The Last of US: Part II - Early Impressions
Posted: Posted June 20th by Jet Presto
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Just posting some early impressions so far. No spoilers here (I mean, I'm not really far enough to provide any spoilers regardless). Not sure if anyone else were checking it out, but, here are my thoughts so far, especially having just finished a replay of the first game (and, I'm honestly not exaggerating; I got a text that my copy was delivered ten seconds into the end credits of the first game; was literally perfect timing).

1. Story-wise, there's not much to report. I'm not quite grabbed yet, but I'm only maybe a couple hours in? I think in total, I'm maybe juuuust a little further into the game than where - at this point in the first - you meet Ellie. To me, that's the actual start of the story, and when it got interesting. I'm sort of in a position where it's just a matter of time before the story breaks, so we'll see how it is. I'm not necessarily expecting much in that regard. Hard to follow the first. I'm also keeping tabs on what definitely feel like Neil Druckmann telegraphs. Dude loves set up and pay-off, which is a big reason why I like him, but it conversely makes him sometimes a bit predictable. Although, I haven't gotten to any conclusions, so these things might not actually be set-ups.

2. Maps are bigger and more beautiful. It's actually pretty astonishing to see just how improved the graphics are from PS3 to PS4. Seriously: going from TLoU to TLoU2 really highlights how much better things look. And TLoU still looks good! My issue with the maps right now is that they're so much bigger, which I want to look around and explore, but there's very little to actually see. Like, you can walk around and look at the environment, but there's so far been a lack of things like collectibles, gear and materials, or interactive environmental storytelling. It's not been "none," but given the size of these places, it feels like there should be more. I always thought TLoU did a good job balancing the bigger maps that beg you to look around with the whole need to press forward in the story. It was linear, but they were clever in making it not feel so much so. Weirdly, so far, the maps are so big but more empty, which makes it feel *more* linear, to me at least. It doesn't help that these early hours are all kinda tutorial stuff, so they really do seem to want you to just follow the NPC ally.

3. Also, kinda just realizing how funny video games can be. I know they sorta have to do it, but because every video game has to act like the player has never played a video game before, the first couple hours are dedicated to tutorials and getting the player accustomed to the controls. Having just replayed the first game, nothing is radically different in that way, so the first couple hours basically just feels like a rehash of the first game's first couple hours. And that's because the first hour or so of every video game is kinda the exact same thing. Not a gripe; just an observation, I suppose.

4. Some quality of life changes that aren't huge deals but feel better. Throwing objects at enemies is much smoother and easier, to the point it's likely I'll wind up relying on it a lot more in this game than I did in the last. And also, being able to quickly and easily swap weapons just feels so much nicer. I know they were going for more survival horror in the first game, so it made sense to make weapon-swapping slow and clunky to increase tension, but, well, it was clunky.

5. Melee definitely is improved. It's not amazing, but they've improved it with a simple addition: dodging. It's not super difficult or complicated, but this mechanic alone fundamentally makes melee more involved. You could get away with just button mashing in the first game and be totally fine. To a degree that's still true here, but you'll take more damage if you do. Paying attention to the enemy attacks to try and dodge definitely makes melee more fun and feel like it requires a little more skill. That, itself, also provides a little more of a challenge.

6. I'm in love with their accessibility settings! The first thing I did was turn off button mashing (not because I can't handle it, but because I fucking HATE "rapidly press square" shit, and I don't know why any developers still insist on putting it in their games in the first place; I love Naughty Dog games on the most part, but they really need to update some of their design philosophy at some point; that shit is out of the PS2 era!) But my favorite thing? You can increase the size AND change the color of the subtitles! I feel like I'm constantly complaining about this with modern games. I might not have any discernible disabilities, my eyes are not fucking 20/20 and they're not getting any better. I hate how tiny developers always make their text. Being able to make the font bigger and change the color so it stands out better if need be is so critical for me.

Complaint though? Why does it just apply to subtitles? One of these days, I'd *love* if developers would let me be able to read the fucking menus without getting super close to my television. Why are the button prompts so tiny and menu text not changeable?

7. Not a fan of opening titles over gameplay. I wanna see who is involved, but that's hard when I'm also moving a character and looking around the environment. Also not sure why the president of Naughty Dog got his own solo credit in the opening titles. Not sure what he did besides overwork his employees, underpay them, and treat them like shit to maximize profit for the company. Not exactly a key creative mind worthy of note. I also kinda feel like the actors should get more obvious credit in a game like this. Voice actors are always important, but especially in these types of cinematic games: why did the president of the company get his own solo credit, but Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Laura Bailey (dream team?) have to share one credit near the end?) Obviously, has no bearing on the game overall. Just a totally random thought I had while starting this up.

8. Also feels like they've unnecessarily ratcheted up the violence. I kinda wish that I could turn of some graphic settings. I honestly don't think I'm "losing something" if I didn't have to constantly hear the crack of breaking necks *every time* you kill someone. The violence itself already makes me uncomfortable. The sound effects and graphic details are actually *almost* enough to make me feel uncomfortable just playing the game. Sorta funny that Gears of War allowed you to adjust gore settings, but The Last of Us doesn't let you change it at all. I've heard the argument that the excessive and graphic violence is itself a point, but after an entire game of this, I'm honestly not sure what the point is? They didn't have to get *more* graphic for the sequel... I'm sure I'll be alone on this, and everyone will have their own preferences on it, but I dunno. Feels excessive and unnecessary, even to the idea that they're simply depicting how cruel and brutal this world is. Yeah, I fucking know. I played the last game. I don't need to have unnervingly realistic graphic visuals and sounds to convey that at this point. Thanks.

Anyway, probably will be doing this all weekend. Anyone else playing it? Any particular thoughts so far?

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Some updates:

I realized that quick swapping already was a thing. I think it just felt a little smoother and quicker to me.

So I'm deep enough in that I kinda get the gist of the story. I'm gonna put it in spoiler tags, but one thing that's kinda neat is that it's definitely more open. Like, it kinda pulls a similar style as Gears 5 did. Not really "open world," but there's a decent-sized sandbox in which you can look around and explore. A certain location is needed to hit up in order to advance the main story, but you can also just look in a bunch of buildings and whatnot and mark up your map. And I think it's a smart and natural change for the series due to the story. Which I'll touch upon in spoilers.

I'll now address one major plot development:

Posted June 20th by Jet Presto
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I'm not really sure why people are complaining about this

A bunch of people on 4chan are losing their shit about it, not considering the fact that expecting a modern AAA video game (that many would argue was soy as fuck to begin with) to be based & redpilled is one of the most pointlessly stupid ideas you can have.

Posted June 20th by War Squid
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The last of us was “soy as fuck”? Well TIL.

Posted June 20th by S.O.H
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MARIOMGUY WAS RIGHT. In seriousness though, I'm not bothering with it and I don't know but I am seeing a lot of hate for it everywhere.

And Jet if you like it good for you. I'm not saying you're wrong just saying what other people are saying. I actually like quite a few really hated games.

Edited June 25th by Grey Echelon
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does that bit about the character need a spoiler tag? I think it should but that’s just because I want to go in fresh when I play it.

Edited June 20th by A.o.h
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Edited June 24th by I killed Mufasa
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So y’all not gonna use spoiler tags at all @red leaf

Like what the fuck

Posted June 20th by S.o.H.
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I forgot how to do it.

Posted June 20th by I killed Mufasa
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