Seven years after their first adventure, Joël and Ellie are back in The Last Of Us Part II. The opportunity to immerse ourselves one last time in this incredible world imagined by Naughty Dog.
NB: No spoils concerning the plot and the story of The Last Of Us Part II will be discussed during this test.
Seven years after the first opus that will have marked two generations of consoles, Naughty Dog is back with The Last Of Us Part II, the sequel to the adventures of Joël and Ellie that we discovered in June 2013 on PS3, before returning to the game. in a version remastered on PS4 from summer 2014 to help us wait until the announcement of this Part II in December 2016 and its release next Friday, June 19, 2020. We, therefore, find Ellie and Joël for a new adventure which will put our nerves to the test. Prepare for a long and painful journey, in this review of The Last Of Us Part 2.
When making his announcement in December 2016, Neil Druckmann, vice president of Naughty Dog and director of development for The Last Of Us Part II made it clear. The Last Of Us was a difficult game, which aimed to play on our feelings, but there is still a health walk alongside the themes covered in Part II. With this sequel, hatred and violence will be at the center of the adventure.
Before going any further, it’s important to stress that these difficult themes are there for a good reason and that they are justified given the context and the scenario. The Last of Us Part II is fiction and wants to tell a story and show us how far we can go for the people we love. When to give up, realize that it is too late. The game will take you through many states on your adventure with storytelling and staging at the height of Naughty Dog.
For more than 20 years, the studio has forged this reputation and excels in this field. And, again, the California studio shows it with the story of The Last Of Us Part II. Not everyone will agree, many are likely to miss many things. It is already advisable to start a second part to understand and discover certain things that may escape you during your first run. But above all, The Last Of Us Part II constantly encourages us to question ourselves and take a step back on ourselves and the situation in the game. And it will take a lot of hindsight to understand certain messages and realize where the Dogs wanted to take us. And sometimes it is done most beautifully during your adventure.
The game begins four years after the events of the first game. We find Ellie and Joël, in the town of Jackson where Tommy, Joël’s brother, had settled. The latter is still there by the way. We also meet Jesse and Dina, Ellie’s two new best friends. Life seems good and peaceful in Jackson. The city is highly protected, there are shops, bars, restaurants, and even schools and vegetable gardens. Men, women, and children live in prosperity in complete security.
We even forget for a moment that we are in a post-apocalypse world. All this is made possible thanks to the very good organization of the city. Every day, numerous patrols are carried out to secure the surroundings of the city. Everything seems to be going well, but peace never lasts long in a world where violence and fear have dominated for more than three decades. As Jackson faces a freezing winter, a tragedy strikes the residents of Jackson, especially Ellie. The young woman, only 19, has no other choice but to embark on a perilous journey to Seattle. And the latter will not be without consequences.
In the continuity of Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End (2016) or Uncharted The Lost Legacy (2017), Naughty Dog offers players a vast map allowing us to visit a large part of the city of Seattle. We are not yet in the open world, but the Dogs are getting closer and closer. You have the choice to follow Ellie’s map and move forward through the main research locations, or you can freely explore the city and discover secondary buildings that will not be exploited in the main plot of the game.
A bit like an open world with side and side quests, you will be able to visit places just for the pleasure of discovering the city. At times, they will be deserted places with objects and collectibles to find. At other times, you will run into infected people! Anyway, this possibility is nice and seems to indicate to us that Naughty Dog is starting to move more and more towards the open-world. A clue for their next title?
alking through the streets and settings of Seattle necessarily reminds us at times of the first opus with Boston. The city is unrecognizable, ravaged by more than 30 years of pandemics. Nature is gradually regaining its rights over the buildings which have been partially destroyed or collapsed, torrents of rivers separate the city in two, and the panorama is magnificent. Seattle is a huge danger zone where several factions clash.
A militia with many well-armed and fairly organized men, who are often accompanied by their dogs to track us. The latter is opposed to a religious sect, very discreet which favors stealth attacks with few firearms, but a lot of bladed weapons and bow with arrows that hurt. Finally, there will be infected. In addition to the clickers, colossi, and runners of the first opus, The Last Of Us Part II brings its share of new features.
You will have the chance to discover a new kind of infected who are very fast and who like to hide to attack you by surprise (which you cannot detect with your special hearing). You will also have the joy of getting to know the “stinkers” the main novelty of this opus. Kinds of mini-colossi that can on top of that send you poisonous spore bombs. And this is just one example of the new enemies that await you.
Concerning the enemies precisely. At the level of the infected, no big changes. Overall, if you’re stealthy, these shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you (except for stinks or colossi which will be very difficult to dodge). For human enemies, that’s another story.
The AI has been revised and improved in this opus, with enemies who are often on their guard, looking in every nook and cranny, behind furniture, under vehicles. It will be quite difficult to move forward in infiltration mode. Difficult, but not impossible. It is now possible to hide under vehicles, in tall grass, or even under certain furniture. This allows us to try different approaches. But be careful, because the enemies are attentive and it is quite difficult to be stealthy.
Additionally, if an enemy spots you and you manage to kill them before they can scream or fire a shot, other enemies will still be alerted. And this is rather average and tends to quickly discourage us from infiltration. Also, beware of dogs who can follow your trail with your scent which greatly complicates the task.
Moreover, the gunfights and the clashes with the infected are very numerous, which sometimes tends to break the rhythm of the game and give us a little bitter taste. The game is then the victim of certain repetitive lengths which frustrate us a little. Sometimes it’s long, we do the same thing and it doesn’t help and gives us a repetitive feeling. We can’t wait to complete the current objective. Objectives which, unfortunately, are often the same where you have to go from point A to point B. It’s a shame because the first The Last Of Us offered more varied sequences.
Fortunately, this feeling is not the main feeling we get from our review of The Last Of Us Part II. The game offers us many strong sequences thanks to a well-crafted narration. But we’ll get to that later. To end with the gameplay, we, therefore, regret similar sequences, and many gunfights. Fortunately, it is possible to play in stealth mode to avoid long gun swaps.
Each gunfight can be passed. That is, you can shoot no bullet. Thus, it is possible to do your entire sequence in stealth mode, or else, to flee when you have been spotted. Manage to dodge the bullets of your enemies, move to the next area without dying and you will avoid a long firefight. As for the rest, the gameplay is quite similar to the first game.
Ellie can listen to her enemies in the distance, you can still craft items to upgrade your weapons and create traps. Little novelty, you can jump from one platform to another, rappelling up and down or crawling under objects. But for the rest, the simple but effective gameplay of the first game is generally retained. Note also that from the launch of your first game you can choose from five difficulty modes (very easy, easy, normal, difficult, very difficult) and that a new game + is available after finishing the game.
Naughty Dog is renowned for offering incredible games, both in terms of its scenario, its narration, but also in terms of its production. Graphically superb, with great attention to detail, and excellent animations. The Last Of Us part II is one of the studio’s most complicated games. The Californian studio was touched by many concerns which are discussed in this documentary ” The Last Of Us Part II – The tale of a cursed game ” and which we recommend to you to understand how far the game comes from.
Despite this, Naughty Dog and The Last Of Us Part II are doing relatively well. We feel that several teams have worked on the game since it is quite uneven as a whole. You will not find at any time poorly done or graphically ugly sequences. The whole game is really beautiful and very well done. However, at times you are going to face some incredibly beautiful footage and scenery. And it is the technically stunning parts that overshadow the “fair” beautiful parts. Some face animations, or mimics of certain characters are incredible.
The game will make you travel. From the snow-capped mountains of Jackson to the center of Seattle, through the outskirts of the city or even the residential districts, the game will offer you many varied and sumptuous landscapes. Some light effects and reflections in the rain are stunning and border on photo-realism. If some shots are prettier than others, as a whole, The Last Of Us Part II remains very beautiful and very impressive on PS4 Pro.
Despite its qualities and its flaws, there is one area in which The Last Of Us Part II excels … It’s its storytelling. Naughty Dog marked the video game with the first part. They made us vibrate with the narration of Uncharted 4. And they repeat in this Part II. The staging is brilliant, the game alternates between present and past through thoughtful flashbacks. We will not address the scenario to avoid the slightest spoil. However, we can tell you right now that Naughty Dog was right, the game is going to divide. Some will accept the story, others will not.
The game will divide and many are likely to miss out on many innuendos, references, and other easter eggs. But when you take the time to analyze everything and take a step back, you can only see great success. The game will surprise you, make you smile, move you, and even touch you. It will make you angry and make you live some pretty incredible moments with a beautiful message. And for that alone, it deserves you to go through a few lengths and a few repetitive gunfights.
We can’t complete this review of The Last Of Us Part II without talking about accessibility. It is arguably the most accessible Naughty Dog game to date and one of the most accessible PlayStation games. Countless options are available to make the game accessible to a large number of players with disabilities.
About the subtitles, it will be possible to choose the size, the color, to arrange them with a background for better reading. It is possible to configure your controller as you wish to have a personalized configuration and most conveniently for you. But the big effort comes from the special mode for people with slightly more problematic concerns.
It is possible to make the game black and white “negative”, with enemies appearing in red, pick-up or collectible items in yellow, and our character with our allies in blue. Without forgetting the possibility of activating the guide with the direction to follow to continue your game. The idea is to help people who have trouble finding their way in space. Great efforts are thus made and made to make the game as accessible as possible and it is a beautiful gesture to underline and highlight.
Regarding the interface of the game, again it is simple, minimalist, but effective. Kind of like what Naughty Dog has been doing since The Last Of Us and Uncharted 4. A very simple menu. A discreet ATH on-screen that immerses us in immersion. It’s simple, easy to use, and even instinctive.
After seven years of waiting and an end more than sufficient, it is with great impatience and a lot of concern that we embark on the adventure of The Last Of Us Part II. The first is so perfect and striking that a sequel was not necessary. So when Naughty Dog told us in 2016 that they had the ideas for a sequel, it was with a lot of hype and aware of the enormous challenge that we are waiting for the game. To be completely honest, this sequel is a notch below the first. Because yes, there is not this magic of the “discovery” of its characters, the atmosphere and the places. A few moments with airs of “déjà vu”, a few lengths, and a few too repetitive gunfights are enough to penalize The Last Of Us Part II and do not allow it to equal the first opus.
However, Naughty Dog rose to the challenge nonetheless. Because yes, this sequel is clearly striking and it is completely legitimate. It carries a strong message that will disturb more than one. The game suspends us and dazzles us in many ways during this long adventure (around 30 hours of play). The storytelling and staging are incredible with an eye for detail. There are some streaks that will really mark you and hurt you because anything can happen. The beating heart, the anguish and the fear of seeing certain scenes happen. Witness helplessly events that cannot be changed. The game will not win unanimity and will divide just with its scriptwriting choices.
We have the impression that with The Last Of Us Part II, Naughty Dog wanted to tell us that sometimes life is hard. What’s most striking about this sequel is that the game is believable from start to finish. Every scene, whether dramatic, or joyful, is really done very realistically. We even regret a daring choice to put the music in the background, with very few striking moments, and discreet melodies that are very similar. Even during intense scenes, there is hardly any music, as if certain strong moments happened to us for real in life. Calm freezes our blood and we sometimes witness terrible things, without being able to do anything. Because yes, Joël tells us during the game: “I know you would have wanted it to happen differently. And me too.