The Last of Us Part 2 review: A haunting melody

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Have you ever heard a song that touches you deeply? Every note played on the strings of the guitar and the keys of the piano produces a spellbinding sound that resonates in your mind for days, weeks, and even years to come. The Last of Us Part 2 is that song. A series of notes and chords perfectly together. A poignant narrative, brutal violence, and a grim yet realistic look at humanity all together swirl in a rippling tide that pulls the player down; constantly turning and turning until everything reached a dark, roaring crescendo.

Tuning the strings

The Last of Us Part 2 picks up immediately after the events of the original, as Joel explains how he slaughtered dozens of fireflies and dashed Ellie’s hopes of curing the infection just to save her life. It’s the tale of a very selfish story, and one that will undoubtedly continue to haunt him and Ellie for the rest of their lives.

Fast forward a few years. It has now been five years since Ellie and Joel returned to Jackson and set up a camp in the colony that Joel’s brother Tommy helped create. They both found their place in the community and did their best to forget the events at Saint Mary’s Hospital. Things seem to be going pretty well for our beloved survivors. Joel and Ellie grew closer, despite the secrets between them, and Ellie even managed to make friends along the way.

Sadly, peace doesn’t last forever, and The Last of Us Part 2 isn’t a happy story. Soon Ellie and Joel find themselves plunged beneath the surface of a cruel and choppy sea, a dark and relentless backwash pulling at their feet. It’s a beautifully executed event that helps shape the growth of multiple characters throughout the rest of the game.

I won’t go into too much depth about the story. There have been a ton of rumors and leaks already, and I’m not going to add any more to this pile. What I’ll say about the story is that there are some things you don’t expect. Twists and turns you won’t see coming. There are a lot of things that don’t always make sense the first time you see them, but it all comes together at the end. You might not like everything that happens or the aftermath that unfolds throughout the story, but I assure you it all takes place in one of the most cinematic and haunting experiences we have ever had. seen in a video game. Already.

Find harmony

One of the most striking things about Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic series is the developer’s approach to violence and global brutality. While the original showcased quite a bit of that brutality, the second chapter in Ellie and Joel’s story takes things up a notch, then continues to turn the dial even higher. The stealth assassinations sound and seem realistic, providing a dark and grim look at how our characters approach their issues.

The screams of the infected and the soldiers as the flesh burns from their bodies, the screams of enemies as they watch their friends and allies die beside them, it all comes together in lovely packaging that helps paint a dark look but realistic at the end of the world. The way cities began to revert to nature, dark green leaves paint entire sides of Seattle’s buildings as you explore, the land engulfing the world humanity once thought they had mastered.

It’s a dark, yet gorgeous take on how things could be if something like this happened, and the enhanced visuals that Naughty Dog on display in The Last of Us Part 2 only helps hit this. beauty house. Everything comes together like a different instrument in an orchestra, working cohesively to tell a story through sound. It’s beautiful and yet disturbing to see the way humans destroy each other as Ellie clashes with members of the Washington Liberation Front (often referred to as WLF) and Seraphites.

While the idea of ​​two factions may not be very appealing to some players, each group comes with their own challenges and different take on the world Ellie, Joel, and their friends live in. While the WLF see the world as their oyster, a force they can brutally subdue, the Seraphites work in a more deceptive way, using silent attacks and vegetation to wreak havoc on their enemies. It all works together to show just how violent the world is.

The combat system featured in the original returns, focusing heavily on cover and stealth as the primary means of taking down enemies, although it’s a bit more polished here. Of course, ammo is scarce in most cases, and while you’re more than welcome to shoot, the ability to craft items like arrows and smoke bombs opens up new avenues for taking out bad guys without alerting others in the process. the region. But beware, eliminating an enemy can cause one of his friends to come looking for him.

Arrows shot at you will sometimes stay in your body, causing you to pull them out or bleed slowly. Pump rifle shots tear pieces from the bodies of your enemies, sending blood, bones, and flesh to spit on walls and floors. Bullets from your rifle leave holes in the heads of your enemies. Each blow feels like a hammer smashing down, giving the combat a nice lumpy feel that many other games fail to fully deliver.

Building a living world

Much like the original, The Last of Us Part 2 also has a much bigger story to tell than Ellie and Joel’s. Notes left by survivors and soldiers tell how wars and fighting changed them. Some notes connect to each other, telling a long, cohesive story as you progress through the game. It’s a really great touch that helps make the world even more alive than it is. already.

This is where the game’s next big goal comes in. Where the original took a more linear approach to storytelling and exploring the world, The Last of Us Part 2 rewards players for watching in each. dark corner they meet. Safes, story pieces, and collectibles are plentiful around the world, sometimes hidden away in areas you might not think of exploring the first time you look around in the new areas. as you enter.

Long grass and narrow hallways give way to new rooms that Ellie can use to get around enemies and conserve ammo, though sometimes the game throws you straight into firefights with no way to avoid them. These moments are rare and Naughty Dog has done a great job of making these instances less offensive to the player.

From enemy bases to abandoned music stores, there are tons of environments to explore and navigate in The Last of Us Part 2. Each is detailed and feels unique as you browse through them, really helping to paint the image that it is indeed a life, breathing world that the player inhabit. Unfortunately, this living, breathing world comes at a cost, and there have been a few instances where events triggered did not trigger properly, forcing me to reload the save file at the nearest checkpoint to get things to click properly. .

A symphony of darkness

Naughty Dog continues to build on world design by enveloping the player in a beautifully crafted soundscape. The rush of the wind passing in front of your head, the whistling of arrows raining down on you as you move from cover to cover, it all fits in so well in the world. The glass cracks under your feet as you walk through it, the sound of running footsteps echoing through the dark hallways littered with infected. Sound design helps paint a disturbing and haunting image.

Atmosphere is not the only sound design on display, however. As mentioned earlier in the review, the sounds enemies make when they die, the gurgling of their blood in their throats as Ellie lodges her Switchblade deep in their necks, all add to the brutality that permeates the tune in The Last of Us Part 2. It’s a wild world, and recent events have turned the previously innocent girl from the original game into a dark and disturbed mess. But his actions are not absolute. Her actions have consequences, and as you delve into the story, Ellie struggles more and more to face the reflection in the dirty windows littering the abandoned storefronts of Seattle.

The Last of Us Part 2 isn’t for everyone. It is a dark and fascinating experience. A symphony of madness, revenge and brutality. It is the song of humanity’s greatest darkness and an absolute pleasure to participate in. The good people of Naughty Dog went above and beyond this time around. The clever mix of cutscenes and gameplay combine perfectly to create an unforgettable experience that rivals some of the greatest classics in American cinema. All you have to do is see it for yourself.


This review is based on code provided by the publisher. The Last of Us Part 2 will be released exclusively for PlayStation 4 on June 19, 2020.

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He loves everything from full-scale RPGs to small indie gems and everything in between.


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