This is cheating a bit, but I wanted to ground my complaint in a demonstration instead of another hypothetical: The first Last of Us 2 trailer. Just peek at the first 3 minutes, or so. You'll know when to stop watching.That's fine, it IS better and more interesting, but the parameters of this fictional world don't need to conform to that fictional world to make its own sense or avoid being anachronistic somehow.
Once again, the performance capture here is stunning. But ... if you transplanted Ellie and this girl into a modern movie, they would fit seamlessly. One could argue that's a statement in itself: "Humans don't change." I find that unrealistic and lazy. It feels like a half-measure in an otherwise richly detailed world. There is a gap between the fidelity of the performances and the unlikely scenarios they've crafted for their perfect human dolls to portray. Fidelity and medium are the primary culprits, of course. This is only a recognizable problem because they're skirting the uncanny valley. The characters are capable of realistic, nuanced expressions, so the designers have to populate them with ... well, something! Their answer was to use personalities and expressions that are recognizable analogs to our own. Otherwise they would have to emulate the unknown, communicating who knows what with each eyebrow movement.
And yeah, that'd be a legitimate acting challenge. But I think examining the husk that would survive is an examination of humanity itself. It's a subject worthy of establishing a fictional world around to explore (they should make a manga about a struggler). That examination of what humanity is once it has been stripped of modern feathers is the essence of what makes this genre significant. But instead of engaging in that difficult material, they're opting for an easier to swallow emulation of modern teens against the backdrop of collapse. That at least can be effectively conveyed with a few eyebrow movements.
Those feel like a series of writing shortcuts. The Pittsburgh sequence had me laughing at a certain point. Those morons just kept trying to up the ante piecemeal against Joel the Living Human Thresher. Again, it's the counter-stroke of fidelity that does this scenario in -- the realization that it has to be a videogame in the end. Because if they didn't create a scenario around a series of murder hallways, why else would you bother exploring the elaborate, dilapidated environment? As for the government, I can't imagine how anything like it is still standing (what's their tax base look like?). It was smart of them to never really address it, because the answer would probably be another disappointing half-measureI actually feel like the flaws of this world as constructed are far less subjective; like, what the hell are all these terribly organized raiding factions doing throwing away their lives to go after some guy and a kid like suicide bombers? What's the government doing, how big are they, and why don't they and their soldiers have a bigger presence after the initial quarantine zone? Why is the government's big enemy militia, the Fireflies, like 20 soldiers and 3 doctors that are relatively easily sacked by one person? Why does almost nobody else give a shit Ellie possess immunity and potentially the cure, even those that find out? Given all of the above, shouldn't this be more interesting than alternating fighting monsters and raiders for 85% of the game?