The Last of Us Part II - Thoughts & Review
*Major Spoilers, duh*
Well, after spending 22 hours of my life playing this game from start to finish, it’s time to write a review on this follow-up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed and universally-loved The Last of Us.
To get it out right away, was this game good? Yes.
Was it better than the first? Nope. Not even close.
After a lengthy wait, The Last of Us Part II was met with the same general critical acclaim as the first entry in the series (despite bombing in user scores). The problem here is that this game takes the focus away from the Joel-Ellie dynamic that made the first game so beloved. The story in the first game is very good, but the chemistry built between Joel and Ellie was immaculately designed and took that game to a higher level. Ellie and Abby lack any kind of real chemistry or dynamic other than that they both want to make each other suffer for what they’ve done to each other.
Also, if it wasn't evident, this is aimed at other people who played the game (or I guess those that don't care for spoilers and me glossing over parts of the story).
The game plays very similar to the first one. The only real additions are dogs, the ability to go prone, shivless door entry, and a silencer. The melee system is the same (if not worse).
Dogs are a cool addition to the game because they can sniff out your scent, which forces you to keep moving. The first time I saw a dog, I panicked and shot it, launching the group into a shootout with me. The second dog I saw, I let it do its thing. They’re actually not that hard to avoid, it turns out. Every time you kill a dog, it whimpers and its handler and those nearby cry out for it. It’s a nice touch to have the NPCs grieve so loudly. It makes them easier to find with the listening mode.
Going prone (and diving; yes, you can sort of dive), are a nice addition to this game. To test it out, I crawled through an entire area of enemies using the tall grass. It’s effective, but if you rely on it, I think the game could get boring.
Shivless door entry is fun and all, but it takes away a resource-eating item. Some may like this, I do not. Needing shivs added to the desperation of the game in the first one. Holding triangle to push a shelf away from a door got old after the fifth hour of play because every door was the same thing. Push this thing out of the way and open the door. Makes me wonder how effective leaning something against a door is when Ellie can just push any door open regardless of what’s behind it.
The silencer might as well be the best thing this game did for gameplay. Being able to take out enemies at a further ranger without needing arrows was amazing. (Also, crafting arrows is always a nice way to have extra ammo at the ready for your bow.) Sniping with a pistol is not recommended.
The game is also receiving tremendous praise for the accessibility options. I didn't check them out myself as I don't need any modifications to the game personally, but the inclusion of different options to help the game be enjoyed by more people is always welcomed.
Graphics & Settings
The graphics in this game are a thing of beauty. Not everything is perfect, but it’s a video game, not real life. For what they’re working with, the landscapes and scenery were amazing. The ever-present rain made everything sleek and gritty. Overall, the game looked better than the first game, duh. The lighting was much nicer and felt more realistic, lending itself very well to the grittier parts of the game. When stuck in a dark building with nothing but a flashlight, I could admit that it was pretty damn scary. The sweeping sunsets were also just as beautiful as you'd expect them to be.
Jackson is a wonderful set piece. I wish we got to spend more time exploring it and the surrounding areas. The winter Jackson is beautiful and the blizzard was honestly stressful to walk through, whether it was losing Dina in the shroud of snow or being chased by infected. Flashbacks to Jackson and the surrounding areas (like the museum) were beautiful and vaguely poignant.
Seattle is massive and overgrown, bombed to hell and back, and it still has so much to offer. From streets that have turned into forests, to swamped out rivers running through downtown. There’s a lot of crazy terrain on display. Seattle is also home to the WLF base in a football stadium. This was actually a very beautiful setting and I wish we could have spent more time exploring it as Abby, one of the few things that made her story enjoyable.
One of the best places from this game takes place in Seattle: the building of horrors that you go through with Lev to get to the hospital. The entire building is dilapidated and there are massive holes in the floors, puncturing several floors down, and its filled with infected. It’s honestly quite terrifying. The high rises in general were good set designs, but that might just be me since I felt we needed some of that in this game. Especially the sky bridges.
Scar Island is unique and wonderful. The old-school wooden buildings and rustic feel of the entire island coupled with fires and lanterns really set a mood that is much different than the urban decay of Seattle. I honestly think the setting would have done much better with a longer storyline that delved into some of the writings of the Seraphite’s prophet and exploring how and why those people chose to become a Seraphite. I would have liked the chance to explore the massive wooden village of Haven as well before the WLF burned it down. Really had a wonderful setting here and wasted the chance to use it better.
Santa Barbara was severely unimpressive. A beautiful setting that was wasted. The houses and locale of this area could have been a tremendous breath of fresh air from the rainy Seattle we spent 18 hours of the game in. The Rattlers should have been more threatening. The ending storyline should have been longer to utilized the sunnier weather of California and allowing us to explore more mansions and a luxury mall or two. The setting here could have been amazing truly, but it was wasted in a rush to get to Abby at the Rattler stronghold, which was so easy to get through, it makes you wonder how the Fireflies, WLF, Serpahites, and Rattlers combined could have been any match for Ellie anyway.
Voice Acting, Sound, & Music
The sound in this game is wonderful. The voice acting is just as good as you would expect. The performances in this game are great and they hold up to the bar that was set by the first game. In some spots, the dialogue requires you to actively press a button to continue it on. There’s also a high five moment, similar to the Ellie-Joel moments in the first game, but it’s between Jesse and Ellie and it doesn’t have near the same level of chemistry, so I think it was a miss for me on that. Other than that, the voice acting and motion capture were both amazing.
The sound in the game is amazing. From hearing clickers in a rundown building, to gunshots in the distance as you travel through a city engulfed in a civil war, it’s palpable. Rain clouds the sounds, infected sound horrifying, thunder sounds loud and shakes the ground, and every gunshot cracks through the air with a determined shout. Getting shot at actually is jumpy. Doing the shooting is a calculated risk because the shots are so loud it alerts everybody in the area to your location.
And the music of the game? Amazing. Perhaps even better than it was in the first game. The subtle guitar melodies being played throughout the game in cinematics are downright beautiful and mesmerizing. The tense music that sounds through the more horror-inspired moments of the game are terrifying and atmospheric. The music was always dead on throughout the game, which is thanks to the amazingly talented Gustavo Santaolalla (he did the soundtrack for the first entry and is doing the music for the upcoming HBO spin-off).
Guns, Looting, & Crafting
The two characters, Ellie and Abby, get different guns they can use. It’s one of the only reasons I liked playing as Abby. Abby gets a crossbow and a hunting pistol that packs some serious damage, and those were a lot of fun to use. Ellie gets the bow and a revolver in place of those two. The special weapons also differ: Abby gets a flamethrower and Ellie gets a silenced submachine gun. All in all, the guns are basically the same in this game as the last.
Upgrading your guns is where the game put some time into making it more worth it though. The guns change appearance based on the upgrades you give them. You can add scopes, file the handle down, change barrels, and more. Fully upgrading your gun leaves it looking brand new. It’s a small but welcomed addition to the otherwise boring nature of upgrading.
Field manuals are back to help you unlock new branches of skills that can be unlocked with supplements, very similar to the first game, but better and more intuitive. Both Ellie and Abby have different but similar enough branches that you can spec into.
Looting and crafting is basically the exact same as the first game. Why fix what isn’t broken? Rags, blades, binding, and the like are all easily found in the game. Resource management is important, but not as important as it could (and should) be. Bullets are still sparse, so by making those count, you tend to make everything else last longer too. The more shootouts you’re in, the more bombs and medkits you’re likely using.
Ellie is the main character. She’s sporting a new tattoo on her arm (we see it slowly building if you pay attention during the flashbacks) to cover a chemical burn which was used to cover a bite mark that was blistered with cysts. Ellie has always been a fascinating character to me. One of the best of the last ten years, no doubt, and she’s been handed a tough card when her father figure Joel is killed in front of her at the hands of Abby. Ellie vowing a petty revenge isn’t entirely out of character for her.
This game see's Ellie living out a revenge fantasy. Not to the degree I think that we were all hoping for from the trailer in 2016, but a revenge fantasy nonetheless. The game could have done even more to flesh out Ellie's PTSD of Joel with more flashbacks and perhaps some "ghost in the wind" type of imagery of Joel that she follows around Seattle. Something to add more substance to her warped mind throughout the game would have been nice.
And if you hadn’t already known it, Ellie is a lesbian. She gets a girlfriend early on (Dina) who tags along on her adventure to Seattle (which should have been expanded on since relationships and the characters are what made first game so good).
Dina is Ellie’s love interest and best friend throughout the game. She’s seen to be a badass at the beginning of the game and then handicapped with pregnancy as soon as she’s in Seattle. Kind of a bummer because then Dina is left to be forgotten about as more of a liability than an asset, but she serves one purpose: saving Ellie’s life at the end when Abby breaks into the theatre. Like we didn’t all see that one coming. More should have been done with Dina. I liked Dina. I thought she was actually a very well written character when she was actually involved in the scenes and not just “the pregnant one" or a side note to the progression of the game.
Jesse is a weird character. He’s a resident of Jackson and in love with Dina but not? They had a relationship and Dina got pregnant with his baby, but he was never told for sure before Abby kills him. More could have been done with this character, especially in the scene where as Ellie heads to the aquarium, Jesse leaves her to go a different route. Jesse leaving Ellie like that felt like a stupid move on the developers to make Ellie go in alone for no other reason than for it to feel more desperate to the player. I don’t think Jesse would come all the way to Seattle and go halfway there just to give up like that. That didn't seem like his character to me and caught me off guard. Weak plot point for the deus ex machina of Tommy and Jesse coming to collect Ellie after she kills Abby's friends.
Tommy is a likeable enough character for me to not want to bash totally. Unfortunately, he’s not used to his fullest potential in this game, but neither is anybody else. Much like Dina, his story arc is cast aside and then he's forgotten about until it matters for him to show face.
While playing as Abby, the fight against Tommy is one of the better points of the game, especially as you get close enough to see that it’s Tommy. He ends up shooting Manny in the face and Abby and Yara wrestle Tommy into the ocean where he swims to the aquarium to save Ellie. Ellie never sees him in her storyline until the very end of Seattle. Abby sees him only during that fight. We didn’t see a lot of Tommy in the first game and I was hoping for some Tommy-Joel moments here before Joel eventually died, but nope, none of that. Not even enough Tommy moments in general.
Joel. Oh, Joel. He’s such an amazing character that we grew with during the first game and it feels like all of that was ripped away from us for just shock value. His death was ultimately meaningless when Ellie doesn’t exact her revenge fully. If the tables were turned, Joel would have torn through anybody and anything to get the person that killed Ellie. In fact, he already did that, when he saved her from the Fireflies in the end of the first game. But Ellie can’t bring herself to find that same anger. We did not get enough Joel in this game. The moments that Joel was in were some of the strongest moments in the game. The trek to the music store, the museum of natural science, and the ending scene for examples. On the note of more Joel, It would be nice to see a prequel focusing on Joel’s struggles with Tess (because Tess is an amazing character that also got shafted in the first game).
Abby is unlikeable from the start for killing Joel, but she’s humanized in her story, which to the credit of the developers, did work. They made her relatable by losing her father to Joel and I could see how she’d want the revenge. The fear of heights is relatable. She grows to care for Lev and Yara despite them being Scars. It gives complexity to a villain that otherwise we would have killed with absolutely no thought. Her inner demons really come out when she was going to kill Dina and Lev stops her. Abby is a vile human underneath it all, full of her own anger and hate. She’s not the worst character, but she’s far from the best. That said, I still hate her guts and hope I never have to see her in a future title unless it's as a corpse.
As well, I think they made her too buff for her own good. I understand that she’s ripped, that’s fine on its own, but going from a 14-year-old*, normal-sized teenage girl to someone that the characters described as “built like an ox” in 4-5 years? Not likely. She’s not trans either, she’s just jacked. Steroid use could be speculated, but it’s never confirmed. In a flashback, she mentions she can bench almost 200 pounds, but still, it seems unrealistic to be a female and that large in an apocalypse. How would she be able to eat enough to get that big and stay that big anyway? We see next to no other characters that swole, so what gives? It's like how we don't see really any overweight survivors either. It's just no realistically feasible when food is scarce. I respect that she's modelled after a bodybuilder, but it seems unrealistic in the current state of the world to be able maintain those gains.
*Her age has not yet been uncovered.
Manny is a character that I’m sure we all hate. He’s the one who spat on Joel’s body after all. Through the time he spends with Abby, I actually didn’t hate him as much as I thought I might have. I still hate him, but he’s a likeable enough character that it sort of greys the water for me. I wish the game had more focus on him instead of him just being a ladies man and then getting killed five minutes after Abby reunites with him. Kind of a bummer.
Owen is a douche. He’s not likeable to me. He’s just some guy to fill a spot needed for plot movement. His romance in the past with Abby reignites with a sex scene (very unneeded, by the way) and that’s also him cheating on his pregnant girlfriend, Mel. So now Abby sleeps with the boyfriend of her pregnant friend. Great. Another reason to dislike both of them.
Mel is also very unlikeable and doesn’t really do anything to make me like her. She’s just kind of there throughout the game and doesn’t offer much to the story other than being the pregnant girlfriend of Owen. She also rips into Abby at the end of the game about sleeping with Owen and then Ellie kills Mel. Really not a pivotal character. Exploring with a pregnant Mel is also a pain in the ass as it adds longevity to sequences to extend playtime. The time spent making those segments with Mel could have been used elsewhere.
Nora is just a placeholder for a mid-story "boss." Chasing her and watching her breathe in spores is kind of soothing for Ellie’s revenge story though. Ellie is standing in the spores after chasing Nora to a dead end, knowing that she’s beaten Nora no matter what and that was kind of a badass moment. Other than that, Nora is just kind of... there. Nothing special about her, really.
Isaac is underused. He’s so pointless to the game, it’s almost not worth mentioning. Through all these notes and the WLF soldiers talking about him, you would expect him to be a lot more terrifying and that he would pose a much bigger threat, both to Abby and Ellie, but nope. Ellie never encounters him and Abby has two interactions with him. We also don’t even get to kill Isaac, Yara does. Isaac was a letdown of a character and that is beyond disappointing.
Lev (on the left) is amazing. Proficient with a bow, which really helps. I loved the character of Lev. Lev is also the transgender character of the game. Leaks were leaked and people assumed it was Abby from her buff appearance, but no, it’s Lev. The Scars you encounter with Lev refer to him as Lily. This is confirmed by his sister Yara. Lev makes it out of Scar Island (he had gone back to save his mother but killed her in self-defence) with Abby and helps her take on Ellie and Tommy in the theatre and makes it with her to the end of the game with the Rattlers and escaping into the fog. Lev is a very interesting character because the interactions with Abby shed some more light on the Scar way of life. I could have done with more of the Scar way of life, actually. Seraphite/Scar lore seems interesting and we didn’t get the chance to explore it deeper.
Yara (on the right) is actually pretty likeable for the more minor role she plays. Yara is the character we see getting her wings clipped (euphemism for breaking arms) in the trailer and in game. Because of this, Abby feels guilty for letting them go, so she vows to help them. Yara gets compartment syndrome from the injuries and needs some supplies, letting Abby and Lev go off to get them. This takes up a major portion of Abby’s store, which is also kind of a waste of time, though it does have one of the better moments in the game (the terrifying building of horrors in Seattle as well as the basement of the hospital). Yara from then on acts as a guide to Abby on Scar Island as they search for Lev. Once Lev is found, Yara is quickly killed off, killing Isaac with her dying breath. Sort of a waste of a character in the end, but interesting enough while she was here.
Washington Liberation Front (WLF) are a militarized group of people living in Seattle inside of an old football stadium. They have members of the Fireflies amongst them and are led by Isaac. Abby and her cohorts are well known among the WLF as most soldiers and people guarding the gates known her by name. The WLF are standard enemies. Nothing to write home about with them.
Seraphites (called Scars by the WLF due to the scars on their face) are actually pretty haunting. The first time you encounter them in the Park in Seattle is honestly scary. That whistling thing they do is horrifying. It reminds me of the Apache death whistle in a way. The arrows are annoying to pull out, but I only got hit twice, so it’s not that big of a deal. They’re not better at spotting you than other enemies and they’re not harder to kill than other enemies. They lose their scary appeal by the second or third encounter with them though.
Not much was talked about the Seraphites in game. We didn’t get to see their leader or read there missives or writings and figure out what it all meant. Their prophet was dead, though, and Lev tells us that the writings taught love, not violence, and that people are twisting her words. Makes me feel like the entire Scar storyline was shoehorned in as a tongue-in-cheek reference to religion. Hmm.
Rattlers are the last group of people you come across. They’re based in Santa Barbara and are pretty scary to deal with, owing to the fact that they have automatic weapons and riot helmets. They’re your typical late-game bad guys in that sense. In their stronghold, they chain up infected that you can release to cause havoc among their soldiers, allowing you to pick them off during their panic. All in all, it’s not that hard to run through these guys. The Rattlers deserved more time in game to flesh out their presence.
The infected are underpowered in this game if you play it smart. Getting swarmed will kill you as runners are stronger than they were previously, but killing them with stealth is just as easy. Runners cry and moan and are still creepy as ever. Clickers are easier to deal with because as Ellie you don’t have to craft shivs (as Abby you do, but shivs are never needed to open doors, so you aren’t like to run out). Bloaters are terrifying every time you come into contact with them. Then there are stalkers, the stage 2 infected. I forgot they existed because the first game only put them in, like, twice. They’re more prevalent in this game and they’re a pain in the ass to deal with because they scurry around and lunge at you and it’s pretty hard to stealth kill these little bastards.
The addition of a new type of infected creates a better balance between bloaters and clickers. Shamblers are the newest infected type and the first time I saw these things, I wanted to leave the game. These shamblers are big and nasty creatures that hurl acid at you and explode when you kill them. They’re easily avoided since they’re blind. Stealth is your best friend for avoiding these fights. There are some parts in the game with many of these and other infected, making an all-out fight pretty fruitless, especially if you’re on harder modes.
The Rat King is horrifying. There’s no other word for it. It’s absolute nightmare fuel. It’s a horrible abomination of fungal growth and bodies. The ground-zero patient (placing this enemy at 25 years of infection) is a massive collage of bodies connected and fused into one with fungal growths. It’s horrifying and looks like something straight out of a Resident Evil game, which makes it feel disconnected from the other infected types in the game. The jump from bloater to Rat King is huge. Perhaps there will be another infected type to bridge that gap in a DLC or a Part III.
I don’t want to get too much into the story itself because of how much there is to go over, but very briefly, it was not anywhere near as good as it should have been. The Dina and Ellie romance comes out of nowhere and is quite forced into the narrative. The Abby storyline is out of touch with the rest of Ellie’s story and Abby’s story takes up as much playtime as Ellie’s.
Even Joel felt like a cameo in this game.
The story left me wondering how many changes they made after that 2016 trailer where Joel asks Ellie is she is “going to go through with this” and Ellie tells him she’s going to kill “every last one of them.” What happened to that story? Where was that scene in the game? I would have liked it even If there were some bits of a ghost Joel haunting Ellie’s mind, playing tricks on her.
There were characters that we should have seen more of, like Tommy, Jesse, Manny, and Isaac, but they felt like they were just cameos. Even Joel felt like a cameo in this game. I felt like this story was Ellie and Abby and left Joel in the dust. I understand that it is an Ellie and Abby story, but Joel was the catalyst and he’s barely focused on after his death. His death was there for shock value and as a cheap motive for Ellie’s revenge. They could have done a better story with the WLF being a remnant Fireflies group that came to burn Jackson down or something. That would fuel revenge by pushing Ellie and Joel out of a destroyed home and back into a life on the move. Anything other than what they did, really.
Personally, I think the story and game would have been a lot better if 2 things happened to seriously change the plot: Abby kills Tommy instead of Joel. Why? Because Abby would say something like, “I want you to feel loss too” or whatever. And then Joel goes after her on his own. Then Dina and Ellie follow after Joel, tracking him through the country to Seattle. This could take five hours, eliminating five hours from the time you play as Abby.
I think playing as Ellie while tracking Joel would get to do two things: keep Joel in the story longer, giving Ellie a real reason to go to Seattle, that is, to help and protect Joel. And secondly, it allows the game to show Ellie and Dina developing a proper relationship as they fight through infected and random groups of hunters. This would bridge the gap better than: they kissed and now flash forward to Seattle and they're in love.
Playing as Abby to reveal some of the other bits was... alright, but playing through that WLF-Scar War at the end felt so detached from the game. Abby’s story was good for a few things, like shedding light on her motivations and humanizing her after we demonized her for killing Joel. Showing her as a caring person was supposed to make us not want to kill her, even though I still did want to and got denied that chance.
In my scenario here, Joel still dies, at the hands of Abby, of course. In front of Ellie still, making Ellie want to kill Abby even more. Maybe Joel is left dying in the aquarium as Abby rides out to Santa Barbara on the boat, then setting up another portion of the game in Santa Barbara. And with a more vengeful Ellie on her own (because Dina’s pregnancy), she follows Abby down the coast and the Rattler storyline could take another five hours, leaving us with only two hours of playtime as Abby. I could do with less, but I think playing as Abby was a fresh look at the story. Then the brutal fight at the end, Ellie kills Abby and Lev. Same time. Two-on-one, Ellie takes both of them. She wins. She goes home. We get the scene with her and Dina dancing in that kitchen with baby JJ and the game gets a better ending even if the ending is a happier one than the bleak and depressing story they live in. (Or just let Abby kill Ellie and give us a really divisive ending.)
But that’s not the story they went with… or the ending…
Ellie and Dina make it back to Jackson after Jesse and Tommy get shot and killed. Abby bested Ellie in their fight and left her with her life. And as the sun sets on Ellie, Dina, and Dina’s baby JJ. All is right in the world again. Except they didn’t end it there. They kept it going. This would have been a bittersweet ending because Ellie would have inflicted suffering on Abby but wasn’t able to kill her in a fair fight, realizing that, Ellie lets the vendetta go since they both have done enough to hurt one another and the game’s morale of “revenge is bad” would have stuck better with this ending.
But they kept the game going. The ending sees Tommy come to Ellie’s house (yeah, he lived, but he lost an eye) and says he has a lead to Abby being in a beached sailboat in Santa Barbara. Dina doesn’t want Ellie to go, threatening to leave her if she does, but since Ellie is Ellie, she packs up and leaves.
Then the game cuts to Abby in California looking for the Fireflies. She finds a radio, but it’s a trap, and she’s ambushed and forced into slavery by a gang called the Rattlers. Then Ellie shows up months later to find her and fights her way through the Rattlers to find Abby strung up to the pillars (stakes in the ground where prisoners and left to rot and die) and cuts her and Lev free. Even this ending would have been okay for me. Ellie freeing Abby and they share a moment of understanding and suffering. An even better ending from this point is if Ellie pulled some Seraphite shit and gutted Abby and recited some prophetic verse, revealing that she was the Seraphite messiah or some other crazy way to end the game like that.
“One who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.” Yeah. One for Abby and one for Lev.
But nope. Ellie forces Abby to fight her. Though this fight is amazing cinematically, there is much left to be desired because of this one aspect: for 21-and-a-half hours, all I’ve wanted is to hurt and kill Abby because she took Joel away from us. But Ellie… lets her go? Ellie has Abby dead to rights and just gives up and tells her to leave. I wasted almost an entire day of playtime to be let down because “One who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.” Yeah. one for Abby and one for Lev.
The fact that this ending went with that outcome makes me not want to relive the game. Make me play as Joel’s killer? Okay, I’m skeptical, but there’s gotta be a good reason. Make me lose the showdown and think that’s the end of the game? Okay, it sucks, but that sticks with the game’s motif of bleak and depressing in some way. But make me travel away from a happy life with a newborn baby and my loving girlfriend to kill someone and not even let me get that sweet, vengeful justice? Now you’ve totally lost me. That’s more disrespectful than allowing Manny to spit on Joel. All I needed was some sweet revenge and I got none of it. I got less than none of it.
Amongst the other issues with the ending, I think the Rattlers would have been better suited to have more in-game time. They were a cruel and evil group of people using slaves and chained-up infected. I think more content in the end of the game coupled with the ability to kill Abby would have made the game much better. The game should have at least let us have the choice to kill or spare Abby. It’s the last choice of the game. It wouldn’t have been that hard to script a different ending which would have been basically not showing Abby drive the boat into the fog. Maybe the boat just floats out to the currents, empty and void. That’s it. Nothing about Ellie returning home would have had to be changed.
Hopefully the HBO series doesn't screw up the story as badly as Part II did.
On a more positive note about the ending, I’m glad we got to see Ellie and Joel’s last interaction before his death. It’s bittersweet that Ellie still didn’t forgive though she wanted to but now won’t get the chance. That little sliver of closure was nice for Ellie and Joel. Hopefully the HBO series doesn't screw up the story as badly as Part II did.
The gameplay is fluid and remains mostly unchanged from the first game, which isn’t a bad thing even if a little stale at times. The sound design is amazing. The music is amazing. The story started heavy and lost its footing a few times, notably with the switch to playing as Abby and her entire Seraphite storyline that didn’t play into Ellie’s story in any meaningful way. It left the game feeling like two completely different titles at points. The ending was brutal for all the wrong reasons.
Either way, buy the game if you’re a fan of the first one. This game still has a lot to offer the casual player that isn’t looking for the 10/10 masterpiece that The Last of Us was. Everybody knows that the sequel is usually worse. That rings true for The Last of Us Part II as well.
For all that, it gets a 7/10.
@Naughty Dog, please, don’t do a Part III with Ellie. Just do a spin-off with a new story and new characters. The universe is amazing, but Ellie’s story has to be finished here because you already surrendered this game to the pillars.