The Last Of Us Part II
So this is the bit where I admit that I never finished the original The Last Of Us. I just had too many other distractions. Fortunately, The Last Of Us Part II catches you up on the ending, so most of the stuff referencing the first game is understandable. Whilst we’re on the subject of admitting we haven’t finished certain games, I have to tell you that I have as of yet, not finished The Last Of Us Part II. But it is certainly a game I will endeavor to complete. I just haven’t had enough time to make my way through the apparently 30+ hour story.
I’m confident that I’ve played enough to give the game a fair review but to be honest, I’m not totally sure how to write the review. Immersive story-driven games like The Last Of Us Part II deserve to be experienced with minimal knowledge. Just like exploring an abandoned building, playing The Last Of Us Part II is best when you don’t know what to expect. Whilst I was excited at the chance to explore the post-apocalyptic landscape created by Naughty Dog once more, I elected to avoid almost everything about it so I could come at it with a clear focus and just experience it.
And as such, I don’t want to tell you much about the story, other than to say it’s essentially a brutal story of revenge.
It’s probably worth mentioning, before I start raving about this game, that I’m an XBox fanboy. The XBox in my opinion is the best gaming console around, end of story. But I’ll be dammed if PlayStation doesn’t seem to have some of the best exclusive games.
But anyway, back to The Last Of Us Part II. The game is simply stunning visually. It is one of the easiest games to get immersed into. Add to that stellar atmosphere and sounds and a storyline that rivals Hollywood and you’ll understand why I often found myself having to drag myself away from the game at 2 am so I could get a couple of hours sleep before I had to get up for work.
Of course, there were plenty of times when I had to put the controller down and walk away from the game just to settle my frayed nerves. This game is a rollercoaster of intense action and equally intense periods of ominous nothing. The pacing is so well crafted that your heart rate will be heightened just by exploring an empty building. I think I’ve lost a few years of my life due to the stress caused by this game.
The Last of Us Part II is also an emotional rollercoaster, but you’ll have to take my word for that because telling you specifics to back up my claims will only spoil the experience for you. But believe me when I tell you that there will be moments when you cry out an anguished “Noooooooooooo” or simply let a “fuck me,” or “You’re gonna pay for that motherfucker” come screaming out of your mouth.
As I said, it’s an immersive game that really draws you in.
One of the things that help with the whole experience is that all the characters have names and if you kill one of the enemy characters (and you will have to kill plenty of them) and their body is found by one of their friends, they will cry out and use the characters name. It’s unnervingly real.
Speaking of unnerving, in the original The Last Of Us, the worst sound in the game, was that of the clickers. But in part two, I found that the fresh infected were more harrowing to listen to, sounding much like a person in immense distress really bought home what it must have felt like to be trapped in a body that was slowly being taken over by a deadly pathogen. It’s the stuff of nightmares.
The Last Of Us Part II introduces us to a couple more infected foes, whether they have evolved or we just didn’t discover them in the first game, you’ll going to have to adopt different tactics to tackle these new creatures.
I mentioned at the beginning that I have yet to finish this game, and that is because it is massive. Even if you just powered through the game and didn’t explore at all, it’s a massive game. But explore it, you must. You see there is a resource management part of the game, that leads to a crafting and upgrades part of the game. Exploring is more than just gathering resources. Occasionally you’ll find a magazine that will unlock new crafting or upgrade options, or you’ll find a note that directs you to another place worth exploring.
And then there’s the sheer attention to detail. In the bedroom of one house, I found some tabletop gaming miniatures. Easter eggs abound, referencing the period of time when the apocalypse hit. And then there’s the virtual photography. Start pausing the game to get creative with photography and who knows how long it’ll take you to finish the story.
The Last of Us Part II isn’t perfect. For me, having endured flashbacks seemed pointless, and whilst having a companion around for some of the missions was really handy – they actually help in combat and stuff – they also occasionally get in the way.
Calling The Last of Us Part II a masterpiece might sound like the words of a rabid Sony fanboy, but remember I’m die-hard XBox fan, and this game is nothing short of a masterpiece and would easily compete to be the best game of the current generation of consoles.
From talking to other game reviewers that I know, who seem to have massive amounts of spare time that I don’t, the game only gets better and the ending must be good because I’ve heard no one saying anything bad about this game, which is rare.
PLEASE NOTE: The Last of Us Part II totally deserves its R18 rating.
Rating: R18 Restricted to persons 18 years and over. NOTE: Graphic violence, offensive language & cruelty