The Last of Us Part Two faced a lot of challenges like delays and leaks amidst the massive expectations of gamers who loved the first outing. The first title featured a post-apocalyptic world infested by a zombie fungus, but It actually tells more about a parent and how far he can go to protect a child. The game is all about showing who the real monsters are and what choices can save you from that terror or turn you into one.
The Last of Us presented both heartstring-pulling and intense action in a package that revolved around the most basic of human aspects. That’s what made it so great, and we think The Last of Us Part Two’s deeper dive into the darker corners of that is what makes it an excellent game. The Last of Us won several awards and sold millions of copies, and we think the second part is not far behind.
The Last of Us Part Two – What it’s About (Spoilers Ahead)
The Last of Us Part Two picks up where Ellie and Joel left off, finding themselves in a society that thrives on a tribalistic lifestyle. The game opens with a home-at-last feel and a tear-jerker scene that shows Joel’s reluctant, yet exerting effort to show Ellie how important he is to her. The next few scenes revealed Ellie’s sexual orientation which became one of the objects of the negative feedback that are totally unfair and wrong in this day and age.
All is well until a recipe for disaster containing a snowstorm, several and slowly swarming infected, and a band of young adults hell-bent on revenge starts to close in on their established home in Jackson County. The group is stalking our beloved Joel Miller to cast upon him the most painful revenge for the killings he caused at the hospital to save Ellie. This is where Naughty Dog successfully tricked the eager fans with misdirection, and it is where a large margin of the hate and negative feedback sprouted.
To cut the story short, Joel dies at the hands of Abby from the Washington Liberation Front, and it is what launches Ellie into a murderous spree. This event is surprisingly early and somewhat disappointing for those who loved Joel’s character, but it pushes Ellie to lash out and ignite the strong fighter in her. We’re sad to see Joel go, but it’s a gritty experience that tells you that the things you do will always have repercussions, often in a more painful and gut-wrenching way.
Ellie, of course, decides to launch a hunt for the WLF and Abby in Seattle, finding an ally in her lover Dina and Joel’s brother Tommy who was knocked out when they were tricked and captured. Ellie clearly looks broken emotionally and mentally, suffering from PTSD due to the loss of her father figure. It is one of the saddest parts of the franchise, but it is also one of the strongest emotional punches that a post-apocalyptic life with no order will create.
The Last of Us Part Two – Review and Opinion
We loved The Last of Us Part Two, and we think that it builds on the gripping experiences and trauma the first one provided. It’s an emotional yet angering game that helps you push the character through to the end. The negative reactions caused by the early death of a beloved character and a surprise turn in the heroine’s sexuality.
The game is one of the most story-driven we’ve played in a while, and it’s a refreshing change of pace from multiplayer titles like Warzone. It just so happened that not many liked the changes the creator wanted, not to mention that they got hit with flak when a disgruntled employee revealed some discrepancies in salaries and leaked a whole bunch of details.
Joel’s death, while disappointing, is a direct result of his choices in the hospital to save Ellie, which in itself was a moral crossroad. He could have grabbed our heroine from the doctors without hurting anyone, but the game required that you kill the unarmed NPC in cold blood. We’re not saying Joel had it coming, but it’s a repercussion that his story arc was bound to encounter.
On the other hand, we think that there is nothing wrong with Ellie’s sexual orientation which is normal and widely accepted in 2020. We understand that many aren’t as liberal and we’re not forcing you to agree, but you have to remember it’s a game and just a part of a well-written character’s development. The title doesn’t deserve to be bombed and hated for this, and blindly doing so just because you don’t agree or like it is bigoted and misogynistic.
The gameplay for The Last of Us Part Two has changed very little with only a few additions such as the guitar playing scenes. We like that Naughty Dog found a use for the DS4’s touchpad, but some of the more common controls are a bit awkward. For example, reloading your gun requires you to pull the R2 trigger which also doubles as the fire button when the L2 trigger for aim down sight is pressed.
The Last of Us Part Two and its predecessor’s strength also lies in its ability to tell two parallel narratives that are intertwined in the grand scheme. Ellie’s descent into rage and revenge is alternated with Abby’s point of view, which will then clash and intertwine at some point in the game. You also get a bit of exploration with the new title which opens up the beautifully designed stages compared to the strictly linear part one.
Getting to play Abby is understandably a mixed bag since many who want to play Joel is using the character that eliminated him and number one on our heroine’s kill list. It’s an interesting point of view compared to a full-on killing spree by the protagonists, and it shows how dangerous spiraling into revenge can be. This design also gives the Last of Us’ world a wider view since it tells both sides rather than finding notes and reading about what is happening for other parties.
The graphics are excellent and the game is well optimized, so we think Naughty Dog made the best out of the delays that plagued The Last of Us Part Two. The game runs smoothly on our PS4 Pro, and its environments are fuller and alive, putting the console’s HDR and 4K capabilities to good use. The developer is known for the fantastic eye-candy it builds into its titles, and their latest product doesn’t stray from that.
Thoughts on The Last of Us Part Two
The Last of Us Part Two is a superbly designed and well-written game that is worth the purchase and the effort to finish. The game’s focus on revenge and the clash between two opposing yet convoluted characters is what makes it so interesting and refreshing. The portrayal of revenge, the emotions associated with it, and its dangers are what make the story dark while teaching us a few things in life.
Some improvements to the overall gameplay and the pacing are warranted, but The Last of Us Part Two is one of the best games we’ve played this year. We won’t be screaming for it to receive GOTY status immediately, but we encourage users to finish and enjoy it rather than hating on the aspects that you dislike or don’t agree with. Having an open mind is always beneficial, plus you don’t get to miss out on one of the best games that transcended the sad events that happened this year.
About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.