Friday, June 12, 2020

The real horror is reading about the unparalleled levels of violence in The Last of Us II

This game is getting tons of perfect scores calling it one of the best games ever. But

Vice:

It is over two dozen hours of spiraling cycles of violence and vengeance, being reminded roughly every hour that the whole endeavor is squalid and cruel. There is hardly a moment of joy it will not eventually curdle. A truly shocking number of characters that you will come to care about will be gruesomely mutilated, or slaughtered, or both

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The Last of Us 2 is a game of squalid cruelty. It’s not just the fact that you torture and kill people even as they plead with you to spare them, or the incredibly detailed destuction of faces and bodies that happens with shocking regularity throughout this game. It is also the growing lack of justification.
WaPo:
Her journey is one of the bloodiest treks in video game history.

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What makes this level of violence bearable are the sections of downtime generously spread throughout the campaign.
VG247:
Here that same feeling translates to a 3D, photorealistic scene. Bodies lay limp with jaws ripped from their face, teeth missing, blood spilling from the exit wound. Shoot someone with an explosive arrow indoors and a chunk of flesh might stick to the ceiling and drip down in the aftermath – a thick splash of liquid and unidentifiable body parts where a human once stood. Shoot someone in the throat and they die with a gargle, bleeding out and twitching as blood pools around them.
Digital Trends:
When you kill a human enemy, their friends will cry out for them. They each have names. Their allies will be devastated to come across their dead body, and not because it means they themselves are in danger. It’s a heartwrenching, but realistic, detail, and it makes the game shine while leaving you with a pit in your stomach.
Telegraph:
Where Naughty Dog themselves sometimes stumble is the sheer volume of viscera players are forced to endure. Combat in The Last of Us Part II is beyond brutal; it’s violent to the point of viciousness, and so graphic as to risk being gratuitous.
Meanwhile, from Kotaku's article about what it was like working on the game:
Today, as many of the developers at Naughty Dog put in nights and weekends at the office to finish the game, some continue to ask themselves a question that has haunted the studio for years: Is it worth it?

As one Naughty Dog developer recently told me: “This game is really good, but at a huge cost to the people.”

Even in an industry where overtime is ubiquitous, where it’s near-impossible to find a game that isn’t the result of weeks or months of crunch, Naughty Dog stands out.
A few more comments on the game: