game from a story perspective. I haven't played it myself, but I am often told the game tries to make some bold points about violence being bad and whatnot but then the entire gameplay is so overly violent that it feels like the game is criticising itself.

I think a game like Undertale did a superb job of handling the subject of violence. You kill the monsters, you get a progressively worse ending. You save the monsters, you get a progressively better ending. You kill everything and side with the big bad evil kid, you forever ruin the happy ending from the true/good ending. Sure it's very cartoony in its delivery of everything (such is the charm of the game one might say) but it makes its point and the point it makes is reflected in the consequences of the player's actions.

Posted October 8th by Moonray
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Moonray
 

-reads title- Wouldn't have mattered if the writing was good and they actually honored the characters. Pokemon has had the same game design since 1995.

Posted October 9th by I killed Mufasa
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^ Undertale made amazing points, but did so through fantastic gameplay, and the story/outcome changed based on your decisions. TLoU keeps gamers hooked for the ride, but that's it. If you're not interested in going everywhere the ride wants you to go and doing everything the ride wants you to do, it sucks because it doesn't offer you any other choice. At least adventure games give you a choice whether to proceed to the dungeon, take on a sidequest, stock up on supplies, or do other things entirely at your leisure.

What you gain in accessibility you lose in freedom. I really wish games didn't do that.

Posted October 9th by mariomguy
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I really wish games didn't do that.

Just means it's not a game with you in mind. Super Mario Galaxy and SMG2 are two of the greatest games ever made. But for me personally, they aren't what I loved about Mario growing up. They aren't the kind of games I want to play because if you just want to play SMG with a regular controller on the wii, you can't. I guess you can now on the switch, which I might try and re-evaluate it. But if you don't want to swing your arm around all the time it's pretty hard to enjoy the games on the wii.

Games are going to have quirks you don't like. Rather than complain just move on to the next game. Because there are many tastes and styles that devs need to cater to, not just yours. If developers only catered to my tastes than SMG wouldn't exist. And I think that would be a shame.

Edited October 10th by I killed Mufasa
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