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Note: Highly spoilery discussion of major plot point from The Last of Us

Butch:

Ok, so played basically the whole bit where you’re Ellie. Two thoughts, one good, one bad:

Good: David. David is a good character. You KNOW he’s being awful, but yet, you WANT to trust him. In other words, you feel like Ellie would have. And the reveal “they were killed by a crazy man….traveling with a young girl” was nicely done. Later, when he’s got Ellie and he’s chopping people up, and is basically showing himself to be a child molesting cannibal, he ALSO is saying stuff that sounds more reasonable than what anyone else has said “Hey, don’t be so quick to judge. We kill to protect our own, just like you.” Dude makes points. Good points. And yet he’s horrendous. Which gets one thinking. Good stuff.

Bad: I felt like they missed some opportunities here. Maybe I’ll see more later, but I thought that the Ellie bits, and the change of perspective, could have been used to really do some slick narrative stuff. But really what it was was fighty fighty. It served as that period late in games where you get all used to being badassed, then you’re not (a la the Marooned bit in AC4, or when Lara is disarmed in TR). No longer badassed joel, you’re underarmed, bad aiming, slow healing Ellie. But there could have been more there. This is a narrative game. Don’t use something like this just for the late game combat challenge. Lazy. Especially when you’re going to give us a good NPC in the mix. SOOOO much of this was “get jumped by infected, run, more infected, a bloater….little bit of cutscene….horse chase, BIG open fight, building fight, cutscene.” Way too much fighty, not enough talkie. Missed chance.

Stopped with Ellie in a cage and Joel waking up.

Feminina:

Ellie’s not as badass, but she DOES have that nonbreaking knife. I loved that knife. Which she needs, because she’s not as badass, but it was still nice to have a weapon that’s not falling apart with every use. Joel has to be so careful with those shivs, I got a little knife-happy as Ellie. Stab! Stab! Stabs for everyone!

David. Oh man. It was well done…you have a bad feeling about him from the beginning (just because, well, you’ve been playing this game for a while), and yet he does seem so reasonable and even NICE at first, and you WANT to believe he’s a decent person. Is it too much to hope that you could come across one honest, decent person out here? (Yes.) I think this particular part of the narrative wouldn’t have worked if you were playing as Joel, because Joel would probably not have even thought about trusting David, whereas Ellie at least wants to (although she rightly stays wary), and lets us believe/hope, with her, that MAYBE he’s OK.

There COULD be one small group of decent people still out there, couldn’t there? Tommy made it work! It could happen here too! (No it couldn’t.)

Interestingly, I don’t remember seeing any women with David’s bunch, so like the Pittsburgh hunters, they’ve got some sort of all-male survival cult going on. Unless I’m forgetting the scores of murderous women you just had to fight off…correct me if so.

I got a creepy sense that David is interested in Ellie specifically because she’s a woman, like he wants breeding stock or something, which the hunters did not seem to care about at all (one precious non-creepiness point for the hunters), but it was never completely clear to me if he had long-term plans, or just wanted her around to play with before he ate her, or what.

As you say, he also makes some good points (before he gets all ranty and frothing with rage). He kills to keep himself and his group alive, just like Joel (and now Ellie) do. That’s what you’ve got to do in these circumstances, and he does what he has to, just like everyone else who’s still alive. He’s only as guilty as everyone else (I mean, the cannibalism aside, and honestly, I’m less worried about cannibalism of the dead than I am about things that happen to people while they’re still alive).

Is he objectively worse than the hunters, or does he just seem more gruesome because we see him chopping up a body?

Regardless, I think we can safely say that this is another reason “trust no one” is the post-apocalypse motto.

Butch:

Yes. The faint possible hope WAS clever. Cuz I WANTED to trust him but didn’t, which is probably what Ellie would have done. Joel, you’re right, would’ve killed him outright.

Nope. Not a woman. And the guys shop at the same store as the hunters in Pittsburgh. All the trendy bad guys do! But David sure leers over Ellie. Ewww. Very ewww.

He does seem to want her for…something. He says that she has to be nice so he can convince the others to let her live, then he leers. Eww. Did I say eww? Because eww. But then, I’m not done with him yet.

And then, give David props. He didn’t trust Ellie. Not at all.

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