Hello, it’s me, The Blog Complainer and this post is not about a movie or TV show. (How subversive!) Yes, we’re talking about a video game, something I haven’t done in over two years. I thought I would resurrect the idea and if you’re not familiar with The Last of Us it’s basically a movie game with a compelling story and very grey characters. The only thing that classifies it as a game is you’re going to be killing 50 odd million people for the next 20+ hours.
The Last of Us Part II is a survival horror where you and your buddies are just trying to stay alive in a world filled with an endless horde of flesh eating disgusting monsters and the odd band of evil humans that will stop at nothing until you’re dead. It’s also a PlayStation 4 exclusive and it might be the last if the PS5 comes out next year as planned. Lastly this is a Naughty Dog game and they’re well known for making ground breaking titles for PlayStation such as the original Crash Bandicoot games, the Uncharted series and 2013’s The Last of Us. Part 1 was really good, thanks to a pitch perfect story that left me craving for more as if I myself was a gross looking fungus zombie. For me that was almost three years ago and this sequel would easily be my most anticipated thing of this year. Now that I have played and beaten Part II, I can say it sort of didn’t disappoint.
We’ll save the story for last because it’s going to get very spoilery and I want to drop my two cents on the gameplay and presentation. If you played the first Last of Us you should be able to pick this up very easily as all the familiar slow walking, gathering junk, simple puzzle solving and killing bad guys sections have returned with the added addition of guitar playing! If you haven’t it shouldn’t take long to master everything I just mentioned although the game is quite diverse with all the accessibility options you’re given before you start playing.
It took me 30+ hours to beat this game on Normal difficulty and this is mainly due to me wanting to discover and find every item in this apocalyptic landscape, perfecting every encounter I had as this hidden badass ninja or finally scoring that head shot I so desired. It can be very gratifying gathering all these resources and guns to craft all these traps, bombs and explosive ammo and seeing it all come together when your new death toy absolutely destroys your enemies. It’s also very annoying when they betray you or you make one big misstep that ultimately leads to your demise.
I probably sound like some sort of murderous psychopath, since the game also includes you killing women and dogs. That’s pretty much how I would describe my gameplay experience. It can get pretty repetitive, but it’s fun violence as this is one of the few games that definitely deserves it’s R rating. It’s bloody brutal, not just because of the people you kill, but also the horrific sites you find in the environment around you. It’s very bleak and miserable, everyone is pretty much a bad guy unless you’re playing as that character and people can die at very short notice, so it’s best not to get too attached. But don’t worry, within the darkness there is absolute beauty as this is one of the best looking games I have ever played.
I do have some complaints about all these aspects, but they all mainly tie in with the story, which I’m just about to spoil for you.
Spoilers from here on out!
So the gist is we play as quirky foul mouthed Ellie who witnesses her beloved father figure from the first game, Joel, be beaten to death by the other character you play as, Abby. I figured Joel was going to die at some point, but not this early on. It was probably the most emotionally devastated I’ve felt because they killed someone I had a pre-established connection with and the scene was very well executed. Also, like most fans of the first game, I wished I could go back to previous sections of the prologue to purposefully make Abby jump off a cliff.
From there the game nicely builds on Ellie’s and our mad desire for revenge against Abby and the WLF people. It’s the best section of the game with the only real downside being the pretty weak side characters and it can be a bit drawn out. My biggest criticisms come when Ellie clashes with Abby once again, but now you’re forced to go back in time and play the same events again, but now as Abby.
For the first few hours I really detested this section as not only all my upgrades and weapons that I got with Ellie are now all gone, but 20 hours in I’m forced to bond with characters that the game told me earlier I wanted to see dead. However, over time Abby slowly grew on me like an annoying leech. How they try to make you like Abby is cheap and manipulative, but despite that it was cool to see a different perspective and while Abby’s story is so disconnected from Ellie’s I liked comparing their parallel views on revenge and how their blood paths endangers or kills the people they love and if you refuse to move on you’re going to end up alone.
For me the game is simply too long. Sure you will get your money’s worth, but the plot is just so bloated with it’s two separate stories plus it’s flashbacks, it’s a mess. The writers were really pushing their luck with this one, which I admire, but ultimately it didn’t pay off. Compared to the first game it’s bigger and grander than it needs to be, when it would have been way better if just remained small and simple.
Towards the end of the game I kind of stopped caring about my perfectionism of looking in every corner of the level and if I got spotted gunning my way through it felt more satisfying at that point. Sometimes it can be way up it’s own ass with it’s themes and the ending left me feeling down and not that interested in a possible sequel. I am a bit curious about the upcoming HBO series, but for now I’m done with The Last of Us.
7 to 8 out of 10. I can definitely see myself playing it again someday, maybe even liking it more, but for now I need to rest. If this game interests you, then I would wait for a price drop before giving it a go and if you haven’t played the first game, I recommend that also, in fact it’s way better. Anyway happy July, I’m not sure what I’m going do next regarding new movies, but until then I have been The Blog Complainer, collapsing dead.