Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us released on the PlayStation 3 in 2013 and has been remastered for the PlayStation 4. I hadn’t played the game when it first came out, but after all the positive stories, I wanted to get it myself for the PlayStation 4, even though I already knew how the game would end. Very few games get story and action right, but The Last Of Us did. It did a great job alternating between exploring the world and tactical battles that would crop up against other people or the infected chasing you.
Naughty Dog created a masterpiece and left me with so many questions, like: How are things going with Ellie and Joel? What will happen to the people in Jackson County? Does Ellie know the actual reason behind their escape from the hospital? And of course, is it possible to match or even surpass the original with the sequel? Without further ado, here is my review of The Last of Us Part 2 for the PlayStation 4.
PASSING THROUGH AMERICA AGAIN
It’s great to be able to re-enter the world of Joel and Ellie. Now, this game is all about one thing and one thing only: REVENGE. Ellie finds herself in a situation where she can do nothing but focus on those who have wronged her. In the world of The Last of Us, you don’t go to a lawyer or mediator. Instead, you take your gun, rifle, knife, and gather all your courage and then take matters into your own hands. Whether it really gives you satisfaction is the question, but that will not stop Ellie.
To achieve her goal, Ellie must traverse enormous sections of Seattle. The unique environments such as houses, forests, and desolate cities look beautiful just as they did in The Last of Us Part 1. It is a pleasure to explore the devastated world and search for enemies. Not only do the beautiful environments stand out, but the characters’ faces are genuine-looking and make realistic facial expressions. The world in The Last of Us Part 2 is much bigger than the one in the original, but take note that it is not an open-world game.
In Part 2, you can still explore a lot, but not so far that you lose your way. It fits the chaotic world, and a map is often unnecessary because the world is in ruins and many roads are impassable. You do not have to research everything, but then you run the risk of missing out on important information, ammunition, collectibles, and crafting materials.
The information found around the map provides useful insight into human suffering and the current world and certainly enriches the story. Crafting materials greatly help you create additional weapons and enhancements for said weapons. This gives you enough opportunities to vary your gameplay style between stealth and open combat.
GREAT CONTINUATION OF THE STORY
One great thing is when you first start The Last of Us Part 2 you need not have played the original game because there is a short but clear summary provided. There are also several flashbacks that give you some background information about the intervening years after Joel and Ellie’s escape from the hospital and their mutual relationship.
These flashbacks are enlightening and are usually a welcome moment of rest in between all the chaos. So don’t forget to play Part 1 if you don’t want any spoilers. The first few hours of the game are relatively calm and pleasant. This gives you an impression of the world and its inhabitants. Fortunately for you and unfortunately for Ellie, that will change soon.
In Part 2, you’re going to play with Ellie the most, but sometimes you’ll be joined by an NPC or play with a character from the opposite camp. The NPC’s are quite helpful and are a great aid in taking out enemies when you get discovered. If you go for a stealth playing style, they keep aloof, although they can get in the way just like in Part 1. This can be annoying, as you can sometimes be blocked from reaching your enemy to perform a stealth kill.
They discovered me several times because they are just hiding on the corner where you wanted to move. This is the only big snafu in the game I have encountered, and when it happened it was very disturbing. Just like when you go for a kill in a multiplayer game and you are bothered by your friends on the mic.
It is not a very common occurrence but it can happen at crucial times, and it can be very annoying. As mentioned above, you also sometimes play with a character from the other camp. This way you get to know the target of your revenge (a former Firefly) better and you get more insight into the developments that the WLF (Washington Liberation Front) is going through.
It’s through this interaction with people from the other camp that you discover the motivations of the former Firefly and this gives you pause about carrying out your revenge. In fact, this group of people are a lot like the people you interact with in Jackson county, they’re a lot like you, and are just trying to survive. By experiencing a few defining moments with the enemy, it is almost impossible not to form a bond with them.
So you fight together against the Seraphites, make jokes among yourselves, and try not to be caught by an infected person. This awful feeling that maybe revenge isn’t the answer gets worse and sometimes harrowing when you hear them talk about their dreams and plans, and later when you’ve killed them when you switch back to playing as Ellie. This gives a lot of food for thought and makes you wonder whether this revenge is good for Ellie (although, of course, she does not know about it).
ENOUGH ENEMIES TO TAKE OUT
WLF soldiers are worthy opponents, not stupid, and they really go out of their way to find you. Once they find you, they try to flank you. They communicate with each other to determine your position and provide each other with cover. They are also really concerned about their comrades and when they find their dead friend they shout “Oh my god, Rico is dead. Who did this? Search the environment”.
A fresh addition is the patrols with dogs. When these were introduced, the tension immediately rose. If you kill the dog, their companion is immediately aware of your presence. If you kill the soldier first, their dog will search aimlessly. Should he find you, be prepared as the dogs are small, fast, aggressive, and hard to hit.
You can also try to dodge them, but if they pick up your trail, you have to move far and fast enough otherwise they will be on your neck. This makes it imperative that you develop a new tactic, but it’s extremely rewarding to take them all out while taking advantage of their weakness. In addition to fighting the WLF, you also have to compete against the Seraphites.
These cult members have renounced technology and are chasing anyone who they believe sins. They are reminiscent of tribal hunters and communicate with each other by whistling. For example, they can determine each other’s position with whistles, report danger, or raise the alarm. This requires a completely different tactic and presents an extra challenge.
I realized while playing The Last of Us Part 2 that the environments where you fight enemies are much larger than in the original and offer loads of possibilities. There are plenty of houses, bushes, and grassy areas where you can hide. In addition to running and sneaking, you can now also crawl, so you can sneak and crawl attack or avoid the enemies. The transition between these poses is smooth and you can use your weapons in any position. It looks really cool when you lie on your side, pull your bow, and shoot an oncoming enemy in the head.
Fortunately, there are enough customizable weapons to take out enemies, and upgrading weapons looks and works great. You can really take the weapon apart and add new pieces. This way you improve your grip, accuracy, and firepower, among other things. You can also upgrade skills with the vitamin pills that you find around the world. For example, you can learn to make better medpacks and throwables, or you can improve movement speed. You can also find new skill trees to expand your skill-set.
THE INFECTED ARE BACK
If I am not mistaken, the infected were separated from the uninfected ones in Part 1. By that, I mean the human enemies were not among the infected persons, but now you have the option of sometimes luring a group to the human enemies.
When I threw a bottle through the window and the infected started screaming, it was very satisfying. You hear the WLF members fight the horrors and shout at each other when someone dies. And if a few remain, you can enjoy yourself without risk. Monitor your environment though, as a lost Clicker can suddenly be behind you and kill you very quickly.
If you are discovered and/or killed in combat, you can try again from a checkpoint, but if you want to do this without being seen, it is also possible to restart the entire encounter. So, in addition to choosing a difficulty level, you can determine how far you want to be challenged.
I learned early on that the infected enemies are less intelligent than the human enemies, but that’s not to say they are just as dangerous, perhaps more dangerous, in their own way. When the Runners see you, they come running at you like crazy. The Stalkers hide and try to surprise you. The Clickers and Bloaters use echolocation and provide an instant kill if they grab you.
Separately, they are easy to beat, but when you come across a group, it gets a lot harder (especially a mixed group). Also, a new variant of infected has been added, the Shamblers seem to be even stronger versions of the Bloaters; they run through walls when they come at you. In addition, they pelt you with bombs that leave a toxic vapor. Naughty Dog has more surprises in store, but you should discover them yourself.
The story of The Last of Us Part 2 is told extremely well. The flashbacks and the change of perspective certainly contribute to that. The battles with the human and infected enemies are challenging but can be tackled in many ways. The switch between action and stealth and the switch between exploring the world and action is very well done.
The flashbacks provide the necessary moments of rest. However, I must say that sometimes the NPC’s get in the way and you might die due to this, but this was not game-breaking. I hope this becomes a trilogy and that we can explore even more of this dystopian world. One last thing to answer is the first question we asked in this review. Did Naugty Dog manage to make a sequel that is better or surpasses Part 1 in all its greatness? I’d say they did.
Do you want to play Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2? What did you think of my review? Let me know in the comment section below.
Be sure to check out The Last of Us Part 2 Safe Code Combinations Guide or The Last of Us Part 2 Weapons Guide to make the game a little easier for you. Also, if you’re interested in more games developed by Naughty Dog check out our reviews for The Last Of Us Remastered, Uncharted 4, Uncharted 3, and Uncharted 2.
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