*WARNING: Minor Spoilers*
What to say about The Last Of Us Part II? Well, firstly, this game is going to divide fans and leave some saying “IT WAS AMAZING”, whilst leaving others feeling dissatisfied, as though the story keeps dying the further it goes on!
So where to begin? Well let’s start with the, surprisingly, disappointing aspect….. The story. The game starts out with Ellie and Joel living in a relatively peaceful town with Tommy. From the very outset you start to realise that even though Joel and Ellie’s relationship became close in the first game, a tension has formed between them. This begs the question, did Ellie find out Joel was lying? Or was there something else that happened to cause the animosity? Whatever the reason for the tension, life in the town moves on, with Eillie going on a patrol with her best “friend” Dina. At this point a new character, Abby, is introduced. Not much is known about her. Only that her and some friends are looking for someone and that they have found the town that they are supposedly in.
Now without trying to give too much away, as most people already know, a traumatic event occurs that then forces Ellie into a path of retribution. The game gets you so worked up and angry that you’re right behind Ellie on this quest. You’re rooting for her. So you set off to get vengeance. At this point the only problem with the game is that the story does not flow like the first. The Last of Us slowly implements and builds upon new narrative ideas as you go on a journey, putting the characters in new scenarios and having them steadily grow after each event, giving the players the opportunity to truly savour each moment, whereas Part II just goes *BANG* you are where you need to be. The initial sequences feel rushed to push players in the direction the narrative requires as quickly as possible, so that the full gameplay experience can be enjoyed, but this is detrimental to the story. There is no build up, no real journey, basically, the elements of why The Last Of Us story is so great have not been replicated in Part II.
Now here is where the story really starts to take a dive. After a few days something happens that completely destroys the flow of the story. You sit there thinking what the hell? You are then forced to play through several days of this change that just grates on you. You’re left there feeling empty and, honestly, pissed off. It just keeps spiralling down, until you get to the end and think, well that was pointless. Honestly, even though this game hit so many factors perfectly, for some people (like me), it does not do enough to make amends for the poor story. It sours the taste of the whole game, which is disappointing considering the rest of the game is brilliant. People wanted a story that matched up to or exceeded the first game, and unfortunately, Part II does not measure up.
Now onto the positive. The game takes everything it had made in the first game and just builds on it. Being able to go prone while in tall grass or under a car, although Ellie can’t hide there forever. Having new craftables like a silencer and explosive arrows, which was incredibly useful. Having to investigate to find codes to manually input into a safe, for some much needed ammo or collectibles. All new upgradable skill trees can be improved with each training manual, with an increasing number of important skills, making decisions all the more difficult. Plus my two favourite additions, being able to see the aesthetic changes made when upgrading a weapon and the ability to smash glass to break into houses, shops and even vending machines to loot for much needed ammo and items. These additions made the game even more enjoyable to play.
From the beginning you feel encouraged to try all the new mechanics and features, and the game rewards you for it. Plus it is always incredibly exciting to see a workbench, so that Ellie’s weapons can be upgraded, and seeing the animation of Ellie completing each upgrade and seeing the final result is immensely satisfying! There are a larger variety of enemies including, the main militia group, known as the WLF, to the Seraphites, which are a real sneaky bunch, to the infected. All have their own way to fight and this forces players to change their tactics in combat accordingly. There are also a few new evolutions of the infected that make things a little more interesting, and sometimes irritating. The gameplay has improved dramatically since the first, which is just marvelous.
Ultimately your enjoyment of this game will depend on your point of view. Do you enjoy a realistic story with a tragic ending with some twists and turns along the way? Great then this game is for you. However if you enjoy a story that may not be as realistic, but has a satisfying ending, and an incredibly well thought out structure and pace (in other words, the first game). Then this game is not for you. It feels like they The Last Jedi’d it. Though you can see the merit of the story and you can see what they are trying to do, the whole structure of the story and the way it flows and builds has changed. It feels like a completely different style, and for some (such as myself), that style does not work.
Review by Dillon Van Der Putten