The Last Of Us Part II
I think this should be fairly safe from spoilers, but if I do accidentally drop something revealing, you have been warned.
In my first review for The Last of Us Part II I admitted up front that I hadn’t finished the game yet but needed to get a review done prior to release. I also mentioned that I was fairly confident that not much would change as reviewers that I know, hadn’t hinted at anything happening that would change my feeling for the game.
The irony is that the place I decided to call it time so I could write my review was just before Naughty Dog flipped the game on its head. The new direction stunned me and it took a while for me to accept where the game was taking me, but it was, as usual, a brilliant move by the developer.
It did mean re-visiting certain points in the game, but only in general location as the way, this part of the story played out was different, and other than the sometimes painful need to scavenge and craft, it was a fairly unique experience. Not only did Naughty Dog turn the game on its head, but they also introduced another new infected, that literally had me thinking I could end up in hospital and had me wishing I was wearing my Fitbit so I could check my heart rate.
The intensity of this one boss fight was so extreme that I almost had to give up on completing the game.
Which leads me to warn you about the sheer emotional exhaustion that you may suffer from playing The Last of Us Part II. Especially if you binge it. I received another pre-release game to review but before starting it I wanted to finish Ellie’s journey, so put in some serious time over the last three nights. I am now physically and emotionally shattered. The emotional strain of this game, both in the highs and lows, is intense. The flashback scenes of which I complained about in my first review, not only link to later in the story, but I see now, also give you a much-needed break.
Now it should go without saying that a post-apocalyptic game should be pretty bleak, but nothing I can recall playing gets as bleak and dark as The Last of Us Part II does. But don’t take this as criticism, everything in this game fits the feel and the story being told.
I also want to touch on the level design as I don’t think I mentioned this in my first review. Just stunning. The game feels open world for the most part where it is actually a story-driven linear experience. Subtle hints abound so you don’t actually get lost, but also don’t feel too headed. And then there’s the way the levels make you feel. At one point you find yourself on a beached ship, exploring whilst walking around on a lean. It really throws the senses.
The Last of Us Part II is an experience that is as relentless as it is seemingly unending, whilst at its heart is IS a video game, the storytelling and emotional weight enables it to compete with the best that both film and television can produce, and pretty much come out on top. I doubt that you will find another game in this generation of consoles that will affect you as much as this game will.
PLEASE NOTE: The Last of Us Part II totally deserves its R18 rating.
Rating: R18 Restricted to persons 18 years and over. NOTE: Graphic violence, offensive language & cruelty