Sony and Naughty Dog pulled the curtain back on The Last of Us Part II during their recent State of Play. Director of the game, Neil Druckmann, guided viewers through the 20-minute showcase. He offered up plenty of new information around the post-apocalyptic epic. The action-packed showcase was rounded off with never before seen gameplay footage with new locales and control mechanics. The sequel is looking gritty, brutal and beautiful as ever. Let’s explore all the newly revealed details around Naughty Dog’s hotly anticipated title.
The Last of Us Part II Details
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: June 19th, 2020
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure, survival horror
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The Last of Us chaos
The new showcase trailer revealed The Last of Us Part II picks up five years after the events of the original game. The emotionally charged, cinematic experience The Last of Us gave audiences was alive and well in the preview. Ellie and Joel are living in relative peace among survivors in Jackson, Wyoming. After what Druckmann describes as a “violent and traumatizing event” Ellie is thrust back into the chaos on a path of revenge. The visceral nature of the game has been dialed up with dangerous environments and new enemies.
Druckmann shared many tidbits around the new locales and the gameplay mechanics that will help you survive. The sequel features “some of the largest environments” Naughty Dog has ever created, along with a wide variety of natural effects. The Last of Us Part II will have players travel across a post-pandemic America with new areas to explore. Much like the first game, the seasons will cycle and you’ll be exposed to different climates. Druckmann even noted that the grass is longer since the first game which will now allow Ellie to use it as cover.
The showcase also featured different parts of Seattle with flooded streets, dilapidated buildings and shrub covered suburbs. Naughty Dog has even featured real life landmarks such the Seattle Great Wheel and the Aquarium at Pier 59.
From open fields to dense cityscapes the environments look massive, thankfully new ways of getting around are available. Ellie will now be able to navigate waterways in a boat in addition to horseback transportation.
Navigating a dangerous world
The expansive environments can also be explored by Ellie with new traversal mechanics. These include climbing, jumping, swinging from ropes, and swimming. Examples in the demo were shown of Ellie swinging across a chasm and hiding from enemies under water. The repertoire of new moves will give players access to hidden areas, side missions and resources.
New enemies and factions
New terrifying foes will make their debut in The Last of Us Part II along with familiar enemy types. In the showcase we were introduced to Shamblers, an infected type that are covered in blisters and explode when hit. Druckmann hinted at other terrifying enemies but did not go into detail. I’m sure many nightmarish creatures and untold horrors await us.
On top of the zombie-like infected, we’ll also be contending with warring factions in the game.
The Washington Liberation Front and Seraphites, or “Scars” were introduced, and will be forces to be reckoned with. Players will need to directly engage, or sneak past groups of these enemies. The Liberation Front is heavily armed, where the Scars depend more on stealth combat and camouflage. Human enemies are no slouches and will pursue you in new more creative ways, even using dogs to sniff you out. Some tense showdowns with multiple enemy types are sure to offer white knuckle moments.
Based on what we have seen thus far, Ellie will be the lead protagonist fighting back scores of enemies. Survival looks to hinge upon her agility and avoidance of opponents in certain situations. Employing stealth options, distracting enemies and using the environment for natural cover is key to survival.
If you prefer a more direct approach there is a skill tree to modify the experience more to your playstyle. You can go in guns blazing but based on this preview stealth looks like the best option. There are improvements to crafting that will add visual upgrades to your weapon. For example, if you craft a silencer or a scope it will now appear on the firearm.
Weapons can be modified with scopes and silencers, Ellie also has a large arsenal at her disposal.
Make no mistake, the combat is gory and brutal. Every combat encounter in the showcase had a raw, desperate feel putting you in Ellie’s shoes clawing for survival.
The Last of Us Part II awaits
The Last of Us Part II’s State of Play gave us an exciting final look before the game drops on June 19th. The gritty presentation paired with Naughty Dog’s signature narrative style has me very excited for the game’s potential. I can’t wait to find out what fate has in store for all of the characters in this dystopian saga.