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The Last of Us Part II: First impressions and gameplay details from the first 3 hours (Spoiler Warning)

The Last of Us Part II has released worldwide
The Last of Us Part II has released worldwide
Rahul Bhushan
ANALYST
Modified 19 Jun 2020, 19:51 IST
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The Last of Us Part II is finally out after a tumultuous development cycle that was riddled with delays, and an unfortunate spoiler leak that made the rounds on the Internet.

The Last of Us Part II is one of the most anticipated games on PS4, and is perhaps Naughty Dog's most ambitious title yet.

We got our hands on the game at the launch and played through its first 3 hours, and came away with some pretty huge takeaways. Naughty Dog's last release was Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which showcased impressive graphics, animation and gameplay details.

And The Last of Us Part II is another huge step forward for the developers, who have improved the game on virtually all fronts: the graphics, mobility, gameplay and story telling.

The Last of Us Part II: First impressions

From the moment the game loads up, Naughty Dog displays how seriously they have taken accessibility as a priority in their games, offering a plethora of accessibility options to make the game playable for every individual.

From the moment the first cutscene begins, players bear witness to the impressive graphics. Although the game is still current-gen, you would be forgiven for thinking it was the next-gen version of the game.

Graphics

Cool PlayStation 3 and Uncharted Easter Egg in The Last of Us Part II
Cool PlayStation 3 and Uncharted Easter Egg in The Last of Us Part II

Naughty Dog's previous games, specifically Uncharted 4, boasted some of the best graphics ever seen in a videogame. The Last of Us Part II sees the American company push the boundaries of how great a videogame can look.

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The detailing in the environment, texture of clothing and authenticity of the world is sold brilliantly by the developers, and The Last of Us Part II is simply gorgeous to look at.

New combat

Gameplay screenshot
Gameplay screenshot

The combat feature from the first Last of Us was competent at best. It served its purpose in showcasing the brutality of the world, and was serviceable. However, the sequel takes it a step further by adding more layers to combat.

The game introduces a dodge mechanic, that allows you to dodge oncoming attacks from the infected as well as human enemies. This makes for more challenges during combat rather than just spamming the square button.

The sound design of the game cannot be given enough credit for selling every one of these blows dealt by the characters. The thump of the blow landing on the enemy is as satisfying as you might expect.

Mobility

Ellie can go prone
Ellie can go prone

Players get to play Ellie as the protagonist of this game. Seeing as how Ellie is only 19 years old in this game, much younger than Joel, she is significantly more agile. The game introduces a dedicated jump button (X) that allows Ellie to traverse ledges and gaps.

You can also go prone by holding the circle button to crawl under cars and spaces.

The characters, however, feel like they have more weight to them than the previous game. Meaning that the combat feels significantly better, as well as the movement. The quick turn mechanic comes into play in this game more than it ever did in the first Last of Us.

Soundtrack and sound design

The Last of Us Part II Gameplay screenshot
The Last of Us Part II Gameplay screenshot

The excellent soundtrack by Academy Award-winning composer Gustavo Santaollala is as great as people might expect. It is just as stark and devastating as the first game, but this time there is a hint of underlying hatred and anger.

The sound design of game is simply brilliant, and quite possibly one of its most impressive qualities. Playing The Last of Us Part II with a great set of headphones on is a gamer's paradise.

Each detail is amplified drastically by the sound. For example, the sound of a neck being broken by your protagonist is as sickening as you might imagine. The sound design of the game deserves a lot of praise.

The distinct sound cue that plays when you get detected by an enemy is especially terrifying in The Last of Us Part II.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Warning: spoilers ahead
Warning: spoilers ahead

Story (SPOILER WARNING)

Note: This is for players who have completed at least 3 hours of the The Last of Us Part II, past the Jackson sequence.

The game has a time jump from the events of the first game to 4 years later
The game has a time jump from the events of the first game to 4 years later

The opening few hours of The Last of Us Part II is perhaps one of the greatest openings to a game ever. Picking up soon after the events of the first game, Joel shares his story of the Fireflies with Tommy, and they ride towards Tommy's settlement together.

What follows is a deceptively slow start to the game that builds tension gradually and methodically. It crescendos into what is probably one of the most brutal and heartbreaking scenes of all time.

Playing as Abby (new character) in The Last of Us Part II
Playing as Abby (new character) in The Last of Us Part II

Players get to play as the mysterious Abby, whose history they are still unaware of. We play as Abby as she heads towards Tommy's settlement to look for someone, it is not mentioned who.

Abby runs into a pack of infected, and is saved by Joel and Tommy. Abby, Joel and Tommy then ride off towards the former's hideout. She, Tommy and Joel head back to the rest of her group, hiding out in a nearby mansion.

It is then revealed that Abby had been looking for Joel, for reasons that are still unknown. She proceeds to shoot Joel's leg and brutalizes him with a golf club. This is perhaps one of the most gruesome and violent scenes in a video game.

The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II's incredible graphics and lighting

Ellie arrives at the mansion, but just as she does, Abby murders Joel with the golf club in front of Ellie. This leaves Ellie seething and looking for retribution against the WLF, the faction Abby and her accomplices are a part of, from Seattle.

After a few brief moments at Joel's grave, and Ellie picking up his signature revolver, she and Dina set off for Seattle to settle scores with the WLF.

Joel
Joel's death acts the catalyst for the events of The Last of Us Part II
Published 19 Jun 2020, 19:51 IST
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