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The Last of Us Part II

Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: June 19, 2020

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PS4 Preview - 'The Last of Us Part II'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on May 28, 2020 @ 1:30 a.m. PDT

The Last of Us Part II is a sequel to the action/adventure series set a few years after the original, revolving around Ellie as main character instead of Joel.

Pre-order The Last of Us: Part II

The Last of Us 2 begins several years after the events of the original game. Joel and Ellie have started a new life at his brother Tommy's new village, but he's still plagued with doubts. A group attacks Tommy's village and a tragedy occurs that causes Ellie to set out, sans Joel, on a mission for revenge. That strongly implies that something awful happens to Joel, but we'll have to see what happens in the final build of the game.

The bulk of The Last of Us 2 is set to take place in the ruins of Seattle. Once a fortified city, a combination of the mushroom infection and a civil war has left it a ravaged skeleton of a once-thriving city. Two factions, the Washington Liberation Front (WLF) and the religious zealot "Scars" struggle for control over Seattle and repelling the ever-mutating Infected that haunt the city. Ellie is on nobody's side but has come to the city looking for someone, so everyone is arguably her enemy.


Much of the core gameplay that we saw in the demo should be familiar to The Last of Us fans. It's still stealth-oriented gameplay where you're encouraged to use the environment. The major difference in The Last of Us 2 is that the environments are significantly larger, especially vertically. You'll be able to use various climbing points and throwable ropes to scale or descend with rapid ease, allowing you to take different paths you might not know exist. This allows you to sneak up on enemies or avoid fighting them. You can even hide in tall grass, but if an enemy comes too close, they will see you. The areas are so large that you'll even have access to horseback riding to move quickly between zones.

The upgrade system from TLOU also returns with significant updates. There are now a large number of smaller skill trees that you unlock by finding magazines and books scattered around the world. These will allow you to tailor your play style toward specific options, such as close-range combat, fighting from a distance, mobility or stealth. You'll also be able to find various parts in the environment to upgrade your weapons, such as adding a scope to your hunting rifle to allow for longer-distance shooting.

Combat looks significantly more visceral than in the first game. Ellie moves quickly and attacks brutally; she can hold characters hostage, distract them by killing their friends, have two separate factions fight against one another, sneak in to pick them off while they're battling, or get a running start to smash in the face of an enemy. The characters will respond realistically (and disturbingly), calling out their friend's names and sounding heartbroken when finding them dead. There was even one immensely uncomfortable scene in the demo when Ellie set a guard dog on fire, complete with realistic yelps and screams of pain, which seemed perhaps excessive, even for video game violence.


Although we didn't see them in the gameplay demo for more than a heartbeat, the Infected are still around and in even greater numbers. The weak-but-dangerous Runners are a bigger threat, while the silent Clickers are as deadly as ever. There are even new Infected, like a heavily armored boil-covered mushroom monster that spews caustic acid at Ellie if she gets close. It's not clear from the demo if Ellie's immunity to the infection will change how these combat sequences go, but it's clear that the Infected are as dangerous as ever.

The Last of Us 2 is shaping up to be more of everything that the first game was: a larger game world, more options, and plenty of new tools. The story line also looks darker, more violent, and even grimmer than the first game. We'll have to see how it pans out when The Last of Us 2 hits next month.



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