So, before starting this first ever game opinion, I just want to clarify (if anyone gets to read this) that I am in no way affiliated with any gaming company or professional gaming website, therefore, this is just my opinion.
Also, I will talk spoilers for the game, so if (by any chance) you are someone that has not read the leaks, heard all the reasons for the current backlash or played/watched the game (I find that hard to believe at this point :p but hey, there can be someone out there), don´t read beyond this point.
So, this comes after I already played the game and have started a New Game + in order to try and get the Artifacts and Upgrades trophies, and try to platinum the game (thank god it does not have, as of yet, multiplayer trophies, because I don´t think I could get those :p). So, let´s start at the beginning.
The Last of Us Part II is a beautiful game, one of the best of the current PS generation, and deserves a lot of praise. Do I give it a 10/10 like some professional review websites do? Sorry but no. And the reasons for that I will explain during this opinion article.
The Last of Us Part I (not named Part I at the time) was one of the most successful games on the PS3 and later remastered for the PS4. I played both versions because it´s one of my favorite games. It tells the story of Joel Miller, who ends up meeting a little girl named Ellie, and both travel across a plague devastated USA in order to find the Fireflies group. A lot happens and the awkward initial dynamic between the two becomes a father-daughter one and by the end of the game, Joel ends up putting Ellie´s life above a vaccine for the outbreak. In the last scene, he lies to her saying they stopped looking for a cure. And that decision is what triggers not just the plot for the second game but will later have an effect on Joel and Ellie´s relationship.
The Last of Us Part II starts with Joel confessing to Tommy about that lie and it´s the only time in the game we get to control Joel, because the rest of the game we control Ellie and Abby (a new character).
Ellie is now a young woman with feelings for fellow Jackson resident Dina, who broke up with Jessie a while ago, and they talk about something that happened the night before at a dance (we get to see that scene by the end of the game). As they go on patrol by the riverside, they end up fighting infected and before we take control of Abby, we understand that Ellie´s relationship with Joel seems not to be the best one. I did predict it could be because Joel ended up revealing the truth to Ellie, as it turned out to be true.
Switching to Abby, we find out she is looking for someone, and that person could be in Jackson. And now, that reason got leaked almost a month before the release of the game, which is my next section. I ended up being one of those who read the leaks, and I only did it because, at the time, Naughty Dog ended up holding the release of the game indefinitely, due to Corona virus. Part of me did not believe that, as I though they simply did not have finished the game in time, but that was just me thinking… And so, when the leaks were revealed I ended up reading them.
And that was not really a mistake, but it did tamper with my expectations of the game, as it apparently did with many players. The leaks turned out to be true, at least the ones I read about, and don´t get me wrong, I knew Joel was going to die (and I didn´t need leaks for that).
Ever since the first trailer, with Joel walking through the door, I knew he was not going to survive, at some point in the game, we would see him die. And they could not kill him off-screen because that would be insulting not just to the players but also because of the dynamic they built around Ellie and Joel in the first game. I just did not expect it to happen so early in the game. Naughty Dog even created trailers with fake visuals in order for us to think that Joel would live longer than what we thought to be true.
But, to me, the leak that hurt the game more was Abby´s motivation. Abby is the daughter of the surgeon that was going to operate on Ellie at St. Mary´s Hospital and Joel ended up killing. So, her motivations were personal, while some other Fireflies remnants just wanted to kill Joel because he ended up taking away the chance of a vaccine. That motivation was only to be discovered throughout the game, as it was intended by Naughty Dog. So, knowing it so far ahead, took away the intended impact on the player. Also, Abby is part of the Washington Liberation Front (WLF, or Wolf as their logo is a wolf).
To me, playing as Abby was not as exciting as it could or should be. The only times I actually liked playing as Abby were the ones where I was joined by the Seraphites/Scars Yara and Levi (and I really wanted to play as Levi :p ).
All the action takes place in Seattle, as you go through Ellie´s Day 1 to Day 3 first, and the Abby´s Day 1 to Day 3. Ellie is bent on getting revenge for Joel´s death and at the end of Day 3, most of the ones who took part in that event are dead, including the pregnant Mel and Owen, Abby´s ex. At the end of Ellie´s Day 3, she gets ambushed in the theater by Abby who injuries Tommy (who Ellie and Dina went after in Seattle, because he also wanted revenge for his brother Joel) and kills Jessie (who went after Ellie, Dina and Tommy). Jessie, who also happens to be Dina´s unborn child´s father.
When we play as Abby, it´s kind of weird as characters we see here are dead (because of Ellie) so we feel like we are seeing ghosts walking around.
This knowledge could have been better handled if we had played Ellie Day 1 followed by Abby Day 1, and so forth. In my opinion, Abby´s story was designed for the player to feel something for the character, other than anger because she was the one who tortured and killed Joel. Many reviews and opinions about Abby say that she was a good and interesting character, it´s their opinion, I just did not feel that, honestly.
At the end of Abby´s Day 3 and we are at the Theater, we fight Ellie. And why not the other way around? Why not play as Ellie against Abby?… Because Ellie is supposed to lose this fight.
And if not for Levi, Dina would also not survive, even Abby knowing the girl was pregnant. She even said “Good!” as she was holding the knife in Dina´s throat. These moments stated a very key difference between Abby and Ellie. Ellie ended up killing Mel by accident, it was not her intention especially when she found out the woman was pregnant, that shook Ellie to the core and after that she just wanted to go back to Jackson. Abby was choosing violence, not minding if she was killing a pregnant woman (it could be retaliation for Mel, but even then, she could have, at least, hesitated a little…but no). Both women lost their father figure and both wanted revenge but Ellie was the one who, even having promised Tommy they would make Abby pay, let go (for some time) that need for revenge and help Dina raise little JJ (maybe an homage to Joel and Jessie). I particularly liked the section of the epilogue where we need to round up all the sheep and all have a name 😊 that was funny.
Of course, Ellie ended up going after Abby, much to Dina´s plead not to go and we get to save Abby and Levi and settle the score. In the end, it´s the memories of Joel that prevent Ellie from killing her enemy (and I doubt Abby would do the same because Abby only let Ellie live before to feel superior, in my opinion, it was not mercy in the traditional sense).
If we take into consideration the story was intended to happen, the amazing mechanics and superb visuals, The Last of Us Part II is a must that everyone should play (not just watch) and if you end up not liking it or not wanting to repeat, you can just sell the game (please don´t do as some APPARENTLY did by breaking and cutting their disks, because that is a disrespect not just to a company that spend almost 7 years creating this game but to all the players that for monetary reasons could not purchase the game).
These two topics (story progression and intended feelings for Abby) are the reason why I don´t give a 10/10 score to the game. I don´t ever think a game should get 10/10 unless it is pleasant and engaging throughout the entire game. For me, games like this one, God of War (the PS4 one was the one I enjoyed playing because it had so many ways to work with the character, the previous ones were just hack-and-slash but they were ok, my brother loved those 😊 but this new one not so much :p ) and a few others are essential games to play but I am not going to say other reviewers are wrong and I am right, everyone has their opinion and standards to review a game and that´s ok (I enjoyed playing games that according to reviews were not that great).
Bottomline, I enjoyed playing the game and I don´t regret buying it and I recommend it.
This was my first ever game opinion, I´m sorry if it´s very long and maybe not according to some of today´s standards. It´s just a honest opinion 🙂 🙂