The Last of Us 2 has dominated my thoughts and has become the foremost thing in my mind as I go to bed and the first thing that I think about when I wake up. I have been replaying the sequences in my head, marvelling at their intricate design and pondering how I could have done things differently. The many unforgettable cutscenes are etched into my memory as if they were real experiences, so powerful in their emotional intensity that they now appear in my dreams and nightmares regularly.
I have spent hours processing everything that I have played, attempting to come to grips with the densely packed storyline and uncovering new aspects of the game’s craftsmanship. In short, The Last of Us Part 2 is an exceptional game and quite possibly the best one I have played in this generation.
To avoid spoilers, I won’t discuss any plot details that haven’t been revealed by Naughty Dog. The game is a revenge western companion piece to the original, set five years after the events of the first game. After a harrowing opening sequence, Ellie is determined to hunt down those responsible for a heinous crime, taking her from the rural landscapes of Jackson County to the urban overgrowth of Seattle, where she must confront new and unique threats.
The Last of Us Part 2 is a tale of retribution that evolves into something more intricate, unexpected, and dark. Naughty Dog expertly exploits the interactive nature of the medium, forcing players to confront every action they take as Ellie, often resulting in discomfort and distress. The 25-hour campaign is full of breathtaking moments and moving scenes that leave a lasting impact.
Ashley Johnson gives an outstanding performance as Ellie, depicting the complexity of suffering with warmth and humanity. The facial animation technology seamlessly captures even the smallest body language changes, adding depth to the character’s emotions. The cast of characters surrounding Ellie is equally compelling, with new additions and returning characters that are multi-dimensional and well-rounded.
The world of The Last of Us Part 2 is intricately detailed and crammed with bespoke minutiae, offering a glimpse into the world that Ellie never knew and the one she’s all too familiar with. Naughty Dog’s environmental design guides players along the critical path while still allowing for exploration and discovery. Ellie’s new abilities allow for more diverse environmental puzzles that enrich combat and exploration, creating a sense of place that is distinctive and unforgettable.