I haven't read many reviews, but the reviewer that most understood what I felt is from Kotaku. It's my favourite review.
"My playthrough of The Last of Us 2 felt terrible to experience. Over the course of my 27 hours with the game, it grew to the point of feeling nearly unbearable. This wasn’t because it asked me hard questions about my own capacity for harm or revenge, or pulled some Spec Ops: The Line-style moralizing about video game violence. Despite Druckmann’s promised “philosophical questions,” I never felt like the game asked me anything. Instead, it told me “brutality,” repeatedly and louder, until by the end I couldn’t hear what it was trying to say at all. Characters make hideous, irredeemable choices, over and over. Everybody suffers, physically and emotionally, in graphic detail. This is all intended to prove a point, but the only point I got from the game was simply to be required to stare at violence, and play through violence, and then do that again, and more, and again, and more."
"Type of game: Misery simulator"
"I didn’t find it prurient—the game doesn’t relish in its gory deaths or emotional suffering. It just takes every opportunity to show them, over and over, and decides that counts as saying something about them. It showed me so much ugliness, and in such detail, that I felt numb as terrible things befell more characters I cared about."
"Eventually, my numbness turned to an anger I’ve never felt about a video game. "
If there's a lesson from this game, despite all other good theories and explanations about everything that went on, I think this game represents a media product of a heartless generation. A story like that would never be produced 30 years ago. I think my parents and grand parents would throw up watching this game (my grandmother probably would call the pastor to bless the house). This game doesn't look like survival horror entertainment, doesn't look like any entertainment at all.
If I had to choose one word to describe this game is "ugly".
I'm not saying it's a 0/0 game at all. This post is still not my full thoughts on the game.
Well, according to your profile, you're 89 years old, so I'm not sure YOUR parents and grandparents from the 19th century would be interested in video games anyway. And yeah, 30 years ago being 1990, a game like this probably wouldn't have been released back at the dawn of the Sega Genesis era. You'd perhaps instead have had a preferable, q-u-a-l-i-t-y narrative about rescuing a damsel in distress or collecting a bunch of stuff before the bad guy does.
Seriously though, while I've mostly addressed the concerns of more conservative-minded objectors to this game (as they're the overwhelming majority of detractors), maybe it is worth also briefly speaking to the objections of the more progressive-minded ones as well, like Riley MacLeod's for Kotaku or Maddy Myers's for Polygon or Carolyn Petit's and Anita Sarkeesian's for Feminist Frequency, because I don't agree with those either. (One can usually tell a left wing review site from others in that, like how many leftists object to letter-grading in schools in favor of an insistence upon at-length teacher commentaries on student performance, similarly left wing game sites often philosophically refuse to employ numerical scoring.)
In contrast to the conservatives, the progressives...
...approve of Ellie being in a same-sex relationship, find Abby to be their favorite character in the game rather than a "forced SJW inclusion to make us hate Joel", and heap praise on the inclusion of Lev as a rare transgender character in AAA gaming...
...and don't yearn for more violent content and less narrative "like Real Men would." The progressive reviewers instead object to The Last of Us Part II because "Omg, VIOLENCE!!", and "Why couldn't this be a New Jackson life simulation instead??" They object less to real violence in the streets of America than they do to violent content in video games (and movies and other entertainment). Personally though, I just don't know how you tell a story like this as effectively with pillow fights. *shrugs* And I don't think a New Jackson life simulation would've been as compelling, or as justified, as what we actually got.
You contend (bolded near the end) that it is the role of producers to screen out content that might make people uncomfortable. Personally, I love the fact that Naughty Dog shows their philosophical disagreement with this premise by not having a producer department at all. Instead, those who work on their games are free to add anything they want to the game on a whim with little restriction. That makes for a more chaotic development process when you're talking about a project as massive as this game, but it also results in games that ooze humanity. The result here is that The Last of Us Part II doesn't feel like a well-produced, corporate game. It feels more like a wild, sincere, super-creative, risk-taking indie game that got a AAA budget. And I love that!! I love that this game feels so human and earnest! I love that it's completely uncompromising in the message it seeks to communicate and the ways in which it does so. That's the way games ACTUALLY were back in 1990 -- original, uncompromising, thinly market-tested at most -- and it's what made those classics great! And, in my opinion, it's a key ingredient in Naughty Dog's recipe for masterpieces.