The year was 2013 and an outbreak like no other swept up humanity globally.
We were introduced to Joel and Ellie, who eventually became inseparable like father and daughter. Both survivors in this new world they found themselves in.
Their story played out in a game also like anyother experienced before – The Last of Us from Triple A developers Naughty Dog.
Now in 2020 this new way of life is the new ‘norm’.
Survivors have grouped together in walled and fortified areas – bringing a sense of normality back in to their lives.
The Last of Us Part II picks up the narrative from 2013. Some years have passed.
Both Joel and Ellie are older, and their bond even stronger.
As the game plays out we learn events from the past seven years via playable flashbacks.
New bonds are formed, new relationships blossom, new triumphs and new unexpected tragedies.
In The Last of Us Part II players assume the role of Ellie. Quick witted and full of sarcasm she now in her late teens and copes with daily life drama’s, relationship hassles and is in her right a force to be reckoned with if encountered.
As the cinematic story opens up Ellie and her friend Dina set out on a path in to nearby destroyed territories in search of Tommy, Joel’s friend who is out alone to enact just revenge on a faction known as WLF.
WLF started as a group of people who were dissatisfied with the FEDRA, a Government based organisation implementing Quarantines and survivor camps.
The WLF broke away as rebels against the system, and while they believe their cause is just, they have a brutal way of administering it.
But there other groups too. A mysterious religious sect, SCARS and of course still hordes of the Infected including new variants – they have, afterall, had seven years to mutate even more.
The game has kept the RPG element, pleasingly, and has ramped this up a bit. There are two segments to this and they intertwine with eachother.
As you pick up weapons; pistols, rifles etc you can upgrade them at workbenches dotted throughout the environments you will explore. And I really do recommend exploring as much as you can. The Last of Us Part II is a game where you should take your time within.
Picking up scrap enables you to make these enhancements, but each upgrade requires a set amount of scrap.
Likewise you can construct projectiles and medi kits – again providing that you have looted the gear to do so.
Ellie’s own senses can be upgraded aswell and in order to gain new upgrades you’ll need to find old Hunting and Weapon based magazines. These are your tutorials to get those extra upgrades.
Clues as to what is going on or what has taken place aswell as tid-bits of helpful info come via notes that you will find. If you see something to pick up – grab it as likely you’ll need it.
Your inventory is Ellie’s backpack. She can carry a fair bit but there are limitations as you would expect.
Swapping melee and guns can be done on the fly via a quick select menu aswell as equipping additional items and applying a med kit.
The Last of Part II has a lot of surprises. Both narratively and in gameplay. Even if you have seen spoilers – there’s still a lot that you don’t know.
A few jump scares here and there and you always need to be observant and have your wits about you.
Naughty Dog have outdone themselves – The Last of Part II is not a reproduction of the first game (released on PlayStation 3, then remastered on to PlayStation 4), it is a whole new experience with two of the most iconic characters to grace the PlayStation.
It’s a big world out there and equally one big game.
Generally, if you see a building or an area, you can reach it. The game is forgiving in the sense that you can to a point ride on horse back to get to far off places. It is thankfully not a walking simulator.
As The Last of Us was THE game of 2013, so is, in my opinion, The Last of Us Part II THE game of 2020.
There is no quick play, each chapter is long, ad can take a couple of hours even if you just try and whiz through it – but likely, like me you’ll find yourself exploring and looting every deserted building, every inch of the area you can access.
I have to do a shoutout to the environments, the cities and towns that you’ll visit. Naughty Dog have really taken in what seven years of a breakdown in civilisation would do. Crumbling tall buildings through to nature overtaking and reclaiming expansive highways. It’s really a sight to behold.
The Last of Us Part II has so much going in it’s gameplay yet it still retains some of the best and most detailed graphics ever seen. If you are able to I cannot recommend enough to play in 4K.
This is the game that PlayStation players have waited for – it’s more than has been expected. It’s a completionists dream (or nightmare) with so many corners to poke around in, and rife with collectables. The replay factor may not be the highest for many (excluding the mentioned completionists), once the entire story has played out.
If you’re yet to play the first game I do recommend doing that first – while this second part will fill you in, playing the first game through to completion will fill in gaps that are referenced throughout Part II.
The Last of Us Part II, if I could score it higher than 5 out of 5 I would.