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Thursday, February 2, 2023

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Review: The Last Of Us Part 2

What can I say about The Last Of Part 2? To me, there are two games here both equally great, but one is the Last of Us and the other is something different. The two major themes of this game in my opinion that Director Neil Druckman is trying to convey is this Perspective and Vengeance. This game’s story is so powerful in so many ways and left me at times devastated to the point that I had to put down the controller and stop playing for the night. Now, why did I have to do this? What makes this game so incredible but also at times so irritating to play? I’ll tell you, let’s get started but first.

 

 

MAJOR SPOILERS

 

Still here? One last time Spoilers! Seriously I am about to talk about the game in its entirety.

 

Okay if you’re still let’s get started. This whole game may be about Ellie, but this is truly Joel’s game. Everything every single character does in this game is led by the action of Joel from The Last Of Us part 1. Abby our main antagonist to Ellie brutally kills Joel right in front of her and the player’s eyes. This to me was one of the hardest things I had to get through in-game in a very long time because Joel has always been one of my favorite characters from any medium, and to see him get killed in that way was hard to watch. However, this was the fire I and Ellie needed to go on this vengeance fueled mission to kill Abby and her friends.

In this 20 hour long you experience some breathtaking beauty from the games incredible visual and sounds. Seattle is such a great environment to explore and learning about the Wolves and Scars, two warring factions in Seattle. Both sides had a lot of depth and both brought their own problems when facing them. The first ten or so hours are great there are a ton of great flashbacks with Ellie and Joel that keep reminding why I am doing this and why I want to take Abby out.

My favorite will always be the museum flashback with Joel and Ellie. It was such a quiet moment in game that made a lot of noise. Just seeing Ellie be her goofy self with Joel reminded me why I love the first game so much. It also reminded me how different this game was from the first one in moments like this. We get to see a lot of happy moments here there’s not combat just a father and his daughter enjoying a day off.

Then hour 12 hit, and everything changes for me. In this hour you kill two of Abby’s friends after you get a lead that she is at an aquarium. When you get there you find Mel and Owen two of Abby friends we saw during the death of Joel. We knew one thing about Mel as the player that Ellie didn’t and that was she was pregnant. After shooting Owen Mel attacks Ellie and well… Ellie defends herself and kills Mel to which she then finds out from a dying Owen that Mel was pregnant.

This section of the game is still stuck in mind today even after three days after it happened. You can see in Ellie that killing Mel change a part of her as well at least in my opinion. That’s however when one of the biggest twists of the game happens. Abby arrives at the place Ellie and her friends are hiding out in and as she points a gun at Ellie the game cuts to black and you’re sent back 4 years earlier as Abby looking for her dad in the forest. In this flashback, we find out that Abby’s dad was in fact the doctor we killed in The Last Of Us part 1 as Joel, which is what sparks Abby’s revenge-fueled mission to kill Joel. After that flashback, the game sends you three days prior to when Ellie first got to Seattle expect now your playing as Abby in whole new areas of the game.

I thought this would be a fun little section where you would see what Abby has been up to and maybe take about an hour or two of the game to tell her side of things. At this point, we had already played her once before she killed Joel. However, that is not the case not only are all of your upgrades reset you play the next seven-ish hours of the game as her. For the most part, her story is looking for Owen and then after meeting two Scar kids who save her life her goal becomes to save them.

Don’t get me wrong seeing everything Abby goes through with these two kids especially the boy named Lev is great and reminds so much of the first game. Here’s my problem she killed Joel and I understood completely why but the game has you spend so much time wanting one thing and one thing only and that’s to kill Abby. That there are times I had problems caring about her story and problems even though I like all her friends and felt even worst about either watching them die or knowing I killed them.

Do I think what Druckman was doing with this story was clever? A hundred percent yes, however, I wish it could have been done in a way where maybe every other hour or so you switch to Abby and saw what she was doing. I think that way we could always hold on to the feeling of what Ellie went through and what Abby was dealing with from her perspective. However, while I still wanted to see Abby pay for what she did by the end of her story I realized I didn’t hate her as much anymore. When it came down to the final showdown between these two characters I didn’t want them to fight I just wanted them to go live their own lives. I felt both of them had suffered enough for Joel’s sins.

Noticed how I haven’t even touched the gameplay? As great and often confusing as the story is, the gameplay was perfect. To me, it was the most incredibly well-done combat I have ever seen from Naughty Dog. It such a violent game when you kill people their friends call out their names in horror or if you stab someone in the throat blood squirts out and you can hear them choking. It is not a game for the faint of heart in any way. That said it never got old to me when I was just playing the game, every encounter felt great and always required new strategies in order to proceed for both Ellie and Abby. However, I do wish there were more set pieces like in the original one and Uncharted 4, as much as I loved the encounters I could see why for some people it would get repetitive in this kind of game you need those set pieces in order to really stand out in the gameplay.

Overall, what can I say about The Last Of Us part 2? It is an amazing game that tells two very different stories at a very odd pace. With two characters who are both truly great to play as. Do I wish things in the story ended differently? Yes, I do. I really wish as well that I could have learned more about Ellie and gotten to play way more of her since this was a game that was supposed to be about her. However, this game did have some of the best gameplay from a Naughty Dog game ever. Do I recommend it? Yes, but know this game is brutal and is not made for those with a weak stomach. It is violent and very raw and even for someone as seasoned in violent games like me made me turn it off a few times. However, even though this game wasn’t the best to me there is not a doubt in my mind that it will be the game of the year. With that being said I’m giving this game a 9/10 for great gameplay but an oddly paced story that truly I will never forget.

Currently Playing: The Last Of Part 2

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