The Last of Us Part 2: Trailer 2

Like everyone else who played The Last of Us, I have been waiting with great impatience for the arrival of its sequel, The Last of Us Part 2.

At the end of last year, the first trailer was unveiled by the game’s developer, Naughty Dog. It featured the two protagonists of the first game, Ellie and Joel, and all was well.

In the last few days, Naughty Dog have released a second trailer. No Ellie or Joel this time. Instead, the trailer opens as a muscular woman, wrists bound behind her back, is dragged through a forest and then lynched.

As she swings in the air, another woman is dragged into view. It looks like she once belonged to the same group because the leader of the lynch party asks her, ‘where is the other apostate?’

The prisoner spits at her contemptuously. In revenge, the leader has her left arm broken by a vicious hammer attack.

The missing apostate then appears – killing one of the lynch party before the prisoner kills the two others. The lynched woman is cut down and gets ready to help defend the group as clickers appear out of the darkness.

The graphic nature of the trailer – you miss nothing in terms of the lynching or hammer attack – make it a very powerful piece of work. I hope, though, I really, really hope that there is a strong narrative reason for its graphic nature because otherwise, Naughty Dog is going to stand accused of releasing something that amounts to a kind of torture porn. Every crunching blow. The slow strangulation of the woman. It’s all there and is not at all easy to watch.

Here is the trailer. It is not for the faint hearted:

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Sometimes I wonder about how Catholic I am

Then I see the hashtag ‘Reformation500’ on Twitter and I go crazy for my boy, St. Charles Borromeo. He laid it down righteous at the Counter Reformation.

St Charles Borromeo by Giovanni Figino (Wikipedia)

St Charles Borromeo prayer card (artist unknown) (

St Charles Borromeo distributing the eucharist by – ? (Mercy Hour)

St Charles Borromeo (Remembering Fr Willie Doyle SJ)

St Charles Borromeo Holy Card (Amazon)

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Gone Home

Most of the console games that I play are by recommendation. Gone Home was no different.

In this little adventure game, you play Katie Greenbriar, who has returned home from a year long holiday in Europe. Her family’s house is empty. There is a note from her younger sister, Sam; she has left and doesn’t want you to follow her.

What has happened? That is what you must find out as you go from room to room finding various objects and reading letters and notes. Not everything that you find will give you information but it will still tell you a story.

Sam’s fate is at the heart of Gone Home, but Mr. and Mrs. Greenbriar are not neglected. The game even has time for the now deceased previous occupant of the house who may have been a rather murky character.

As I mention in my tweets, Gone Home felt like it went on just a tad too long for what it was giving but I really recommend the game to you – especially if, like me, you are very partial to the Grand Theft Autos of the world. It was good to play a slower, more thoughtful, adventure game.

To read my Storifyfied tweets, just click here.

Credit Where It’s Due
Gone Home poster: Wikipedia

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Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Episode 1)

There are games that you play, enjoy, then move on from, never to think about again.

And then there are games that don’t just get under your skin but into your heart where they claim a piece of it for themselves. It hurts but my goodness you would not have it any other way. For the hurt teaches you, enriches you, makes you a fuller person ever than you were before.

In my post on The Wolf Among Us Pt. 2 (here), I mentioned my top five games. Of them, none affected me more than the original series of Life is Strange. I remember how I gasped at the end of Episode 3 when – in the alternative time line – Chloë appeared at the door in her wheelchair, paralysed from the neck down, and the turmoil that I felt at the end of the fifth and last episode when I decided to save Chloë’s life rather than the lives of Arcadia Bay’s residents.

So, Life is Strange: Before the Storm had a lot to live up to. One episode in, it isn’t doing too badly. Chloë’s broken heart following the death of her father, her love for Rachel Amber, Rachel’s agony over her father’s deceit and all the poignancy that comes from knowing what will ultimately happen to her are making for a meaningful and bittersweet game.

I can’t wait for Part 2, which is being released on 19th October. As I write this post I am playing Uncharted: Lost Legacy but will be pausing it to return to Arcadia Bay.

If you would like to read my thoughts about Before the Storm Episode 1 as I played it, you can read my Storyfied tweets here.

Credit Where It’s Due
Chloë and Archer Amber ride the train: Polygon

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The Wolf Among Us Pt. 2

So, back in August I played The Wolf Among Us to a finish.

Looking back, I have fond memories of the game. It will never become one of my all time favourites* but if I would recommend it. I like what they did with the old fairy tales and the story was neatly told.

What did I think about the game (Episodes 3 to 5) as I played them? You can find out by reading my Storyfied tweets here.

For my first post on The Wolf Among Us, click here.

* Which at the time of writing are – Grand Theft Auto IV, Mass Effect 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, Life is Strange, The Last of Us.

Credit Where It’s Due
The picture of Bigby smoking yet another cigarette comes from Trusted Reviews

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The Bell Tolls For Thee

Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) was most of all a rebel.

She was a rebel against the idea that women wouldn’t learn.

She was a rebel against the idea that a woman couldn’t travel alone – across the desert.

She was, most of all, a rebel against the fact that her world belonged to men.

If you would like to know more about Bell, the New Yorker has published a short article about here here. I thoroughly recommend both it and Letters from Baghdad.

Bell was an explorer, writer, Arabist, and archaeologist. After the First World War, she joined the British colonial administration of Iraq. We did not do so well in our treatment of the Middle-east after the Great War but some individuals, Bell among them, bucked the trend. She is well worth spending with.

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A Simple Offering

We Catholics who grew up straddling the cusp of the conciliar divide may have a vague memory of the phrase “offer it up.” It was advice frequently given by the sisters who taught us our catechisms: “when you are in pain, when you are disappointed, when your feelings have been hurt, offer these things up to the Lord and ask him to use your suffering — that He join it to His own pain on the cross, for the good of others. Offer it as penance for your own sins, or the sins of those who cannot or will not do penance for themselves; offer it for the sick, the lonely, or for their intentions.”
(Elizabeth Scalia The Secret Privilege of Offering It Up)

As it happens, it is not only ‘Catholics who grew up straddling the cusp of the conciliar divide’ who were taught this. I was taught it to by my parish priest when I became seriously interested in the Catholic Church in 1995-6.

Actually, I wasn’t really taught it, at least, not by him. I think I just said I was sore in one way or another and he told me, very naturally, because he was a pre-Vatican II Catholic, to offer it up.

A very wise and holy person gave me instruction before I was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil in 1997 and so it was probably them who taught me what the phrase really meant.

And in the ups and downs of my (Catholic) life since then, I have never forgotten it. Sure, I have left the phrase and act behind sometimes but the knowledge that one can offer up one’s pains and sufferings has never left me. It is a very comforting thought.

That last clause, by the way – ‘it is a very comforting thought’ – is (if memory serves) a paraphrase of something Tolkien once wrote. If I remember correctly, Gandalf says something like it to Frodo when they discuss how the ring came to Bag End. It was meant to, Gandalf, says, and that’s a comforting thought.

Anyway, I’m keen to mention the article here in case it helps anyone visiting this blog but also, I have to admit, for my own sake. It’s one thing to read and be reminded; it’s another to read, and then write about – doing this can help X stick in the mind for longer. And as I grow older and more prone to pain, the idea that I can offer it up is certainly something I need to remember better

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