It’s been 7 long years, and the wait is over—well, almost. The Last of Us Part II launches June 19, 2020 and I’ve spent quite a bit of time with the game over the past few weeks. As a big fan of narrative driven games, I can honestly say that The Last of Us Part II is a masterpiece in pretty much every aspect.
Just as The Last of Us was the swan song for PlayStation 3, The Last of Us Part II is sending the PlayStation 4 out with a bang as we make way for PlayStation 5 later this year. Let’s take a look at what makes The Last of Us Part II one of, if not the greatest games of this console generation.
The Last of Us Part II Details
Platform: PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure, survival horror
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A relentless journey to carry out justice
I want to start out by saying, I’m not going to spoil the story for you. To really understand and appreciate this game, you have to experience it for yourself. There are no words to describe the intense roller coaster of emotions you will have while playing. Though, I will say that the story is so gripping that I often got lost in it all.
I got so caught up in the game that hours flew by in what seemed like a blink of an eye. I always made sure I had a controller charged or charging, when one died I’d swap it out. There was no way I could wait for the controller to charge to start playing again.
Here is what I’ll tell you about the story. The Last of Us Part II takes place 5 years after the events of The Last of Us, a lot has happened since then. Joel and Ellie, who is now 19 years old, return to take centre stage. Where as The Last of Us centres around love, The Last of Us Part II centres around hate. As the story unfolds throughout the game, you learn via a series of flashbacks what has taken place and the consequences that ensued because of them during the past 5 years.
As you may have seen from the trailers released over the past few years, the game deals with some very mature subject matters. This is not a game you should be playing if you have children around. There are some pretty intense violent moments. Though, I wouldn’t say it’s worse than anything I have seen in a R rated movie.
Refined and expanded gameplay
The gameplay mechanics of The Last of Us Part II have been expanded and been improved upon from its predecessor. You have your standard weapons such as guns, bow and arrows, items you find on the ground, and stealth that you can use to take out your enemies. And, each of these weapons can be further enhanced with upgrades that improve their capabilities.
Furthermore, Ellie is now the main playable character in the game. As a result, you now have a greater freedom to explore the world around you by jumping, and climbing. That means, you can now reach higher vantage points to get a better view of what lays ahead. Additionally, you can crawl on your stomach to evade enemies.
Something else new in this game is the ability for guard dogs to track your scent. Hiding in the grass or behind an object isn’t enough anymore. If a dog latches on to our scent, watch out!
You can also enhance Ellie’s attributes via a skill tree. It consists of 3 main branches: Survival, Crafting, and Stealth. Upgrades include increased crafting speed, faster stealth kills, the ability to craft smoke bombs, and so on. It’s all done in a very simple and easy to understand way that isn’t complex and confusing like some other games.
Jaw-dropping visuals and animation
Without a doubt, The Last of Us Part II is the most visually stunning PlayStation 4 game. It puts the PlayStation hardware through its paces, my PS4 Pro fan ran a full blast the entire time. Not only do the character models look stunning, the facial animation is the best I have seen in a video game.
Naughty Dog completely nailed it and as a result, Ellie, Joel and others look incredibly life-like. The same can be said about the world around you in which you travel. The amount of detail given to every single aspect of this game is astonishing and a testament to Naughty Dog’s commitment to greatness.
Character voice acting is second to none. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker reprise their roles as Ellie and Joel and do stupendous jobs in bringing each character to life. It’s clear, everyone who worked on this game poured their heart and soul into it. The game’s soundtrack is composed and performed by Gustavo Santaolalla. It’s easy to hear through his music the game’s mood changing from sadness to fear and then to hate.
Naughty Dog went the extra mile and has included an incredible amount of accessibility options to the game. In fact, there are over 60 various options available. Each option can be set individually or you can choose from 3 presets: Vision, Hearing or Motor Accessibility.
Each category enables features such as audio cues, auto lock on, awareness indicators, auto pick up and more. It’s a great way to customize a gameplay experience tailored to your specific needs. Additionally, you can fully customize the game’s controls. That means you can remap every single command to a different controller input.
It’s one of the most accessible games that I have ever played. And, it’s great to see more and more developers taking into consideration gamers abilities.
The Last of Us Part II – a game of this calibre only comes along once in a lifetime
As the credits rolled on The Last of Us Part II, I couldn’t help but wonder what’s next. There is more to be told in this story, and I’m hoping we don’t have to wait another 7 years to find out. That being said, I loved every last minute of this game. From start to finish, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It is a game that I will never forget.
I wish I could thank everyone who worked and had a hand in this game personally. I want to let them know just how much I appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears they put into making this game one of the best games I’ve ever played.
The story that goes along with each and every character has been well thought out. Everyone has their own unique personalities and traits, which means that at times you will love them and other times you’ll down right despise them. And, every single aspect of this game has an immaculate attention to detail that I have never seen before in a video game.
If you love narrative driven games and don’t mind the mature themes, I highly recommend The Last of Us Part II. It might very well be the best video game of this console generation.
+ Great cinematic story that will keep you glued to your TV set
+ Enhanced gameplay that is not too complex
+ Breathtaking visuals and animation
+ A ton of accessibility options for a wide variety of gamers
+ Super fast loading times, almost non existent
– Little to no reason to go back and play after you beat the game
– Too much looting and collectable hunting can disrupt the flow of the story
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF THE LAST OF US PART II
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4.8/5 (96%)
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The game plays great. Unfortunately the story is a mess. If you loved the first game you are probably going to be very angry two hours into the game. The final hour is a convoluted mess trying to to shoe horn an anti revenge theme.
I’m so glad to see that one of my favourite video games was done justice in the sequel! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!
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