The Last of Us Part 2

A lot has happened since I’ve fully completed a game. We have had a global pandemic, homeworking has become the norm, I’ve experienced life as a homeschooling teacher and most worrying of all, there has been a huge shortage of consoles and graphics cards. With huge hype, Naughty Dog have also released The Last of Us Part 2.

Gaming has still been on the agenda during this time, but just flitting between titles which has included wandering round the open world setting of Ghost Recon Wildlands. It’s been lots of fun considering all the above.

The Last of Us 2

Naughty Dog have a good reputation for delivering some outstanding games and The Last of Us was definitely one of the more memorable games I’ve played.

Its an odd feeling playing a game about a zombie apocalypse in the middle of an actual pandemic. Real-life isnt actually far off the storyline and the similarities to the game are incredibly close to home. Admittedly, I don’t have to worry about Clickers or Runner Zombies in the local corner shop, but it’s probably not far off.

Welcome to Jackson

Jackson, Wyoming is the setting of the sequel with a real community spirit as you’d expect in the aftermath of an apocalypse. The highly detailed world feels vibrant, alive and full of character. It’s an ingenious way of introducing you to a snapshot of how life has evolved for the characters and indeed the world in general.

Its a nice touch starting off the action with a snowball fight with a group of kids. Clearly the apocalypse has tempered kids these days as there’s no incessant swearing from them, nor do any of them take it too far and mix snowballs and rocks. Its in my DNA, the sudden urge to melee or shoot any of them who actually hit me with a snowball. Thankfully (for them), being without weapons at this stage of the game saved what was clearly going to be a bloodbath!

Scared yet?

If you’ve played any survival games, especially with a zombie setting, you’ll likely have a hardened scare reaction. In The Last of Us 2, the enemies are of such a high standard. The way they walk, sound and different behaviours each provide a different feel to make them stand out from the rest. They do provide a different level of scare as they do resemble their former human counterparts which is why they work so well.

The Last of Us 2

Warmer, warmer… Colder, cold

You need stuff to play this game, everything from weapons and ammo through to oddities for crafting. I’m clearly fond of hoarding things as I tend to collect everything at the start of a game. Swiftlyt followed by discarding half of it when I find a new baseball bat or shotgun because I have no space left. I once found an old hoover pipe stored in my actual garage, previously hoarded in case I was ever in need of a spare. The same happened in the Last of Us Part 2. I grabbed everything in case it might come in useful or could be used in crafting.

Even with my excessive level of hoarding, I was constantly on the prowl for additional ammo. You would think with so much zombie experience in today’s gaming / pandemic world, I’d have learned to make more use of the mêlée attack. I did use mêlée kills plentifully, but it’s always comforting knowing you have several boxes of shells for all the weapons you’re carrying around and an added bonus if you have some arrows!

The Last of Us 2

Storytime

As of March this year 2021, a TV series based on the game is now in development was announced. Having played the entire series to this point it makes total sense and certainly warrants a TV hit if it is done with the same high quality production.

Avoiding spoilers here, the incredibly detailed storyline keeps true to the series. Ellie has aged as expected. No longer that little lost orphaned girl. More moody elder teenager who probably smells as ripe as you’d expect given the lack of deodorant in a post apocalyptic world.

The Last of Us 2

The storyline is deep and meaningful. Nothing seems too far-fetched, an accomplishment given the wide-range of zombie-types that could exist in the game. No peice of the story is out of place and there’s some nice touches involving switching characters with intertwined storylines. At points you’ll find yourself siding with each, or if you’re a stubborn die-hard, you may well give up at that point.

Difficult Choices

Playing as Ellie’s nemesis partway through the game, was initially infuriating. The fury diminished when the story unfolded and in its place, feelings of empathy towards the characters began to form. It’s why I rate this game so highly, to have that effect on the gamer is truly unique.

I sided with Ellie from the beginning, positioned fully behind her storyline and emotion. I was in emotional turmoil by the choices she makes as the story comes to its climax. The final scenes were powerful and moving. Expertly crafted to play on your emotions and personality as the gamer. You’re likely to believe you are that moody tearaway who has made some bad and good choices to this point. Not forgetting you’ve also collected a lot of loot and tat you’ll never find a use for.

The Last of Us 2

There’s some brutal scenes in the game and they work effortlessly to create an interactive, cinematic experience. As far as immersive story line games go, this is one of the best I’ve played. It helps when the scenes look so atmospheric and lush.

There’s some brutal scenes in the game. Its the nature of these that will pull on your emotions and give you the desire to side with certain characters. It’s implemented incredibly well and as far as immersive story line games go, this is one of the best I’ve played. It helps when the scenes look so atmospheric and lush.

Visual Representation

In order to pull off such a great story it needs to have the visuals that match and it certainly produces some stunning vistas and scenery. Even on the PS4 Pro, the 4k upscaling and HDR results throughout the game are a work of beauty. The built in photo mode is great for exploring the level of detail of each and every scene. Its also a great tool for messing with contrast, colour and other filter options, not forgetting the ability to stamp a The Last of Us Part 2 logo on your masterpiece!

It’s a great reminder of how powerful (if not a little noisy!) the PS4 Pro actually is. Having had a PS5 for a few weeks now the fidelity on The Last of Us Part 2 is easily on a par with anything I’ve played so far.

Summary

A game which provides more drama than Coronation Street crossed with zombies, The Last of Us Part 2 is definitely one for the bucketlist. As important as the first game and is up there alongside other PlayStation legendary classics such as God of War and Heavy Rain. This is another masterpiece from Naughty Dog which will live long in the memory and may even warrant a second outing on the PS5.

Rating: 5 out of 5.