Video Games

My mixed feelings on the Last of Us 2

The Last of Us is one of my favorite games of all time, but I’m not at all on board with a sequel. When a game, or any story for that matter, with such a powerful character driven narrative ends in the manner that The Last of Us ended, we who have come along for the ride are left to fill in the blanks. But it goes beyond even that.

The ending of the Last of Us was very much intended to force the viewer into evaluating the final events of the story. It forced us to look at it through our own moral lens, to judge the rightness or wrongness of what happened, and based on that, decide for ourselves if the outcome was good or bad, if Joel was a hero or villain.

That’s what made the ending so powerful. The fact that we were not given a simple answer; we had to find it within ourselves.

My fear is that The Last of Us 2 is going to take that away from us. That it will fill in too many blanks. That it will answer the questions for us. At best, I think it will give the ending of the first game less weight. At worst, it could contradict our own sense of what it all meant. It could undermine the swell of emotion I get when I think of Ellie’s line “It can’t be for nothing.”

On the bright side, no matter what happens, we can look forward to more amazing music from Gustavo Santaolalla.

Video Games

Uncharted 2 game review

Finished Uncharted 2. I would say it was fantastic compared to the average game, but fell well short of my considerable expectations.

The great:
• Voice acting is absolutely brilliant as is what I’ve come to expect from Naughty Dog.
• Presentation is stellar. Uncharted games squeeze the PS3 for every drop of power it has and it shows. These games are straight up beautiful: vibrant, colorful, immersive, wondrous, detailed, insert all the positive adjectives.
• The score is worthy of a big budget movie, and it’s played by a real orchestra. It is the perfect sonic accompaniment to Drake’s adventures.
• Drake’s trademark humor is in top form.

The good:
• Writing is solid. I don’t mean the story as a whole, but the dialogue.
• Gameplay is solid.

The not so good:
• Weapon selection is extremely lackluster.
• Enemy variety is all but non-existent.
• The story, while adequate, was not as engaging as the original.
• Every chapter starts to feel the same after awhile. The locations change, but basically it’s fight through bad guys, climb stuff, and fight through more bad guys to get to the next cutscene, repeat. Every once in a while a puzzle to solve is tossed in there.

The bad:
• Come on, this is still a Naughty Dog game, nothing about it is ‘bad’.