The Last of Us 2 earned huge praise from Xbox's internal reviews team, documents leaked from the Apple vs. Epic court trial have revealed.
Seen just below is a document that Microsoft requested to be sealed through the ongoing court proceedings, composed by its internal portfolio team (thanks, VGC). The internal review of The Last of Us 2 praises Naughty Dog's sequel as setting "a new bar for what we should hope to be able to achieve going into a new generation of consoles."
Microsofts internal review of the last of Us part 2. I LOVE that they are doing this, the last of Us part 2, god of war, horizon ZD etc are some of the pinnacle games of last gen and i would love for Xbox to take some shots at matching them in addition to everything else. pic.twitter.com/bBuduEjQpwMay 2, 2021
That's some big praise from Microsoft for a Sony-developed game. The review goes on to say that the "Last of Us Part II is the exceedingly rare video game where what it accomplishes in moving forward the art of narrative storytelling in video games as a medium ultimately outweighs whether or not everyone ‘likes’ it or even if everyone has ‘fun’ playing it."
"We were frequently stunned by the quality of the game’s visuals, something that sadly seldom happens these days," the review from Microsoft continues. "It’s even more impressive considering that the game features two separate player characters with different groups of allies, in different locations, along with flashback sequences taking place years before."
While the internal review is near-universally positive, it's not uncritical of Naughty Dog's sequel. According to the Xbox team's write-up, Naughty Dog's sequel improves combat from the original, but the gunplay in particular still feels a little sub-par according to them.
While this is a fascinating look at how other studios compare games from their competitors, it also gives us some insight as to what direction Xbox's future exclusive games could take. For example, there's a section where the internal review talks about the lack of player choice possibly being an issue for some players, but those conducting the internal review write that player choice isn't necessarily something that should be in every game.
For now though, we'll just have to speculate on what this could mean for the likes of Fable 4, Halo Infinite, and Hellblade 2.
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