The Last of Us Part 2 Review – An Uncomfortable Masterpiece

This is my review of The Last of Us Part 2, the much anticipated sequel to the adored PlayStation exclusive, that launched around the world on Friday. With the run up to launch stained by unhelpful and out of context leaks, plus Naughty Dog’s reputation for “crunch culture” as highlighted by Jason Schreier, The Last of Us Part 2 has had a lot to live up to.

Naughty Dog make games that are widely considered amongst the best of the best. Notable for their attention to detail, fantastic stories, and wide ranging characters, there’s no shortage of praise. Taking in all five Uncharted titles, and The Last of Us (Part 1), the critic scores on metacritic stand at 91/100 averaged out amongst the six total titles. 

Even if you just consider The Last of Us, it’s a game released way back in 2013. Yet it still makes it onto “best games of all time” lists everywhere. In fact you can read my own article on why The Last of Us should be considered a true Gem.

The Last of Us Part 2 strives for something akin to perfection throughout the entirety of its roughly 25-30 hour timespan. Today we’ll be breaking down in what areas it achieves that (because it does), and where it falls short. Read on for our full article – The Last of Us Part 2 Review. Fair warning, this is my longest review yet. There’s so much to talk about and unpack, that censoring myself to preserve a more readable article didn’t feel right.

Gameplay? 9/10 – Taking everything that worked from the first game and amplifying it with unprecedented success, The Last of Us Part 2’s gameplay is near flawless.

There are no end of adjectives that can be used to describe the gameplay in The Last of us Part 2. Visceral, brutal, shocking, realistic, dark, satisfying, and organic. There is almost no way of overselling what the experience here provides you.

The first title suffered with age, with gameplay seeming clunky in comparison to the Tomb Raider reboot, or Uncharted 4. That has all but been erased with the sequel. 

Where to start… okay so for one, this title might be home to the best suite of stealth systems I’ve seen in a game outside of Metal Gear Solid V. 

Stealth

That sounds hyperbolic, so I’d forgive you if you rolled your eyes at the screen right now. But I stand by it. 

Stealth in Part 1 could have been, and was, accused of being a little too easy at times. With Listen Mode being an absolute crutch, and resources for shivs being plentiful, Clickers and Runners very quickly became nothing more than minor obstacles. Likewise while the AI was good for the time, remaining undetected was too easy, which made clearing rooms of soldiers easy. 

This is absolutely not the case in Part II. Not only are enemy detection ranges increased exponentially, they’ve also been made more realistic. The cone of detection is now dictated by individual head movements, which means that if a WLF soldier lazily tilts his head in your direction, he’ll be able to see you. Likewise, you aren’t invisible if you’re hiding in long grass or a bush.

For contrast, I’m playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at the moment, and the stealth there is absolutely bonkers. Somehow I’m a 6ft greek woman who’s built like an olympian, yet I can hide in everything from a dark corner, to some shrubbery, to a single lonesome bush. 

Have you ever tried hiding in a bush? It’s inconvenient, what with all the sticks, branches, and leaves in the way. The Last of Us 2 acknowledges this, and doesn’t permit you to just phase through plantlife at will. You can crouch or go prone in long grass to avoid detection, and there is some shorter grass you can use for prone situations, but enemies aren’t idiots. If they’re within 10-15 feet of you, there’s a solid chance they’ll see you. No single stealth option has you as invisible to enemies, not even swimming underwater. 

Likewise enemies will notice if you choke their friend out mid sentence, which is rare in gaming. Enemies in Assassin’s Creed won’t even blink if their fellow soldier cuts off mid conversation with a gurgle. In TLOU Part II, with every human NPC in the game having a unique name, they’ll cry out things like “Bill, you okay?” which might escalate into “Bill, stop messing around!”, and then eventually into a “guys! Bill’s missing!”.

That last one usually indicates that you need to move, because when enemies are alerted they’re a real pain in the ass to navigate. In a good way, mind. They’ll normally congregate in the last known location where there is trouble, the example being wherever “Bill” was prior to having his neck snapped. 

But they won’t all head there at once. One will head in, while the other covers their flank. One might go and grab high ground. Once they confirm there’s a body, they’ll fan out and start sweeping the area. This includes checking conveniently tall grass, and peeking their corners.

It’s smart AI, but in a simple way. It’s extremely effective as well, as well as genuinely challenging. Thankfully both Ellie and Abby, the two characters you’ll play as, have their own tricks. With much of Seattle at least partially underwater, entire areas can be navigated under water if you so wish. This can set up fantastic angles and sightlines on enemies and it genuinely feels brilliant. The ability to craft temporary silencers or arrows for your bow on the fly is incredibly useful, as is laying down trip mines. 

The many areas you’ll be navigating are designed and laid out in a way that allows you to approach situations however you’ll want. You can go prone under rooftop venting, or under trucks, to blow out someones legs as they walk past. You can swim through waist high water in order to get behind someone quietly. 

Of course, this is without mentioning the infected, which is a whole different ball game. This is perhaps one of the scariest games I’ve played, not because of jump scares (although they are there) but more because of how damn threatening they are. Stealthing through them is far easier than engaging them in open combat, but that regularly isn’t possible. 

The suite of stealth options are generally fantastic, and they also built on what was provided in the first title, instead of overhauling it entirely. This means that while it’s improved exponentially over the first game, it’s also immediately familiar. Of course, while the stealth is effective, it’s also damn hard. Which means you’ll likely get caught out more than once. Way more in fact.

What happens when you do? 

Combat

The next major gameplay system to have been overhauled from the first game, the combat systems are fantastic. Many people, rightfully so I might add, don’t think the combat and general gameplay have aged well from Part 1.

Naughty Dog must have understood that because what we get here is above and beyond what I expected, and I’d wager you’ll be the same. The Last of Us 2 makes every single enemy, no matter how small, feel like a proper threat. Every fight feels like a fight to the death, is full of close calls, and is NEVER easy. In fact sometimes it’s damn hard.

Getting shot by anything can and will knock you down onto the floor, getting clipped might stagger you which opens you up to a follow up. If you get knocked down, you’ll be in a prone position on your back, which enemies will use to try and execute you.

A mistimed dodge, a missed shot, a poorly timed melee attack, or simply just the wrong stealth kill at the wrong time can spell the end of Ellie or Abby. This isn’t to say that either character feels weak, because they don’t. Ellie is nimble, fast, and has a handy switchblade that can get her out of tight situations. Abby is big, built like a tank, and can throw a punch like you wouldn’t believe. Along with this, both can craft any number of tools to help them out, from molotovs, to proximity grenades, to arrows and shivs. 

The masterstroke is the dodge ability though. Rarely have I seen it executed so well outside of a FromSoftware title. Not only does it consistently feel awesome when you dodge a swing from a pipe or baseball bat, it always feels organic. Largely that’s the word I’d use to describe all the combat and stealth mechanics in this video game – organic.

Some of this is useful when fighting infected, but not all of it. Stalkers are a mostly new addition to the franchise, with only a brief appearance in the first game. They move silently, don’t show up on listen mode, and love to run at you when it’s least convenient. They’re fast as well, capable of dodging your attacks, counterattacking, and grabbing you. Not only that, but they hit like a truck. Just one of these new enemies is difficult to take on, but there’s never just the one. Add in the classic Clickers, and the new Shamblers who cannot be stealth killed, and stealth is very often futile against the infected.

I’d regularly expend all my shotgun ammo just trying to get through, because once a Stalker spots you? You aren’t going to be able to re-engage in stealth. Runners are still an annoyance, and there’s a couple of boss fights that feel like they deserve to be in a top tier Resident Evil game. Which is some high praise.

Of course it IS still a video game. Which is where a couple of small issues creep in.

Gamified Mechanics

The original game is guilty of this as well, and while Part II does its very best to reign it in, it doesn’t quite manage it all the time. 

In a game where everything feels gritty, uncomfortable, and brutal, having to locate a conveniently written note about a safe code in every area feels reductive. These safes are usually found in apartments, or shops, and will have a specific code you need to locate.

These codes are ALWAYS located somewhere in the area, usually via a note that reads something like:

“Hi, in case you forget, because you’re stupid, the code is our apartment number, followed by next doors apartment number”

Or my personal favorite:

“The code is the same as our wifi password”

Not only that, but once you’ve read the note you can’t just unlock the safe automatically upon your return. Unless you’ve got photographic memory, chances are you’ll have to pause, go into your notes, load the note, then read the note again in order to remember the number. It’s a tiny issue, almost insignificant, but one that stands out in a game so magnificently well made.

Likewise, crafting weapon upgrades is restricted to workbenches. Skill tree upgrades come via lootable pill pots. Ellie and Abby both have collectables, for Ellie it’s trading cards, for Abby it’s rare coins. 

These things occasionally reminded me that I was playing a video game, and pulled me out of the immersion that The Last of Us Part 2 works so hard to craft. Only rarely, fortunately.

Other than this? The gameplay in TLOU Part II is pitch perfect. A special note has to go out to what is the only genuinely good use of the DuelShock’s touchpad in the last 7 years. With it you can play guitar, and a pretty staggering amount of arrangements if you set your mind to it.

Visuals? 10/10 – Never putting a foot wrong, the varied and believable world is only strengthened by the attention to detail you can find.

Every now and again I’m reminded how damn impressive this generation is. I’m playing on a PS4 Slim, through a 4K TV. For the first half of the game, I didn’t have HDR turned on as it’s not supported when recording through an Elgato. I turned it back on for the second half so I could get the full joy!

The Last of Us Part 2 is stunning. I can’t think of a single moment in the entire 25-30 hours where I looked at something and thought it looked rough. Given the amount of clutter that’s on screen 24/7, with the post-apocalyptic state of the world, you’d forgive the game for having some areas or objects look worse than others. 

It never happens.

I’m very loath to say that The Last of Us Part 2 is the best looking game I’ve played, not only because that bar is so very high, but also that there’s a lot of varying art styles around. Not to mention a lot of damn games.

But yet when you compare it to its peers at this level it’s hard not to. It has better animations across the board than the ones seen in Red Dead Redemption 2. There is better foliage, hair, and textile effects than you see in God of War. It does all of this while granting you gorgeous lighting, terrifyingly gross infected with horribly believable defects, and a biome system that offers up the best combinations of everything I’ve mentioned.

Even on my base PS4 Slim, I was constantly marvelling at the quality of the facial animations, the scenery, and the atmosphere. When you choke someone out, or otherwise stealth kill, you can rotate the camera around and get a close up look at the face of both yourself, and the person you’re killing. It’s frighteningly believable. 

Add in the foliage moving around you when you’re walking or crouching, the reflections and shine when you’re getting rained on, and the awesome death animations when a Clicker gets the better of you. It’s all so well presented.

Even in the quieter character moments, the cutscenes, or just wandering around looking for supplies. Even in these moments the game manages to give you something to look at, or appreciate. The cutscenes especially in fact, look unbelievable. The detail shown through any of the characters faces is up there with some of the best games I’ve played.

I can’t point out a single fault in the way the game is presented. It continually strived to outdo itself, or freshen the palette for me, and that’s something I have to commend.  

Audio 10/10 – Featuring fantastic filtering and directional sound, along with a unique look at providing a soundtrack, the audio is perfection.

Atmosphere is paramount in a game like this. While not a full blown survival horror, it’s not far off, certainly in the more tense situations. If you don’t use audio to the best effect in situations like this, then tension is either lost, or never gained in the first place.

When we talk about audio in games like this, Resi 2 and the thumping footsteps come to mind. Steam leaving a vent just behind you in Dead Space can be brought up. Hearing the creepy mutterings from two corridors over in Outlast.

The Last of Us Part 2 gives you all of that. In the infected heavy areas of the game, of which there are many, tension is palpable. To the point that you can basically taste it. Whether it’s the offbeat notes coming from the Clickers as they blindly look for their next victim, or the hyped up yells from the Runners as they shamble around whatever deserted building you’re trying to navigate. Stalkers are dreadfully silent, right until they’re behind you, or sprinting at you. 

Then you get to the human enemies, the Scars (or Seraphites) communicate with each other with a foreboding set of whistles. These whistles break through the environmental sounds seemingly at random, until you realise they’re communicating a dead body, or worse, your location. They obviously change in volume and shape depending on the environment and your distance from them. 

The WLF shout instructions and commands to each other mid-firefight, while flanking you or firing suppressing shots, but when things are quiet they have casual conversations. Both sound terrific.

Guns reverberate through environments in different ways depending on where you are. Firing a pistol in an open street sounds almost nondescript compared to the rifles and shotgun blasts coming your way, but when you have three runners and a shambler chasing you through a tight building, each pistol shot sounds like a cannon blast.

The directional audio and environmental filtering is masterfully done, and sits up there with some of the best games I can name. There’s not a lot of music in The Last of Us Part 2, especially in normal gameplay. When there is however, like when Ellie finds a guitar, it sounds fantastic. Real even. Because in all likelihood, it is. 

Naughty Dog are famed, and sometimes even criticised, for their obsessive attention to detail. Audio, and the previous Visuals section, are where this stands out the most. Plenty of games do a good, or even great job in both. It’s rare that I’ll have nothing to complain about. In fact this level of praise is usually reserved for GOTY contenders. 

Story? 10/10 – Taking bold directions, and delivering it in a way like no other, The Last of Us Part 2 is one of the best narratives you can experience in games.

Right here’s your 3 warnings:

  1. It will be impossible for me to discuss this without talking about an important event in the first hour or so.
  2. Whether you like the story or not may be entirely dependent on your opinion regarding the event in question.
  3. There might be other mild spoilers, even though I’ve gone out of my way to avoid them.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases “this is more than a video game” or “this stuck with me after I put my controller down”.

They’ve been used to almost boredom since Part II reviews went live, and I can understand why people might be getting bored of hearing about it. However it’s true. Completely, and unequivocally. 

One of my favorite series of books is called the Bartimaeus Trilogy. It’s one of my favourites because it operates from three perspectives the whole way through. I don’t much like one of the characters, he’s a bit unbearable and obnoxious, but I enjoy his story nonetheless. 

The same can be said for The Last of Us Part 1 AND 2. In the first game, I honestly didn’t like Joel. He kills indiscriminately and without any regret or remorse, and isn’t particularly likeable. That being said, his story and perspective is something of great interest. That and his relationship with Ellie of course.

The Last of Us Part 2 has the same effect on me. Characters throughout the story make decisions, and perform actions that I can’t stand. Some of these decisions make me physically uncomfortable to think about. But this isn’t a story that Naughty Dog wants you to feel happy about. 

Before I go any further, I need to clear something up. This game isn’t the well of endless misery that many reviewers and websites have made it out to be. I didn’t need to “reflect” on the game, and it certainly didn’t make me think differently about our own pandemic. The Last of Us Part 2 is still a video game.

While the vast majority of the game is grim, there are many notable moments of light, love, and happiness found throughout the title that serve to lighten the load a little bit. Many people point to the Giraffe scene in The Last of Us as the defining moment in that game. 

Hot take, but I found that there are more than a handful of moments exactly like that in The Last of Us Part 2. The difference is that they’re used as a vehicle to the violence and sadness that the story parades through it’s dirty streets and dark basements. 

The “violence begets violence” story is as old a tale as you’ll likely find, but it’s one rarely trodden in video games. Many people use this medium as a form of escapism, but Naughty Dog have challenged that.

I can personally guarantee you that there will be moments in this game where you question any or all of the character’s motives. Not only that, but the way they tackle their given problem at the time. This isn’t because of “poor writing” or “out of character decisions”, but it’s because Neil Druckmann and Halley Gross wanted you to be aware that Joel, and many of the other characters are not, and were never, heroes.

Beloved characters? Yes. Well written and acted characters? Of course. Good people? Debatable. Heroes? Almost certainly not.

Here’s where we will touch on spoilers for the first 3 hours of the game, and some other mild context based spoilers for the rest of the game. If you want to go in entirely blind, I recommend skipping the rest of this section, Writing, and Acting. Every other segment should be safe.

At the end of The Last of Us, Joel murders his way through an entire hospital in order to rescue Ellie from a fatal surgery. Ellie is the best example of immunity to the infection that ravaged the planet, and therefore the best chance for a vaccine or cure. In the surgery room, he kills the lead surgeon, and then rescues Ellie. 

Even back in 2014 when I first played this game, this decision didn’t feel right with me. I didn’t like the decision Joel had made, mostly because I was certain that Ellie would’ve gladly sacrificed herself. While I never assumed they would make a sequel, I was pretty certain that it would revolve around this decision if they ever did.

I was right.

In the first hour of the game, not only are you introduced to a matured version of Ellie, and the town of Jackson. You’re also introduced to Abby. Abby is a woman who is hunting for Joel, accompanied with a large group of like minded individuals. She’s also the second playable character of this title.

Again, spoiler alert. Final warning, it’s on you if you ruin this for yourself.

Abby kills Joel. With Ellie watching. Her and her group spare Tommy and Ellie, but Abby kills Joel without remorse. 

The rest of the game is about the fallout of this decision, the reason behind it, and the growth that it causes in all the characters involved. Ellie is predictably consumed and controlled by her rage and her sorrow, and sets out to hunt the group down. Abby struggles with the fact that killing Joel didn’t help her get over her own grievances as much as she assumed it might.

The story that follows is both entirely unexpected, and delivered masterfully. With a far wider host of characters than was ever featured prominently in the first game. It also does what sequels rarely do, in that it strengthens the game before it. The Last of Us was near enough perfect when it released, but Part II lends a perspective to it that will forever change how I view it. For the better.

This game isn’t going to keep me up at night, it’s not going to give me nightmares, and it won’t make me question the greater morality of the human race. Despite its many achievements, and its master strokes in storytelling, it’s still a video game.

But it’s also very often more than that. Like a good book, or a good movie, you’re forced to endure upsetting, uncomfortable, or gut wrenching scenes playing out in front of you. You’re a witness to this story. It’s not there to make you feel good, or even bad. It’s there to tell you something. But you’re also playing witness to stories about love, friendship, and sacrifice. 

Whether or not you vibe with what the game is selling will entirely depend on how open minded you are, or whether you even like the characters the game provides you. I loved and got along with the story more than I ever thought possible, so I’m rating it a 10/10, but I’m very much aware that this is very subjective. 

Acting? 10/10 – Part II contains such a well performed cast of characters, that attempting to pick holes is futile.

There are certain video games that I think of when I think of great acting. God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, The Last of Us, Jedi: Fallen Order, the list gets longer and longer with every AAA success. Quality VA’s continue to turn up, and studios are becoming more and more dedicated to directing top notch performances.

The trend continues with The Last of Us Part 2. Every single acting performance is top tier. Even from characters that are barely in the game for five minutes. The more important thing is how believable they all were. The impressive consistency is exemplified when you consider how many characters grace the screen over the course of the entire campaign. 

It’s enough for me to say that not a single actor, whether it be motion or voice, puts a foot wrong throughout the entirety of The Last of Us Part 2. 

I could point out the impressive nature of Troy Baker or Ashley Johnson as Joel and Ellie again, but that would be doing a disservice to the plethora of top notch performances to point those out specifically.

Ellie and Dina might be one of the most convincing on screen partnerships I’ve seen in a video game, but the same can be said of Abby and Lev, or Ellie and Jesse, or Abby and Manny. I can’t speak highly enough of the performances, but I’m not ashamed to say that the game made me tear up more than once. Which is an achievement in and of itself.

Writing? 10/10 – Going hand in hand with the fantastic acting, the writing is some of the best you’ll see in a modern video game.

Now to point out the obvious facts. Yes, a gay relationship plays a major part of this title. Yes one of the lead characters is transgender. No it’s probably NOT who you think it is, especially if you based your sole knowledge of this game on the leaks.

Thing is, I’m neither gay, nor transgender. I also have zero issues with either of these identifiers. So while I can’t comment on how transgender or other members of the LGBTQ+ community should be represented in video games or media in general, what I can say is that neither of these factors felt forced. Neither of them hurt the story either, and if I’m honest, they probably made the world feel more fleshed out and human.

The nature of being transgender, and what could be considered a real world commentary on their acceptance into society, is touched on for maybe 5-10 minutes. I do think it’s important that people can see some representation in major media, but Naughty Dog had to walk a tightrope. Killing off a transgender character in a brutal way (as an example) wouldn’t have been the best way to achieve this, and overselling a gay relationship, instead of just letting it exist, would’ve spelled bad news as well.

Fortunately, at least from my perspective as someone who’s a bit dense, both were sold extremely well, and didn’t damage the story being told. In fact, they bolstered it. I was SO invested in Dina and Ellie, you don’t even know. 

Outside of this as well, the writing is flawless. Sometimes in these story orientated games, lines can get too perfect, there’s no realistic gaps for air, no time for consideration. Uncharted is a series famed for its humour, but I’ve honestly never thought the writing or delivery was that great. It’s too polished, too well spoken. It’s like NCIS, or a CW superhero show. 

The Last of Us 2 avoids all of these issues, and provides possibly the most human example of video game writing this generation. The only games I can even think of that contest this are the 2018 GOTY contenders.

Much like the acting, the writing is a masterstroke, and I have to give credit where credit is due. It’s rare that individual sentences or conversations will stick with me from a video game, yet here I am replaying some of them over and over again in my brain. Just wonderfully done.

Performance? 9/10 – Performing remarkably well on even a base PS4, TLOU Part II serves to remind me how strong this generation is.

Considering I played this on a PS4 Slim, I am very nearly blown away by the rock solid performance I’ve experienced here. Load times are phenomenal, with death reloads being near instant. I have no idea how it’s been achieved, but there we go.

Likewise I’ve had zero crashes, zero texture loading issues than I could see, and zero bugs or glitches. 

Unfortunately, with a game of this ambition, comes restrictions. I did suffer from recurring frame issues. Never in crucial moments, but it seemed to be when I was in wide open spaces and the game had to load a lot of visual elements in. I’d wager maybe a dozen moments? In the latter half of the game it’s a lot clearer, as game spaces get more claustrophobic, but the first half in general Seattle can get pretty choppy every now and again.

Other than that though? As I said, pretty much flawless. Another testament to how technically impressive the PS4 is, and to how good Naughty Dog are at making games.

Fun Factor? 10/10 – TLOU Part II is a thoroughly engaging game to play, with a great story, and great gameplay to support it.

Sadly, while I personally have zero issues with the “fun factor” of this title, hence the 10/10, it has to be acknowledged that there will be people who cannot finish this game. 

I can personally promise that my girlfriend would have put the game down immediately after having to kill her first dog. I very nearly had to take a temporary break after certain events transpired. Not just because they’re sad to witness, but also because some of them broach subjects or ideas that generally aren’t tackled in mainstream media. 

There will be people who find the long stretches of tense horror gameplay, or intense violence even, so off putting that they can’t come back to it. 

However through all of that, the game kept me riveted. It grabbed my attention, demanded that I play it, insisted that I sit through the experience it was offering. It’s paced magnificently, with the downtime serving to level you out from whatever just got your heart racing. Its beautifully animated combat sequences, and satisfyingly challenging stealth sequences keep the moment to moment gameplay fresh.

While the game isn’t always the normal definition of fun, there was never a moment where I wasn’t enjoying it. It’s a bold game, one quite unlike anything I’ve played through before. With that comes a certain level of challenging your preconceptions and expectations. 

The Last of Us 2 pulls it off brilliantly. It’s not just a depressingly grim game, but it’s not an ecstatic experience either. It’s a human one, and in order to sell that there has to be an acceptance that the world, and the lives we lead in it, are very often not happy things. 

Value? 10/10 – One of the most complete games you can buy for your money, The Last of Us Part 2 is a no brainer for any PS4 owner.

Now in terms of pure value, The Last of Us 2 is the complete package. You get a 25-30 hour story, collectables, a very accessible trophy list, NG+ on launch, and multiple difficulties to conquer. Add in the fact that it’s a technical masterpiece, and a unique story, and it’s hard to not recommend it. Hence the 10/10.

There is a caveat though, and it ties in to my fun factor segment a little. There is a possibility, that if you’re easily put off of games by stressful, violent, intense, or just plain upsetting moments, that you won’t be able to finish The Last of Us Part 2. For that reason, I’d recommend reading as many spoiler free reviews as possible. Not just mine. 

Avoid spoilers though, as tempting as it is. Trust me when I say that the leaks are entirely out of context, and in some cases just plain wrong. It’s well worth experiencing for yourself. 

How Much Did The Reviewer Enjoy It? 10/10 – Easily the best game of 2020 so far, The Last of Us Part 2 strives for perfection, and very nearly achieves it.

In case it isn’t obvious, I adored this game. Part of me went into The Last of Us Part 2 wanting to dislike it, just so I could have a unique take on it, but I’m no liar. This game is phenomenal.

It’s made me feel things, and react in a way that is so out of character for me, especially with video games. To date I can barely name a handful of video games that delivered tears to my eyes. Gears of War 2, Mass Effect 3, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, and The Last of Us Part 1. Not bad company at all.

Thing is, The Last of Us Part 2 very nearly transcends the idea of a video game. It feels like a good book, a good movie, and a good game all wrapped up into one, and it results in a fantastic package.

We’re only in June, with some heavy hitters on the horizon, but I honestly don’t know what a developer will have to do to deliver a better game than The Last of Us Part 2. Game of the year contender? I think we’re looking at the game of the year winner.

But that’s just me. The Last of Us Part 2 is proving to be extremely divisive. What did you think of Naughty Dog’s much anticipated title? Let us know in the comments below, but be warned. Any unacceptable shenanigans will not be tolerated.

Until next time, have a fantastic week!

4 comments

I very much enjoyed your review – probably because there’s nothing in it I disagree with! I’ve been really disheartened to see the negative reaction to such a beautifully crafted game – I feel for those who have invested so much time and love into developing it. I was struck the most by the scenes between Ellie and Abby – by the end I found it difficult to root for one over the other. I thought this was very clever – how sympathies for the main protagonists became a bit more fluid throughout the game. It feels like a journey into the dark for one character and a journey into the light for the other. But is ultimately a true reflection of how the need for vengeance, at any cost, will leave you with nothing. Keep up the good work!

Hey! Thanks so much for reading, and taking the time to leave a comment, it’s much appreciated!

I think the biggest takeaway for me was the duality between characters. Abby achieves exactly what Ellie wants to, but realises it doesn’t solve anything, it won’t help her deal with it. Yara and Lev help her to recover her humanity, whereas Ellie steadily loses hers, as Abby once did, in the pursuit of revenge/ justice.

That’s the thing about this game, so many ways to interpret the messages Naughty Dog wants to give you!

I am 53 hard-core gamer since pong. Last of us 1 was my favorite all time game. Relationship that evolved between ellie and Joel and the baby girl line at the end affected me emotionally like a video game has never done. Rolled credits twice on part 2. Everything you describe in your review (well done review by the way you seem to get the same things out of games as I do) is spot on. My issue is that I was forced to play 10+ hours with a character who brutally killed one of my favorite video game characters of all time. Not only killed him but put a tourniquet on his leg to keep him alive so she could torture him longer. And in the end Abby gets to ride off with Lev to a semi happy ending and Ellie ( the greatest video game character of all time) loses her lover and child, doesn’t kill Abby and to top it off naughty dog takes away from her the only thing she has left of Joel….the ability to play guitar. She walks off through the field with NOTHING in the end. So my amazing memories of Joel and Ellie are gone. Joel was an evil …hole and Ellies life is destroyed. Kinda bummed

Hi, thanks for reading, it’s much appreciated! It’s certainly not a “happy” ending, in the normal way, that’s for certain. But while I found Ellie not being able to play guitar upsetting (which was heartbreaking for me, as an avid player myself), I read into it as the the consequences of her actions, which was her inability to let Joel go, and also the symbolism of finally leaving the memory of Joel as a happy one. Leaving Joel’s guitar behind in the house was, for me of course, the last step into moving on from his death.

Again, it’s obviously not a happy ending, but it could be argued that after everything Ellie does to not only her enemies, but also her friends, it’s perhaps the ending she “deserved”. It’s a really strange emotion to not feel like the main character deserves a cliched happy ending, but that’s how I felt in the end. I was begging Ellie to not kill Abby at the end, literally out loud at my screen!

Weird series of emotions, but it’s these feelings and reactions that brought such a positive review from me!

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