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Last Of Us Part Ii Main

The Last of Us Part II Video Game Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Naughty Dog

Developed by Naughty Dog
2020, Rated 18
Game released on June 19th 2020
Platforms: PS4, Xbox



Ellie and Joel return in the hotly anticipated sequel to Naughty Dog’s frequent nominee for the best videogame story ever told. Rolling out seven years after its predecessor, it’s been a long time coming. But can The Last of Us Part II live up to expectation? And, perhaps even more importantly, where can it go after that doozy of an ending?

If the big lie that wrapped up The Last of Us divided and upset audiences, Part II’s narrative is likely to stir the pot even more. In terms of gameplay, it’s more of the same – but its story builds on what came before, introducing heaps of new characters and factions, and violently, shockingly doing away with old ones. Players step into the shoes of an all-growed-up Ellie in her quest across post-apocalyptic Seattle, accompanied by companions old and new who pop in and out of the narrative as required. Which is a very vague way to describe The Last of Us Part II’s story – but its plot deserves to be experienced firsthand, as unspoiled as possible. Reluctant to get into the game because you don’t want to spend the whole time “playing as the girl?” Your loss.

last of us part ii 01 last of us part ii 02

Its core gameplay remains unchanged; the character upgrades, weapons crafting and maintenance system is roughly the same, as are the game’s combat and stealth mechanics. Like its predecessor, Part II’s combat is tough but rewarding. Its refined gunplay is exciting but never easy; going in all-guns-blazing will get you nowhere. Hand-to-hand is as brutal as it ever was although, thankfully, Ellie is a bit more capable going toe-to-toe with enemies this time. The player is heavily encouraged to prioritise stealth over all-out action, but multiple approaches are catered to. There’s nothing more satisfying than clearing out a building full of heavily armed goons (or infected), taking them out with a combination of stealth, brutal takedowns and (the always useful!) Molotov cocktails.

last of us part ii 03 last of us part ii 04

While the game is extremely linear, there is more of an emphasis on exploration than before. This is far from open world gameplay, but the level designs are bigger, with plenty more to see and do in the city’s surrounding areas. In addition to the usual ladders and dumpsters, Ellie can now use ropes to climb and traverse hard-to-reach platforms and windows (an impressively designed mechanic). Horses and a boat make getting across the expansive city a bit easier, but don’t worry if you do fall in the water – now Ellie can swim too!

All of this, in one of the most beautiful videogames ever made. The PS4 remaster of The Last of Us was impressive, but this one is truly gorgeous, blowing its competitors out of the water. There’s a few more games standing between this and the next generation of consoles, but it’s hard to imagine anything bettering The Last of Us Part II.

last of us part ii 05 last of us part ii 06

Visually, at least. For all it does well, there is a tendency for repetition. As with the previous game, its quest storyline is fraught with unexpected diversions and calamity. Every stage tends to follow a similar template – head towards the big landmark via a shortcut (usually a hotel or hospital) before being ambushed or having a building fall on your head. After a few hours of climbing through deserted buildings and scavenging for scrap, it does start to feel like a bit of a slog. Thankfully, enemies are never far away; be it armed militants, longbow wielding woodland cultists, or the Infected. There are new enemy types too, including dogs and ‘Shamblers’ (somehow even more irritating than the Bloaters were). For as good as the action is, the game's best sequence is a visit to the local dinosaur museum with Ellie and Joel... sad, tender and my favourite part of any videogame I've ever played. All that, and multiple Jurassic Park references too.

Regardless of its few shortcomings, The Last of Us Part II is a marvel of modern gaming. Narratively and thematically, it’s a masterpiece, telling a story of revenge and infectious rage that most movies and TV shows would struggle with. Sure, it’s essentially more of the same, but when the base standard is as good as The Last of Us was, that’s no bad thing at all.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Uk
Graphics: fivestars
Gameplay: fivestars
Sound: four stars
Replayability: four stars
Overall: 2.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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