THE LAST OF US PART II
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on June 23, 2020
I've done it; I finished The Last of Us Part II! It took my 25 + hours, but now I feel I can give you an honest and complete review of this game; the game that single-handedly made the internet explode. I've personally been looking forward to play The Last of Us 2 since I finished my first play-through of the first Last of Us game. It's one of those games I treasure the most out of my whole collection and I think I must have completed the first game about fifteen times. I love the characters, I love the setting, the game works smoothly, so yes, it's still one of my favorites.
Before we start this review, I would just like to mention that I might tell you about parts of the first The Last of Us game and The Last of Us Part II also refers to its predecessor a lot. So if you're one of those few people who haven't played the first game, I recommend you get your ass to the store and buy it. and maybe come back and read this review later on. But then again, I will do my best to spoil at little as possible, of course. So let's take a deep breath and dive into this beautiful yet highly dangerous world!
To my surprise, the game started out by letting us control Joel during the intro scene. I say "to my surprise" because during gameplay trailers I only saw players controlling Ellie. I still have little crush on Joel, so I'm super happy to see he is involved in this second part of The Last of Us saga as well. During the intro chapter, you'll get a bit of a reminder of some events of the first game, including a personal favorite of yours truly. Joel keeps his promise and will sing for Ellie! (and yes; of course I cried my eyes out)
Like the first game, The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game with survival-horror elements, so this means crafting, scavenging and collecting. There's really a lot to find in the world, and If you keep your eyes open and do a good job at exploring, you might even find a very special Uncharted Easter egg in this game! So, on to the game mechanics themselves; in broad strokes, the game works the same as its predecessor did. The crafting and upgrade menus work about the same as in the first game, but are both slightly different in appearance. Also, the upgrade menu offers you more options to unlock than its predecessor did. The basic controls also stayed about the same, with the addition of rope climbing and swinging. Ellie also has a brand new horse called Shimmer. So yes, Horse riding is back. It's one of the big elements of the game during the first couple of chapters. I especially like it, because it gives me time to look around. I do so enjoy the beautiful environment of this game. Now, I had hoped it would be beautiful, but boy oh boy, have the developers managed to exceed my expectations!
Now, The Last of Us has always been about conflict between characters; be it between humans or humans and infected; struggle is a big part of the game. In The Last of Us Part II, there are three main groups, apart from the obvious one: the infected who roam the world. Ellie is part of Jackson Village, who get into conflict with a group that calls itself the WLF (Washington Liberation Front). Then, after a while, a third group enters the stage, which are the Seraphites, but everyone just calls them Scars, on account of the scars they inflict on themselves during initiation. These Scars have much in common with a dark and grim religious cult, right down to the idolization of their very own saint. Because I know Ellie and Joel really well by now, I am automatically rooting for them and don't take kindly to the other factions in the game. Then again, Naughty Dog has a way of storytelling, which also shows you the other side of a story. In Last of Us Part 2, there's also a lot of attention for new characters from the other groups. Abby from the WLF and Lev from the Seraphites might just be the characters to make you change your initial opinion about their respective organizations. (Or they might not, but that mostly depends on how willing you are to hear the flip-side of the story).
You could call the first part of the game "Ellie's journey" because we take a deep dive into the story of what happened with Ellie and Joel after they fled the Saint Maria Hospital at the end of the first game. The story unfolds as you play through the game, interspersing scenes from the present with scenes from the past and going back and forth between them. We meet several characters as the story progresses. One of the most remarkable ones, is a girl about same age as Ellie. Her name is Abby and she is part of the WLF group. During the second part of the game, you will get to know her background story and how her life became entwined with Ellie's. To be honest, I was a bit put off at first by being forced to take Abby's role. It felt a bit like "sleeping with the enemy" at first but, in the end, I thought that Abby has a really cool story line, filled with even more information about the world, as well as a lot of action and gore!
This game has all my favorite ingredients! I found my two favorite weapons; a shotgun and a crossbow. Plus the game is filled with some of my favorite things, like dinosaurs, a pink seal and even Christmas! I also was able to sail a boat through the flooded streets of Seattle, which felt really awesome! Now wait just a gosh-darned minute miss Dumee! What do you mean, there's dinosaurs in the game?! We're still talking about The Last of Us Part II here, are we not?! Now, now, don't worry if you're feeling a bit confused about how, for example, a dinosaur fits into the story of The Last of Us Part II. It will all become clear when you play the game for yourself! It will make sense eventually, I promise you.
So, with all said and done; what's my final opinion on The Last of Us Part II? Well, everything that I had dared hope for is actually incorporated into the game, but everything I feared is, sadly, also there. I remember a particular question that Ellie asked Joel at the end of the first game. He answered (lied might be a better word for it) and I remember immediately thinking: "Oh my god, this is gonna bite him in the ass someday!" And oh, how it did! I wasn't always happy while playing The Last of Us Part II and I definitely felt myself disagreeing with the choices of the main characters more than once. I think the main difference between the two The Last of Us games is that the first part was endearing. It was touching to see the growing relationship between Ellie and Joel in a wrecked and dilapidated world.
Where the first game was more about building relationships and having hope, The Last of Us Part II is a tale about hate and revenge. The main message behind it seems to be that every, no matter who you are initially rooting for, every story has two sides, and unless you are able to see it through the eyes of another person, you'll never get the complete picture. Playing The Last of Us Part II is an intense roller coaster of emotions and I cried more than once, sometimes because it was sad, sometimes because it was beautiful.
The Last of Us Part II is, like its predecessor, a true story-driven game. And what a story this has been! Although the world is not really our own, it manages to feel as close to real as something made up can be; it feels raw, pure and you can almost feel the pain of the characters at some points in the story. I was hoping for an epic journey with more options, more emotions and more dangerous creatures. And although I might not always agree with some of the story decisions, Naughty Dog delivered a journey of a lifetime that I won't easily forget!