JoaLoft

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  1. I'm late to the party, I know. I've been taking my sweet time with this game to absorb everything and get through it without rushing and making sure I get a platinum trophy as an early completionist. But, it's been difficult to dodge spoilers. People are talking about the game everywhere, either condemning it, or praising it and then explicitly stating why, plot twists included. I think everyone agrees that the gameplay mechanics, the level design and the audiovisual quality are amazing. Some of this stuff is state-of-the-art level. Where everyone seems to disagree, is the story and how the themes are handled. I finished the game tonight, and here's my take on everything. Spoilers ahead, you've been warned. We have several points to address that people have been complaining about, so I'll do my best to cut this up into sections. Point #1: Taking Joel away makes this game shit Although the story could've gone in different ways, a very serious catalyst was needed to send Ellie in that blind rage to make her travel across states and pursue someone. That's the reason why Joel's death occurred. Dina's death would not have been enough, since they do not have the strong bond that Ellie and Joel have. It sucks, I hated seeing Joel go out too, but it makes sense. It's a very bold narrative choice to make and to show that characters in The Last of Us are also just people of flesh and blood that can just be gone in a snap. Let's not forget Sam, Henry, Jesse, or Tess. They were all gone in a flash too. The one thing I would have preferred perhaps, was the inclusion of Joel being a mental projection during Ellie's journey. Where he might show up here and there, and talk to her when she's on her own, figuring things out. That way, we could've had more Joel throughout the game's events. My personal opinion: did Joel deserve what he got? Absolutely not. But that's what made the loss even more heartbreaking, in a world where the flame of righteousness has mostly extinguished. Point #2: "Joel is bad, and Abby is good" or vice versa The biggest issue here for a lot of people seems to be that they still think in typical black-and-white stereotypes. Good versus bad. Virtue versus evil. Some players thought Joel was a bad guy at first for stealing Ellie away (which was difficult for me to comprehend because I never looked at it like that) and lying to her, who then turned out to be good because he saved her, but then turned out to be bad "because the devs are trying to shove morals down your throat by flipping perspectives halfway through the second game". The Last of Us features a post-apocalyptic world that attempts to address its setting and aftermath with more-or-less realistic boundaries. Most of the human population has died at this point. And the people who survived, went through a certain natural selection: survival of the fittest. If you remember Henry from the first game, he commented on how people turned on each other at the beginning of the pandemic. They fought and killed and looted for every bit of food that was left. The weak, the obese, the old, the feeble, the youngest ones: a lot of them fell prey to infected as well. In short: the people who survived all had to resort to terrible actions to stay alive. Including Joel, who has had to smuggle, kill, loot, etc. Just like everyone, just like Tess, Bill, the Fireflies, the WLF, FEDRA, the whole shebang. Everyone has blood on their hands, because that's what it took to make it through. Pure virtue and evil do not exist. Get that out of your head. There's only one big ambiguous grey mass in which perspectives play a big role. The Fireflies were so obsessed with their cure - which was not guaranteed to work and even then would've only sparked a vicious power struggle between factions - that they lost their humanity along the way. They wanted to sacrifice a little girl to achieve their goal. Bad, in the eyes of Joel, so he saved her from that slab so she could have something that at least resembles a normal life. Good, in the eyes of the Fireflies, who want to cure the rest of humanity and think the benefit outweighs the cost. You can argue whether or not there's anything left to save of humanity at this point, because all that's left, are cannibals, murderers, rapists, thieves, smugglers, and the like. I'm on Joel's side here, but I can see people arguing that the end justifies the means, with little to no consideration of human loss. Another example: Joel stands at a pivotal crossroads when he enters that operating room. He affects the course of a lot of different things in that one room. Not only does he save Ellie from death, he literally trades his life for hers at that point. He kills the head surgeon, Abby's dad, to save Ellie. That's the price he pays. Good, in his eyes, because she gets to live and doesn't get cut up like some piece of meat. Bad, in the eyes of Abby, because Joel killed her dad. As an omniscient audience, we know all the characters' backgrounds and motives and see how things play out between everyone, like projectiles deflecting from all sides like some possessed pinball machine. However, from the point of view from these characters, the tone shifts. What Joel sees: a depraved faction which wants to kill a little girl. What Abby sees: a crazy smuggler who took away her father and the potential for a cure. And this applies to all the factions: they all will justify that what they are doing, is correct from their point of view. This goes for David's cannibalistic community, the Pittsburgh looters and the Fireflies in TLOU1, as it does for the Wolves, the Seraphites and the Rattlers in TLOU2. Moral ambiguity. Perspectives. No absolute good or bad. And this is where a space is created for opinions and discussion. I would've tried to do the same thing Joel did, if I was him, and I certainly don't believe he deserved what he got in the end. But, that's my opinion. The sooner you accept that they're all characters with flaws and strengths, the sooner you can look at the events of the game more objectively. And I think the fact that Joel dying made so many people mourn so passionately and made them so angry, doesn't show that the story is nonsensical. It shows that Joel was a very beloved character and very well written, which is a testament to how well Naughty Dog developed him. Point #3: The ending is meaningless Let me stop you right there. If the game ended at the theater, it would've probably been underwhelming. The point they're trying to make, would still stand, but I would have felt that the game was unfinished. However, that entire last bit in Santa Barbara does make a difference and adds to the resolution. A part of that is how control shifts, take note: where it was Abby teaching Ellie a lesson during their first confrontation in the theater and almost killing her, it is Ellie who has control in the second and final confrontation at the coastline. But that's not all. As we stated, Abby thinks her vengeance is justified. Joel killed her dad, she kills Joel. Daddy avenged, case closed. For Ellie however, it's an entirely different story. She's tormented by guilt, about how she handled Joel, despite his best intentions. Her father figure, the only one she ever had (and a pretty damn good one at that), gets taken away from her in a most vicious way, with matters unresolved. This is not just about vengeance for Ellie, it's about processing the loss and letting go, putting Joel to rest in her mind. It's about growing up, moving on. And even, in a few ways, it's about learning how to forgive. The thirst for revenge costs Ellie almost everything by the end. She loses a few fingers, breaks bones, suffers serious wounds and it is implied that Dina leaves her at the end with the baby. Her own sanity almost collapses. Ellie lets go at the end, literally and figuratively. She moves on. Even if we all think Abby deserves more pain, despite her being portrayed as a human character with the same feelings that Ellie has, as they've tried to establish in that second portion of the game. If there's any consolation - and do take note that I actually found some comfort in this, sorry Abby-lovers, if you're out there - Abby does get punished for what she did to Joel, and Ellie and DIna and Tommy and Jesse. Death would have been too kind for her. She gets a hell of a (well-deserved) beating several times, including Ellie's severe ferocity she endures at the end, and her petty revenge does also come with a very hefty price tag. Instead of dying, she gets to live with the knowledge that it cost her all her friends' lives and led her down a path where she was captured, enslaved, starved and hung out to die. In that aspect, Abby learns an even harsher truth than Ellie does. Point #4: Joel's death was disgraceful and he deserved a more heroic one I can see that you feel as if Joel's character has been done a disservice by the way he was killed. There's only one problem with that: giving Joel a heroic somber death would be putting Joel into a heroic frame, which is exactly the opposite of what they're trying to achieve. He's not a protagonist or an antagonist. He's a survivor who has been through a lot, and had to resort to terrible deeds to endure. Just another guy. And he could've gone out in any number of brutal ways, despite his good intentions. He's no more important than any of the other characters we've lost along the way. Maybe to us, but not in the bigger scope of things. There's one more reason why Joel was given such a heartbreaking death. You have to remember that although we take about 30-35 hours to beat this whole game which is less than a day and a half (I personally did it in 36, I took my time exploring everywhere), this is the timespan of approx. a year and a half in reality, considering there was no pregnancy yet to speak of on Joel's date of death, baby JJ has already been born for a while at the start of the final act, and it takes Ellie another few months after to travel to Santa Barbara. You'd have to justify Ellie's blind hatred and relentless pursuit for such a long time by hitting several key requirements: The most valuable person to her had to die: Joel. He had to die in front of her eyes. He had to die in a very vicious, slow and painful way. That's why Joel died the way he did. Naughty Dog wants us to feel like Ellie: we see our father figure being mercilessly beaten to death with no chance of defense in front of our very eyes, fully knowing that he risked his own life to save Ellie before multiple times, and to give her something that resembles a normal life. Add on top of that, that Ellie's final conversation with Joel left things a bit unresolved and he never got the forgiveness he sought: you can see why Ellie is prepared to murder everything in her path to get to Abby, initially. I think if we were put in that situation, we'd want to hunt down the people responsible to the ends of the earth as well, no matter how long it took. Point #5: They want us to hate Ellie and love Abby/Abby is a piece of shit and we can never empathize with her The point was never to necessarily empathize with Abby. If you did, even better for you, but it was primarily to understand why she went to such lengths. That same blind hatred applies to her, just as much as it does to Ellie. It's never stated explicitly, but the fact Abby looked for Joel for years and worked out so much, must mean she was incredibly devoted to murder him. Someone pointed out how irredeemable she is for accepting Joel's help, luring him to their lodge, cornering them and then still killing him. The nuances are there if you look again at the notorious scene from Abby's perspective: right before she kills him, you can see the pity on her face as she looks to Joel, all bloody and beaten up. And right before delivering the final blow, she shakes her head, indicating: "fuck, let's just get this over with". Which also shows a bit of reluctance on her part. Nonetheless, push through with it she did, because she crossed the point of no return a long time ago. And right after, you can spot the dissatisfaction/emptiness on her face. She did not gain any pleasure or real closure out of this. She did what she thought she had to do, to restore balance to righteousness from her perspective. Again, a testament to the very solid acting work of Laura Bailey and directing work of Neil Druckmann. To address the other matter: Mel does point out that Abby "is a piece of shit". And Abby does not parry. She stands there and accepts it, because she knows it's true. Abby is a person, just like any other in this world, who has done vile things and made mistakes, maybe even more so than others. However, she does also grow and start to realize that her image of the world outside of the WLF and Fireflies is distorted. It's also about how she's trying to redeem whatever is left of her tainted soul. At first, she mocks the Scar prisoners, thinking they're all just fanatics, which is what happens when you're in the same bubble where the same theories and opinions are repeated over and over again: Opinions become fact over time, in that scenario. However, when her life is saved by two Seraphites on the run for not adhering to their ideological restrictions, she starts to reconsider that everything is not so black and white. She also has dreams and nightmares that gradually improve, if you noticed, as she tries to soothe her conscience by helping Lev and Yara more and more. But more than anything, "this story about hate" as Naughty Dog described it years back when they revealed it, is not just about Ellie. It's also about Abby. It's about hate's destructive effects and how all-consuming it is eventually. Abby's hatred against Joel. Ellie's hatred against Abby. The WLF's hatred against the "Scars". The Seraphites' hatred against the "Wolves". It's a two-part story, hence how they almost mirror everything in those three days in Seattle, as you play as Ellie first, and then as Abby. You see how they have the same feelings, they struggle with the same problems and their own existence and identity. As Ellie descends into all-consuming rage, Abby climbs and fights an uphill battle, desperately trying to redeem whatever is left of her, even though it is mostly in vain. And about that ending... The core theme at the end may be about forgiveness, but even more so, the core message/question it asks you, is: Is five minutes of satisfaction worth an entire life of misery? These two women, who we're witnessing as they slide further down a path of self-destruction and ruin, are heading towards a breaking point. As said before, this takes place over the course of more than a year. And at that coastline, both women are exhausted after all this time. Mentally, physically and emotionally. For different reasons, obviously, but nevertheless: they are spent. When that final confrontation occurs, Ellie is in control as opposed to at the theater, because Abby already reached her breaking point long ago, due to the consequences of her revenge on Joel. Ellie hasn't ... Yet. Abby is clear about this in what she tells Ellie: "I'm not going to fight you." She's done with the whole thing. Ellie, however, still has a score to settle and engages in combat against Abby's wishes. It's at this point last week, when I finished the game, that I had a very different reaction as opposed to a lot of streamers and YouTubers who were very disappointed. They were treating this as a traditional boss fight and wanted to see blood flow. Abby's blood. When I played, I was concurrently spectating in shock, lower jaw slightly dropped. I was participating, guiding Ellie. I was prepared to do what Ellie wanted. But I only had one thought the further the battle progressed, which I eventually muttered as I kept playing: "Oh my God. She's (Ellie) actually going to kill her (Abby)." I did not feel the satisfaction that others were seeking. I wasn't witnessing a protagonist stopping an antagonist. What I witnessed, were two women trying to destroy each other to the bone, with their last ounces of strength left. And there was a tangible morbid sadness to witnessing that scene. Ellie starts to realize that too: she has Abby pinned down underneath the water and she's about to get what she wanted, but she is emotionally struggling immensely to do what she has been pursuing for so long. It's when she remembers her final conversation with Joel that she reaches her breaking point. She realizes she has to let go, before it consumes all of her, after having lost so much already in her search for justice and vengeance. She wasn't getting any satisfaction out of it, just as Abby didn't when she killed Joel. She doesn't necessarily forgive Abby, nor does she save her: most of all, Ellie saves herself before it is too late. The epilogue The epilogue shows the result of the entire journey. I find it a bit juvenile to see how some people mocked and said: "it's written so poorly: in the end Ellie loses some fingers and plays the guitar badly, lol". The game is full of symbolism and carries more meaning than meets the eye. Ellie struggling to play "Future Days" (the song Joel plays for her at the beginning in Jackson) like she was able to before several times, shows how literally and figuratively she lost a part of herself along the way definitively. She's incomplete. But, after everything, she is finally able to put Joel to rest in her mind, let go and forgive him, as she leaves the guitar behind and walks away from the now desolated farm. And if you remember the lyrics of the song, I think you'll see how the point of the entire journey hits home at the very end before the credits roll: If I ever were to lose you I'd surely lose myself I'm sorry for all the long analyses, but if you dig deeper past the story beats, you'll find that The Last of Us Part II offers a lot of complex philosophical matter to debate, woven into the game's very fabric. And there's a lot more to appreciate in its nuances, if you're willing to see them. That's why I wanted to talk about the story and its ending. That's why I love the entire experience so much. This was my take on how everything came to pass in The Last of Us Part II. Surprisingly, I was able to dodge all of the leaks and spoilers pretty much, so I went in with an open mind. And I really enjoyed the entire story. It sucks that some people had certain expectations, and wanted Joel to be along for the entire ride, but this just goes to show you: never cherish high expectations. You'll only be setting yourself up for disappointment, which is what happened with a huge amount of players, it seems. I'd love to hear what everyone's take is on the subject matter. As long as you don't go blindly hating just for the sake of hating because you didn't get your way. Please support your opinions with solid arguments, and don't let this thread descend into chaos and namecalling.
  2. I was not expecting this either, when I put up my analysis, hence the reason why I added that I want "everyone to stay civilized and not resort to namecalling". But pretty much everyone did. And I was pleasantly surprised. Also: calling the director "Cuckmann" or saying that Ellie's gay because he likes dudes or because he wants to push an SJW-LGBTQ narrative or political agenda, does not add anything to the debate. On the contrary, it is juvenile and completely ridiculous.
  3. You did, and it's great to see how people approached the game differently, with various expectations. I am a huge fan of the first game in general, and I was still able to put events of the second game into context. I did add those new points of mine to my original post. I think I covered everything I wanted to cover that others have been criticizing. But I hope more players will contribute and share their experience with the game from their point of view.
  4. Sales have been becoming more and more apparent, because back when PS4 launched, supply was low and the games were brand-new. Nowadays, there are hundreds upon hundreds of PS4 games to choose from, and new ones keep releasing. Competition is incredibly fierce, so prices for games drop relatively quickly and sales have become much more common. You can spend your money only once, so the market will do whatever it takes to get your dollar/euro (or other currencies). The current new sale is not impressive, though. Seems like I'll have plenty of time to work on the backlog this month!
  5. I've been keeping tabs on the thread, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with how civil pretty much all responses have been. Kudos to all of you, it shows that people can agree or disagree about certain aspects of the game, and respect the other's opinion as long as it's supported with logical arguments. Would love to dive a bit deeper on what some of you have mentioned, from my perspective, so I'd like to add what else I saw when I was playing, to help put everything into context. Point #4: Joel's death was disgraceful and he deserved a more heroic one I can see that you feel as if Joel's character has been done a disservice by the way he was killed. There's only one problem with that: giving Joel a heroic somber death would be putting Joel into a heroic frame, which is exactly the opposite of what they're trying to achieve. He's not a protagonist or an antagonist. He's a survivor who has been through a lot, and had to resort to terrible deeds to endure. Just another guy. And he could've gone out in any number of brutal ways, despite his good intentions. He's no more important than any of the other characters we've lost along the way. Maybe to us, but not in the bigger scope of things. There's one more reason why Joel was given such a heartbreaking death. You have to remember that although we take about 30-35 hours to beat this whole game which is less than a day and a half (I personally did it in 36, I took my time exploring everywhere), this is the timespan of approx. a year and a half in reality, considering there was no pregnancy yet to speak of on Joel's date of death, baby JJ has already been born for a while at the start of the final act, and it takes Ellie another few months after to travel to Santa Barbara. You'd have to justify Ellie's blind hatred and relentless pursuit for such a long time by hitting several key requirements: The most valuable person to her had to die: Joel. He had to die in front of her eyes. He had to die in a very vicious, slow and painful way. That's why Joel died the way he did. Naughty Dog wants us to feel like Ellie: we see our father figure being mercilessly beaten to death with no chance of defense in front of our very eyes, fully knowing that he risked his own life to save Ellie before multiple times, and to give her something that resembles a normal life. Add on top of that, that Ellie's final conversation with Joel left things a bit unresolved and he never got the forgiveness he sought: you can see why Ellie is prepared to murder everything in her path to get to Abby, initially. I think if we were put in that situation, we'd want to hunt down the people responsible to the ends of the earth as well, no matter how long it took. Point #5: They want us to hate Ellie and love Abby/Abby is a piece of shit and we can never empathize with her The point was never to necessarily empathize with Abby. If you did, even better for you, but it was primarily to understand why she went to such lengths. That same blind hatred applies to her, just as much as it does to Ellie. It's never stated explicitly, but the fact Abby looked for Joel for years and worked out so much, must mean she was incredibly devoted to murder him. Someone pointed out how irredeemable she is for accepting Joel's help, luring him to their lodge, cornering them and then still killing him. The nuances are there if you look again at the notorious scene from Abby's perspective: right before she kills him, you can see the pity on her face as she looks to Joel, all bloody and beaten up. And right before delivering the final blow, she shakes her head, indicating: "fuck, let's just get this over with". Which also shows a bit of reluctance on her part. Nonetheless, push through with it she did, because she crossed the point of no return a long time ago. And right after, you can spot the dissatisfaction/emptiness on her face. She did not gain any pleasure or real closure out of this. She did what she thought she had to do, to restore balance to righteousness from her perspective. Again, a testament to the very solid acting work of Laura Bailey and directing work of Neil Druckmann. To address the other matter: Mel does point out that Abby "is a piece of shit". And Abby does not parry. She stands there and accepts it, because she knows it's true. Abby is a person, just like any other in this world, who has done vile things and made mistakes, maybe even more so than others. However, she does also grow and start to realize that her image of the world outside of the WLF and Fireflies is distorted. It's also about how she's trying to redeem whatever is left of her tainted soul. At first, she mocks the Scar prisoners, thinking they're all just fanatics, which is what happens when you're in the same bubble where the same theories and opinions are repeated over and over again: Opinions become fact over time, in that scenario. However, when her life is saved by two Seraphites on the run for not adhering to their ideological restrictions, she starts to reconsider that everything is not so black and white. She also has dreams and nightmares that gradually improve, if you noticed, as she tries to soothe her conscience by helping Lev and Yara more and more. But more than anything, "this story about hate" as Naughty Dog described it years back when they revealed it, is not just about Ellie. It's also about Abby. It's about hate's destructive effects and how all-consuming it is eventually. Abby's hatred against Joel. Ellie's hatred against Abby. The WLF's hatred against the "Scars". The Seraphites' hatred against the "Wolves". It's a two-part story, hence how they almost mirror everything in those three days in Seattle, as you play as Ellie first, and then as Abby. You see how they have the same feelings, they struggle with the same problems and their own existence and identity. As Ellie descends into all-consuming rage, Abby climbs and fights an uphill battle, desperately trying to redeem whatever is left of her, even though it is mostly in vain. And about that ending... The core theme at the end may be about forgiveness, but even more so, the core message/question it asks you, is: Is five minutes of satisfaction worth an entire life of misery? These two women, who we're witnessing as they slide further down a path of self-destruction and ruin, are heading towards a breaking point. As said before, this takes place over the course of more than a year. And at that coastline, both women are exhausted after all this time. Mentally, physically and emotionally. For different reasons, obviously, but nevertheless: they are spent. When that final confrontation occurs, Ellie is in control as opposed to at the theater, because Abby already reached her breaking point long ago, due to the consequences of her revenge on Joel. Ellie hasn't ... Yet. Abby is clear about this in what she tells Ellie: "I'm not going to fight you." She's done with the whole thing. Ellie, however, still has a score to settle and engages in combat against Abby's wishes. It's at this point last week, when I finished the game, that I had a very different reaction as opposed to a lot of streamers and YouTubers who were very disappointed. They were treating this as a traditional boss fight and wanted to see blood flow. Abby's blood. When I played, I was concurrently spectating in shock, lower jaw slightly dropped. I was participating, guiding Ellie. I was prepared to do what Ellie wanted. But I only had one thought the further the battle progressed, which I eventually muttered as I kept playing: "Oh my God. She's (Ellie) actually going to kill her (Abby)." I did not feel the satisfaction that others were seeking. I wasn't witnessing a protagonist stopping an antagonist. What I witnessed, were two women trying to destroy each other to the bone, with their last ounces of strength left. And there was a tangible morbid sadness to witnessing that scene. Ellie starts to realize that too: she has Abby pinned down underneath the water and she's about to get what she wanted, but she is emotionally struggling immensely to do what she has been pursuing for so long. It's when she remembers her final conversation with Joel that she reaches her breaking point. She realizes she has to let go, before it consumes all of her, after having lost so much already in her search for justice and vengeance. She wasn't getting any satisfaction out of it, just as Abby didn't when she killed Joel. She doesn't necessarily forgive Abby, nor does she save her: most of all, Ellie saves herself before it is too late. The epilogue The epilogue shows the result of the entire journey. I find it a bit juvenile to see how some people mocked and said: "it's written so poorly: in the end Ellie loses some fingers and plays the guitar badly, lol". The game is full of symbolism and carries more meaning than meets the eye. Ellie struggling to play "Future Days" (the song Joel plays for her at the beginning in Jackson) like she was able to before several times, shows how literally and figuratively she lost a part of herself along the way definitively. She's incomplete. But, after everything, she is finally able to put Joel to rest in her mind, let go and forgive him, as she leaves the guitar behind and walks away from the now desolated farm. And if you remember the lyrics of the song, I think you'll see how the point of the entire journey hits home at the very end before the credits roll: If I ever were to lose you I'd surely lose myself I'm sorry for all the long analyses, but if you dig deeper past the story beats, you'll find that The Last of Us Part II offers a lot of complex philosophical matter to debate, woven into the game's very fabric. And there's a lot more to appreciate in its nuances, if you're willing to see them. That's why I wanted to talk about the story and its ending. That's why I love the entire experience so much.
  6. Because Ellie suffers from survivor's guilt, and is not thinking straight. She sees only one outcome. Only one door seems open to her, when in reality there is still a lot more that life can offer, even in a post-apocalyptic world. Joel points this out at the very end of the first game: "I struggled for a long time with survivin'. No matter what, you keep finding something to fight for." Joel's reasoning as to why he did it, has to do with the bond he created with Ellie. The way he runs with Ellie in his arms, is very reminiscent of day one of the outbreak, when he lost Sarah. He had her in his arms too. Ellie had become like a daughter to him, and he was not willing to lose another daughter. You could argue whether or not Joel was being selfish at that point, but hearing the cost versus the benefit of trying to develop a cure, shows that Joel does also see the bigger picture than Ellie, who looks at it from a different perspective. He found it was necessary to save her against her own will. That's exactly what he also says to Tommy at the first cutscene of The Last of Us Part II: "I saved her." We can agree to disagree about Joel's motives and if they were justified. From my point of view, however, he did the right thing. If presented with the choice, I'd make the same call.
  7. I remember posting about this very same question when The Last of Us (1) was out back in 2013-2014. Even if they were able to develop a vaccine, and get it distributed to everyone: is there anything left saving to begin with? You have looters, cannibals, thieves, murderers, rapists, slave traders around every corner. Humanity's worst is left. And at that point, attempting to save it is in vain. Not only that: a cure is the post-apocalyptic equivalent of gold. It is the perfect bargaining chip. Factions and people would be fighting over it in an incredibly vicious power struggle, just as they fought for every bit of food and medicine at the beginning of the outbreak. Which would, ironically, sow even more death, destruction and misery all around. If the Fireflies were genuinely trying to make a vaccine to help humanity recover fully: it was a very noble, but equally very flawed, naive and futile attempt. There are so many theoretical requirements to have this vaccine successfully developed and distributed without violence, that in reality it never stood a chance to begin with. Joel didn't doom humanity. Joel stopped a delusional faction from killing an innocent girl who deserved better than to die on a slab in an operating room.
  8. I don't think they are. Remember, this is not just a regular Plus line-up: it's a 10th Anniversary one. Half of this Plus offer is good, actually. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a really solid addition, and I can give Erica the benefit of the doubt. But NBA 2K20, despite probably being a decent sports game, has fucking gambling mechanics and microtransactions built into its framework. That's where everyone should draw the line. As a celebration of Plus, I feel it would have been better if they replaced NBA 2K20 with an exclusive at least: The Last Guardian? Horizon Zero Dawn? Those games have been out for years, they're amazing and as such would've been viable options. Heck, even No Man's Sky would've been a great addition (yes, the game's been really good ever since 2018). Some people will always find something to complain about, but there are reasonable users like myself who have defended the line-up, when it deserved to be. I stand by what I said earlier: this overall package could have been better for a milestone such as 10 Years of Plus.
  9. Good, you found closure, finally. Not a big surprise to see how everything turned out. Now, walk away from her and move on. You'll find someone better who deserves your compassion and attention. All the best to you.
  10. I'd defend Sony if there is a solid line-up to defend, but honestly: For a 10th Anniversary of Plus, this is just disappointing. Rise of the Tomb Raider is great, but Erica? Hmmm. NBA 2K20 loaded with microtransactions? Ugh. This could have been a lot better, given the circumstances.
  11. So. Just like all of you, I'm thoroughly enjoying the game so far. At least, I hope you all are too. And when I got to the music shop in Seattle and found the guitar, I knew I had to mess around with it. At first, I just played around with it randomly, but then, I had the idea if I could actually recreate a portion of the main theme of the first game. A short and sober rendition, if you will, as a tribute to the first game, and Joel. To my own surprise, it's actually possible, what with all the available chords to choose from. I made a few versions, including a slightly quicker one than this one. I opted for the slower version because it helps emphasize Ellie's frailty in the aftermath of the shocking events that set up the story. I urge you all to head on over to that music shop and try out the guitar for yourself, see what other melodies or renditions you could recreate. But in the meantime: this one's for you, Joel. ❤️ If anything, it's a testament to how insanely detailed the game is. The fact that there's an actual guitar simulator in the game, blows my mind. Please refrain from talking about any big plot twists, keep the thread spoiler-free, I'd appreciate that. There are other threads available to discuss the story at length. Hope you all like it. Thanks in advance for keeping the thread clean!
  12. I get to play a bunch of games each year. Every year there are games with a lot of traction that meet expectations, overhyped games that fall flat and sleeper hits. A Plague Tale: Innocence is one of those sleeper hits. I really enjoyed it, and I'd go so far as to say that this is my biggest surprise of 2019. Take note when I say: "biggest surprise". It's not the best game of last year in general, but definitely the one that surprised me the most, considering how low my expectations were. More people should play this hidden gem.
  13. #226 - Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage I know, I know. "JoaLoft, why the hell are you playing Spyro when you have The Last of Us: Part II installed?! Play that instead!" And I will! Calm down, damn it. I want to savor that game for every bit of scrumptiousness that it is. I started Spyro 2 a day earlier, and I decided on platting it in between The Last of Us sessions. Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage is a relatively easy, light platformer where you go to worlds - although you could consider them levels, based on their small scope - to collect talismans and unlock boss fights to defeat Ripto together with his minions. It's not bad enough he tumbles through a portal into a peaceful realm by accident and starts to claim leadership of everything, he even starts to destroy everything. The little pipsqueak is so annoying, you'd break off his only horn on his head and shove it down his goddamn windpipe until it protrudes through his demonic little sphincter. Unfortunately, Spyro only possesses claws and can't grant us the pleasure of that sight. Luckily, he makes up for the lack of fists with a mean fiery breath, and uses that to his advantage to burn his enemies to ashes and complete objectives. As far as remakes go, Activision deserves to be commended for the solid work their studios have delivered. Both Modern Warfare remasters (save for the third one which is coming, undoubtedly) and the Crash Bandicoot games got a modern and fresh lick of paint, and so did the Spyro games. Although, let's be honest here: most of the praise goes to Insomniac Games, who made the initial versions for PS1. These are still straight remakes, after all. That being said, the visual design is striking in all three Spyro remakes, so the updated presentation gets two big thumbs up from me. Most frustrating trophy - He's on FIRE! The Spyro games are easy, as stated above. The biggest trophy you'll have to deal with, is "He's on FIRE!" which requires you to unlock the Super Flame ability, which is a permanent attack move that makes the game incredibly easy to beat. Small note: you only get this AFTER you collect all gems in all worlds (10.000 in total) and collect all the orbs (64 in total, which you mostly get from doing all kinds of miscellaneous objectives) which pretty much means finishing the game with a 100% clear rate. At which point the attack is virtually useless, unless for cleaning up any trophies you missed, or if you'd like to use it in a new save slot and go to town. Still, this is something you work towards naturally as you clear every world, one at a time. Easy platinum, all things considered. I'll definitely post my third platinum trophy of the trilogy later, once I beat that entry!
  14. I got them all in one single run, but apparently, from what I can gather: other players who tried it state that you can claim these through chapter select, yes.
  15. A bit of a shameless plug I'm posting today, but I recently streamed the full game of Metro: Exodus on NG+ with Iron Mode activated, collecting the three toys for the Toy Seller trophy as well. I thought it could always serve people who want to see an Iron Mode playthrough (on Normal difficulty), which includes the new collectibles and the good ending. I included the YouTube videos instead of the Twitch ones, because those get removed after two weeks. If you're interested, you can always consult the playlist below. And apologies for the one death I suffered at the end of the Caspian Sea chapter, which is arguably the toughest part in the whole game. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them below!
  16. Never. I never threw any controllers down, yelled at the TV screen or wanted to punch anything. And yes, I have faced difficult situations in getting some trophies. If things don't go my way or I die again, the worst that happens, is that I grip my controller and tell myself out loud: "Aww god damn it, come on. Alright, we got this, we can do this!" With each failed attempt, you get one step closer to acquiring that trophy anyway. Just keep at it, hone your skills and you'll pull off whatever it is you're trying to pull off, eventually. And if you do have anger management issues (which is possible, everyone's different), just focus on something else. Put the controller down and turn off your PS4, go for a run, play some sports, watch a good movie or TV series, meet up with friends. Whenever I face a big hurdle and I trip, whether it's in a game or when something goes wrong in life in general, as it happens for us all at times, this is a quote I always have in the back of my mind: The road to success is paved by failure. Words to live by.
  17. #225 - Mafia II: Definitive Edition it took a long time to get this one, due to the previously glitched "The Enforcer" trophy on PS4, but now that the patch is out and the game has gotten a ton of fixes: here we are. Mafia II: Definitive Edition takes place during the late 1940s and early 1950s, in which you take on the role of Vito Scaletta, an Italian immigrant who rolls into a life of crime through his buddy, Joe Barbaro. At first, they do small-time gigs for the Italian mafia, but soon they get "made" and they're officially members of an organized crime family. Things get out of hand, as they always do, and it's up to you to guide them through the nefarious predicaments they get entangled in. It is a solid action game, although I must admit that the remaster is probably one of the laziest remasters I've seen during this whole generation. So very few improvements, so many bugs and glitches and framedrops. The Mafia games do always have compelling storylines, so as part of the Mafia Trilogy, I'd say pick this one up. Don't pick it up individually, it's not worth the cash. Plus, if you pick up the trilogy, you get access to the Mafia 1 remake later this summer and the Mafia III: Definitive Edition, which also includes all expansions. Mafia III's gameplay is kind of repetitive, but the story is great, and the expansions provide some well-needed variety. All three are worth playing. Let's just hope the Mafia 1 remake isn't as buggy as this one was. Most frustrating trophy - Card Sharp Most trophies are easily obtainable, so it shouldn't surprise that a collectibles trophy is the most frustrating to get, namely the one to get all the wanted posters. For two reasons: 1. There are PlayBoy magazine covers from that decade to collect as well. But I don't think I need to explain why it was a lot more fun to get these, haha. 2. On top of the original 159 wanted posters they added an additional 30 in this remaster. My guess: the wanted posters feature mug shots of the developers, the original 159 are from the devs over at 2K Czech. The extra 30 - which are evenly distributed in Empire Bay among the rest, mind you - are likely mugshots of the people over at Hangar 13 who handled the remake. The name etymology of the 159 original names and the 30 new ones seems to support this theory. I get they want to put their own mugshots in here as well, but good God: it was already a pain in the neck to find the original 159. Why would someone say over at Hangar 13: "Hey, let's make the most frustrating trophy in the main list even more frustrating by adding 30 extra collectibles? The players will love that." I'm confident they didn't put them in specifically to annoy trophy hunters, but it did make getting this specific trophy even more tedious. Very happy to be done with it. Hangar 13, if you're reading this and still thinking of ideas for Mafia IV's collectibles: just make them all evocative PlayBoy covers. I promise you, even if you put in a thousand of those to collect for the platinum trophy: players will happily go for it.
  18. I was about to go catch some z's, but when I saw this thread and read all the posts, I knew I had to respond. It's been months now and she still doesn't know, you said? That, to me, is a red flag. A big one. She's leading you on, without any concern for your feelings. Ask yourself this: if she's still on the fence about staying with the other guy (who doesn't shower - ugh, leaves trash bags in his pickup truck - again ugh, and needs to be asked to put on deodorant), then what does that say about you, in her eyes? That you're on the same level as him? Jesus Christ. I don't know you obviously, but my advice would also be to leave. But hear me out before you stop reading. I feel someone can only go into a stable relationship with someone if they are happy with who they are themselves. That's where it all starts: love yourself, look at the strengths you possess and embrace those. Accept that you deserve to be treated normally, and that this is anything but normal. Or to put it metaphorically: you need strong foundations before you can start building extra floors and a roof on top of what you have to begin with. That is true freedom: knowing that regardless of your relationship status, you can be happy with yourself. Your self-worth comes in first place, before you commit to someone to such an extent. Relationships - professional, friendly or romantic - all are full of signals. You really want to know if she's prepared to commit for you? Tell her you have waited for so long, and that you can't keep waiting any longer. You deserve to have a future, you can't stay stuck in this perpetual limbo where you'll end up hurt, no matter the outcome. Tell her, in all kindness and without any drama, that you are moving on. And I want you to be genuine about it, don't treat it as a bluff. Realize that even without her, you are worth someone else who will love you unconditionally. The same way you would love a great girl. If she cares enough as you're walking away, she will come after you. If she does, tell her she needs to be brave and make a decision, now. If she says she can't: keep walking away. If she doesn't follow you or tell you she doesn't know what to say/she's still unsure about everything, then she is not worth it. And you're best to move on completely. Muster all your courage, make the move and tell her. Trust me, it will be better for your own mental health to find some closure.
  19. They already announced it's a spinoff, a side project. They're focusing on Outlast 3 after this one, so we'll be getting a proper sequel. I feel you can't blast this game - or any game, really - without having seen proper gameplay footage or having played it yourself. Why is it so difficult for people to keep an open mind?
  20. Not at all! And I'm not sure, I may want to play the new Spider-Man game at launch. The vast majority of Sony's first-party games are worth experiencing at full price.
  21. Alright. First impressions; pretty solid overall. Maybe a little bit too much with the cartoony games, but hey, PlayStation has always wanted to offer something for everyone. So you could expect some stuff thrown in to appeal to really young audiences. As for the games: GTA V on PS5: Sure. Why not. Print more money, Rockstar. It only confirms one thing: GTA VI is not coming soon at all. Spider-Man: Miles Morales: Looks like the first Spider-Man game, but with upped graphics and a new protagonist. I'm expecting a solid game, but nothing that will wow us even more than the original did two years ago. As long as they can reach the same level of quality with the previous title: I'm happy. Gran Turismo 7: your quintessential racing sports game to launch alongside a new PlayStation console. Simulation fans will love it, everyone else will probably pass on it. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: Pretty cool announcement! Ratchet & Clank games have always been great platformers. And I'm really glad to hear Dr. Nefarious is returning, according to Clank's VO in the trailer; he's one of the most hilarious and memorable villains in gaming history. This is one that I'll definitely want to play. Project Athia: Saw rough terrain and beautiful graphics. First thought: "here comes the God of War 2/Horizon 2 reveal!" I was wrong. But still: looks mysterious and very interesting. Not much known as of right now, but I'm interested to see more, and probably play it. Returnal: "Edge of Tomorrow: The Game". Sort of. I had Deathloop in my head the entire time I saw this, even though their narrative direction does seem to be different. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt: show me more. Sackboy: A Big Adventure: It'll have to be damn good for me to jump into this one. The LittleBigPlanet games are charming, but after several games, it does start to wear off a bit. Destruction Allstars: A destruction derby-esque game where you can still have an impact whether your car is still operational or not. Impression: okay. Kena: Bridge of Spirits: Looks charming and interesting. Gaming can certainly need a few more compelling female protagonists, and I love the oriental atmosphere in the trailer. I'd like to see more! Goodbye Volcano High: The most psychedelic entry in tonight's presentation. First time that I actually thought: "What the fuck have they been smoking?" I'll keep an open mind for this one, but so far, I can't give you a proper opinion. Looks unique, to say the least. Oddworld: Soulstorm: This is another entry I'm very interested in. Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssee is a classic platformer which you should definitely have played. Can't wait to see what's next for Abe. Approved! Ghostwire: Tokyo: Seems like Shinji Mikami is stepping out of his comfort zone. I was expecting spooky stuff, but this was... unique. Would want to see more first. Jett: The Far Shore: Another psychedelic entry which needs some explanation. Too vague, but looks interesting. Godfall: Probably the only game on this list where I thought: "I was expecting a lot more. Kind of disappointing at first glance." I need to see more, but at the moment, I'm not sold. Solar Ash: I have no idea what's going on. I'm confused. Please show me more. Hitman III: Sold. These games have always been a blast to play, and the third one of the reboot series will undoubtedly have lots to offer as well in its missions. Count me in. Astro's Playroom: Never played the VR game "Astro Bot: Rescue Mission", so I didn't feel this one either. Might need to wait to try out the previous game or this one for myself, before I can even convey my feelings about it. Little Devil Inside: Young guy drops a bomb. Old guy drops a deuce in quick succession. Interest = piqued. NBA 2K21: Okay, maybe I need to rectify what I said earlier. Aside from Godfall, this is the second game where I thought: don't care. And yes, the NBA 2K20 controversy has something to do with that. Bugsnax: Weird. Really weird. Hopefully in a good way. Demon's Souls: At first I figured this was Bloodborne 2, but I'll settle for a full-on remake of Demon's Souls. Presentation was spot-on. Sold. Deathloop: You can clearly see the influence in the gameplay, including the warping; that this is Arkane Studios material. Should probably finish Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider, while I'm at it. Anyhow, still interested to learn more about this one, so this gets a thumbs up from me. Resident Evil VIII: Village: I don't care what people are saying about the title or the visual direction. So far, most Resident Evil games have been really good. This one gets the benefit of the doubt as well, I want to see more of this. And awaiting Outlast 3, I will want to play this. Pragmata: Another weird post-apocalyptic game wrapped in mystery. Almost made me think of Death Stranding. The visual direction reminded me of Kojima's work. But, I'd like to give this one a shot too. Horizon II: Forbidden West: Saw rough terrain and beautiful graphics: "Okay, THIS has got to be the Horizon 2/God of War 2 reveal!" Was expecting one of the two to make its appearance, to be introduced as an early PS5 system seller. Thoughts: I'll want to play this. Other thoughts: Shit, I have to really finish Horizon 1 sometime during the summer. And as for the console reveal: design definitely looks different from previous PlayStation consoles. They actually took more of a risk with this one, by giving it somewhat of a slight futuristic look. Hope it comes in black, along with the controller. I feel kind of mixed about it. But that's inherent to change, it always is. I think we'll need to get used to it, but once we do, it'll be as if we never had any doubts about it. I'm definitely opting for a full PS5 console with disc tray, because I have too many games on disc, and I won't be getting everything digitally in the future either. All-in-all: positive presentation. Looking forward to seeing what the third-party devs have to show us in the next few months, because there is still A LOT we know nothing about (concerning software). Edit: totally forgot to mention one other game: Stray: Really vague, but it seems to center on humanity having gone extinct, and only robots and animals are left. I'll give this one the benefit of the doubt too, for now. Most of the reveals have been nothing but teasers, so we need a lot more gameplay footage to give actual proper first impressions. This'll have to do for now; though.
  22. Don't know if I'd call it jealousy, but I'd love to have the Red Dead Redemption 2 platinum trophy that you already have. I'm a big fan of Rockstar's games, I loved this one a lot, and I platinumed the original game as well. There's a lot to do in RDR2 to acquire that platinum trophy. Already got all the MP trophies a long time ago, so I only need to clean up the singleplayer ones. The plan is to acquire this one before the summer's over, so with a little bit of luck, I'll be able to join those ranks sometime soon.
  23. #224 - Shadow of the Colossus (PS4 remake) What is there left to say about Shadow of the Colossus. Its minimalist design, its atmosphere, its story, it all clicks wonderfully. Shadow of the Colossus is an example of how games can actually be considered art. Wander, the protagonist, makes a deal with an unknown force, which resides in a secluded part of the world, to bring a girl back from the realm of the dead if he slays sixteen colossi. For spoiler purposes, I won't go any deeper into story territory. But suffice it to say it is a great tale to experience. From the incredible soundtrack (maybe the best one ever in gaming?) to the design of each colossus and the desolate world you roam, you're in for a treat with this remake. There's not a single bad beat or moment in Shadow of the Colossus. Everyone undoubtedly has its favorite colossi - mine must be Avion (number 5), Basaran (number 9) and Phalanx (number 13). But the build-up to the climax will keep you enthralled, no matter which colossi captivated you the most. I've always been a fierce advocate of enjoying a game first, and chasing its trophies second. And in this case, I urge you to sit back, leave the trophies for what they are, and just soak it all in. It is widely considered to be one of the best video games ever made, and it's a statement that rings true throughout the years. Most frustrating trophy - Speed King To get this trophy, you need to unlock all bonus items which are rewarded when you beat all sixteen colossi in both Normal Time Attack Mode and Hard Time Attack Mode. Which also means you will need to play the game at least twice in New Game Plus to get them all in one save file. Beating the giants (haha, with the exception of two pipsqueaks) on Normal Time Attack is an easy feat. Getting a few of them on their knees on Hard, that's a different ball game. Colossi have an extra weak point sometimes on Hard, which means you will need to plan a route how to get from one to the other as quickly as possible. Sword stabs are less impactful and stats do not carry over into time attack battles, so you have been warned. My advice is to practice, practice and practice. Get on a colossus as soon as possible and do not fall off. Falling off is essentially a wipe and will require you to restart the battle from scratch - you won't have enough time left for a second attempt. There will be close shaves, there will be times when you'll grip the controller and try to deliver the final blow when your stamina meter is about to be depleted. I've had my share of those moments when beating a few of them on Hard Time Attack. But the feeling of elation when you do finally take them down within the time limit and work your way up, will reinvigorate you to push on until the task is done. It took multiple playthroughs as well to max out Wander's stats. But honestly, playing through this gem never really gets old. It can get tedious if you're taking down the same colossus for the fifth or sixth time in a short amount of time, sure. Yet, the admiration for the game as a whole is still there, and the music still captivates you, from when you lock eyes with a colossus's until you deliver the killing blow. Worth every minute experiencing and getting its platinum trophy, even after fifteen years since its original release on PS2. Do not pass this one up. Truth be told, I might even replay this game x amount of years down the line. Just because it's such a timeless and epic tale crafted with such exquisite charm.
  24. #223 - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered Still one of the best campaigns in Call of Duty history. After the great remaster (or semi-remake, whatever you prefer) of the first Modern Warfare, I was interested in seeing how this one turned out. And reliving some of the epic missions you partake in in this campaign, with added lighting effects, new animations and updated graphics, was definitely worth it. No multiplayer, sadly, but then again, that makes this trophy list even easier to pull off. I do think it's a bit overpriced for what it ultimately is, even with the Warzone extras you get. Once it hits a price drop, like it does right now with the Days of Play sale, pick it up, by all means. And all that's left, is waiting for the inevitable Modern Warfare 3 campaign remaster. Most frustrating trophy - The Price of War Finish the game on Hardened or Veteran difficulty. Just go straight for Veteran, seems superfluous to do Hardened first. There are a few hard sections where cheap deaths could occur, but as long as you let the AI pull up and help you out, and you use proper CQC techniques (translation: not rushing through rooms like a headless chicken), you should be fine. Be glad there's no "Mile High Club on Veteran difficulty" trophy in this game's list, like there was back in Modern Warfare Remastered. We do not speak of that mission on Veteran difficulty.
  25. I've actually only now discovered this thread, so I'll try to make a few posts of my latest platinum trophy conquests as I work towards the next one. #222 - DOOM 3 (PS4) If you've been into games for a few decades, I don't think DOOM requires any introduction. They rebooted the series successfully, but I remember when this came out, somewhere around the first Far Cry release and Half-Life 2's release. Three games which definitely left their mark on gaming as a whole, back in 2004 (if memory serves me right). You'll need to get used to the controls of this PS4 remaster, which does contain both expansions and no multiplayer. On one hand, that means you can take your time getting this platinum trophy, but on the other: you'll have a lot of game to get through, especially because of the separate difficulty trophies. Nonetheless, it's a very straightforward shooter: portal to Hell opens, nameless marine arrives, ends up in the middle of the entire mess and has enough muscles to carry around ten guns, varying in size and firepower. Don't expect any really big badass moments like the new DOOM games offer. This one is more horror-centered, so you'll have lots of dark corners to deal with, and enemies popping out of nowhere to attempt and scare the crap out of you. Still a solid shooter to experience, if only to see how far we've come since then. Most frustrating trophy - DOOMed Nightmare You'll need to finish the game in both the main campaign and both expansions on the highest difficulty, on Nightmare mode. Doesn't sound too difficult, you might think. But here's the trick: aside from enemies doing much more damage, your health depletes always to 25/100 whenever you replenish it through medkits or medstations. This one applies to beating the main campaign on Nightmare difficulty, because it's obviously the longest campaign out of all three. Make sure you save a lot, preferably before every single encounter, to prevent any unnecessary frustration. Because you will die often, be prepared for that. Fair note: the Nightmare difficulty only unlocks for each campaign once you finished it on a lower difficulty. So you're looking at six playthroughs at minimum. Try to combine getting the collectibles in each campaign as you play through each part of the remaster, whether it's leisurely or whether you're actively trophy hunting!