Naughty Dog has delivered an absolute masterpiece with The Last of Us Part 2, more than living up to the colossal task of having to provide a sequel to a game many believe to be the game of the decade.
For those who haven’t played the first game, it’s not too important that you have before playing part 2, although it would definitely give you a fuller understanding of the world of The Last of Us. I would recommend if you can’t get hold of a copy of part one (which was originally launched on the PlayStation 3 – and then remastered for the PlayStation 4) that at the very least you go on YouTube and find a quick summary of the events of part 1.
I won’t ruin the story or give away any spoilers, but just want to focus on some of the key aspects of the game that I enjoyed before giving a final review score.
The gameplay is very similar to what you would expect from The Last of Us or any survival game, with plenty of scavenging for resources, crafting makeshift weapons and utility items and then fighting heaps of bad guys – either through stealthy pick offs or guns blazing. The “baddies” come in two basic flavours – traditional human enemies and the “infected” (your typical zombie bad guy, but also with some key variations as you will discover in the game).
What I love about the gameplay is the variety between the all-out action of running from cover to cover in a gunfight, to stealthily trying to avoid being heard by the infected, to exploring the dystopian world searching for resources to help in the inevitable fights ahead.
I couldn’t believe just how much content they managed to cram into this game as I clocked over 25 hours in just my first playthrough and with plenty of reasons to play it again.
The graphics are, quite frankly, some of the best I have ever seen on any console and the game really is a phenomenal send off to the PlayStation 4 before we get our hands on the PS5 later this year. The characters facial expressions are unbelievably well captured and you certainly get a sense of the emotional range of the actors which certainly adds to the drama and gravitas of the story. The attention to detail in things like weather, water and light, create a world that feels rich and alive.
Wow, what a story. The game felt less like a game and more like a blockbuster movie or gripping series, but without ever detracting from the gameplay itself. You really get a sense of deep attachment to the characters and the way their characters develop through the story, which makes their decisions all the more important and meaningful. The story plays out beautifully from two distinct player perspectives and addresses amongst other themes, the ideas of revenge and forgiveness.
When I finished this game, I felt like one does after reading a great book, like the world was somehow different, like I had been on a journey and yet no one around me would understand what had happened. At the time of writing this review, the game is yet to be released and so I can’t wait for more people to experience it. In fact, in a way, I’m almost jealous of those getting to experience it all for the first time.
The Last of Us Part 2 is easily one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had and an absolute must-play for anyone even remotely interested in the genre. While it is not a perfect game, as I don’t believe such a thing exists, with perhaps a few concerns over the pacing of the final few chapters, it’s as close to perfect as I’ve ever experienced.