The Last of US Part II was one of my most anticipated games of 2020. I remember being hyped when I saw the first trailer back in 2018, and then continuing with game play footage at E3 2020.
After finally playing it and finishing the game I felt like I needed to get my thoughts on this game. I always had history with Naughty Dog, I started young with Crash Bandicoot, spent my teen years with Jax and Daxter, and got older with the Uncharted Series and Last of Us, and it felt as Naughty Dog was growing with me.
Last of Part II is set five years after the events of the first game. Joel and Ellie are in Jackson in a nice community. Ellie is now older, and is doing patrols keeping clear of any infected.
At the start of the game you also play as a mysterious women named Abby, who is trying to find someone in Jackson. After a series of events Abby confronts the person she is looking for and it happens to be Joel. Where it becomes controversial, she kills Joel, in front of Ellie and Tommy. And that’s where the game starts.
It was a hug risk killing Joel, especially at the start of the game, which cause Ellie to go on a quest fro revenge to find Abby and avenge Joel. It is also a lot more brutal than and violent but it is the Last of Us, so or course it is violent.
There is some new game mechanics such as dodge when pressing L1, and with more crouching in which steal plays a huge role. Also the fact that the NPCs actually have names. It seemed very odd, but I think the intention was to make them more human, especially in the messed up world.
Also midway through the game, you begin to play as Abby, Joel’s killer and learns about her relationship with the WLFs, and her past as a Firefly. Also learning that her father was one of doctors that was killed at the end of the previous game.
The Abby sections of the game, I think really fleshed out the world. Seeing other factions and learning about the war the WLFs, had with the Seraphites. I also felt that her section of the game was a lot more challenging especially dealing with the Rat King infected from the hospital.
I feel that her sections of the game, was not merely to make her sympathetic, but to flesh out her character, I always think that the best villains are heroes in their own stories.
There is also a character named Lev, who is a trans man escaping the Seraphites and was banished for “shaving his head”. Lev is one of the few trans characters in gaming, but he also has dealt with abuse and also being dead named by the Seraphites.
Let me give my thoughts about the ending. The ending is set about a year later, with Ellie living with Dina and raising JJ, but then found a lead on where Abby is. She spends time going to Santa Barbara to confront Abby and sees another faction that enslaves people, and is holding Abby and Lev.
When Ellie finally confronts Abby, they have a brawl and in the end she lets Abby go. I know it may seem controversial at first but really thinking about it. It ties a lot into revenge and forgiveness. While I don’t think Ellie forgives Abby, but I think it was important to let her go. When Joel died, Ellie didn’t really forgive Joel for lying to her about what happened at the hospital. Even at the end she goes home and finds that Dina and JJ has left, ending up all alone.
I really enjoyed playing Last of Us Part II. It felt like a really great book that you could not put down. It fleshed out a lot of the story, world and characters. I feel that some of the criticisms was warranted but not to the extent of making death threats to voice actors or to those who liked the game.