- a long story worthy of the original, with many a plot twist;
- feels make you howl and revaluate your lives;
- interesting characters, masterfully performed;
- top-notch cut-scenes;
- graphics, but also scenography;
- music, although different, perfectly underlines the tone;
- exciting enemies, human and infected;
- extremely bold in tackling mature themes;
- the quality of every scene, every dialog is astonishing.
- longer, wider, deeper and bigger as a whole!
- enemy alertness system is a little too obvious
Imagine our world as an old barn. The dry hay laying inside is us humans. The smudges and puddles of flammable oil are all our problems and differences that we've been arguing about (and killing for) since millennia; since time immortal.
The Last of Us Part II carelessly throws a torch inside. The fire will reach into the sky, and the blaze will be visible from afar for the entire night. It seems that for some people, what this game represents is the embodiment of evil, an arch-demon sowing chaos. There certainly are people, who will devote countless hours and nights to pronounce their concerns, spell out their rage. In countless posts, they will argue about politics, ideologies, Marxism, capitalism, liberty, and other such constructs.
All the while, they could just be having the time of their life in front of their hard-earned TV sets, refreshment in one hand, pad it the other, enjoying what's likely the best game that was ever conceived in the history of our sad, flammable world. A game that's certainly not perfect, and which certainly contains at least several events and conversations that we could have a great chat about. My God, Naughty Dog you are going to set the world on fire in a week. You will clutch the hearts of millions of people, who have at least a pinch of empathy in them.
We're won't spoil anything in the review. It only outlines the beginning of the game, without revealing any vital events. I won't even reveal all the new gameplay solutions that are in the game. That's all. Now go buy the game.
Postcards from a sad, flammable world
Writing about games that you hold especially dear isn't easy. It's a bit like defending your own imagination, and there's obviously no point doing that. It's also a bit like trying to convince people to your point of view, and that's obviously not the point. That's why writing this text was a real ordeal for me. Meanwhile if you'd think about it the task is fairly simple: The Last of Us 2 delivers an experience to match the thrilling original, and this, in a way, is all we have to know. Everything, starting from the plot and emotions to graphics and animations, to gameplay, has been tweaked and received more depth. There's no revolution or rather, it is taking place on a different level.
Before I have to indulge on checking the mandatory review elements off, let me just spare a word about the absolutely dazzling effect this game has had on me overall. The Last of Us 2 went through my life like a shockwave from a super volcano eruption. It leaves no stone unturned, and though I actually completed the game about three weeks ago, I still have a hard time fully enjoying any other production. Now it all seems flat, void of any sort spirit uninspired, undirected, cobbled together; cheap. Launch Assassin's Creed Odyssey after completing TLoU2, and you'll get just what I mean. It's an aesthetic rasp that I can't shrug off, and it's impossible to enjoy either the characters, the story, or the dialogs in a game like that. Light years ahead, dude. That's how far Naughty Dog is right now. Last time I felt something similar was after experiencing Red Dead Redemption 2.
There's no revolution, because there was no need for one. I can imagine the genre and the legacy of the original curbs the creators here and there, which is arguably the game's biggest disadvantage mechanically, it does feel like the same game, and if you've recently completed part one, you might feel somewhat of a dissonance. Of course, there are minor improvements in a few places, and it all looks and works well. But in terms of mechanics, it's rather straightforward.
The biggest novelty in terms of gameplay is a semi-open stage, similar to those from Uncharted 4 (also a game from ND) we can explore it on horseback. There's plenty of side-activities there, some extra dialogs, and hidden collectibles, but it's the only such area in the entire game. The rest resembles the original only that the stages are much larger, wider, and taller, with increased verticality. Exploration is fun, even if you've just got a few corridors.
Improvements, assistance and accessibility
Naughty Dog took considered the issue of facilitating access for people suffering from a variety of impairments. The production offers a new standard in these terms, and I do hope more developers will follow suit. The game obviously allows customizing options for color blindness, but there also is a narrator mode, and even audio prompts and acoustic location of items. You obviously have to navigate through some menus to enable these facilitations, but some people will find it a godsend. Kudos, Naughty Dog!