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Thread: The Last of Us 2

  1. #21

    Default Re: The Last of Us 2

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    I even struggle to find the "gotcha!" moment on any of them, so I would not call them clever (I'll list a possible reason for this below).
    I think the "gotcha" moments they were going for were the flashbacks providing revelatory context to what was happening in the present. This strategy is designed to build suspense and works well (and accepted more easily) with other conceits like sci-fi/time travel but on the face of things, that technique is really just a writers way to deny/delay information to a reader/audience in order to manipulate them into accepting a payoff/reward. Like I said, they were trying to be "too clever" not that it was clever.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Well it was a quick example to ravel out the plot, but if it was up to me I would not link Abby to Joel until you are on the same room with him. While I'm hinting at it indirectly through dialogue and such. This way you get to relate to her story and then clash with Joel's nostalgia as you are closer to killing him. Most fans would probably link 2 and 2 together halfway through, but it would still come of a surprise when the deed does happen. Take showing Joel's relationship to Abby at the start of the game as revealing that Mengsk released Tychus in WoL. It just spoils the fans bias towards a character.
    Hmm, I'm still influenced by what we did get and how that failed/ how most reacted negatively to it to be convinced that revealing the doctor Joel killed was Abby's father only when they meet for the first time (and quickly ending up in Joel's death) would help improve others accepting Abby straight up. Without knowing the inciting incident for Abby's actions, there's no way for the audience to begin contextualising nor wanting to see Abby's POV. All you'd get is people asking "why am I following this character for so long in what is supposed to be a sequel/continuation of Joel/Ellie adventures?"

    I'm of two minds when it comes to narrative "twists"/surprises these days and how effective they really are. These days, twists are employed often as shock or revelation when they should be a natural/reasonable culmination of what came before. A story that can't stand on it's own with or without a twist cannot be appreciated for long. If the twist is so pivotal to the understanding of the story, it will eventually be seen as an out-of-universe /Doylist manipulation of the viewer by the writer and will most likely cause more fridge moments/plotholes to be discovered should one scrutinise the story more. Not exactly sure what you're getting at with the reference to WoL. The reveal of Mengsk letting Tychus go and "manipulating" him has no bearing on the entire story until it does so conveniently and right at the end to force a contrived confrontation and the ultimate death of Tychus. No-one (both in-game characters or the audience for that matter) feels the Mengsk connection is of any significance (we're supposed to believe Mengsk really allowed the stuff regarding the Odin to just happen?) until the story forces us to consider its significance - which is kinda cheap and rings of falsehood.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    What I am going after is her characterization, and that's how the game builds the perceived Abby instantaneously through the advancement of the plot. It's dishonest of her character, and for quite a while she is a loner, so there's little room to have meaningful dialogue with others. This is what makes her seem like a psychopathic character rather than overall victim of destiny she is.
    I'm not sure what you're getting at. The inciting incident for Abby's character journey is the death of her father - much like how it is for Joel with the death of his daughter, Sarah. Unlike Joel, Abby has a specific thing to direct her ire against and something to work towards (finding Joel) but like Joel, she distances herself from everyone around her (which we get to see here - through her friend/lover Owen - but is only inferred with Joel in the first game) while going about their life. If we followed her from the beginning, there's no reason to think of Abby as a "psychopath". Ellie on the otherhand...

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Take also into consideration the time frame of the lose here. Ellie goes rampage just after Joel is killed. Abby is harboring resentment towards the man that killed the fireflies when she was a child in a world were death is a daily feature of life. This argument is even a core element of the story when Abby goes solo into the Jackson outpost to kill Joel without her team who say, "We want him dead too, but not through this risk". The argument still holds ground as that's the first event that triggers her shitty life, and this would equalize Abby to your critique of Ellie.
    How so? Ellie has bided her time and prepared herself for years to both find and confront Joel (sidenote: I still chuckle inwardly at how people can't believe Abby's swoleness being possible over time what with the resources WLF had whilst yet happily accepting the existence of fungus zombies). There are no reports from Jackson that some phantom killer has been slaughtering there way ever closer to them. There is no evidence that Abby is murderous to anyone other than Joel since she let's the brother of her enemy and a girl who murdered several of her compatriots to find Joel go (of all things!) and was actually prepared to go alone to confront Joel (which not only reduces potential deaths of her fellow WLF colleagues/friends but also collateral damage of Jackson residents where Joel resides) In contrast, Elly spends little time to prepare and goes on an instant killing spree in response to Joel's death in comparison. Who's more psychopathic of the two on paper now you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Well it's weird that we dropped all human emotions apart from fear and hate from the story... Considering "Children of Men" was the direct inspiration for TLOU series, I'm bummed out that, although the first part did a great job, part II is lousy at keeping a thematic tension for the post-apocalyptic conditions people live in. We just get hate hate hate, with not even a sprinkle of hope to snuff out the pattern at the very least.
    I think the first TLOU has more of a heavy influence from Cormac McCarthy's The Road than Children of Men. I don't necessarily agree that TLOU2 is without levity/hope and good things. Just look at how Jackson is turning out. Sure, things go to shit for Ellie and co. but the town appears to be thriving and there's "normalcy" coming back there.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    It's unreal that for all the pain this event creates, its cause is never brought back to light. "Ellie saving everyone" sure that's pretty macguffiny, but we could give the NPCs a reason to pursue her for either her good or demise. This would enrich the story and allow Ellie to transcend the bloodlust moment into an inheritance of Joel's egoism. That egoism created a macguffin back in TLOU by not letting her die, and it can be unmacgiffined by folding the immunity theme some other way. That decision Joel took represents the good quality of a story that Part 1 was. It acknowledges that Joel never really cared for the immunity and saw her as his child. Joel cared for her out of who she was not what she represented.
    This kinda makes me wonder whether what they were also going for with Ellie was that it was not only vengeance for Joel's death and her shame for not being able to forgive him but her way of exacting vengeance/working out her frustration on Joel (through Abby as an expy of Joel - which the game attempts to build) for taking her choice away from sacrificing herself in the first game.
    Last edited by Turalyon; 07-18-2020 at 03:35 AM.
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: The Last of Us 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I think the "gotcha" moments they were going for were the flashbacks providing revelatory context to what was happening in the present. This strategy is designed to build suspense and works well (and accepted more easily) with other conceits like sci-fi/time travel but on the face of things, that technique is really just a writers way to deny/delay information to a reader/audience in order to manipulate them into accepting a payoff/reward. Like I said, they were trying to be "too clever" not that it was clever.
    Got-cha Sorry was too trapped on the literal meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Hmm, I'm still influenced by what we did get and how that failed/ how most reacted negatively to it to be convinced that revealing the doctor Joel killed was Abby's father only when they meet for the first time (and quickly ending up in Joel's death) would help improve others accepting Abby straight up. Without knowing the inciting incident for Abby's actions, there's no way for the audience to begin contextualising nor wanting to see Abby's POV. All you'd get is people asking "why am I following this character for so long in what is supposed to be a sequel/continuation of Joel/Ellie adventures?"
    Clearly there's a fanboyism going on here. As you mentioned most of the negative reception is sourced at the familiarity with Joel/Ellie heightened by the fact that the average TLOU fan believes that Ellie is their "baby girl" (having played most of the original game as Joel). Considering your input, I would start the game with Joel's confession to Tommy as a cinematic and immediately connecting it to Abby, but without flashbacks. I believe you would indeed get a better reception for the story through this timeline, but I'm not sure the plot's controversy would favor Abby at all with the mainstream community. I would still see a heavy favoritism for Joel/Ellie as they had a whole game of adventures. Perhaps have a full game developing Abby? Risky and expensive, but there would be a reasoning behind all of it and it would end on Joel's death, Ellie's "kill them all" cinematic being the very end.

    Part of the failure of Abby's delivery was that TLOU2 was marketed as a continuation of Joel/Ellie without a clear story line to follow. I also believe that her origin sotry is disproportional as a mirror of Joel. Joel lost his daughter at the end of civilization, at a time were her death was tragic. The Firefly's death, although tragic and marking their end as a faction, happens under the context of a more violent grey-morality world. This contrast is key to understanding why most fans won't sympathize with Abby at all, even after the flashbacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Not exactly sure what you're getting at with the reference to WoL. The reveal of Mengsk letting Tychus go and "manipulating" him has no bearing on the entire story until it does so conveniently and right at the end to force a contrived confrontation and the ultimate death of Tychus. No-one (both in-game characters or the audience for that matter) feels the Mengsk connection is of any significance (we're supposed to believe Mengsk really allowed the stuff regarding the Odin to just happen?) until the story forces us to consider its significance - which is kinda cheap and rings of falsehood.
    Was trying to compare how you can spoil a plot point (regardless of how bad it was executed, there was an intention to have an honest twist within Tychus storyline) and wreck key questions that could have happened at the mind of the player. "Can I trust/forgive/change/love this character?" would be my cornerstone when trying to pitch Abby to the TLOU community. However, the question is replaced by an afirmation, "I can not relate/forgive/change/love this character" once she kills Joel or the player realizes that she will kill Joel. The same happens on WoL and this is were I point the parallel. The audience knows that Tychus is "the bomb under the table" and are concerned about Raynor till you figure the plot can't hold itself together.

    Going into a less indirect comparison, Druckmann wants us to care about the spy who placed the bomb under the table. It doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I'm not sure what you're getting at. The inciting incident for Abby's character journey is the death of her father - much like how it is for Joel with the death of his daughter, Sarah. Unlike Joel, Abby has a specific thing to direct her ire against and something to work towards (finding Joel) but like Joel, she distances herself from everyone around her (which we get to see here - through her friend/lover Owen - but is only inferred with Joel in the first game) while going about their life. If we followed her from the beginning, there's no reason to think of Abby as a "psychopath". Ellie on the otherhand...
    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    How so? Ellie has bided her time and prepared herself for years to both find and confront Joel (sidenote: I still chuckle inwardly at how people can't believe Abby's swoleness being possible over time what with the resources WLF had whilst yet happily accepting the existence of fungus zombies). There are no reports from Jackson that some phantom killer has been slaughtering there way ever closer to them. There is no evidence that Abby is murderous to anyone other than Joel since she let's the brother of her enemy and a girl who murdered several of her compatriots to find Joel go (of all things!) and was actually prepared to go alone to confront Joel (which not only reduces potential deaths of her fellow WLF colleagues/friends but also collateral damage of Jackson residents where Joel resides) In contrast, Elly spends little time to prepare and goes on an instant killing spree in response to Joel's death in comparison. Who's more psychopathic of the two on paper now you think?
    I'm arguing that it's a weak motivation/vocation considering the standing of Abby's life in contrast with Joel life at the time of their tragedy. It's crazy how despite all the exposure to new stimulus, she keep obsessing over an old revenge. Her dad died, boo hoo, everyone is losing family.

    As a clarification, I can agree that at an ideal level of omniscient story knowledge Ellie is on a bloodlust while Abby was the patient killer. However, what I am trying to point out is that trough how the plot is presented, Abby looks like a total psychopath. As we are killing Owen and Mel they are both talking about how scared they are about Tommy going after them, and that's all Abby's egoist decisions that got them there. Then, Abby trades the whole squad and her affiliation to the WLF (who she cheated for years to find Joel) for a kid she met two days ago.

    You are also forgetting that Ellie and Dina follow Tommy, who decided to go into a rampage first, into Seattle. Sure Ellie had the intentions to kill them too. We have the whole family chasing after the WLF tho. Forgiving the potholes or multiple exmaquina events, I can argue that the group that has bottled up so much hate for quite a while is the most dark when coming to morality. However, we can agree that Joel did what he did on his own. Niether Tommy or Ellie must inherit those pitch black cruel actions. On the change of seasons, Ellie/Tommy go back and try to get everyone who was on that room, a la lawful evil fashion.

    Even keeping a perspective consistent is difficult as one has to navigate through these writing flaws, character inconsistencies or exmaquina events:
    - Tommy and Joel trusting the WLF crew considering their backstories
    - WLF allowing Ellie and Tommy to survive
    - Abby's unexplained bond to Lev
    - The Map
    - Abby forgiving Ellie and Dina, again
    - Tommy not dying

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I think the first TLOU has more of a heavy influence from Cormac McCarthy's The Road than Children of Men. I don't necessarily agree that TLOU2 is without levity/hope and good things. Just look at how Jackson is turning out. Sure, things go to shit for Ellie and co. but the town appears to be thriving and there's "normalcy" coming back there.
    And then we have demon worshipers and racists at Seattle. I perseived Jackson and Abby's "good" backstory as fake, because their goal was to either show the calm before the storm or foil the audience into taking a character as a good one. Then, the whole goodness was never mentioned again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    This kinda makes me wonder whether what they were also going for with Ellie was that it was not only vengeance for Joel's death and her shame for not being able to forgive him but her way of exacting vengeance/working out her frustration on Joel (through Abby as an expy of Joel - which the game attempts to build) for taking her choice away from sacrificing herself in the first game.
    Well, yea I can get a bit of that inherited frustration towards Abby, Joel being the source. However, it's so weird to me that for all the Firefly intel that helps Abby and co get to Joel, there's little interest or exposition to what caused all the doctors to die on that dire day. Would have liked to have Ellie's monstrosity blamed on Joel too. Add more justification, in the end, to why Ellie leaves Joel completely behind after killing Abby.

  3. #23

    Default Re: The Last of Us 2

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Clearly there's a fanboyism going on here. As you mentioned most of the negative reception is sourced at the familiarity with Joel/Ellie heightened by the fact that the average TLOU fan believes that Ellie is their "baby girl" (having played most of the original game as Joel).
    Even if we disregard the subjective fanboyism, it's a structural problem, too. It's a sequel that fails to continue on from what came before in an efficient manner. Because of the non-linear story-telling, we only get the continuation and consequence of Joel's lie to Ellie later in the game and only in a flashback. The most important thing that the TLOU ended on is shunted aside in favour of a new revenge plot that starts up which you have to force your way through.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    I believe you would indeed get a better reception for the story through this timeline, but I'm not sure the plot's controversy would favor Abby at all with the mainstream community. I would still see a heavy favoritism for Joel/Ellie as they had a whole game of adventures. Perhaps have a full game developing Abby? Risky and expensive, but there would be a reasoning behind all of it and it would end on Joel's death, Ellie's "kill them all" cinematic being the very end.
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Part of the failure of Abby's delivery was that TLOU2 was marketed as a continuation of Joel/Ellie without a clear story line to follow.
    People are gonna have a preference no doubt, but it's about giving a proper opportunity for one to even begin understanding and sympathising with Abby's POV, which she doesn't get in TLOU2. It's clear they want us to sympathise with Abby and there are some who can and do find Abby's story to be better and more sympathisable than Ellie's (kudos to them,) but there's not enough chance for others to even consider this possibility since her actual major introduction involves actively putting the audience against her (ie: killing the protagonist of the previous story). To reduce the difficulty of siding with Abby, they needed to show her backstory (Dad being the doctor killed by Joel) right at the beginning. This would've still jelled and flowed from the ending of TLOU because it's still exploring the consequences of Joel's actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    The Firefly's death, although tragic and marking their end as a faction, happens under the context of a more violent grey-morality world. This contrast is key to understanding why most fans won't sympathize with Abby at all, even after the flashbacks.
    Sure, but the Fireflies "cure" represents the only hope (false as it may well be) there is in that universe. Not only that, the Fireflies are still people, just like Joel and Ellie (and all the people they met and died in TLOU), as well. Having TLOU2 flesh out the Fireflies at the start/showing Abby's background would've helped us sympathise with Abby more. It would've also leavened Joel's death beyond being the shock value and contrived inciting incident it was largely seen as.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    The audience knows that Tychus is "the bomb under the table" and are concerned about Raynor till you figure the plot can't hold itself together.

    Going into a less indirect comparison, Druckmann wants us to care about the spy who placed the bomb under the table. It doesn't work.
    Ok, I get the point but Tychus isn't really a good example of it since no-one is ever given reason to be concerned about Raynors' (not even Raynor himself since he's blase/does nothing when he knows Tychus has a "gun to his head") or Tychus' (since he does things that would have merited termination by Mengsk earlier but nothing happens) safety since they're depicted as superheroes who can do no wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    I'm arguing that it's a weak motivation/vocation considering the standing of Abby's life in contrast with Joel life at the time of their tragedy. It's crazy how despite all the exposure to new stimulus, she keep obsessing over an old revenge. Her dad died, boo hoo, everyone is losing family.
    Well, that just means spoilt and privileged brats have even more time to obsess over minute things doesn't it? Besides, why would the post-apocalypse make everyone "hardened" to the point of not caring who dies - even those close to you - forevermore? That's unrealistic since people are inherently emotional. TLOU shows us how Joel is not immume to learning to care about someone again and then, taking that to a maladaptive extreme ultimately. So it's not unreasonable to think others can do that, too. To Abby, her dad's death isn't like any other death, it's a personal one. Rationality goes out the window when that happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    However, what I am trying to point out is that trough how the plot is presented, Abby looks like a total psychopath.
    That's not necessarily a bad thing though. You shouldn't condone or empathise with Abby (nor anyone else in such a universe - which a lot of people do for Joel and many other fictional anti-heroes) but her actions are still relatable and understandable for what they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Abby's unexplained bond to Lev

    Abby forgiving Ellie and Dina, again
    It's to represent that killing Joel actually did nothing for her despite all that she's lost in achieving that goal. She's trying to move on and find a new purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    And then we have demon worshipers and racists at Seattle. I perseived Jackson and Abby's "good" backstory as fake, because their goal was to either show the calm before the storm or foil the audience into taking a character as a good one. Then, the whole goodness was never mentioned again.
    Don't forget about that peaceful farm that Ellie and Dina were living in! Besides, you never said anything about it lasting or being real. You asked for a "sprinkle of hope to snuff out the pattern at the very least". Well, it's there.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    However, it's so weird to me that for all the Firefly intel that helps Abby and co get to Joel, there's little interest or exposition to what caused all the doctors to die on that dire day.
    Well, whatever caused the Fireflies to flee from that University (there's tapes about a scientist not making much headway in their research, then getting infected and there's bandits about...) and got them to that hospital in Salt Lake City must have weakened them quite a bit. Joel killing the leader of the Fireflies and another of their lead doctors in their cure research must have been the last straw.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Add more justification, in the end, to why Ellie leaves Joel completely behind after killing Abby.
    Huh, what? Abby's still alive at the end.
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  4. #24
    The_Blade's Avatar Administrator
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    Default Re: The Last of Us 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Even if we disregard the subjective fanboyism, it's a structural problem, too. It's a sequel that fails to continue on from what came before in an efficient manner. Because of the non-linear story-telling, we only get the continuation and consequence of Joel's lie to Ellie later in the game and only in a flashback. The most important thing that the TLOU ended on is shunted aside in favour of a new revenge plot that starts up which you have to force your way through.
    AND takes us nowhere, or at least to a place were we can't carry on. Joel death and forgotten. Ellie in shambles, with an even less interesting future. Abby exiled with little fanbase. Tommy crippled. Dina is now the family woman. Any other character is now irrelevant.

    This is why I also complain about not having enough of Ellie's past chase her. Joel's action just serves as a motive to get him killed, it's so insignificant as a relationship to Ellie's state of mind for the audience until it's too late.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Sure, but the Fireflies "cure" represents the only hope (false as it may well be) there is in that universe. Not only that, the Fireflies are still people, just like Joel and Ellie (and all the people they met and died in TLOU), as well. Having TLOU2 flesh out the Fireflies at the start/showing Abby's background would've helped us sympathise with Abby more. It would've also leavened Joel's death beyond being the shock value and contrived inciting incident it was largely seen as.
    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Well, whatever caused the Fireflies to flee from that University (there's tapes about a scientist not making much headway in their research, then getting infected and there's bandits about...) and got them to that hospital in Salt Lake City must have weakened them quite a bit. Joel killing the leader of the Fireflies and another of their lead doctors in their cure research must have been the last straw.
    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Well, that just means spoilt and privileged brats have even more time to obsess over minute things doesn't it? Besides, why would the post-apocalypse make everyone "hardened" to the point of not caring who dies - even those close to you - forevermore? That's unrealistic since people are inherently emotional. TLOU shows us how Joel is not immume to learning to care about someone again and then, taking that to a maladaptive extreme ultimately. So it's not unreasonable to think others can do that, too. To Abby, her dad's death isn't like any other death, it's a personal one. Rationality goes out the window when that happens.
    Well, then I'm also going to mention that the Firefly faction was being annihilated by the military forces, for being extremists. How many fireflies did other unnamed characters killed? How many orphans are there. The only factor I can think of that would have make Joel's actions worse is that the "cure" was also hope for the faction. There's even more reason for the sentiment "to find Joel and kill him" to carry a linked purpose linked to Ellie's mutation immunity. I would have found that sufficient to keep the Abby's WLF "firefly" group even more neatly bonded through the years of restoring that bit of "hope" to their lives.

    Then, too, why didn't other enemies of Joel went back to fuck him over? He's killed a lot of people and left a bunch of orphans on the way. I am not arguing that revenge is not a bad motivation, but an insufficient motivator to drag these characters through the time length and hoops they had to jump through to get to Joel after almost five years rather than refocusing their lives towards other objectives that could have been more pressing at the present day of their lives.

    I was wrong in exaggerating with the tone of my complaining, as I still believe these characters deserve emotional validations and actual lives.

    That being said, the plot was completely built upon a series of convenient events. Even when ordered at a chronological level, so many actions happen at the expense of chance and conveniently placed plot devices. Add to that the tapes that are completely unrelated to the plot. Most attempt to build the world, but barely grace upon anything tangible or interesting for either the player or the character's themselves. I will not suspend my disbelief when regarding these snipets of information. They could have been found by others beforehand and being more present on the world around us through NPCs, monsters or other non-instantaneous event.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Ok, I get the point but Tychus isn't really a good example of it since no-one is ever given reason to be concerned about Raynors' (not even Raynor himself since he's blase/does nothing when he knows Tychus has a "gun to his head") or Tychus' (since he does things that would have merited termination by Mengsk earlier but nothing happens) safety since they're depicted as superheroes who can do no wrong.
    In hindsight it's a terrible example. I guess I like the latter analogy the most, as I can't recall any character who's been at this literary standoff before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    That's not necessarily a bad thing though. You shouldn't condone or empathise with Abby (nor anyone else in such a universe - which a lot of people do for Joel and many other fictional anti-heroes) but her actions are still relatable and understandable for what they are.
    Well, it is bad at a narrative level if we do want people to sympathize with her character, even on our made up version of TLOU2. However, I believe I am getting to the point you've been making (both imperfect characters, neither Abby or Ellie are righteous or good, but Abby is more relatable in her grief than Ellie is?). I'll concede to that idea. However, Abby is not an anti-hero she is the villain of the story. Best character to relate her to would be Thanos. You can relate to his mission and goal, but you can't possibly believe he is anything other than the villain of the story. We had a whole movie devoted to him, yes; and his victory gave us an even greater satisfaction upon his later defeat (unlike Abby's end).

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    It's to represent that killing Joel actually did nothing for her despite all that she's lost in achieving that goal. She's trying to move on and find a new purpose.
    Adding to the list of things that invalidate Abby's character... from another angle... How can her camaraderie bond to her actual friends be so delicate that she would dismiss all of them and then find comfort on a child she's just met! Arguably they all kept their relationships strong by eventually fulfilling their goal of killing Joel together. It's not something easy to do, and even harder through that length of time. Considering they are not perfect characters, they all must have had their doubts and will to seek a different goal/motive, but the idea was strong enough to keep them together. There should be a stronger bond for them to return to even as they find out the sour lessons of empty revenge. However, this is not what happens. They all diverge into their lives and are hunted down by Tommy/Ellie rather than sticking together, specially Abby (who acts only out of convenient concern for Owen after being apart).

    A silly love triangle: Owen, Mel, and Abby is silly enough to question the groups integrity. Why didn't they collapse earlier? I just can't give enough credit again to "killing Joel".

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Don't forget about that peaceful farm that Ellie and Dina were living in! Besides, you never said anything about it lasting or being real. You asked for a "sprinkle of hope to snuff out the pattern at the very least". Well, it's there.
    Well, hope that is fake for the audience and characters is no hope at all. The farm was as filled with drama as Seattle, despite it's scenery. Ultimately, Dina leaves the farm for all the pain and grief Ellie caused her, and Ellie forgets Joel's influence by "moving on". It was a convenient place for the characters to be restless. Here I will also side with you. Ellie was a total asshole in the farm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Huh, what? Abby's still alive at the end.
    Well, I was just coning our perceived end for the game rather than what we actually had.

  5. #25

    Default Re: The Last of Us 2

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    AND takes us nowhere, or at least to a place were we can't carry on. Joel death and forgotten. Ellie in shambles, with an even less interesting future. Abby exiled with little fanbase. Tommy crippled. Dina is now the family woman. Any other character is now irrelevant.
    The whole narrative is a confused mess but I get the feeling that what they were aiming for was "Ellie confronts the consequences of Joel's actions and forgives him/moves on". To a degree it can be interpreted as this based on that ending, but there's too much distraction (Abby/other characters and the focus on revenge) to make that point hit home.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Well, then I'm also going to mention that the Firefly faction was being annihilated by the military forces, for being extremists. How many fireflies did other unnamed characters killed? How many orphans are there. The only factor I can think of that would have make Joel's actions worse is that the "cure" was also hope for the faction. There's even more reason for the sentiment "to find Joel and kill him" to carry a linked purpose linked to Ellie's mutation immunity. I would have found that sufficient to keep the Abby's WLF "firefly" group even more neatly bonded through the years of restoring that bit of "hope" to their lives.
    Yeah, that's a good idea considering Ellie's immunity seems be forcefully forgotten or downplayed into oblivion. Abby could've used that information to cause a stir in Jackson to smoke out Ellie/Joel. Her knowledge of what really happened could've been used to drive a wedge between Joel and Ellie and allowed more potential interaction with the those three main characters. The possibilities!

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Then, too, why didn't other enemies of Joel went back to fuck him over? He's killed a lot of people and left a bunch of orphans on the way. I am not arguing that revenge is not a bad motivation, but an insufficient motivator to drag these characters through the time length and hoops they had to jump through to get to Joel after almost five years rather than refocusing their lives towards other objectives that could have been more pressing at the present day of their lives.
    It's a bit unclear whether Abby has a specific plan, but she is pulling her weight in the WLF whilst building herself up for some imagined confrontation with Joel. She has enough pull on the WLF leader, Isaac, to get some people to investigate Jackson afterall.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    That being said, the plot was completely built upon a series of convenient events. Even when ordered at a chronological level, so many actions happen at the expense of chance and conveniently placed plot devices.
    Well, all stories are filled with fridge moments, the trick is to delay the realisation of them. That would've happened if the sequence of events was shown chronologically because it would've been seen as a natural build (with tension, too) toward a nexus point. Instead of Joel's death being a sudden tomato surprise designed to shock and put the other main character (Ellie) into a journey arc, there would've been a creeping dread since you know Abby's motivation, you don't know what's going to happen, nor whether you want her to succeed or not as she gets closer and closer to finding Joel.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Well, it is bad at a narrative level if we do want people to sympathize with her character, even on our made up version of TLOU2. However, I believe I am getting to the point you've been making (both imperfect characters, neither Abby or Ellie are righteous or good, but Abby is more relatable in her grief than Ellie is?). I'll concede to that idea. However, Abby is not an anti-hero she is the villain of the story. Best character to relate her to would be Thanos. You can relate to his mission and goal, but you can't possibly believe he is anything other than the villain of the story. We had a whole movie devoted to him, yes; and his victory gave us an even greater satisfaction upon his later defeat (unlike Abby's end).
    Thanos is going a bit far. Abby's motivation is more relatable and sympathisable than Thanos's (and smaller scaled, too). She's only a (designated) villain by default because the story has her kill the main protagonist of the previous game near the start of the sequel. She actually comes out more cleaner than Ellie all things considered and actually turns a corner with a believable (albeit contrived) reason. Abby is capable of mercy, attempts to better herself, is willing to let go (due in part that she was still having PTSD nightmares after killing Joel) and is the first to let the cycle of revenge end (by not killing Dinah). Ellie's seems more villainous as she kills more named characters and becomes gradually more blase about it such that final confrontation with Abby is downright unsettling where you're forced to continue attacking Abby when she's on her knees. If the story had built Abby properly enough, you're supposed to feel bad and not want Abby to die in that moment but most people don't because of that single incident at the start and the non-linear outlaying of her backstory later on. Ellie is more despicable/villainous here objectively and I'm not entirely sure if that was the idea because Abby was supposed to die here initially, instead of the random last minute DEM of "Ellie remembering to be good all of a sudden so therefore she was always good hokum" they went for.

    I think it would've been interesting to have Abby be killed by Ellie and still keep the same ending of her going back to the farm. Some say that it's supposed to represent how her revenge was for nothing but others suggest that it's a positive ending since it's actually about Ellie letting Joel go. Just imagine that second interpretation for a sec in the context of Abby actually dying to Ellie's hands... Ellie becomes full villain, killing Abby to avenge Joel's death and being at peace with that/being able to let Joel go because of it. The audience would've loved that ending but the critics would've hated it since it makes you/the player complicit/condoning Ellie's actions (and she gets away with it positively) when you really shouldn't. That would've been a brave and more secretly unsettling ending (revenge sometimes works out great in a gritty apocalyptic world, kids!) like the first game achieved.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    How can her camaraderie bond to her actual friends be so delicate that she would dismiss all of them and then find comfort on a child she's just met!
    She has a more personal stake than compared to her friends. Her friends don't really seem as eager as Abby in seeking revenge which suggests they just want to move on and/or they didn't suffer/feel a personal loss like Abby did. The turning point for Abby is Joel's death at her hands. Before that, she's determined. When she does go through it, she feels nothing. Worse, she still gets PTSD nightmares. She's trying to find another purpose from that point on. Lo and behold, an opportunity comes in the form of some kids in need.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Well, hope that is fake for the audience and characters is no hope at all.
    Oh come on now, you just want to be disagreeable! There was hope/good things seen in TLOU 2 what with Jackson and the farm regardless of how things eventually turned out or how much you deny it.
    Last edited by Turalyon; 07-27-2020 at 05:57 AM.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


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