The Last of Us Part 2 – Spoiler Free

It’s been a very odd few months in the world. Perhaps that’s the greatest understatement in history. The closure of cinemas, the halt of society as we know it, and the seriousness of the issues happening with the pandemic and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement sapped the motivation to write anything, as there was so little in the areas I cover to write about.

Over the course of the last few months, I have watched films, played games and binged tv shows but rarely anything new. Mostly COD, FIFA, Brooklyn 99 and comfort films. Then last Friday, I got The Last of Us Part Two. I like the first one, but not nearly as much as some people, so this new one was intriguing, but I wasn’t super hyped in the build up to launch. On the day though, it felt very exciting to have something new, something I had not experienced. What I did not understand at that point, was just how unique this experience was going to be.

I have played hundreds of single player games in my life. I have watched even more movies than that. I have read countless books & comics. I have listened to podcasts that tell stories. Never before has anything I have experienced told a story in the same way that The Last of Us Part Two does, and with nowhere near as much emotional resonance.

I am going to avoid spoilers, which is going to make some of what you read here a little odd. There are points in the game where I genuinely did not want to carry on. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because I just didn’t want to press the button that caused the next action on the screen. Or I didn’t want to do what the game was pushing me to do, because I had been played like a fiddle for 10 hours to be convinced of one thing, to then have it all flipped.

You are aware it is happening. This is not subtle; it doesn’t hide it like a magician to be revealed at the last moment. Part of what makes TLOU2 so remarkable is that you know exactly what they’re trying, and you tell yourself “There is no way that’s going to happen”, then hours later you find yourself frozen at the control because they’ve done exactly what you didn’t think they could.

Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller tells a story about how Metal Gear Solid was the first time he realised what video games could do. For years I was of the belief that video games had this barrier that prevented their stories from being truly complex and compelling on their own. The Gameplay always had to be part of the focus, and that would make always hold back the narrative in an odd way.

God of War in 2018, changed that for me, it told a story of a father and son that really resonated. The gameplay was fantastic, but the story was the thing that had me gripped.  TLOU2 has fine gameplay, its hectic, not the tightest mechanically but solid. The way they manipulate you and tear down the ideas you have in your head repeatedly throughout the game is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

This is a new level of storytelling. The more you think about the messages it portrays. That message to me was a lesson in how revenge, hate, vengeance, all of those horrible feelings can consume a person and make them miss out on the rest of what life holds for them. The events of the game are an extreme example, but at it’s heart, like most of the great stories, it’s a very human story that I have found myself relating to.

If we treat storytelling as a medium, encompassing games, tv, movies, books and anything else you can think of, The Last of Us Part 2 has topped it all. Nothing has stuck with me this much before. Whether you are a gamer or not, find a way to enjoy this. There are already YouTube “movies” of the game, showing you all the key scenes and elements that tell the story.

The Last of Us Part 2 is the most unique experience I have ever had with a piece of entertainment. It’s a new level for storytelling in games.

 

 

 

The Last of Us: Part II now has a release date

Who would have thought it? The Last of Us Part 2 looks better than any game I have ever seen graphically, and in a trailer just shy of 3 minutes I have all the information and motivation I need to be completely in for this game. And most importantly, it comes out on the 21st February 2020. 

I have to be honest; I was not particularly excited for it before yesterday. I was intrigued but I needed something to give me a reason to think this game was going to live up to the brilliant first game. The Last of Us is such a great story that another trip in that world is borderline risky. We haven’t seen a sequel to Citizen Kane, and that is what the first game was for video games.

If you’re avoiding spoilers, then obviously steer clear of the trailer, as it sets up the story of the game and I know some people will want to avoid any information at all. For me it delivered the perfect amount of intrigue and motivation. The trailer sets up several questions, give you some unexpected answers, and reminds you of how dire the world of TLOU is.

It’s one of the better trailers any video game has ever produced, and it featured very little gameplay if any. That being said I am not sure, as I think this game will look like a movie in and out of cutscenes and being able to tell when you’re in control won’t be easy for people watching.

Naughty Dog have my complete trust when it comes to games, but I was unsure I needed another Last of Us story. Now I am 100% in and any doubts I had are gone. I went from meh to give me it now in the space of 3 minutes and I genuinely cannot wait to experience this piece of art.

There were other games shown during the State of Play event, but I haven’t caught up yet due to being worse for wear the last few days. It feels like I haven’t written for ages, but it’s only been since Monday. I will make up for it tomorrow by going through all the State of Play and Inside Xbox information as well as all the rumours about a new Batman game from WB Montreal. If those rumours are true, I wonder what game Rocksteady have been working on for the years since Arkham Knight.

More on that tomorrow, until then thanks for reading.

ChAzJS

 

My Most Anticipated Games of 2019

Gaming is fantastic. If you’re not into it, get into it. There is a game for you, whether it’s a 2D platformer in the vain of the old Super Mario and Castlevania, or a sprawling open world like The Witcher 3. It’s the biggest entertainment industry in the world, and here are my most anticipated games coming in 2019. 

Anthem – 22nd February 

BioWare have made some of the most popular games of the last 20 years, from Star Wars The Old Republic to Mass Effect. Anthem is their newest idea, looking like a mixture of Iron Man suits and Destiny, which sounds great to someone who has sunk a lot of hours into Bungie’s shooter in the last 12 months.

Mass Effect Andromeda was widely considered to be a rare miss for BioWare, even though I personally thought it was a decent game. Decent doesn’t cut it nowadays though, and Anthem needs to really hit for both BioWare and publisher EA to get them back in the fans’ good books.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – 22nd March

From Software develop games I never play, but something about the trailer for their newest effort got me interested. It looked stunning for a start, and the combat looked unique. It’s very early days at this point in terms of what I know about the game, but hopefully we see something special from the developer.

I haven’t got into Bloodborne or the Souls games, as their live die repeat gameplay doesn’t appeal to me, but I am hoping this game is a departure from that hook, and they go for something new like Guerilla Games did a couple of years ago with Horizon Zero Dawn.

The Outer Worlds – 2019

With no confirmed release date, I am hoping this manages to stick to 2019. Coming on the heels of the failure that was Fallout 76, and in the void created by no Borderlands 3 announcement, the creators of the Fallout franchise Obsidian are bringing their new IP, which looks to combine the lessons learnt from Fallout with the fun and whimsy of the Borderlands franchise.

This is possibly my most anticipated game of the year, as at the moment it’s the only single player game I am 100% in for. Days Gone and Sekiro both look decent, but at this point there isn’t enough to get me to commit to buying them. In one excellent trailer, The Outer Worlds convinced me to buy with a lot of confidence this is going to be a very fun game to play.

The Last of Us: Part 2 – 2019 (Hopefully)

Naughty Dog are the kings of single player gaming experiences. Crash Bandicoot was the PS1 mascot, Uncharted was the premier single player adventure game, and until last year, The Last Of Us was considered the Jewel in PlayStation’s library. God of War showed us things can still improve, and in one swoop Sony Santa Monica’s God and Son story laid the challenge down to Naughty Dog.

The Last of Us: Part 2 may not make the cut for 2019, but I sincerely hope it does, as Naughty Dog have shown time and time again they can exceed the lofty expectations fans have for their games. We know very little about the game, but it’s bound to be another evolution on the last few Naughty Dog games, with Uncharted and The Last of Us’ gameplay influencing each other in the last few games.

There are bound to be a lot of games this year that surprise us, as God of War did last year, so hopefully we get something similar again from something like Days Gone. Thanks for reading, please share on Facebook and Twitter if you liked this!

ChAzJS