PS4

Published on June 12th, 2020 | by Andrew Bistak

The Last of Us Part II Review @Naughty_Dog @PlayStationAU

The Last of Us Part II Review @Naughty_Dog @PlayStationAU
Gameplay
Graphics
Audio
Value

Summary: The Last of Part II is a very powerful and moving narrative that fully immerses you into the story of Ellie and the world around her. In terms of gameplay, it is a flawless experience on the PlayStation 4 and together, The Last of Us Part II is easily one of the best games in a long-time.

5

Powerful


Five years later…

After a deadly journey across post-pandemic USA, Ellie and Joel settle down in Wyoming.

Living in a thriving community gives them stability, despite the threat of the Infected and desperate survivors.

When a violent event disrupts the peace, Ellie begins a relentless journey for justice. Hunting those responsible, she’s confronted by devastating physical and emotional repercussions of her actions.

The Last of Us Part II is one of the most anticipated games of 2020 and while the game has been spoiled by questionable individuals, for those who have stay cleared of the spoilers you will be given a very engaging narrative that draws you from the very moments of the game. In terms of download, the game sits at around 94GB in size, so it is a very large game but well worth the download and more importantly, well worth the wait. Considering that the development of the original game, The Last of Us began in 2009 with a release of 2013 on the PS3, the sequel has been a long time in the making!



What is the downside to eating a clock? It’s time consuming
– Joel
That’s so dumb
– Ellie

As a recap, The Last of Us revolved around Joel, a smuggler who was given the task of escorting and protecting (although sometimes it was the other way around), a teenage girl named Ellie across post-apocalyptic United States to the Fireflies which has been decimated by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus that turns humans into cannibalistic zombies. However Ellie potentially holds the cure and thus begins one of both the greatest and most dangerous adventures of humankind… it was also one of the most  memorable games on the PlayStation 3!

Like the original, The Last of Us Part II delivers one of the best narratives of 2020 as the gamer is reintroduced to Ellie, the main protagonists of the game, including Joel that tells a story of regrets and revenge. Without spoiling the story behind the game, the title starts with Joel recounting a difficult decision that he chose to make which then swaps to a moment where Joel and Ellie have this pseudo father-daughter moment where he sings her a song and makes good on his promise to teach her how to play the guitar. It’s these emotional scenes that really captures you.

However without spoiling the story and as the developers have stated, The Last of Us Part II is a story about revenge and while this theme has been done before in films, it’s probably the first time it has been done so well on a gaming platform as Ellie makes one of those tough decisions. Opposed to the Kill Bill series by Quentin Tarantino, The Last Of Us Part II is more akin to the classic to Death Wish film that starred the legendary Charles Bronson. It’s also about character growth and finding the right people to have around you which is where Ellie comes into the picture.

As a result, it is a game that works better without knowing what to expect and as the developers have stated, there are no winners here. If you couldn’t help yourself to the spoilers or stumbled upon them by accident, you will still be fully immersed into this well-made game and while there is a darkness in the story, there are also plenty of moments where the sunshine shines through such as the relationship between Ellie and Dina.

Once the intensiveness of the first chapter of The Last of Us Part II is over, the ripple effects will slowly spread as Ellie and her friend Dina make their way to Seattle in search of the Washington Liberation Front. Seattle has also never looked so bad (in a graphical way) as you journey into this post-apocalyptic city and beyond. Unlike the sequel, humans who have a choice in their action are a much more evil creature then the Infected.

The game also starts in winter which is easily the best effects that I have seen in a video game for this season and once it is over, it is at this moment that you can sit back and breathe as you absorb the well-crafted world of this sequel in all its glory. Graphically, The Last of Us Part II looks spectacular on the PlayStation 4 Pro (also no loud fans here) and the entire world feels real, particularly its weather and dynamic lighting effects that work so well with the world around.

It also feels like a post-apocalyptic world with its abandoned highways to buildings that at times hold something quite nefarious in the shadows, whether from the Infected or the humans. Needless to say, the attention to detail is stunning, whether it’s the overgrown grass, how the snow falls from a tree when you knock it to the bricks on each building as you explore this sometimes abandoned world, it really helps in drawing you into the plight of Ellie. Another result of the realistic graphics is that it immediately puts you on edge because you don’t know what is hiding  just around the corner, whether it’s a underground car park or someone lurking in the forest. You know you are home when you first see The Infected, especially the all too familiar sound of the Clickers… freaky!

Adding to this are the realistic characters and the capture motion technology used to bring these characters to life in the virtual world are unmatched, especially their realistic skin tones, facial expressions and even body language. Eyes also look real and with soul. Then you have the professional voice acting which is perfect, especially Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Shannon Woodward (Dina) who have some great chemistry and when they talk, it doesn’t feel forced of contrived. Also joining them is video game legend Troy Baker as Joel and Jeffrey Pierce as Tommy who help bring their characters to life. Lastly, you have Abby who is played equally as well by Laura Bailey and is the antagonist of the story.

For a sequel, it does help if you played the original but Naughty Dog ensure that newcomers will have enough back story to become invested early on in the game because this is one title that should not be missed. There’s also letters and logs littered through the abandoned buildings to give you more of a history to The Last of Us Part 2 and gives you a clever insight into what happened both before and after the plague that decimated mankind.

These blind mother fuckers make my skin crawl
– Ellie

While the gameplay is reminiscent of the original, it is a much more refined experience on the PlayStation 4 without it stops and starts. The usual mechanics return from running, ducking, climbing, crawling and squeezing through tight gaps with the game giving you a short lesson in mastering the controls. Horses are also integral to exploring this world that move with this realistic grace and dare I say, better then Red Dead Redemption 2.

Although the world of The Last of Us Part II looks quite open-world, there are breadcrumbs that you need to follow and areas “locked” but it still gives the illusion of a sandbox. The level design is fantastic and sometimes you stumble upon something that makes you look at the game differently or it could be a humble car that you climb up to get a breather from the Infected.

Add in traditional find and retrieve quests, puzzles and mini-games and it all feels like it is a part of your journey, not just tacked on. However where the game does come into its own is through its combat. While the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, ammunition is scarce and in order to succeed, stealth and an element of sneakiness is required because when the Infected come, they sometimes come in droves and six bullets against 20 won’t work. So it’s better to sneak around, distract them with a bottle and then perform a deadly stealth kill and hope that you are not spotted while performing this action. This stealth kills are quite gruesome as are the was that Ellie also dies and some characters in Mortal Kombat would probably blush at this nastiness.

Melee combat is quite intense, particularly when you are desperately trying to defend yourself from one of the Infected. Thankfully your teammates can sometimes help and you can also support them if they become overwhelmed by the enemy. Gun combat is fantastic as you use guns or rifles to take down your enemies with limited ammunition but it feels so real and raw.

You even have a bow which adds to the stealth factor of the game or you can just throw a Molotov cocktail to light up the Infected like a Christmas tree. The scene with Abby near the start really makes you realise just how dangerous the Infected are and feels like something out of the Walking Dead. In terms of weapons, you can scavenge parts throughout the game that allows you to craft and upgrade them such as improved fire rate or recoil capacity. Definitely needed!

Once again the combat makes you realise how damn terrifying and deadly those Infected stalkers are as well… who are more than just your Infected zombie grunts. In relation to enemies, the AI have received a huge power-boost when it comes to their intelligence, particularly the more advanced ones that you face who are generally humans but some of the Infected are too smart for their own good. Needless to say you need to refrain from firing your gun or rifle because any loud sound will bring the enemy right to you, especially the clickers.

All in all, The Last of Us Part II comes together exceptionally well on the PlayStation 4 and to add some replay value, there are different difficulty levels. I tried the highest setting and didn’t last too long as I kept getting my butt handed back to me, especially from the Infected. So from the very first moment you pick up the DualShock controller and start interacting with the environment, it’s definitely like coming home again and with the graphics, impressive sound effects and soundtrack, The Last of Us Part II works on all levels.

Final Thoughts?

The Last of Us Part II is finally here and if you’re a fan of the original, the next chapter of the game is even more moving and riveting. For newcomers, it will make you want to play the original and best of all, there is a remastered version available. The  Last of Us Part II is also quite a well-crafted game from start to finish and whether its the perfect graphics, the clever world-building elements or the moving and powerful narrative, it all comes together and really makes you invested in the next chapter of Ellie.

All in all, The Last of Us Part II is the masterpiece that we were anticipating and kudos for Naughty Dog in delivering!

Gallery

Game Details

Five years after their dangerous journey across the post-pandemic United States, Ellie and Joel have settled down in Jackson, Wyoming. Living amongst a thriving community of survivors has allowed them peace and stability, despite the constant threat of the infected and other, more desperate survivors.

When a violent event disrupts that peace, Ellie embarks on a relentless journey to carry out justice and find closure. As she hunts those responsible one by one, she is confronted with the devastating physical and emotional repercussions of her actions.

Key Features

A COMPLEX AND EMOTIONAL STORY
Experience the escalating moral conflicts created by Ellie’s relentless pursuit of vengeance. The cycle of violence left in her wake will challenge your notions of right versus wrong, good versus evil, and hero versus villain.

TENSE AND DESPERATE ACTION-SURVIVAL GAMEPLAY
Set out on Ellie’s journey, taking her from the peaceful mountains and forests of Jackson to the lush, overgrown ruins of greater Seattle. Encounter new survivor groups, unfamiliar and treacherous environments, and terrifying evolutions of the infected. Brought to life by the latest iteration of the Naughty Dog engine, the deadly characters and world are more realistic and meticulously detailed than ever before.

A BEAUTIFUL YET DANGEROUS WORLD
New and evolved gameplay systems deliver upon the life-or-death stakes of Ellie’s journey through the hostile world. Feel her desperate struggle for survival through improved features such as high-intensity melee combat, fluid movement, and dynamic stealth. A broad variety of weapons, crafting items, skills, and upgrades allows you to personalize Ellie’s capabilities to your play style.

Primary Format – Games Playstation 4
Game Genre Action & Adventure
Rating R18+
Consumer Advice High impact violence
Game developer Naughty Dog
Game publisher Sony Computer Entertainment


About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.



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