Game: Last of Us Part II
Platform: PlayStation 4
Rating: M for Mature
To begin this article this article in an extremely geeky way, I am going to quote Doctor Strange from the Avengers Infinity War: “We are in the endgame now.” We are in the shadow of the PS4 and Xbox One’s life cycles with the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X at the end of this year. With the clock ticking until a brand new generation of consoles launches, we only have a finite number of games to enjoy on current systems, one such game being The Last of Us Part II, perhaps the biggest title to hit shelves on current gen.
The original The Last of Us was heavily story driven as you help escort a young girl across a post-apocalyptic America. The narrative was so well received that many players compared it to Orson Welles’ classic film Citizen Kane. The Last of Us Part II follows this same trend and takes it even further. I will keep story details to a minimum in order to prevent spoilers. With that being said, the plot has you once again traversing a disheveled and overgrown America. Along this magnificently written journey, I was sucker punched with so many emotions I commend developer Naughty Dog for having talent to portray. Some gamers may find the lull between the action to be somewhat boring, however, any game on the market can provided back to back action, it takes a masterpiece to pepper the experience with unforgettable moments that mean far more than merely shooting something.
Breaking the Video Game Barrier
The gameplay remains similar to the previous outing, only with the addition of new abilities. Protagonist Ellie can now crawl, helping her to either reach new areas or hide from enemies amidst tall grass. She can also throw cables or ropes over objects, allowing her to give power to generators or to allow accesses to high locations. Best of all she can smash glass. This may sound like a trivial feature, yet it is actually quite a big deal. Often in video games when we come across a locked door it usually means we either have to find a key or that the developers did not program that area and we need to move on elsewhere. Here though we can just toss a nearby brick through a window, granting us entry. After years of gaming and becoming accustomed to the same old mechanics, breaking glass in this way is literally breaking the video game barrier. In combat Ellie will still come up against both the living and the undead, although there are new enemy types. Dogs can track your sent, letting them maul you if found or even leading other adversaries to your whereabouts.
A Rich Environment
While the character models and facial animations are impressive, there hasn’t been a substantial leap in this department since the previous entry. The graphical jump comes in the rich environments and lighting effects. The years since the apocalypse have been long and the earth has taken its landscape back, which is shown with the lush, overgrown vegetation and the vines creeping over every surface. Some areas look almost photorealistic thanks to the overwhelming detail. Everything isn’t all good and green though. At times the game forces you underground to abandoned subway tunnels where flares are used to light your way. The glowing red affect is astounding. Not only that, the art design is likewise beautiful even in cinematic scenes, enhancing already touching moments.
While some may find minor grievances with The Last of Us Part II, there is no denying this game is a masterpiece, thanks in most part to its poignant plot. There have been reports that users have been leaving negative reviews on database sights in order to squash the game’s momentum. These reviews are unfounded, this game could be the best on the PS4 and its last greatest game prior to the newest console, PS5.