Bones bludgeoned with hammers. A noose wrapped tightly around a struggling woman’s neck. The blade of a knife pressed into a vulnerable stomach. The gruesome imagery Naughty Dog manages to cram into a five-minute trailer for The Last of Us Part 2 is physically uncomfortable to sit through.
The victims of the vicious assault, two women, are unnamed. It’s not clear why we’re watching two people be tortured, but we’re asked to take in the extreme violence under the assumption that we’ll be rewarded with more information for doing so. That information never comes, however, and all we’re left with is residual nausea.
A trailer is a pitch to its audience of what to expect from the full game. In the past, Naughty Dog’s trailers have captured a particular mood or suggested a compelling relationship. But here, the promise is almost exclusively gore. There's an argument to be made that the trailer raises an enticing question — Why are these women being attacked? — but that mystery is both too familiar and too broad.
Without any context, the trailer fails to introduce (or even really tease) the story...