The wait was worth it: after seven years, developer Naughty Dog is giving the fans of "The Last of Us" a worthy sequel. It is beautiful, dark, sounds fantastic and is full of violence – the bloody vengeance campaign has no place for mercy.
Gamers around the world have been waiting a long time for the continuation of Ellie and Joel's dystopian history. It took seven years to develop the second part of "The Last of Us", a career full of bad news – including story leaks, angry employees and corona-related scheduling problems. But good things take time and what Naughty Dog conjures up on Playstation 4 with "The Last of Us Part II" is perhaps the best and most beautiful ending that the current generation of consoles from Sony could have wished for. A visually stunning and emotionally charged drama, so intense and dark, full of surprises and moments in which you have to look, even though you want to close your eyes.
Since the storyline of the second part is the main element for a wonderful gaming experience, this review remains spoiler-free. The story begins four years after the events of the first part, and the world continues to consist of zombie-like infected people and survivors after the outbreak of a mutated fungus. The quarantine zones that were once built in large cities have given way to isolated outposts in the wild. And Ellie and Joel now live in the western town-like "Jackson".
An intensive cutscene initially explains the status quo and makes it clear: the second part begins just as emotionally as the first part ended. A tragic event follows for the residents of Jackson, from then on the player embarks on a bloody vengeance campaign through a world littered with guerrillas, homophobic cultists and infected people.
In addition to the well-known characters Ellie and Joel, new faces come to the fore throughout the story. Joel's brother Tommy appeared as a character in the first part, with Dina and Jesse Ellie's friends become important companions and teammates.
Gameplay: targeted improvements instead of innovation
Little has changed in gameplay compared to its predecessor. Ellie and Joel continue to be controlled from a third-person perspective, the game world appears more open in many places, but you can't get lost. The game flow is linear and follows the main story only. If you are looking for side quests or something similar, "The Last of Us 2" is wrong.
Nevertheless, you can loot and craft properly again. In the second part, Ellie even learned something new. Aiming, ammunition or booby traps can be improved with bows, shotguns and the like. Ellie's figure can increase her life bar, increase her agility in combat or improve her sneaking ability.
And sneaking is the crucial element in "The Last of Us 2" to assassinate yourself through hostile territory. The player has to find his personal way according to the environment in order to eliminate the opponents with as little resistance as possible. An open exchange of blows cannot be avoided in some places, but in the collective there are both people and infected people. Developer Naughty Dog has screwed up the AI of the opponent properly. Those who do not keep their distance or hide are quickly encircled, flanked or put under constant fire by several guerrilla soldiers. An important element has been added to the fight: In one-on-one, the player can now dodge attacks.
Violence down to the smallest detail
Whether in fights or cutscenes, it is brutal. The level of violence often escalates to such an extent that it leaves the player feeling uneasy. Executions, torture, slashed throats, smashed skulls, from the last twitch to the final breath – the visual and acoustic preparation of these scenes is a key stylistic device of the game to show the roughness of the setting and the abysses of the characters.
And although "The Last of Us 2" is only released from the age of 18, it can have mental consequences due to the excess of violence. Because there is no alternative – there is no mercy in this game. The player is not given a choice. Instead, the impression arises that even in moments that would allow a spark of humanity, no one is allowed to survive who stands in Ellie's way.
The gloomy mood is accompanied by the sound design, the excellent synchronization at the video game level and the graphic implementation of facial expressions and gestures. Now there are nuances of sadness, anger and joy in Ellie's face. It is not only in this area that the limits of the PS4 are slowly being reached. Wonderfully idyllic or chaotic landscapes, overgrown cities – it all looks wonderful, it is not revolutionary. This makes the console fan roar especially if you don't have the Pro version.
The top of the attention to detail can be found on almost every corner – in addition to the already deep story. Messages from survivors or relics that look like stone from today provide the player with further background information and personal fates of the people who died after the infection broke out.
The strength of "The Last of Us 2" is the skillful alternation between calm moments and dramatic action. There are no weaknesses in survival horror. If there is an accusation, it is that little has been worked on the gameplay and an open world has only been hinted at. With the excessive depiction of violence, Naughty Dog even goes so far as to allow the second part to be socially offensive. In addition, the developers create something that game or film makers often fail: Despite gigantic expectations from the first part, they succeed in a worthy continuation.
"The Last of Us 2" is exclusively available for Playstation 4.
. (tagsToTranslate) technology (t) Games (t) video games