Why The Last Of Us Part 2 is a bad sequel – Reader’s Feature
A reader offers his review of Naughty Dog’s latest and explains why he feels it is such a let-down compared to the original.
The first The Last Of Us (and its well-received DLC) established a narrative that had two of the most beloved characters in gaming history, which was rightly lauded as a classic. It always felt like it should have remained as a standalone masterpiece. But a sequel is what we have.
Let me start with the positives. The graphics are absolutely stunning. They’re clearly pushing the ageing PlayStation 4 to its limits, as the fan noise can testify to. The environmental level design is excellent, as is the sound. Facial animations are really superb. The presentation of this game is one of the best available on the PlayStation 4.
Another big positive are the game’s accessibility options. Naughty Dog have really pushed the boat out on this, with clearly well thought out options. I’m colour blind to the point where some games pose a problem, so Naughty Dog’s commitment in this area should be commended.
Although it has some tweaks the gameplay is familiar, mostly performing as the same perfunctory way of progressing the story. Enemy artificial intelligence at times is still laughably bad. However, the delicate balance of the original has gone. Environmental puzzles play little part now, so the gameplay is repetitive; sneak and kill, rinse and repeat. At times I began to feel like I was a data entry clerk.
And then we come to the story. It’s very difficult to criticise this game properly without spoilers. What I can say is it’s far too long and structurally awkward. But it’s in the second half that this game really falls apart. There is a distasteful theme of underlying patronising that makes the game feel like a 25-hour endeavour that only exists to tell players off.
We are forced into performing certain actions we don’t want to do, only then to be admonished for doing so. Often these are contrived parts which compromise the integrity of the characters simply to facilitate certain plot points to get a desired reaction. As such they make decisions that are often fundamentally incoherent and illogical.
The inconsistency of the treatment of certain characters performing the same actions during the second part is, at times, embarrassingly bad. The ending is a very good example of this – it’s laugh out loud ridiculous in its lack of logic. The plot is clumsy, ham-fisted, and trite. Subtle this game is not and comes across as a series of cheap parlour tricks. In terms of beautifully drawn out characters to help progress a plot, Druckmann is no Jane Austen.
What made the previous game special is just gutted out to the point of being disrespectful, leaving few positives in its place. Naughty Dog clearly has a dim view of its own fanbase.
The terminal problem with this game for me was I just simply stopped caring. Supposed tense moments no longer mattered, nor did the story nor the violence. We are supposed to empathise at certain points, but I couldn’t and with that the rest of the game quickly falls apart. I’m glad the game was spoiled for me because if I had played this not knowing I would have felt I was a victim of a bait and switch.
This wants to be judged on its character and story in the same way as its predecessor. And judging on that basis it is a complete let down. I’d view this as average at best, with a point added for its accessibility. If nothing else I hope this is the game’s actual legacy.
I’ll leave the final word to a Joel quote in the game; ‘See there was a sequel. It wasn’t as good.’
By reader Paul Williams
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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