The ultimate guide to Naughty Dog's apocalypse
The Last of Us Part II is one of the titles most anticipated of the year. Inevitable, when you are the sequel to one of the most beloved PlayStation 3 titles. A studio like Naughty Dog, now the flagship of PlayStation Studios. A PlayStation 4 at the end of its life cycle, which translates into an installed base at its peak and a lot of awareness of the machine's hardware. Uncomfortable issues, chatter that accompanied the game practically from its presentation. "The Last of Us Part II is too political", "it is too gay friendly", "too aligned". The first The Last of Us had divided, love and hate, like all titles that become like this national popular. The following can only point to the upside. So what to expect from this The Last of Us Part II?
- When is The Last of Us Part II coming out?
- What is The Last of Us Part II about?
- The gameplay of The Last of Us Part II
- Who leaked the game, and why?
- Why is The Last of Us Part II hated?
- The comparison with Days Gone
- The comparison with the Remake of Resident Evil
All you need to know about The Last of Us Part II, in one article
When is The Last of Us Part II coming out?
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From PS5 to The Last of Us: hype and marketing
The release is set for June 19 2020. But this is only the final release date, the culmination of a story that has something sensational. Originally scheduled for February 21, the date had already shifted to one month after the announcement was three months ahead. But the story doesn't end with the postponement season, the one that made us wonder why a game is being moved. Because of Coronavirus, considering that especially on consoles the retail market corresponds to half of the sales of a title, The Last of Us Part II is postponed further. The May 29 window becomes a laconic “we will let you know“, suggesting a release after the summer.
The final release date is reached due to a leak. Once the bomb has gone off and with several sections of advanced game ending up on the net, Sony can't help but organize a hurried launch. The other PS4 summer exclusive, Ghost of Tsushima, is paying for it, which is postponed by a month to make room for Naughty Dog. Physiological, however exciting. The Last of Us Part II is PlayStation 4 title of the year, and yes candida to be the best title of the generation. Despite himself, because these are the fruits sown from the first chapter, which a generation ago for many was the swan song of PS3.
History repeats itself, they tell us since childhood at school. Even if we don't study it. The fact that it can happen even in something microscopic, in the grand order of things, is still one suggestion. This explains why the latest Naughty Dog is so talked about, since before the leaks.
What is The Last of Us Part II about?
The Last of Us Part II tells the story of Ellie. For the rest, we do not have certain information. At least, not if we exclude what emerged from the leaks - which we have absolutely no intention of reporting on these pages. What we know is that (in fact) we will play as Ellie, five years after the finale of the first The Last of Us. Joel will appear on the screen in any case, it is not clear with what time frame and with what role, but some trailers have already shown it.
If we can say little about the events narrated, the discourse changes when we look at the themes. Because for example we have witnessed during E3 what is the first homosexual kiss worldwide for video games, so it is reasonable to expect that we are talking about sex and gender. Also of feminism, in a sense, because Ellie is a female protagonist with a strong personality in a market like that of video games that usually celebrates the figure of the male. Given the rumors that post-leak described the experience as "too left" (label assigned really sufficiently, as we will see), it is a probable possibility.
The statements of Troy Barker, the voice of Joel, who spoke already in unsuspected times about a game that will divide the fans. The actor hinted that he hopes audiences will leave Ellie and Joel a way to tell their story, "not the one they want to hear." Also talking about the need to play The Last of Us Part II with an open mind, a fundamental state of mind to seriously understand the game. If three clues prove it, it is easy to assume that Druckman et al's narrative takes us into morally uncomfortable territories, daring as a Triple-A production usually does not. Almost challenging part of its users, because taking such a risk is in all respects a challenge. Both for those who produce the game and for those who choose to buy it.
The gameplay of The Last of Us Part II
The first thing to say about the gameplay of the game is that there is no need to expect revolutions. Already the first The Last of Us in fact did not invent anything new, focusing on a solid but far from original gaming experience and above all on its history. It is reasonable to expect the same approach, also by virtue of what we saw during the last State of Play. That said, there is some news.
Ellie's movements have been made more fluid and natural, especially during the fights. This has been widely demonstrated new dodge system, which appears to include several ad-hoc animations. The level reached is such that at the first presentation, at E3 2018, we started talking obsessively about scripted components rather than in-game. Ellie is more agile than her enemies and, it would seem, more aware of her surroundings. The stealth mechanics could not be missing, but there is to be on guard: the dogs on the map can smell Ellie and warn their respective masters, even if she is well hidden. It will be interesting to see how this mechanical pad in hand will work, as it appeals to a sense that the video game fails to communicate like the sense of smell. Will it be enough to see your own wake in listening mode? Will it be visible even with difficulty realism?
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Epidemics between reality and video games
The real novelty is the presence of different in-game factions. We are not limited to zombies versus humans, which however can be in some areas incited against each other. There are also at least two groups among humans, with the Washington Liberation Front on one side and the fanatical Seraphites on the other. The paraphernalia changes, with the WLF more reminiscent of a militia - and uses typical army weapons - and the more tribal Seraphites, armed with bows and arrows. Ellie apparently is able to use both types of weapons, as well as the ability to upgrade them.
Certainly could not miss a mechanic of crafting, which stages the typical ones work benches already seen in several such productions. From Dead Island to Diyng Light, it is now a typical element of survival who choose to go the way of crafting. Materials not only serve to upgrade weapons, but also to create new items such as proximity mines. In this, The Last of Us Part II is very reminiscent of its predecessor, and more than a revolution it wants to be a refinement.
Who leaked the game, and why?
Quite simply, The Last of Us Part II leak was caused from a hacker attack. Or more correctly, from a cracker attack, because the hacker ethic would dictate not to cause harm. But given the spy story behind the release date, do you want there to be no narrative behind these leaks?
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Dr. Crunch and Mr. Hype, the two gaming personalities
At first, there was talk of the work of a disgruntled employee. Plausible, given the situation in Naughty Dog. The house has come under indictment in recent months for the crunch imposed on employees. A few days before the postponement to a later date, however, some employees even risked their lives, as they work at night during an office maintenance.
In light of this situation, the track of the dissatisfied insider could absolutely make sense. We are talking about non-unionized workers, to whom, moreover, the entire industry has already said no to a union several times. The crunch phenomenon runs throughout the history of video games and in short, a developer he has only a few cards in his hand to try to create noise around the matter. The trade press, with the exclusion of Jason Schreier, he does not dedicate the first pages to events of this type.
We talked about it later of an external collaborator, someone from the localization team. With the lack of work motivation, at this point we entered by arrogance in the policy: Why would anyone working on translating the game have to leak it? This is where the rumors of a too political game began to circulate too liberal, too left. The latter label is the one applied by the local press, which misunderstood the considerations of the source (which alluded to pro-liberal attitudes in-game), rather than the classic declination of the “left” label.
In short, The Last of Us Part II wants talk about social, don't be a socialist.
And maybe that's exactly why he's so hated.
Why is The Last of Us Part II hated?
At this point, you should have an idea. Naughty Dog's latest effort is hated for all that has been said so far, a sum of causes and contributing causes that has merged into a real active militancy against the game, fought with spoilers.
The first reason, trivially, is the historical one. The first The Last of Us a generation ago was something of a Big Bang, something similar only to what has been seen for Breath of the Wild in recent times. It has come to speak of best game in the history of video games, dedicating Naughty Dog to the role of Sony's flagship in-house studio. A resounding success, well exemplified by having overtaken Skyrim as the title that has won more GOTY.
All this love can only have generated hatred
It is an unwritten rule. When something gets very successful and goes mainstream, is rejected from a certain type of audience. Whether it's for hipsters of sorts or for well-founded reasons, this is exactly what happened to The Last of Us. Those who disagreed with the critical plebiscite obtained by Naughty Dog expressed their reasons, even in a violent way, speaking of an overrated title that has garnered more than it deserved. To these fringes, we must add those that with The Last of Us they played in La volpe e l'uva. Who could not or did not want to recover the title, because maybe he plays (goes) on Xbox or on PC, and who could not get his hands on the game due to the technological barrier.
But Naughty Dog's legacy (in this case not lost) cannot alone be a justification. This is where the political question comes into play again. Because we said it, The Last of Us Part II took sides politically. As indeed many video games do, even the unexpected Tetris. But taking a stand inevitably draws criticism, because the user who is used to video games is a user who is not used to seeing them tackle certain topics. The first instinctive reaction is to rejection, to saying that these arguments should not be part of a video game, which is precisely first of all a game. Even those who haunt the environment for years and know it in depth often do not really think that video games are art ...
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Waiting for The Last of Us Part II: the coherence of violence
At this point we must also consider a which political issues the game winks. Feminism, gender, sexuality, LGBT… The Last of Us Part II was not by chance considered a very liberal product. The extremes to create something that the average gamer loves to hate are all there, especially in the light of hardness of the words of Druckman and associates. In an industry that has accustomed us to self-indulgence, it's a cry. To which it is almost natural for someone to respond by screaming.
If we add to it all the controversies related toexcessive violence, especially the one against the dogs present in the game, you will be spoiled for choice. You can hate the latest Naughty Dog for a lot of reasons. To understand why to love him, instead, all that remains is to wait for day one.
The comparison with Days Gone
Days Gone is in many ways an emule of The Last of Us Part II, the comparison is almost obligatory. As per Sony tradition, these are two strongly story-driven experiences, with essentially overlapping settings and… well, the zombies to frame both. The echo of Naughty Dog in the work of Sony Bend is well perceptible, and although Days Gone has tried to represent an alternative, the final result has more than anything else the connotations of the methadone from The Last of Us Part II. Almost a generic from pharmacy, something that tries but stops several steps before.
Days Gone lacks above all what has remained The Last of Us a classic, a solid script. Because in Days Gone we don't really manage to empathize with Deacon and his loss, the absence of his wife is made to weigh immediately, without first being able to become attached to one or the other. The writing never really meshes, making this comparison absolutely unequal. And although from the playful point of view we must recognize a more square solidity and a better survival yield to the work of Sony Bend, it must be added that even here there are reservations. The gameplay basically blossoms after about ten hours, coming close to the quarter of the game. And often running dry with the bike is more of a nuisance than a real danger.
The comparison with the Remake of Resident Evil
Here's a research intent that I can't really explain to myself: The Last of Us Part II vs Resident Evil Remake. It is a comparison that makes no sense to exist, the similarities are limited to zombies. And as far as we know, in the universe of The Last of Us there is no Umbrella Corporation, no government machinations or human intervention. And there is no comparison even at the level of intent, because where The Last of Us wants to be a Road Movie pad in hand, Resident Evil has always been clear about its mission to be also a video game, so it focuses more on the playful system. It is paradoxically much easier make parallels between the Capcom series with Uncharted, which at least share the presence of puzzles in-game.
This is what we know about The Last of Us Part II
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Game as a Service: are they really absolute evil?
The meat on the fire is a lot, and the fact that in a sense history repeats itself only raises the hype thermometer for this latest big adventure on PlayStation 4. There is enough to discuss until its release and beyond, and the hope is. this: regardless of what you may think and the interest in the game, this was it a generation with severe memory problems. Not from the hardware point of view, no, the 8 GB of RAM of the two consoles have held up well over the 7 years spent at the front. For gamers and for Game Critic. Too often we have seen long-awaited and talked-about games go out within a few days of release, disappear from radar and then never reappear. It is perhaps also for this reason that the industry has invented Game as a Service.
È a cry for help disguised in a Sunday dress, which maybe we wanted to misunderstand or maybe it really cloaks a hint of greed. But which in any case is and remains perfectly audible, for those who know how to listen to it. In our own small way, we will try to tell The Last of Us Part II even after its release, not experiencing the review as a goal to be achieved but as a stage in a journey of insights that we hope you will want to share with us.
Because beyond all we love video games.