Watch our spoiler free review of The Last of Us Part 2!
Check out our honest, spoiler free review of The Last of Us Part 2. We’ll reveal everything you need to know before you play, and why you might not want to buy into all the hype.
Hey how’s it going guys! Welcome to our spoiler-free review of The Last of Us Part 2. We’ll tell you everything you need to know before you play, but before I do, make sure to hit subscribe and the notification bell for more reviews every single week.
The Last of Us is a game that needs no introduction. Naughty Dog’s post apocalyptic action adventure title wowed both fans and critics with its compelling characters and nuanced storytelling.
Fast forward 7 years and after a few high profile delays, The Last of Us Part 2 is here. Taking place 5 years after the events of the original game, we pick up the story with series protagonists Joel and Ellie. Now the fact we have a sequel is pretty significant itself, as the ending of the The Last of Us is widely considered pretty flawless, despite being ambiguous. This puts a lot of pressure on Part 2 to match or surpass its predecessor.
Full disclosure, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Last of Us back in the day. I can completely get behind the expert storytelling, I just didn’t think there was enough of a game behind the veneer. However I was excited to find out if this had been improved upon in the sequel. But after all the hype, is The Last of Us Part 2 any good? Watch on to find out…
Firstly, there’s no denying The Last of Us Part 2 looks beautiful. In the years between the games, nature has reclaimed more of the world, creating stunning scenery that really takes your breath away. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say it’s one of, if not the best looking game to come from this console generation.
Beyond just aesthetics, the maps are much bigger, even introducing some limited open world elements in the early stages of the game. This increase of scale also allows for more ways to traverse the landscapes. Whereas the first game might give you one or two ways to make your way through a level, you can expect double the options this time around.
This extra space also allows for necessary features, like low cover to crouch behind, feel more holistic and less crowbarred in, adding to the sense that this is a natural world rather than merely a game.
With that being said, these updates are welcome, but don’t revolutionise the overall formula. Levels are still fairly linear, requiring you to do little more than getting from point A to point B. If you enjoyed this system in the first game, then you’re in for more of the same. Just don’t expect anything drastically different.
Naughty Dog have also made strides to update some of the actual gameplay mechanics, to varying degrees of success. Some things work really well, like the addition of a dodge button when fighting and the ability to crawl when sneaking around.
But the best improvement of the whole game is the granular way you can adjust the difficulty. Rather than a blanket ‘Easy, Medium, Hard’ slider, you can adjust the difficulty of different elements of the experience. From the challenge posed by enemies, to the durability of your resources and the usefulness of allies, it can all be optimised to make for the best experience possible for you.
Complimenting these mechanics are much improved combat animations. Not only do they feel smoother and more natural, but the violence has also been ramped up to 11. It’s so brutal, so visceral that at times it’d make even the strongest of stomachs turn. I personally enjoyed this, as I think it reflects the tone of the new game, just don’t go into it expecting an easy ride!
But again, as much as these are all great inclusions this time around, there are some more fundamental issues that persist from the previous game. Victory in combat is still largely achieved through spamming, instead of any technical prowess. What’s more the enemy AI is, at times, inexcusably stupid. They’ll ignore the dead bodies of their fallen comrades, and will blissfully continue on their patrols if you kill someone in their eye line, but outside of their radar detection. This was one of the major criticisms of the first game, and the fact it doesn’t seem to have been improved on at all is criminal.
And this leads me to my biggest grip, the story. It’s so bleak, bordering on downright depressing. At its core it’s a pretty generic revenge tale, which itself isn’t that offensive, if a little uninspired. But it’s the way it deconstructs what made the first one so compelling without offering anything new to sympathise or grab on to. To its credit, it didn’t try to play it safe and took some real gambles with the plot. Yet even in the darkest of stories, you need the beacon of hope to keep you invested. In the original, this was the teenage Ellie – now there’s nothing. I applaud the intention, but the execution was just sloppy.
I can’t really say too much else without diving into spoiler territory, but suffice to say we spend a large chunk of the game with a brand new cast of characters, and not a single one can light a candle to the leads of the original.
To wrap up, The Last of Us Part 2 is a victim of its own hype. From a gameplay perspective, it’s more of the same. Fans who enjoyed the original will enjoy this, but it won’t win over anyone who found the first game lacking. But as with both games, it’s the story that takes centre stage. I really do take my hat off for Naughty Dog for developing a narrative that no one would’ve expected, but for me, and talk of story will always be subjective, it just didn’t stick the landing.
But then again, perhaps it’s just a case of the game not being designed for my taste, and the broader critical consensus is just as positive for Part 2 as the original game. So if you enjoyed the first one, please do give the sequel a go and let me know in the comments below what you think. I’d genuinely love to hear your opinions.
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