REVIEW: ‘The Last of Us Part II’ was Worth the Wait (PS4)

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The Last of Us Part II

This review contains spoilers for The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II, one of the most anticipated games of 2020, has finally been released. I still remember the day I bought my PlayStation 4 that came with a digital copy of The Last of Us. I felt extremely curious and since I never played the original version that was released on the PlayStation3, I didn’t really have any set expectations. After finishing the introduction, I was fully immersed in the story and couldn’t find myself being able to focus on anything else. So, when the sequel was announced back in 2016, I was extremely excited that the story would continue.

In terms of narrative, The Last of Us Part II follows Ellie as she plans to get revenge against a woman named Abby and her group, the Washington Liberation Front (WLF). Ellie wants revenge on Abby and everyone associated with the WLF after Abby kills Joel. After the event, Ellie, along with her girlfriend Dina, follow Tommy, Joel’s younger brother, to Seattle to get revenge on Abby and the rest of the WLF. Unfortunately, their journey isn’t easy. Along the way, Ellie and Dina deal with the infected, including new versions that have mutated after several years. Additionally, they must also deal with the members of the WLF and a mysterious cult known as the Seraphites.

Ellie and Dina have to fight, but nothing will get in the way of getting revenge. With that said, many mechanics from the first game carried over to The Last of Us Part II, while also adding new improvements. The basic controls from the first game are the same in the sequel, which was extremely helpful. Players can still upgrade weapons with tool parts and skills with medicine pills to help along their journey. As far as improvements go, players still need to check their surrounding environments for ammo and materials needed to craft supplies. Rather than using Nail Bombs, players can now use Trap Mines that trigger whenever any enemy is near them. Rather than sticking to finding arrows, players can now craft them with materials they find. Players can also craft a silencer to attach to a pistol. There’s a limit to how many times the silencer can be used before it’s destroyed.

New skills include Survival, Crafting, Stealth, Explosives, Precision, Field Tactics, Covert Ops, Firearms, Close Quarters, and Ordinance. Players should attempt to find the notes and letters since include important information such as vault and gate codes There are also hidden treasures that players can find, but not required. Shivs are no longer required since Ellie uses her pocket knife, but players must find new ways to go around locked doors. Players can use any rope they find to get to another area.

The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II includes quite a few new combat mechanics that offer a much more realistic feel. For one, players can dodge hand-to-hand and weapon strikes using the L1 button. Timing is especially critical when dodging, which adds a level of challenge. When timed correctly, players can strike back with either Ellie’s pocket knife or any weapons that they’re carrying. Stealth attacks play a major role when dealing with enemies. Players can also choose to hold an enemy as a hostage, with the option to kill them at any point. In certain areas, players will be surrounded by both infected and human enemies. Players can take on all enemies at once or plan a distraction so that your enemies can take each other out.

The most important combat mechanics are the close-listening mechanic, which allows players to hear for enemies and nearby items, and being able to prone. Using the close-listening mechanic will surely make things easier for players who want a better sense of how many enemies you’ll need to deal with. However, it does at times get in the way of the visuals since the mode distorts what Ellie can see. This wasn’t such an issue in the previous game, which was a bit disappointing to deal with in this one. With the ability to prone, players can stay hidden without having to to find something to hide behind. Using tall or short grass if most beneficial when using this game mechanic

The Last of Us Part II would be nothing without including several infected for you to deal with. Several infected from the previous game are brought back, including clickers, runners, and bloaters. New infected are also introduced, including shamblers. Shamblers, much like bloaters, are bigger infected that are difficult to deal with. They throw explosive projectiles that are quite deadly. They also release a gas whenever they die that will harm anyone near it. Using molotovs and time bombs prove to be effective against them.

The Last of Us Part II

Traveling with a new companion was quite the adjustment. While I understand that The Last of Us was primarily about Joel and Ellie, I couldn’t help but miss seeing them travel together. However, having Dina as a companion adds a new sense of connection. Ellie and Dina love one another, which is shown throughout the game. There’s a moment where Ellie, having returned from a WLF location, is covered in blood. Dina attempts to clean her up but it turns into a heart-to-heart about Ellie not wanting to lose her. Even with the threat of the WLF looming, those tender moments provide an insight to Ellie’s humanity and her personal relationships.

Dina is also willing to risk everything to help Ellie get revenge but also acts as a sort of moral compass to keep Ellie from going too far. For instance, there are several moments where Dina how far she wants to take questioning members of the WLF for Abby’s location. Dina clearly wants to help Ellie but also doesn’t want Ellie to completely lose herself in her quest for revenge. That shows me that she cares for her on a level that not even Joel could have reached. I’ve enjoyed seeing their dynamic grow and the cute moments they have together.

I was fully engaged in the game within the first hour of playing. Even after the Joel’s death, I was eager to see what came next. The Last of Us Part II sets itself apart from the first game since everything within this game’s universe has already been set up. The gameplay moves along a lot faster and I was able to fully get into the game quickly. Part II felt like I was stepping back into a game that I was familiar with. Part II also sets itself apart since the game is all about hate, more specifically the hate that Ellie has against Abby while Part I focused on the parental love that Joel developed for Ellie

Outside of the story itself there is a new addition included in The Last of Us Part II: mini games. I’ve only managed to experience the brief snowball fight in the beginning of them game and playing the guitar. I wasn’t expecting to be able to play the guitar but it’s such a great addition to the game. Ellie’s cover of “Take On Me” by AHA! is hauntingly beautiful, especially because she sings it to Dina. The mini games are optional but do include some pieces of dialogue that give players more of the story. For instance, one of the songs that Ellie sings is a song that Joel taught her. The song is a sign that she misses him and still mourns his death while not necessarily stating it. Players have even begun to post YouTube videos of them playing other songs on the guitar since the game allows you to practice after playing the required song.

The Last of Us Part II

One of the many things that I’ve seen getting mixed reactions from online is that the game also allows for players to play as Abby. Most of the critiques come from playing as the character that killed off Joel, who quickly became a beloved character in the first game. There are several levels that focus on Abby’s story and her position within the WLF. While many see this as a downside to the game, I quite enjoyed playing as Abby. It’s quite rare for a game to let you control the main antagonist and see their reasoning behind what they’re doing. It adds to Abby’s character development while also giving a more grounded perspective for her actions. It gives players a better perspective of seeing Abby as just another villain. It also helps me understand the overall story since rather than Joel’s death just being a random occurrence.

The Last of Us Part II is what I have been waiting for since its announcement. All of the delays and the months of no updates was definitely worth it. I was hooked, just from the first few minutes of playing the game. While the new game mechanics were a bit difficult to deal with, it added enough challenges to make the game enjoyable.

The Last of Us Part II is on sale now, exclusively on PlayStation 4.

The Last of Us Part II
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

The Last of Us Part II is what I have been waiting for since its announcement. All of the delays and the months of no updates was definitely worth it. I was hooked, just from the first few minutes of playing the game. While the new game mechanics were a bit difficult to deal with, it added enough challenges to make the game enjoyable.