I am a big fan of The Last of Us, sitting as one of my favorites games of all time. The story in the first game is full of nuanced characters acted to perfection in a dark world where hope still exists if you look for it. Also, the gameplay really captivated me, as simple as the crafting, stealth and shooting are they fit perfectly together. And the visual presentation makes it still a beautiful game to play, from the desolated cities to the characters animations. With all of this, said you can guess that I was very excited for The Last of Us Part 2. After 27 or so hours I am at the credits and incredibly conflicted. I will explain everything about the game below while also keeping it spoiler-free.
The Environments are Stunning
Firstly, this part is the easiest to review. The Last of Us Part 2 is just incredibly beautiful. The beginning of the game shows us a cheerful city in a snowy landscape where life seems to grow past the worries of the apocalypse. Then, we move on to the city of Seattle where the remains of the civilizations are completely in ruin. Water flows between cracked cement like tiny waterfalls. Light wonderfully pierces the dusted furniture through the windows of an abandoned house. The nature is thriving again, slowly transforming man-made structure back into a green landscape. Even parks evolve into tropical jungles. Every bit of detail in these scenes is wonderfully portrayed with incredible lighting.
Characters Feel Alive
I cannot talk about the graphics without mentioning the level of detail on the characters animation. Especially the facial animation. In cutscenes you can easily read what the characters feel on their faces. The love between Dina and Ellie has wonderful moments, like how they subtly glance at each other. The intensity of a character’s anger is obvious in their eyes, brows and mouth. The muscles on a particular character are individually moving when, for example, when the character rows a boat. Also, this kind of detail is even in the gameplay! You can see Ellie anger on her face when she takes down an enemy. You can the tension when she is sneaking around. Overall The Last of Us Part 2 has the most detailed animation in a videogame.
Stealth will Make You Sweat
I want to begin by saying that this is hands-down my favorite part of the game. Which is weird considering this is a story focused game. Let me explain. I played the game on Survivor and I would strongly advice you to play on at least Hard for the full experience. On these difficulties the enemies are just apex predators. They suddenly turn around in their patrols, they search for long times. They can hear you, see you and even smell you. It is incredibly satisfying to plan a route and manage to complete the encounter completely unseen. Some encounters also span multiple floors or on wide areas where every decision matters. Taking down one enemy might alert somebody you don’t even see at first. To sum up, this make stealth incredibly tense, where every step you take has to be calculated.
Loud Action also Shines
I will begin by saying The Last of Us Part 2 can be incredibly gruesome. Even the enemies find you or just want to go guns blazing the game is still fun. At this moments the animation really stand out. The melee combat uses cinematic angles and incredibly fluid dodges and hit connections. Every cut you make appears on the enemies body in the exact location and it feels visceral. Shotguns completely blow their brains off. Explosives leave a pool of blood and organs. Besides all of this, there are also action moments which feel like movie set-pieces. Sometimes they are horror with runners coming from cracked wall, clicker with their disturbing sound from the distance. Other times a big battle between factions ensues and you are caught on either side or in the middle. The animations and the cinematography make the action fantastic.
The First Part of the Story is Great
The Last of Us Part 2 is divided in two parts (funny I know). And I think each part deserves its own section so I will talk about them separately. I love the first part. The interactions between characters were on point, I really liked the chemistry between Dina and Ellie. Especially a side cutscene in the beginning which can be easily missed unfortunately. In this first part there are also some flashbacks sprinkled in which were my favorite part of the whole game. These flashback are the closest to the story of the first game in quality and feel. The themes are somewhat simple, vengeance being the main one, but I don’t mind the simplicity as long as the story is great. I was completely captivated by this violent journey until…
The Second Part is Confusing
The second part is where my conflicting feeling began. A lot of things built in the first part are deconstructed in the second one and not in a way I enjoyed. To be fair, two of my favorite characters were introduced in this part, Yara and Lev. Their relationship is something I can easily relate to and I could really understand their struggles. Through them we get one of the only glimmers of hope in the game, serving as a way to understand people better and also as a redemption path for some characters. When they are not present in this part, I feel like the story wants to make me feel something for the decisions I made in the first part. I think this doesn’t work mainly because it is too late and it also feels very forced.
Menu Options Deserve Praise
I really need to mention how versatile the difficulty is. Every aspect of the gameplay has a slider. Resources, enemy AI, player, allies and stealth are all options you can tweak to your hearts content. This was incredibly fun to play around with for me. Also, this menu has to have the most accessibility options I have ever seen. You can find detailed options for vision, motor and hearing impairment. This is just amazing, the developers deserve a lot of praise for helping any more gamers play this game.
Is the Game Worth it?
The answer is not so simple. Gameplay, graphics, animations are top notch. The Story is weaker than all of those, but I still think it has good things going for it, especially the first part which is great. I just can’t stop thinking that if the two parts are reversed the story would be much better. With all of this, I an idea who would like this game and who wouldn’t.
Buy The Last of Us Part 2 if you:
- Enjoyed the gameplay of the first one, especially the stealth
- Want to feast your eyes on impressive environments and beautiful character moments
- Don’t mind a weaker story than the first one
- Want to be amazed by the incredible combat animations
Don’t buy The Last of Us Part 2 this game if you:
- Care deeply about the story of the first game
- Didn’t really like the gameplay of the first game
- Don’t enjoy violent videogames
Send me some love if you like this or even hate if you can disguise it in constructive critisim. And also be sure to check out my other gaming reviews and discussions right here.