Warning, SPOILER: We recommend that you read this article only if you’ve read The Last of Us 2, already know the storyline, or don’t care about spoilers. The events of the central plot are discussed here.
It was more than a little disgusting what was heard in some areas of the internet just over a month ago in response to the first article leaks. “Joel dies early in the game at the hands of a transsexual !? The conservative “alpha man” network coalition – and right-wing incels saw this as a “waking” punch, as an exemplary SJW attack on the white Christian man. Because creative director Neil Druckman had said something about wanting representation in his games and mostly talking about the traditionally somewhat slippery game of women.
From there, from a cutscene in which an unlikely muscular woman crushes the skull of the (anti) hero from the last part, the rest become independent. A “Christian sect” which is “naturally perverse” as a sign of a studio campaign against conservative values. Plus, parts of the game you play as Joel’s Killer !? “She could cure cancer and I would always hate her,” someone wrote, revealing an unhealthy hero cult for Joel. “This game is going to hurt the medium” and “this has to be the worst video game story ever,” others have suggested. Ou said that Druckmann and Co. were “disgusted with their target group”. Searching for this article was no pleasure.
The bad mood in some circles escalated on Friday morning after the release – and Joel’s confirmed death by Abby – in a bombardment review on Metacritic (current 3.9 user rating with a 95-point Metascore, our The Last of Us 2 You can read the review here). Of course, some of the leaks ultimately turned out to be nonsense, which the anti-SJW faction imagined from the rough brushstrokes of the plot. Importantly, the fact that Abby is neither trans nor villainous in the story, torturing or killing everyone involved, exposes much of the fanaticism that has occurred in the outlook. In all fairness it must be said that a lot of people have nothing against the inclusion of various sexualities, genders and images of women in The Last of Us 2, to hate but nonetheless, a series of narrative decisions were abysmal and responded to Joel’s untimely death by Abby’s hand, as if Neil Druckmann had personally killed his dog. Not hit by the car, but strangled with a leash.
Let’s leave the snowflake cry of those who don’t want to hear that trans people exist, but for now – the less we talk about it the better: as sorry as I am, Abby’s hate is exactly the expected reaction authors. We have to despise Abby, not because of her looks, but at least because of what she has done. We want to see her dead because she tore Ellies and our lives apart. And then when our heroine crossed the Rubicon – show us Abby as a basically just but avenged man who cares about his friends and whose family, hope for humanity and their way of life have come to an abrupt end thanks to to Joel. Abby has every reason to hate Joel and if we had only seen her side from the start, we probably would have given her the golf club.
In that regard, hatred for Abby is an essential prerequisite for the existence of a play on the cycle of violence, simple revenge that numbs pain and forgiveness that seems impossible. Apparently, Naughty Dog has done its job a little too well. A lot of gamers loved Joel so much that they found themselves unable to play with Abby or connect with her. They put his act in perspective at the end of part one, and don’t want to see him becoming the villain of this story for the last few meters for understandable reasons. Joel knows himself better and that’s why he ends up in front of Ellie at the end. The fact that we understand him doesn’t change the self-imposed guilt. That’s exactly what makes him a good character – and that’s exactly what seals his fate, not even without reason. Still, you can’t get rid of the feeling that he wouldn’t want Ellie on this revenge campaign. Even in the absence, Joel’s presence in the game is still palpable.
However, it is true that this game is not without problems in its narrative structure. The transition to Abby is important, efficient and ultimately rewarding. However, due to the mirrored structure of the story, your sections shrink noticeably in terms of tension as we went from the climax of story A to the beginning of story B. I loved this tip , but I also temporarily lost interest in Abby’s powerhouse section before the story thankfully turned out well in preparation for the relentless finale. I understand Abby and appreciate her development in relation to Ellie – from the avenged survivor to the person who works for others. But strictly speaking, this thinking could probably have been resolved differently. Not that we were spared dozens of Abby’s deaths Monday on YouTube, but hey.
The impression that the game gives me is definitely deep. It’s not a title for everyone and I admit I can feel the pain from the fan base about it. But from a creative point of view, it is simply impressive how this game of consolation or lessons is at hand and in its great history, it refuses all poetry and grand gestures. It’s not satisfying in its storytelling by design – not inability, as many places testify – because it doesn’t primarily see itself as a story with a classic heroic journey with beginning, middle, and ending.
In the PlayStation Store, you can get The Last of Us 2 as a Standard Edition ($ 69.99) and a Digital Deluxe Edition ($ 79.99).
To me, The Last of Us 2 is more like a tool, an instrument to start processes in the player. The effect counted, which is why no one wanted to talk only about the nature of violence, punishment and forgiveness. After all, most people know how rational they are on these matters. Naughty Dog wants you to feel hate, anger, helplessness and disgust, and he takes on the cruelest crime possible against the player, Joel’s death. It’s the scariest, scariest story generator fuel that Naughty Dog has built here, and whose hellish roar is almost unbearable towards the end. We almost think it should hardly be a game. Incredibly in fact with a project of this size. The Last of Us 2 is not an experience to be lived. But a daring, adult and precious contribution to this medium.
You can find tips on Last of Us 2 in our The Last of Us 2 walkthrough.
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