Oh hi! This piece is part of the #CreativeChristmasCollab, an event set up by Chris Durston at the OverThinker Y blog where people have been paired up Secret Santa-style! We each get a creative gift from our mystery match, and simply say something nice in return (which shouldn’t be hard aha)! In this case, I was matched with a gaming blogger and all-around friendly member of the community by the name of Gaming Omnivore! As for the gift itself, this was in the form of their opinion post on The Last of Us Part II, which you can read at the link below!
-WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE LAST OF US PART II AHEAD-
Black Gives Way to Blue –
My Thoughts on The Last of Us Part 2
Whenever I see another opinion post on The Last of Us Part II, I approach it with caution, as this game has stirred up quite a lot of controversy that at times has gotten quite nasty. A sprawling sequel to the masterpiece that is The Last of Us, it is packed full of intense moments in gameplay and story; it was always going to be divisive given the themes and viewpoints it challenges the player with, for example the section playing as Abby (Laura Bailey). So, it delighted me to find that the words of Gaming Omnivore were so well reasoned and balanced, never descending into unsubstantiated hyperbole and keeping a grounded perspective on the game.
They go through their thoughts in 3 distinct sections: Gameplay, Presentation, and Story. For the initial two parts it’s great to see acknowledgement for how detailed and gorgeous The Last of Us Part II is, taking time to note aspects that are often not mentioned elsewhere – for example, the welcome reduction in fetch-the-pallet puzzles for an Ellie who can now swim (!), or the utterly superb sensory sound design. This post is so right; it’s a part of game design severely underappreciated! Whether intentional or not, first examining the game technically lends the article a really well-reasoned and informed tone before going into the story, which can be a more subjective and emotional topic.
A lot of the story-specific points raised I agree with wholeheartedly. Flashbacks were a highlight for me too, especially that early museum one; the shot where the Firefly logo and “LIARS” graffiti is literally and figuratively the silent separation between Ellie and Joel is one of the standout moments for me. Also, it is mentioned here that despite all the coverage on how The Last of Us Part II is dark and bleak, it is additionally very, very fun! The ending of the game is – to me – quietly uplifting, showing there is always a chance to stop, to change, to decide to choose hope over despair.
Towards the end of the article slight criticisms are raised, but always with thoughtful reasons to back them up; such as how, yes, the game is supposed to be drawn out, but there could have been better pacing within that. I certainly felt there were too many combat encounters at times. In a sea of loud and unreasonable takes on The Last of Us Part II, it is so, so refreshing to read an article with a more laid-back, balanced tone, and no snap judgements. It is not easy to do, and is an article to be proud of! As said in the piece, this is a very complex game. In my opinion, it deserves an intelligent analysis such as this in response.
Furthermore, in this article you include images you took yourself with Photo Mode, which is a really neat touch. It is with joy that I discovered there is a whole separate post on this where you display more of your results from the Photo Mode in The Last of Us Part II! I highly recommend people go flick through them here! The increased prominence of Photo Modes in games nowadays is a trend I am fully on board with, and trying to get better at, aha… If there are any other games you end up doing Photo Mode pieces for, I shall be there to see them!
Overall, to anyone reading this, I encourage you to take a stroll over to the Gaming Omnivore blog and have a browse; they are a wonderful member of the community, always friendly and open to discussion, whether that be on the subject of games or any other topic. Merry Christmas Gaming Omnivore and all those reading this; I hope you have an awesome one!
Thank you to Chris Durston at the OverThinker Y blog for setting all of this up!