I didn’t like The Last of Us. I played it on the PS3, then again when it got remastered for the PS4 but came away both times feeling the game was a bit overrated.
Due to that, it’s not a surprise I’ve not been keeping up with the sequel. I watched the trailers but nothing more. I didn’t even bother to read up on the leaks about the game a few months back.
I went into The Last of Us Part II with zero expectations…and no worries, the review is pretty non-existent with spoilers.
What is The Last of Us Part II?
The Last of Us Part II is a survival horror game from Naughty Dog, makers of the Uncharted games. It’s a solo, third person game (like Uncharted) though a bit lighter on the platforming elements.
Sony’s barred me from speaking about most of the plot about the game so I’m not going to talk about it a ton. It’s understandable, the story is certainly one of the best aspects of the game and even divulging a sliver might ruin it for somebody.
All you need to know is that unlike the original game, the sequel’s plot is much more personal, which was probably what got me hooked into playing it through to the end. There are multiple twists throughout; I honestly thought the game had reached the end a couple of times, only for it to continue in ways I didn’t expect. There is a definite end to the game, and the ending is pretty damn good too!
The new characters introduced are pretty likable and relatable, even the ‘villains’. To be honest, there’s really isn’t a set bad guy in the game; it all depends on your perspective. The heroes aren’t heroic either, stuff you do in the game can be downright vile…villainous even.
As a survival horror game, The Last of Us Part II has more than its fair share of jump scares. However, it’s when the game falls back on the desolate environments that it gets really scary. There are certain sections in the game (around the middle) that had my palms sweating as I crept around the locations, trying to take out the infected before I get spotted.
The game’s stealth is superb, just short of perfection.
You can of course use objects and walls to hide behind but there are times you’ll also need to depend on foliage to conceal yourself. It’s really fun to have enemies bypass your position, only for you to grab them from behind and kill them. Naughty Dog’s animators have done a terrific job with the faces and expressions, and you can see them up close with a stealth kill.
The stealth’s not perfect for just one reason; you can’t move bodies. Against the infected this isn’t a problem.; they just don’t care about dead bodies. It’s an issue against humans, since they’ll alert all the others. I wish the game had more silenced weapons (throwing knives or caltrops would be great!) so that you can more options at your disposal.
I do wish that there was more enemy variation, especially with the Infected. The fights start to get a bit routine by the time I was about 60-70% through. Thankfully, the varied situations you find yourself in help alleviate the repetition somewhat.
It’s also great that combat is almost always an option you can choose to ignore.
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Apart from a few situations, you can sneak by without killing anything most of the time. Even when there’s an alert out, you can always choose to run to the next section if you desire.
Locations in the game are wonderfully thought out and varied throughout. I’d honestly thought it’d be all ruined buildings but the game manages to surprise with pretty varied scenarios taking you to awesome places.
It has to be said that the vegetation in The Last of Us Part II are some of the best I’ve ever seen in games. The trees and bushes look realistically lush; it’s almost like you can smell them!
The game’s visuals look even better in the latter half of the game, when there’s a ton of rain. The water effects look awesome, especially how they effect clothes and hair.
Some sections of the game (particularly in the first half) are semi-open world. You can roam around, free to explore the map with optional buildings (and encounters) to find. You’re not forced to do them, but exploring usually rewards you with more resources, sometimes even a Skill book!
Skill books are how you learn new skills. You initially have one skill tree, but finding books expands that. Books are in different categories, giving you new skills in crafting, stealth or even creating all new special items. You can easily miss out on these since the majority of them are hidden away in optional locations.
Knowing that, you’ll want to scour every single area you pass through for materials and ammo. You’ll not only need to craft your equipment, you’ll also need supplements to learn new skills and parts to improve your weapons.
Like it or not then, murdering everything (so you can scavenge freely) in an area is often optimal.
I do have to mention that the game doesn’t allow you to carry a ton of items. It’s understandable for big items like Molotovs, but bullets?! Hell, if I was living in the world I’d be strapped with ammo. No more space? I’d be stuffing them in my mouth, down my pants, anywhere I can fit bullets in.
In the game, you can only carry a handful of shots for each weapon. Everything else is left behind. I purposely went hand to hand with infected and other enemies throughout the game just to save my shots.
It’s of course to make encounters thrilling but it’s just stupid from a logical point of view since no sane person would be leaving ammo around, especially in a world like that from the game.
One good thing about the game is that there’s a New Game + option, which carries over all your weapons and skills. Even better, there’s a new Custom difficulty option that’s unlocked when you finish the game, which allows you to tailor aspects of the game as you see fit.
There’s no infinite ammo unlock (sadly), but there’s a boatload of concept images you can access and an awesome model viewer. It’s here that you really get to admire how much work Naughty Dog did on the character models. The infected especially are incredible, with little details you’ll never notice when you’re killing them in-game.
The Bottom Line.
The Last of Us Part II is a damn good game.
There’s nothing else to be said. The plot is incredible, the visuals are incredible, the gameplay is incredible…there’s nothing else to mention other than you NEED to buy the game if you’re a PS4 owner.
If a game can win over somebody like me (who wasn’t a fan of the original), do you really need to know more?
The only downside to the game? It ends. I don’t want it to.
Near perfection. Get it and be blown away!
- The plot.
- The visuals
- The gameplay.
- Can’t move bodies.
- Inventory too limited.