After an unbelievably long 7 year wait and a handful of other hiccups, Naughty Dog launched their highly anticipated sequel to the Last of Us; the Last of Us 2 on the 19th of June. Following the launch, the game received very split reviews with a majority of the Playstation community labeling the project as an epic flop.
I certainly won’t go so far as to say that, though I will note that there are several aspects of the game that let it down a bit in terms of initial expectations. Let me clarify, that’s not all we are here to talk about and I believe about being fair, no matter of personal preference. Naughty Dog has taken quite a lot of risks, however, in terms of shock value I think they’ve hit it on the mark.
That being said, here are our thoughts on the new game.
The Last of Us 2 review: the good and the bad.
** This is an extremely hard title to write about without spilling the goods, so if you really don’t want to have any hint of what misery (and joy) is about to befall you, STOP READING. **
I was saddened to see that many people believe the poor game reviews were largely based due to the prominent LGBTQ+ relationships and female-power characters throughout the story, I don’t feel this had any impact on my opinion of the game. In fact, it heightens a feeling of respect that the developers bear in mind creating an inclusive gaming experience for everyone.
Gameplay is something that means a lot to me, I will either get into it or I won’t. Frankly, I noticed very little difference in the mechanics from the original Last of Us, which was mildly surprising given the advancements and time passed since its launch in 2013. I am appreciative of the nostalgic ideals behind this choice, though I had hoped for something more unique.
You will encounter many of the same combat sequences from the original title (let’s be honest how many surprises can there be in an apocalyptic setting) with the same disgusting ‘zombies’ and a few additions. Don’t lie, you can’t get that clicking sound out of your head either. Crawling around to avoid detection until you accidentally make a noise… Oops. It is any gore-head’s wet dream, filled with bloody wretched violence that’ll make you borderline squeamish.
The storyline takes you on a riveting, though cluttered, tale of romance, bitterness, hatred, and revenge. Overall seemingly players dwell in the miry pit of depression. The game starts with a highlight on the increasing rift between Joel and Ellie following the pivotal ending of its predecessor and saunters into the growing romance between Ellie and a new face, Dina.
Here’s where it gets to be a bit much. In their attempt to create a riveting story alongside equally compelling gameplay, I believe they let it get away from them. There are plenty of story plot holes, unexplained histories, and things that just generally do not make any sense. While some may not agree, I felt almost as if some soul was taken out of the game this time around during their ambitious attempt to outshine the original title.
One thing I will say this game mainly excels at is shocking its players. It hit me in ways I didn’t know possible and that is mainly because of my attachment to the previous characters. If you love anyone, be prepared to grab your tissues (and no this doesn’t just apply to girls, chill), it’s devastating, enlightening, rousing, and frustrating. What more do you need?
I did fall in love with the graphics right off the bat. Some areas of Seattle are created with absolutely magnificent quality. I couldn’t help but stare at the crisp, realistic details and light gently filtering through rich greenery on our horseback rides. The hyper-realistic snow movements were also incredibly impressive and looked exactly how they should if you were just out and about making trails.
In my eyes these elements do redeem the game despite its minimal failings. Personally, I didn’t feel as connected to the characters though I believe this has something to do with the seemingly impersonal and out of the blue bomb drop closer to the beginning of the game. It did have an effect on how I felt throughout the remainder of the game and frankly, I don’t think I’m alone on this.
All in all, while I won’t say it’s the most masterful and enticing game I have ever played, it certainly is great and I’d highly recommend it for anyone who hasn’t yet taken the plunge to re-enter the world of the Last of Us, do it!