It’s just TOO good.
E3 vertical slice gameplay trailers are not a new phenomenon. In the past we’ve all been fooled by the likes of Bioshock Infinite, Watch_Dogs, Aliens: Colonial Marines, The Division, and many more which boasted game mechanics beyond what was feasible, or even possible. Given the disappointment of these titles, it’s fair to say that I go into each gameplay reveal trailer with heavy skepticism, and The Last of Us Part 2 is no different. Before you read on, if you haven’t seen it, check for yourself:
The trailer made sense in the beginning, a visual awareness metre in the bottom right seems like a clear fix-up from The Last of Us, in which it was quite difficult to interpret whether or not an enemy would be able to spot the player. Naughty Dog were also definitely wanting to depict the unrestrained violence of the world as viewers witness the stabbing of a hanging man, which is in keeping with the tone of the game’s previous media. What follows is a series of combat encounters, the first of which seems much like an animation update of hand-to-hand combat and ‘being shot’ reflexes from The Last of Us.
It’s during Ellie’s escape that my suspension of belief takes a bit of a turn. She hides under a truck, which seemed great, until an enemy meandered over and slowly bent down to take a geeze. Not only did that whole enemy pattern seem a bit too good to be true, but Ellie clocks her gun, not immediately after she aims her crosshair on the woman, but a few seconds later. It didn’t stop there, though, after Ellie fires a shot she is yanked out from under by another enemy. Is that the only direction she can be pulled out? It happened so quickly after firing the shot, and looked so cinematic, that it all seemed a little too convenient.
The biggest point of disbelief comes after this moment, when Ellie retreats into an abandoned storefront. She hides behind a counter top, and enemy AI pause at the door, assemble, proceed in a formation and issue orders to each other; they even start clearing the room in an orderly fashion. This AI isn’t simply following a ‘last position’ pattern of behaviour, they’re coordinating a sweep and clear. If that wasn’t enough, remember when being able to use contextual objects/furniture in the environment against your opponents was novel? Well now apparently the enemy AI can do it too! The enemy with the massive Jackhammer misses and gets it stuck in a wall. I just. I dunno man.
I’m not the only one that finds it hard to believe, here’s what Danny O’Dwyer of noclip said:
The contextual animation on show here is something else. Wonder how it feels when you’re in control. #TheLastofUsPartII
— Danny O’Dwyer (@dannyodwyer) June 12, 2018
I want to believe it SOOOOOOOO bad. But God damnit was it ridiculously cinematic. The one hint that suggests to me that it’s real, is that if a 2018 release date is still the goal, Naughty Dog wouldn’t be stupid enough to show an unrealistic perspective of the game THAT close to release.