The Last of Us 2 Review

The Last of Us 2 Review
The Last of Us 2 Review Darryl Linington
Storyline
Gameplay
Graphics
Sound
Lasting appeal
9.9
Heartwarming yet emotionally crippling
User Rating: 10 (2 votes)

Let’s get straight to the point, The Last of Us 2 – much like olives, pickles, caviar and oysters – is an acquired taste. It’s not a game that everyone one will enjoy; however, it is simply a masterpiece when it comes to technical design, character development, writing, creative direction, graphics, and overall storytelling.

What captured my heart here was the storytelling. While The Last of Us 2 picks up a few years after the first title, the writers have still provided enough back-story to explain what has happened since the end of the first game. The human race is still battling the infected; however, at the same time, battling one another. Ellie, Joel and Tommy have settled down in a comforting town that is trying to bring back a civilized way of living; however, it still has to deal with the infected, raiders, and those looking to destroy what little comfort these characters have.

Darryl Linington · TechITOut Podcast 8: The Last of Us 2 Review

Ellie, Joel and Tommy – along with the new cast members – do routine patrols to keep the town safe. However, as this is a story of brutality and revenge, this is only the calm before the storm. To keep things spoiler-free, I won’t go too in-depth, but Ellie experiences something that not only affects her physically but also sends her down a dark path that is fueled by revenge, hate and despair.

As Ellie seeks revenge, she is joined by Dina who is not only Ellie’s emotional support but also her partner. Dina ventures across the beautifully crafted world in order to not only support Ellie, but also keep her from completely losing herself. Ellie has taken a beating emotionally and physically and having Dina there to support her prevents her, at times, from going off in a blind rage. As mentioned, I don’t want to touch too much on the story, but it’s well-written, intense, and extremely gripping from start to finish. Due to this, the writers, actors, and development team should be applauded for the captivating story that is on show here.

While the story is solid gold, the gameplay is too. With The Last of Us, I always felt that the controls were slightly jarring… Thankfully, this time around, the development team have streamlined the controls as well as character animations and actions. The traversal system is a welcomed addition and combat is also more fluid. To add to this, combat seems more intense this time around. Ellie and the cast can become easily overwhelmed and enemies tend to seek you out far better than they did in the first title.

During my playthrough of the first title, I could always clear a room by baiting a group of infected by tossing a bottle and then sending in a Molotov straight after. This time around, Molotov’s are not as effective, which means that players need to think of alternative ways to get around a group of enemies. Granted, the AI is still a little predictable, they are tougher and a lot smarter than that of the previous game.

Another bonus, in terms of combat, is it’s very similar to the first game. This ultimately allows players – who had played the previous game – to go pick up the control and rely on muscle memory to get back into the swing of things. For new players, I sincerely suggest playing The Last of Us and The Last of Us: Left Behind before venturing into the sequel. This will allow them to experience the captivating story and get a grip on the control structure.

As mentioned, combat has not changed much; however, there are a few tweaks here and there. I mean there is that old saying, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While combat remains the same, there is also the opportunity to upgrade Ellie’s skills via a very useful – and very simple to use – skill tree. This is where The Last of Us 2 excels, there are no complicated mechanics here… simply obtain skill points and upgrade what you need to survive. The same goes for weapons… collect scrap, upgrade and blow the shit out of Clickers… it’s simple, effective and inviting.

Graphically, The Last of Us 2 is just plain gorgeous. The set pieces are gorgeous. The characters models are gorgeous. The enemies are freakishly gorgeous… Geez, even the menus look, well, gorgeous.

Now, let’s be honest, again, for a game of this size, I honestly expected to come across a lot more bugs; however, I only had two occasions where something actually went wrong. When being boosted up in a section of the game Dina’s arm clipped through the wall and at one point, Ellie’s gun briefly disappeared and then reappeared. This was it… which truly shows that Naughty Dog has put in a lot of work to polish and perfect The Last of Us 2.

With a mind-blowing story, exceptional graphics and design… The Last of Us 2 would not be the masterpiece that it is without a stunning sound-track. The music is beautiful… so beautiful that it brought several tears to my eyes… especially when Joel or Ellie pulled out the guitar and belted out “Future Days.”

Conclusion:
The Last of Us 2 is simply a masterpiece, which is not something I generally say about games. It’s poetic yet tragic; beautiful but violent; heartwarming yet emotionally crippling… It’s what it’s supposed to be, and I would not want Naughty Dog to change a thing about it.

While I have given The Last of Us 2 the praise it deserves… it’s not for everyone. So, if you enjoyed the first game, you will enjoy Last of Us 2; however, if you are going in as blind as a Clicker, then play The Last of Us and The Last of Us: Left Behind.

In conclusion, The Last of Us 2 is a masterpiece. That is all…

By: Darryl Linington
Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za
Follow @TechITOutMedia on Twitter
Follow @DarrylLinington on Twitter

Editor of Tech IT Out. Former radio host of Cliffcentral.com. Former Editor of IT News Africa and ITF Gaming. All round techie, gamer and entrepreneur. For Editorial Enquiries Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za or via +27788021400.