September 2020 in Summary: Roundabout

“We tried to include an ‘Ego’ meter on this card, but the original prints ended up being heavy enough to smother a blue whale.”

For the record, I was criticizing Naughty Dog way before it was cool. In fact, it was back in September of 2013 that my extreme disappointment in the first The Last of Us caused me to form strong opinions of the games I played, which, in turn, eventually resulted in the creation of this site, so don’t forget to thank Naughty Dog for making this all possible. And then, seven years later, the sequel managed to disappoint a much larger portion of the audience. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Films watched in September 2020:

In theaters:

  • <None>

At home:

  • Casino (Martin Scorsese, 1995)
  • Othello (Orson Welles, 1951)
  • All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950)
  • The Fireman’s Ball (Miloš Forman, 1967)

If it’s one thing that made Roger Ebert such a great critic, it’s that he did not blindly go along with his peers. When Casino was released in 1995, many critics dismissed it as Goodfellas 2.0. It was an unfortunate consensus because while there are many similarities between the two works, Casino is absolutely not a carbon copy of Goodfellas. Similar to how he didn’t buy into his peers’ dismissal of Red Beard as a Japanese soap opera, Mr. Ebert recognized this immediately, and inducted the film into his “Great Movies” list. Meanwhile, his peers wouldn’t warm up to it until many years later.

I myself think it’s an incredible film, not only being one of the best films of the 1990s, but right up there with Goodfellas and Raging Bull when discussing Mr. Scorsese’s best works. It’s one of those rare works based on a true story that takes massive creative liberties with real-life events, yet still manages to be great. I think what helps is that the characters’ names were changed from their real-life counterparts, so it is openly admitting to being a work of fiction inspired by true events rather than an attempt to recreate said true events. This was an especially smart move because it was revealed in 2008 that the person who formed the basis of the character Robert DeNiro played was an FBI informant – something Mr. Scorsese and company couldn’t possibly have known or predicted at the time. It’s not as well-known as some of his more famous films, which is a shame because it is incredible. A highly recommended watch.

Citizen Kane was a very Shakespeare-like story set in then-modern times, so Orson Welles directly adapting one of the bard’s plays was the logical next step in that progression. The play has been adapted many times over the years, and Mr. Welles’s take was a solid one, deservedly winning the Palme d’Or (or more specifically, its predecessor) the year it came out. Recommending it does kind of come with the standard “It probably won’t win you over if you’re not a fan of Shakespeare’s style” clause, but I’d say it’s worth checking out regardless. You can’t really go wrong with Orson Welles, after all.

What I find interesting about watching old films is that occasionally, I’ll come across a standard present-day auteurs tried to achieve only to fail because they didn’t have a certain something required to pull it off whether it’s finesse, charisma, or talent. In the case of All About Eve, I think of it as the kind of film The Favourite wanted to be. They both involve a very conniving person attempting to worm their way into a favorable position using incredibly underhanded tactics |only to find they got much more than they bargained for|. However, The Favourite fell short because it was based upon slanderous rumors and hearsay while All About Eve is entirely fictional. In doing so, it is far more focused on the story it’s trying to tell, and it’s a much better work for it. It’s actually kind of amazing the film was greenlit in 1950 because it is not the kind of fare you would expect from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Finally, at the end of the month, I ended up watching Miloš Forman’s The Fireman’s Ball. Most people know of him through One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Amadeus, but this ended up being my introduction to him. It was one of the films he made in his native Czechoslovakia. It’s a satirical film wherein firefighters attempt to throw a ball, and things go wrong long before something catches on fire when it turns out they’re all incompetents. It’s considered one of the highlights of the Czechoslovak New Wave, and it is definitely worth checking out.

Games reviewed in September 2020:

“I was going to give my employees their bonuses, but then I got high.”

The Last of Us Part II

This is review number eight to exceed 10,000 words! I actually had to cut a few talking points out of this review to avoid going even more off-topic than I already had. Plus, I didn’t want to give Naughty Dog the pleasure of inspiring my longest review.

There is little question that The Last of Us Part II inspired a lot of outrage among enthusiasts. That the respected series effectively fell from grace as early as its second installment was one of the most shocking developments in gaming. Personally? I wasn’t at all surprised that that Naughty Dog managed to lose their sacred cow status. To me, the only shocking aspect about all this was that it all happened so quickly. The warning signs that Naughty Dog would eventually churn out something this disastrous were present as early as Uncharted 4 when Neil Druckmann made his aversion to constructive criticism known, but I still didn’t think his audience would turn on him and company to the extent they did – and practically overnight at that.

“You didn’t see Ludonarrative Dissonance. YOU DIDN’T! Because it’s NOT! THERE!”

There is so much to unpack about the backlash to The Last of Us Part II  and the events leading up to its release that I actually intend on writing a follow-up editorial about it, but for now, I’ll just say this: The Last of Us Part II is – to an even greater extent than its predecessor – the worst game I’ve ever played to have amassed that amount of critical acclaim. The original was dire, but at the end of the day, the biggest mistake that story made was that it was in a video game. Had it been a film or miniseries, 99% of its problems would’ve been avoided. This wouldn’t have helped The Last of Us Part II; the story is just that fundamentally broken.

It’s an interesting contrast with the original game because The Last of Us was weighed down by a few key, persistent issues. The gameplay wasn’t at all polished, so when the story eventually lost me, it didn’t have anything to fall back on. Meanwhile, I went through many of the same motions when playing The Last of Us Part II, as Todd in the Shadows did when he reviewed Robin Thicke’s Paula as part of his Trainwreckords show in that I wondered if the game could actually be kind of good before eventually wondering if the game is bad after all once it started making its missteps.

I still think that the actual gameplay is markedly improved from the original because despite Mr. Druckmann’s notorious aversion to the dreaded “F” word, there were several sequences I actually thought were fun to play through. However, whereas the original had a much more focused narrative, The Last of Us Part II has about a dozen different concepts – none of which the writers manage to explore competently. While the original was squashed by a comparatively low number of large problems, The Last of Us Part II has several small problems littered throughout the entire experience, thereby suffering a death of a thousand cuts

Indeed, it actually managed to surpass Ride to Hell: Retribution for the record of most entries in the “Cons” list. I thought that was a little strange at first. Is it really the most problem-filled game I’ve reviewed? I think it very well could be. After all, the number of problems a game has doesn’t really correlate to its overall quality. Technically speaking, the NES edition of Dragon’s Lair and Metal Morph had fewer problems than Ride to Hell: Retribution or The Last of Us Part II, but the former two games are much, much, much worse than the latter two. There have also been plenty of times in which a game didn’t fail, yet I didn’t add anything to the “Pros” list because it didn’t stand out at all. I don’t even think The Last of Us Part II’s worst missteps are as bad as those of the original, but in exchange, there are much more of them and some of them manage to be almost as bad. The result is that while The Last of Us had to make an especially bad case for itself to end up in the 3/10 tier, The Last of Us Part II ended up there naturally.

As mentioned in the review, The Last of Us Part II also fails for much of the same reason its predecessor failed (or any given walking simulator, for that matter). It has about as much respect for the medium as the average enthusiast had for gaming journalists in 2020.

[Actual Naughty Dog dialogue]

When a work suffers from this severe of an identity crisis, it is fundamentally incapable of inspiring others to follow its lead. After all, if you don’t have real confidence in the medium, that lack of confidence will transfer to your audience and they, in turn, won’t have confidence in you. That and the painfully outdated “you’re a sucker for actually caring about things” edgelord attitude that rightly died with the 1990s makes the game feel several decades behind the times. If The Last of Us Part II is meant to be the game of my generation, we’re in big trouble.

“We also tend not to use the words ‘quality’ around here. Or ‘edit’, Or ‘think’. Or ‘implication’. Or ‘complex’. Or ‘criticism’. Or ‘logic’. Or ‘rational’. Really, everything between ‘applicability’ and ‘utility’ seems to be missing from our dictionary.”

Featured articles:

On the use of public office to suppress the display and sale of artistic works – Recently, Australian state legislator and extraordinary lightweight Connie Bonaros complained about Sword Art Online, claiming it and other manga series violated Australian law, thus resulting in a ban (one wonders how she’d react to stuff like Berserk). AK uses this opportunity to talk about unscrupulous attempts to censor art from a lawperson’s perspective.

When Movies Outlast Their Expiry Dates – On some level, I really don’t like to take the “old movies are better than new movies” stance because it comes across as rather stodgy and conservative. The reason I tend to stick with it is because there really is no getting around that the level of talent among filmmakers took a nosedive in the early 21st century (despite what Paul Schrader would have you believe). That said, if it’s one thing I will grant fans of new films, it’s that when old films don’t age well, they really don’t age well (I myself would argue that’s the case with Blowup). Comedies seem especially susceptible to this, and Ruth of Silver Screenings takes a look at a specific example in the form of Never Wave at a WAC, which seemed behind the times even back in the 1950s, let alone now.

Ghost of Tsushima – Game Review – Black Disc Gaming takes a look at Ghost of Tsushima, which is one of the few respected American AAA productions released this year. Much of it is inspired by the works of Akira Kurosawa, which I can get behind, so I’m definitely going to check the game out when I get a chance.

Mario’s Cement Factory: Game & Watch Classic is Concrete – Mr. Wapojif takes a look at one of the many portable Game & Watch games Nintendo released in the 1980s: Mario’s Cement Factory. It’s definitely one of the better games within that catalog, and I played it for the first time when it was included in the Game & Watch Gallery 4 compilation (which I personally felt had the strongest lineup of any of them).

How and Why BioShock 2 Failed Me – I’m not as down on BioShock 2 as critics such as Bob Chipman and Yahtzee are, but I do agree that it was a step down from the original. It wasn’t planned for, and it shows. Reading Amanda Hurych’s reasons for not liking the game was definitely interesting.

The Interesting Case of Metal Gear Solid, or Groundbreaking GamingMetal Gear Solid, to me, falls in that same category of works that also includes stuff such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and The Deer Hunter in that I think it’s a good game, but I’m not as sold on its impact on the medium. This is the game that likely cemented the “games = bad, films = good” mentality infecting many AAA developers now, and it was an extremely mixed blessing. On one hand, it sold a lot of people on the idea that you can tell interesting stories in games. On the other hand, it eventually resulted in Metroid: Other M and The Last of Us Part II. Regardless, it does have its rightful place in history, and reading Athena’s take on it suggests it was a case where inspired took all the wrong lessons from what was a very innovative game.

Bloodless Bollsheviks and Soulless Suckers! Boll’s Best BloodRayne! Third Reich Review! – A direct-to-video Uwe Boll film? That’s a double whammy right there. I have to give Pinkie credit for getting through this terrible trilogy – I know I wouldn’t have had the patience for it.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Lacks Humor & Wit – I’ve remarked in the past that today’s filmmakers (or showrunners) are terrible when it comes to satire, but they generally don’t fare well in the comedy department either. You know a Star Trek series, as part of a franchise known for humor and wit, is bad when it’s utterly lacking in both. Starloggers takes a look at the much-maligned Star Trek: The Lower Decks.

SUPERHOT – Review – Nepiki takes a look at Superhot, an indie first-person shooter with a very unique style and gameplay to it. It’s actually been on my to-play list for a while, and the indie gaming scene has been killing it lately, so I will definitely check this one out as well.

That Time I Helped With AnimEVO – Due to the pandemic, gaming tournaments such as EVO have been moved to an online setting. Frostilyte got to help out with it this year, and it was cool seeing how it came together.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Movie Review – What is it with trilogies ending with their weakest installment? In his final review of the trilogy, Lashaan Balasingam of Bookidote takes a look at the controversial The Dark Knight Rises.

Mystik Belle Review – The 2010s may not have been a good decade for Metroid or Castlevania, but it was a great decade for Metroidvanias. Thedeviot reviews one of the games to spawn from the Metroidvania indie boom: Mystik Belle, which appears to have a Puyo Puyo/Madou Monogatari vibe to it.

Farewell, Nintendo 3DS – September of 2020 marked the end of an era when Nintendo discontinued their 3DS console. Between stuff such as Fire Emblem: Awakening, Fire Emblem: Fates, Virtue’s Last Reward, Bravely Default, and Spirit of Justice, the console had a great run. Scott of the Wizard Dojo takes a look at what he considers to be one of Nintendo’s greatest portable consoles.

Project G-Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) – After the disaster that was All Monsters Attack, there was nowhere for the Godzilla franchise to go, but up. In the latest installment of his Godzilla retrospective, Aether takes a look at Godzilla vs. Hedorah. It was probably made on drugs, which, given the time in which it was made, isn’t an impossibility. Still, I think I would take a coke-fueled fever dream over anything with Minilla in it – even if we could totally troll cinephiles by pointing out that, technically speaking, All Monsters Attack made it into the Criterion Collection before Ex Machina.

Links to my articles:

Game reviews:

26 thoughts on “September 2020 in Summary: Roundabout

    • You’re welcome! And Orson Welles’s take on Othello is definitely a great one, to be sure. That Iago’s a real piece of work. I actually was interested in checking it out because Fire Emblem: Fates of all things includes a reference to Othello.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s interesting! I haven’t played any Fire Emblem game, but that’s a neat reference. I watched it because I remember a story my mother told of one of her professors having a crush on the man who played Othello, and I had to see the movie for myself.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for linking my post! Every time something like this happens, we hear the same arguments in support repeating the same old misconceptions about the nature of anime, manga, light novels, visual novels and the rest. Not that it matters — all art regardless of its style should be held to the same standard, but the trouble is it isn’t. Not in Australia, anyway. And it’s certainly a matter for all of us to be concerned with, since the goal of Bonaros and her kind isn’t just national but international bans on free expression, which we see when they try to push UN resolutions or put pressure on foreign governments.

    If it were truly a “protect the children” issue, then these politicians and interest groups would focus on finding news ways to enforce existing age restriction regimes. But it’s clear to me that this isn’t the issue; it’s really just about gaining the power to control how good citizens get to enjoy their time away from work. With regard to attempted bans of anime/manga-related stuff there might also be a xenophobic element at work, but I can’t say for sure. Anyway, I hope my conclusions aren’t too out there, but I’ve heard and seen enough now to feel this way. This seems to be an issue that complete jerks across the political spectrum can agree on: Bonaros is part of what looks like a center or center-left party, but we have our own idiot candidate in the States running for a House seat from Florida, KW Miller, who’s a far-right Trump guy and also wants to ban anime. Good luck to him.

    I find it pretty annoying when period pieces like The Favourite totally buy into all the stupid rumors about historical figures that people repeat to this day as if they were proven facts. Why not just write fiction at that point? You can even base it on historical events like George RR Martin does with a lot of A Song of Ice and Fire, and then he gets to do whatever he likes with those characters. I don’t demand total accuracy because that’s often impossible anyway, and throwing some BS in can be fine if it serves the story (you can see Romance of the Three Kingdoms for a lot of that mix of real-life drama and magic/curses/heroes beating up a thousand guys at a time, and that works for me.) But too often it’s just repeating the same boring stories that have no support anyway, and nothing’s done with them in the end.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome! I don’t get the sense that these movements are to protect children, but rather to spare the feelings of whoever came up with them. People like Bonaros generally can’t stand the idea that there are things they cannot control, so it’s not surprising that they’d try to get them banned. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was indeed fueled by xenophobia. When you get these kinds of movements and try to get many people to rally behind your side without screening out questionable sources, you tend to attract people who are onboard with it for less well-intentioned reasons. I can therefore believe that xenophobes joined the cause. It’s like how corporate hacks love an anti-audience attitude just as much as mainstream critics or how the backlash to Gone Home and The Last of Us Part II attracted legitimate homophobes (and transphobes in the latter case).

      I couldn’t imagine Miller getting that far; even if he somehow managed to effect all of his policies, we would probably create anime speakeasies in protest.

      The Favourite isn’t admittedly as bad as its contemporaries (it wasn’t even the worst of the films that got nominated for an Oscar that year – Green Book was way, way worse in that regard), but there is no getting around that the weakest aspects of the 2010s biopic formula compromised its integrity. Plus, as you say, I did lose quite a bit of respect for it when I learned it was based off of slanderous rumors rather than historical fact. At that point, you are indeed better off writing fiction. And I also don’t expect 100% accuracy because that’s impossible even if you’re trying. The problem is that today’s filmmakers *don’t* try, and it shows.

      Considering how long ago the events of Romance of the Three Kingdoms were in real life, I don’t think they could help but add fictional elements. Regardless, I do like it when the authors are upfront about the fictional elements because at least then, there’s a sense of fair play. Indeed, that’s what saves Casino from being dated; by changing the names of the figures, it effectively became a work of fiction inspired by real events, which was good given how dated knowledge of those historical facts became in the long run.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’re spot on about their need for absolute control. Even if I agreed with Bonaros on 90% or more of her other policies (my own views are around that center-left area that her party looks to represent, so I’m just guessing) I would not have one ounce of trust in a politician who tries to exert such control over expression. It’s too bad that she managed to succeed, at least in this one instance.

        As for Miller, he’s an independent running against a Republican incumbent and Democratic challenger, and it looks from the polls like he has no chance in hell of winning. Even if he were running against an actual elephant and donkey for that seat, he would probably still come in third place based on what I’ve seen and heard from him. Though I do really like the idea of an anime speakeasy. We’ll have to set those up if that worst-case scenario ever happens.

        Casino is a movie I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. I like almost everything else I’ve seen from Scorsese, I like the actors, so I should really just watch it now.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for featuring my post! I still have a bunch of Uwe Boll movies to go! Luckily Halloween offers me a bit of different content for a while!
    We talked a bit about the last of Us before! Some interesting movie picks as well!

    Liked by 2 people

    • No problem! And good luck getting through the rest of those films. You’d have to have quite a bit of patience to put up with them. I’ve always liked Halloween-themed stuff for some reason; it just makes for a good change of pace to go all-out crazy like that holiday does.

      And I highly recommend Casino if you haven’t seen it, though Othello, All About Eve, and The Fireman’s Ball are good as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess I missed that The Last of Us II review when you posted it (I have been a bit absent in recent weeks). I will get to it because I am quite curious to see how and why your opinion on it diverges so much from the critical average, though being familiar with your complaints about the first one I guess I already know what you will mention.

    And once again we seem to have watched the same movie during the same general time period. I watched Casino for the first time a month or so ago. I felt it punctually dragged, but it is yet another great work by Scorsese.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I get it. I only wrote one review last month, and I’m surprised I managed that because I’ve been really busy lately.

      Hope you enjoy reading my review! Without getting into specifics, The Last of Us Part II is a strange beast because, while you can probably get an idea as to why I think it’s bad by reading my review of the original, it’s primarily guilty of taking all of those problems and cranking them up to eleven. Ironically, the actual gameplay is improved quite a bit.

      I would actually argue the length of Casino was ideal. I’ve seen films that were shorter such as High Life or Midsommar that, due to a distinct lack of substance and glacial pace, felt much longer. Still, you can’t really go wrong with Scorsese, huh?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think there were a few technical hiccups, but nothing to where we needed to call a match because of it. One of the big pushes within the fighting game community is for all games to use rollback netcode instead of delay based as it creates a smoother online experience for both parties. Fantasy Strike, the game I was helping out with, has this feature (as did several other games featured in AnimEVO) so while online tournaments can make up for in-person at leas the games were designed such that the online experience wouldn’t be a huge detriment.

        I shouldn’t assume everyone knows the difference between rollback and delay based netcode, so here’s a quick summary. Whenever you experience lag in a peer to peer game that is caused by either your client being ahead or behind your opponent. The lag is an intentional delay from the game while it waits for the game state to synchronize – hence the name delay based netcode. Rollback operates differently in that it never waits for either client to send data before rendering the screen. Whenever a sync issue happens the game guesses what it thinks your opponent is going to do until it receives the data for what is happening. In practice this means the code assumes your opponent will continue doing what they were doing for the half second it takes for the game to catch-up, which rarely breaks the flow of a match. Unfortunately, rollback isn’t magic so if someone is on a really bad wi-fi connection the results are just as obnoxious as delay based netcode.

        So we were covered. I think that, especially after the events this year, no fighting game is going to be able to seriously release without having rollback netcode. I know that some Japanese developers are still obstinate to this change because arcades exist, but prior to EVO proper being canned all of the games normally featured were removed thanks to their lacking online experience, owing entirely to the lack of rollback netcode. It’ll be interesting to see if that finally brings some of them to their senses so that fighting games can (all) finally have good online experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate the shout-out to my final review of the final chapter of Nolan’s trilogy. I can now move on to rewatching the pre-Nolan and pre-DCEU movies now. 😀

    I agree about Casino, it’s up there with Goodfellas, although Goodfellas remains at the top of Scorsese’s greatest movies. Raging Bull was also a fantastic movie with De Niro’s performance making it even better!

    I see that The Favourite didn’t impress you as much? I actually adored it, but maybe it’s because I haven’t seen any similar movies before.

    I find that Citizen Kane is hard to recommend to people nowadays, especially younger generations. Its poetic structure is rare in today’s Hollywoodian cinema. It was still impressive to watch Welles’ own the role and the direction for it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome! And it sounds like you have several interesting films to talk about; some better than others.

      I agree that Goodfellas is slightly better, but I’m glad you also agree it is at least in the same league.

      And nope, I didn’t particularly care for The Favourite. It does do a few things pretty well, but there really isn’t anything it does that certain other films don’t do better. In this case, it’s difficult to recommend it when All Above Eve implements all of those ideas far more competently – and nearly seventy years earlier, at that. I find it’s one of those films that’s more impressive the less familiar you are with the medium, and despite not being a Holllywood production, it falls into many of the same traps as a typical Hollywood biopic in how it doesn’t even feign interest in its subject matter. In other words, it falls short for the same reason Green Book fell short.

      Ah, you see, I would actually argue that it is entirely because of the overly Hollywoodized cinema of today that Citizen Kane is more relevant than ever. I would imagine younger generations getting into it because it’s a perfect antidote to the insipid products Hollywood and A24 are doling out now. If anything is holding them back from discovering it, it would be the immense amount of hype it has received, but I find it was a case where it absolutely lived up to it. I firmly believe in grabbing the bull by the horns, so I find Citizen Kane a very easy recommendation. And it’s worth noting that I hadn’t seen that many classic films when I saw it for the first time, so if I can appreciate it under that context, clearly anyone can.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed it is. Glad you agree!

      And I am looking forward to eventually playing Ghost of Tsushima. Normally, I’d be worried about a game cribbing off of films as The Last of Us Part II showed how disastrously that approach can turn out, but the fact is that Sucker Punch Productions took inspiration from Kurosawa rather than the sad state of Hollywood now, so I can totally get behind that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I’m coming around to the point where I don’t really need The Last of Us Part II. I actually enjoyed most of its story beats, although yeah, the end of it was a little progress-reversy for me, but overall, I found it rather complete and satisfying. It’s the story of a dude turning into a complete dick then being forced to interact with someone in the first act, learning to not be a dick and actually maintain a good relationship with her in the second, and then taking action to save her completely opposite of what he used to be in the third, demonstrating how much he grew in the second. If you boil it down to it’s basic elements, it tells a very complete tale.

    I feel like trying to extend it just cheapens all that. I had the same feeling with Life is Strange, which I also really enjoyed, but I’ve got the anti-interest in checking out any of the sequels. The tales and worlds of both works don’t feel like one that would benefit from additional content. I had the glimpse I needed there already, and it’s perfectly fine as is.

    And I say, that, and yet knowing I’m probably not going to like it, I still imagine I’ll be picking the game up someday. Sometimes I hate my impulses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be completely fair, it wouldn’t be the absolute worst idea in the world to check it out. I did because I knew it would inspire countless conversations, albeit probably not in the direction Mr. Druckmann and company would’ve preferred. I will say that, despite the bad execution, I do appreciate now that the original game had an actual through line for its protagonist. Playing The Last of Us Part II demonstrated it isn’t something I should take for granted. Now, I actually get where people who like the original game are coming from. Still, it’s not a good sign that its sequel had to mess up even worse for me to appreciate that, which is why I don’t intend on raising its grade from a 3/10.

      It wasn’t impossible to expand on that because afterwards, we could’ve explored the relationship between Joel and Ellie after the former lied to her and focused on the fallout, but… er… The Last of Us Part II doesn’t exactly do that. I should probably check out Life Is Strange at some point because I did hear that game is good, though I also heard that the sequels are a little iffy.

      Good sequels use the original as a springboard to explore new ideas whereas token sequels revel in the success of its predecessors. I can safely say that, for better and for worse, The Last of Us Part II doesn’t fall in either category.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! BioShock 2 isn’t really a bad game per se, but I get why it’s criticized because it was very obviously not planned for, and its purpose basically amounted to “Let’s do that again!”, which is a fairly unambitious ethos.

      Liked by 1 person

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