The Last of Us Part II is the latest title from award-winning studio, Naughty Dog, and a new chapter in what is considered to be one of the greatest games made in the last decade. As such, there was plenty for this installment to live up to, with fans expecting the studio to deliver in terms of narrative, gameplay, visuals and iconic moments.
Whether it can indeed deliver all of that remains to be seen, with the game only being out for a couple of weeks now, but there are certainly aspects of The Last of Us Part II than improve upon its predecessor.
Here we look at five aspects in particular that outdo the original game. Some are seen immediately, and others are waiting to be discovered, but all are welcome in what has easily become the most hotly anticipated PS4-exclusive of 2020.
Scroll down further to find what Naughty Dog has introduced in The Last of Us Part II, and don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers.
Rich in detail
The first and most immediate difference in The Last of Us Part II is the improvements on the visuals. Given that the original title came out in 2013, that’s to be expected, but the work that Naughty Dog has done on all elements of the post-pandemic world it has created is superb.
You get a real sense of the attention to detail while in the now overgrown city of Seattle, as the metropolitan environment has been replaced by dense trees and grass. Exploring, and trying to survive, abandoned buildings also gives you a sense of the attention to detail, with even the most darkened of halls featuring areas worth scavenging through.
As for as visuals go, whether it be a cut scene or in-game action, The Last of Us Part II is one of the best experiences available on the PS4.
One of the new mechanics that The Last of Us Part II leverages heavily is tight spaces and corridors. There are two reasons for this.
The first is that our main protagonist, Ellie, is relatively short and slim. This means she can fit into spaces that other characters simply cannot. She often uses this to her advantage in order to escape capture, and in many cases, explore areas of the map that would otherwise be inaccessible to others, which is great for scavengers.
The other is from a storytelling perspective, with the camera often tightening to match the movement through small spaces too. It helps to build the tension when working through dark environments or areas where you know infected enemies may be present, as you never quite know what’s on the other side of a gap you’ve just squeezed through.
Arts and crafts
Crafting is a big part of the gameplay in The Last of Us Part II. After all, what’s the point of scavenging all those materials and tools in-game if you’re not going to put them to work.
There are two types of crafting, with weapons and health being the priorities.
Health crafting, which often involves bandages and alcohol to help clean and dress wounds following particularly intense encounters. This can be done at any point in the game provided you have the right amount of materials on hand, but should be carried out once you know no enemies are around, as it does take a few seconds.
The weapons crafting is a little more interesting, but can only be accessed when an appropriate working surface is found. Once one is available, Ellie can customise whatever weapons she has on her with a few different elements, with each tackling ammo capacity, accuracy, stability and the like.
Track and trace
Stealth gameplay is a key part of The Last of Us Part II. Ellie is often found outgunned and outmanned in this harsh world, and as such needs to find other ways to exact revenge on those deserving of it.
Here listening is crucial, and it’s an in-game mode where Ellie will get down on her knees, fall silent and focus in on her surroundings. The screen goes black and white and she’s able to get a sense of where other characters are in her immediate environment. It’s a key skill required if you plan to get through areas densely populated with enemies or infected.
Another skill picked up in the game is tracking, although this is not something that Ellie makes use of. Instead it is one of the other newly introduced, but key to the narrative, characters – Abby. It’s a skill she learned from her father growing up, and one she puts to use in-game.
The final improvement is one we had not even noticed at first, and it is the guitar that Ellie is gifted by Joel early on in the game. Here Naughty Dog uses the trackpad and buttons on the DualShock 4 controller in order to get Ellie to play the guitar at a few different points in the game.
You are given on-screen prompts for this, but you can actually play any tune you want, provided you know the different chords needed.
As such we’ve seen a few people currently playing through the game strum out a few other well-known tunes, and it will likely be an easter egg that players will enjoy clipping and sharing with others in The Last of Us Part II community.
To find out more about this new release, and how to order for yourself on PS4 or PS4 Pro, head here.