The Last of Us Part II Review
It is done. We’ve completed one of the most controversial and eagerly anticipated game of this generation. Here is The Last of Us Part II Review Spoiler Free.
This was one of the hardest games to not only play but also to Review. Usually, I try very hard to be objective about the games I write a review for but this particular title skews my objectivity. There is so many different emotions experienced throughout the playthrough that it is hard to remain completely objective about the subject matter. And so I decided to rewrite this review in a completely different way. This will not follow our standard format of discussing the story and graphics and sound and final conclusion. Instead, this is going to be a shorter more intimate sharing of my feeling towards this monumental title. So without any further ado, here are my thoughts which we’ll call The Last of Us Part II Review without any spoilers.
Very few games succeed at leaving a haunting melting pot of emotions on you long after the credits roll. Leaving feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, dread and despair quite as effectively as the roller coaster I’ve just experienced. The thoughts are still fresh in my mind having completed the game very late last night. I didn’t want to rush this game just to get a review out. I made a conscious decision to go on complete media blackout leading up to the game’s release. To have a completely objective view of the game. And so, the whole debacle with the story leaks was avoided like the plague. I wasn’t about to have this game spoiled by any means. I did watch a trailer or two but for the most part, my experience was unscathed by the wash of media coverage.
If you’ve played the first game then you know more or less what to expect here. The Last of Us Part II is a Survival-Horror game within a post-apocalyptic world where a fungal-infection takes over human hosts, mutating them into vicious, violent monsters with a hunger for human flesh. Even though the whole zombie apocalypse theme has been done before to death, The Last of Us makes it a more human story, which questions our propensity for violence towards ourselves, even if it’s for the right reason and survival.
Here, the real monsters are the humans. The sequel focuses on the theme of the circle of violence. Which is set up about 2 hours into the start of the game. Ellie, one of the main characters of the first game, who takes a leading role this time around, suffers a devastating, violent experience which changes her forever. She immediately sets out to “Kill every last one of them” who done her wrong.
It’s a harrowing, emotional and shocking experience that still has me stunned. You as the player share her rage, her drive to complete this singular mission by any means necessary. But the game goes beyond that. Under normal circumstances, every other lesser game would set up this revenge plot and call it a day. Naughty Dog instead decides to take risks going places that I don’t think storytelling has gone before. It flips the script on multiple occasions and each time leaves a churning feeling in the pit of your stomach.
And all of this is deliberate and intentional from the storytellers. To get that sort of reaction out of you, to have you suffer as Ellie suffers and to give you those moments of brief joy. None of this would work if it can’t be nailed by the voice and mocap actors. And oh boy do they nail the acting in this game. There’s so much attention to detail in every facet of the game world. From the character models to the rich vibrant world. It is unbelievable what Naughty Dog was able to achieve with the outdated 7-year-old hardware that the PS4 is packing. There is love, blood sweat and tears in every single scene and every single frame.
The Gameplay loop takes what you know from the previous game and builds on it. There’s verticality to the levels. Which you can use to try and find new ways to either escape your foes or attack them. Ellie is far more Nimble than Joel, allowing her to dodge incoming attacks and go into prone to hide in tall grass and get under vehicles. What I love most in the encounters is the ability to break line of sight from your enemies, dash out of danger and then get back into stealth mode where you can pick them apart one at a time, or avoid them entirely. The game lets you play your way and rewards you for thinking outside the box. The combat is visceral to the point of a gunfight being a terrifying experience. The game is extremely replayable with no encounter ever playing out the same way.
By the end, the game will have you questioning things you have been taking for granted when it comes to video game violence. We have blindly been murdering enemies for decades, and now The Last of Us Part II has you questioning whether you should. Even making it possible to completely avoid confrontations within the game. My experience though terrifying, joyful and filled with moments of extreme emotion has been the very best experienced in a video game to date. The best stories are the ones that stay with you long after the credits roll. This is arguably the BEST in that regard. This is an experience that is absolutely worth having, no matter how you feel about it in the end, you must take that leap of faith. It is absolutely worth it. A day-one purchase for sure.
A polarising end to incredible characters and story, where it goes from here, no one knows, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for this incredible series.