The Last of Us Part 2’s story is dominated by a vicious cycle of vengeance
The Last of Us Part 2 starts at a plodding pace, offering the same kind of slow-burn that ends in chaotic scenes and crescendos of shocking brutality.
The original game did a brilliant job of building a story around two characters that you grew to care about, with Ellie and Joel trying to make it through the wastelands of America.
The Last of Us focused on a glimmer of hope for humanity, while exploring just how low it had sunk.
And while much of TLOU focused on escape, The Last of Us Part 2 is a very different beast, choosing to linger in places that have been scarred by your actions.
In this tale, Naughty Dog has chosen to hold your gaze on the terrible decisions people make and the impact the disasters they helped create have on the world’s you explore.
And instead of a complete replay of the compelling storytelling we saw in the first game; the development team has decided to change the formula, and the results are impressive.
Some gamers may not agree or have the stomach to experience this extended universe, with much of it proving to be a horror show of humanity.
But for those interested in finding out what comes next after so much happened in the first chapter, you’ll certainly get plenty of bang for your buck.
THE LAST OF US PART II
My favourite thing about TLOU was the story; which offered something simple to enjoy but incredibly hard to achieve in the space of video games.
There aren’t many other titles that have managed to tell a story like The Last of Us in a way that feels so compelling.
Gameplay loops can get in the way and other games have fallen prey to feeling more like interactive movies than full-fledged video games.
TLOU managed to bring together a simple story of survival and combine it with characters that you could build a connection with.
My main fear with The Last of Us Part 2 was that Naughty Dog would look to retread what they had done in the past.
But the game that is being released in June is unlikely to disappoint those who enjoyed the brutal storytelling of the original.
The Last of Us Part 2 is about vengeance and the vicious cycles we find ourselves in that can feel impossible to break.
The consequences of the original game are in play, and they are explored by Naughty Dog in a way that is easy to follow and sometimes hard to watch.
Taking places over a set number of days, some characters have grown but others have been shaped by the world they now find themselves living in.
A new journey unfolds in The Last of Us Part 2, but the balance between hope and dread has tipped.
While you could easily back characters in The Last of Us over what they wanted to achieve, the same can’t be said for the sequel.
Much of the time you can see how something is going to play out, without being able to stop it from unfolding.
The Last of Us Part 2 launches June 19 2020
The Last of Us Part 2 lingers in dark places, and the game can sometimes suffer from the lack of innocent charm that was offered in the original.
Ellie has changed and Naughty Dog hasn’t really tried to fill the hole that was left by the character we once knew.
Instead, we are faced with what the future holds, and much of that is dominated by what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.
While much of the gameplay remains the same, Naughty Dog has also made changes that fans have been waiting for.
The battlefields your character finds themselves stuck in are bigger, providing better options for stealth and combat.
The weapons will feel familiar and many of the items you can craft remain grounded in the game’s lore.
The biggest change here is that you will now find yourself in situations where your enemies are both human and infected, making for some interesting stand-offs.
This doesn’t do much toward changing the flow of the narrative but it does help to make the game world feel more real.
No longer are your encounters completely compartmentalised, although you will still find yourself in segments dominated by the Infected, or your human foes.
While much of the gameplay remains the same, Naughty Dog has changed the way they want to tell their story.
A lot of the game is dominated by Ellie and what she gets up to on her quest, with much of it wreaking havoc in other people’s lives.
However, while this may feel very familiar, Naughty Dog is now happy to flip the narrative and show you the other side of the story.
The people you run up against are no longer the worst of the worst raiders who are looking to murder and steal.
They are living and breathing people, who have lives and social connections that are explored and are important to the story.
Naughty Dog has done a great job of inverting the script and making you question the actions of those whom you control.
You will probably do plenty of this on your own but the way in which your own alliances shift is really interesting.
I’m not saying that no other game has ever done this but the way the Last of Us Part 2 achieved this effect with such clinical precision is great to experience.
It’s a shift in storytelling that I really enjoyed and while not always perfect, it makes for a pretty unique experience in the gaming sphere.
The sins of the father rip through people’s lives on all sides and leaves wreckage that many are unable to escape from.
There are different factions at play and you usually find yourself in the middle of all the action, exploring levels that have been expertly crafted.
There are now multiple routes to take and the enemies you face can prove challenging to overcome.
Can you weave a path through a battlefield dominated by two different armies shooting at each other?
The WLF and Seraphites are not to be trifled with and fit much more organically with their surroundings than those featured in the original game.
The Last of Us Part 2 is dominated by tribalism and it plays around with the idea of how nameless drones are picked off in video games.
In this title, everyone you shoot has a name, and other characters will call out to them if they are harmed.
The groups involved are obsessed with their own feuds and this wider theme can be attached to the individual characters you meet.
It makes everything more telling when you meet people living in this world that don’t share this same ideal, making them all the more unique.
The story itself is dominated by the trauma of the past, with redemption, and empathy still themes that can be found.
While the same glimmer of hope from the last game is no longer the leading light, it can be startling when something positive rears its head.
This world is so gritty in its architecture that when something good happens, it really feels like it matters.
And while most of The Last of Us Part 2’s story gels well with the gameplay, there are times where things feel a little off.
The balance between exploration, story moments and action are usually kept in a loop that keeps you wanting more.
But there are moments where this momentum can be thrown off by too much of one thing.
It doesn’t happen often, but rummaging through rotting buildings for supplies with limited story feedback can sometimes leave you a little bored.
Naughty Dog has also thrown in flashbacks to help break up the narrative, and these usually function as great ways to feed you information at the right times.
These offer less action but more story building moments and are peppered sparingly to help break up tense, harsh scenes.
While the narrative remains less focused than in the original game, the story benefits from the added complexity employed by Naughty Dog.
The Last of Us Part 2 may not be the crowd-pleaser fans were expecting but it offers something that feels unique in a very crowded video games market.
While the story remains easy to follow and compelling to watch unfold, Naughty Dog manages to throw in surprises that make you question what is happening.
The Last of Us Part 2 is a less humane, brutal sequel, with a story that will keep you playing for hours.
This new game from Naughty Dog is an experience, but its often bloodthirsty gameplay may make it an ill-suited sequel for some returning fans.