In the recent State of Play presentation for The Last of Us Part II, there's a bit where returning protagonist Ellie sneaks up on a woman playing a PlayStation Vita, interrogates her at knifepoint, and then stabs her in the neck when she tries to retaliate. Ellie says something like "that was dumb" under her breath while wiping the blood off her switchblade.
I winced the first time I saw that scene during my own playthrough of the game, and I winced when I saw it again during the State of Play. Not just because I was bummed about the loss of a fellow PS Vita appreciator, and not just because the violence was so shocking and ruthless (I mean, I'm also playing a ton of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath now so a simple throat-stab is probably something I can handle). It's the way the kill was choreographed and framed to be so cold and understated that made it feel almost nauseating. The close-up, the gurgles, the way the camera lingers after the stab really made me squirm in my seat. They're really going to devote this much gory detail to the death of a super minor character? A big part of why it felt so uncomfortable is because it was an ice-cold move from Ellie, a character who I first knew and still kinda see in my mind as a young, relatively innocent teenager. But at this point in The Last of Us Part II, she's obviously not the same person--she's seen a lot of shit. And I mean a lot of shit.
I've also seen a lot of shit, including the lengthy gameplay portion of The Last of Us Part II that immediately precedes what was shown in the State of Play--roughly two hours in length. And even just from this small portion of the full game, it's easy to see that despite how familiar The Last of Us Part II is in its level structures, it's going a few extra steps to make its grisly world as believable and confronting as possible. I'm about to describe most of the chapter to you here but don't worry, there won't be any story spoilers.Continue Reading at GameSpot
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