The Last of US Part II Review (Spoilers and TW: abuse, transphobia, parental death)

The Last of US Part II was one of my most anticipated games of 2020. I remember being hyped when I saw the first trailer back in 2018, and then continuing with game play footage at E3 2020.The Last of Us Part 2's Laura Bailey, Neil Druckmann, and Naughty ...

 

After finally playing it and finishing the game I felt like I needed to get my thoughts on this game. I always had history with Naughty Dog, I started young with Crash Bandicoot, spent my teen years with Jax and Daxter, and got older with the Uncharted Series and Last of Us, and it felt as Naughty Dog was growing with me.

 

Last of Part II is set five years after the events of the first game. Joel and Ellie are in Jackson in a nice community. Ellie is now older, and is doing patrols keeping clear of any infected.

At the start of the game you also play as a mysterious women named Abby, who is trying to find someone in Jackson. After a series of events Abby confronts the person she is looking for and it happens to be Joel. Where it becomes controversial, she kills Joel, in front of Ellie and Tommy. And that’s where the game starts.

It was a hug risk killing Joel, especially at the start of the game, which cause Ellie to go on a quest fro revenge to find Abby and avenge Joel. It is also a lot more brutal than and violent but it is the Last of Us, so or course it is violent.

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There is some new game mechanics such as dodge when pressing L1, and with more crouching in which steal plays a huge role. Also the fact that the NPCs actually have names. It seemed very odd, but I think the intention was to make them more human, especially in the messed up world.

Also midway through the game, you begin to play as Abby, Joel’s killer and learns about her relationship with the WLFs, and her past as a Firefly. Also learning that her father was one of doctors that was killed at the end of the previous game.

The Last of Us 2 proves gaming isn't used to seeing women with ...

The Abby sections of the game, I think really fleshed out the world. Seeing other factions and learning about the war the WLFs, had with the Seraphites. I also felt that her section of the game was a lot more challenging especially dealing with the Rat King infected from the hospital.

I feel that her sections of the game, was not merely to make her sympathetic, but to flesh out her character, I always think that the best villains are heroes in their own stories.

There is also a character named Lev, who is a trans man escaping the Seraphites and was banished for “shaving his head”.¬† Lev is one of the few trans characters in gaming, but he also has dealt with abuse and also being dead named by the Seraphites.

The Last of Us Part 2: Transgender character causes concern

Let me give my thoughts about the ending. The ending is set about a year later, with Ellie living with Dina and raising JJ, but then found a lead on where Abby is. She spends time going to Santa Barbara to confront Abby and sees another faction that enslaves people, and is holding Abby and Lev.

When Ellie finally confronts Abby, they have a brawl and in the end she lets Abby go. I know it may seem controversial at first but really thinking about it. It ties a lot into revenge and forgiveness. While I don’t think Ellie forgives Abby, but I think it was important to let her go. When Joel died, Ellie didn’t really forgive Joel for lying to her about what happened at the hospital. Even at the end she goes home and finds that Dina and JJ has left, ending up all alone.

I really enjoyed playing Last of Us Part II. It felt like a really great book that you could not put down. It fleshed out a lot of the story, world and characters. I feel that some of the criticisms was warranted but not to the extent of making death threats to voice actors or to those who liked the game.

Grade: 9/10

God of War (Video game review)

Okay, I know this is not book related but I finished playing God of War (2018) for the PS4 and I just really wanted to talk about it.

When I first played God of War (2018), I actually never played any of the previsions God of War games, mainly because last generation I had XBOX. From what I was told the previous God of War games was mostly a hack and slash game with Kratos, killing across Greek mythology after the death of his family. Then I remembered the E3 trailer from a couple years back that introduced a God of War semi-reboot with Kratos and his son but instead of Greek mythology the focus in on Norse mythology.

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The story of this game is amazing. From the first ten minutes you are introduced to Kratos, and he left the events of the PS3 God of War era behind him and is now raising a son Atreus. It starts with their wife and mother dying and them burning the body  with the final wish to take her ashes to the highest peak of the mountain.

While the story is a basic journey to go from here to there, the strength lies in its characters, mainly of Kratos and Atreus. The journey takes them across some of the nine realms and they begin to bond with one another and learn to build a better connection with one another.

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It would feel like a very long escort mission but the fact that Atreus is a part of the game play works, with commanding him to fire arrows at enemies and even make light bridges to go across

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The game-play is really amazing. Instead of the normal hack and slash, it introduces a new combat system and the weapon of the Leviathan ax which you could throw at an enemy and call it back to you, very different from the Blades of Chaos. A lot of the enemies have various ways to deal with combat and it starts a bit of a learning experience.

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The boss fights are also amazing. My favorite is the fight between Thor’s sons and after dying a handful of times caused me to really rethink my approach to the fight and trying to utilize Atreus more.

An impressive feature about the game is that it looks as if it was done in one shot, even though there is some cuts in between takes. It makes the game have a more cinematic feel to it and feeling like you are a part of the action.

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In the end, God of War is an amazing. Definitely was a game of the year in my book, with high intense action and a gripping story that made me want to stand up and clap after the game was over.

Grade: 10/10