The Last of Us 2 review: So, so good
After a seven-year hiatus, one of the PlayStation’s best-loved exclusives has returned.
The Last of Us originally landed on the PlayStation 3, and become well-known for having one of the most heart-breaking endings of any game, ever. It was a genuine tear-jerker.
The follow-up game delves deeper into protagonist Ellie’s post-apocalyptic world and pulls on many of the same emotional heartstrings as the original.
But is it as good as the first game? Let’s find out.
The Last of Us 2 review: Story
First off, if you haven’t played the first game then a lot will go over your head in the sequel. So it’s probably best picking up the first one before moving on to the second (and even if you have played the original, it would be a good idea to get a refresher on the story at least).
The game begins a few years after the events of the first game. Ellie is now an adult, who is now settled in Jackson Country alongside Joel’s brother. Life is pretty sweet.
But inevitably, things go a bit pear shaped (we won’t go into much detail here – as this is a super story-driven game). Soon you meet Ellie’s love interest, Dina – who is refreshing given that Ellie has grown gruff and serious (much like Joel in the original).
The overall story is very good here, as expected. It does play with some time jumping throughout, but the narrative payoff is strong. It might not be as powerful or emotional as the original, but it’s gripping throughout.
The Last of Us 2 review: Gameplay
Those familiar with the last iteration will immediately pick this one up.
This time around, Ellie can climb walls and ropes, jump and swim. That makes it easier to get in position for stealth kills (of which there are many, courtesy of new silenced weapons and even a bow and arrow).
There are better weapons down the line (such as exploding arrows and a flamethrower), but don’t expect to see them until well into the game.
There are a few new enemies to contend with, from Stalkers that sneak around as well as Shamblers – which push out big acid clouds. On the human side, there is a rebel force that uses weapons and dogs to track Ellie, as well as the Scars, a cult that uses axes and bows and arrows.
Finding combat manuals help you unlock relevant skill trees – which will give your abilities, such as Ellie’s ‘listen’ skill a boost.
Again, there is nothing revolutionary about the gameplay. But, it’s fun and engaging and most importantly, does not get in the way of that all-important storyline.
The Last of Us 2 review: Graphics
There has been an entirely new generation of console since the first version of the game, so it’s no surprise that Ellie’s world has never looked so good. That said, the developers managed to squeeze every last oomph out of the game and it looks stunning.
The world’s abandoned buildings and shops look fantastic, as does the real-world weather effects such as footprints in the snow. The facial animations are spot on, which is a real boon for this type of narrative story-driven game. And the gory animations that you get when you time a kill right are stellar.
The Last of Us 2 review: Verdict
The Last of Us 2 will always be compared to the original – which was one of the most successful PlayStation games of all time. That makes it tough to beat, despite going up a generation in graphics and gameplay.
And while the story isn’t as good as the original, it is still very, very good. Certainly one of the most gripping of the PlayStation 4 era. Which makes it a must play.
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