It is difficult to evaluate a game about which practically everyone has their own judgment, without playing it at all. Some fans will give the game a perfect score no matter what happen. Then there is the second group, which would immediately give the game minus score, because they think that something will interfere with them, and they have no idea what the game is about. And it's also challenging because the game itself doesn't make it easy. Naughty Dog have come out again and brought a game that in some respects exceeds expectations, and you will find things here that few in recent years have achieved to such qualities. And then there are the aspects where you would like them to catch up as well.
On the other hand, The Last of Us: Part II also greatly simplifies the situation by giving us a lot of time to let the whole game go through our heads. You can trust me that there is really a lot to process here - in terms of gameplay, in terms of theme, display and even the story. All this violence, relationships and wandering through the part of the "zombie" infested America will be signed not only on the characters, but also on the players. You experience with them short moments of happiness as well as intense moments of anger or sadness. Maybe it's not a game you'd imagine as a sequel to The Last of Us. But it's definitely a game you should play.
Ellie and Joel are back, four years have passed since the events of the previous game, and they have both moved somewhere. Although it is still a surrogate relationship between daughter and father for them, as each of them has lost a lot in their lives, there are also new elements. Joel is older, maybe more tired, but the introduction will show you that even if he doesn't change his decisions from the past, their shadow still haunts him. Ellie is already an adult woman, she is strong, independent, cynical, in love, but also very annoyed. However, they are not alone, they are part of a large community that is trying to survive in its own small town. It squeaks there, but better than outside, where the characters go on patrol together and you yourself are invited to several such patrols.
These names don't tell you anything because you didn't play the first game? Well, it doesn't matter at all. Of course, it would be nice if you survived the events of the first game alongside this pair, but the pair solved it quite elegantly with a short introductory sequence with Joel. A few flashbacks, a little talking and you know what happened. The second one is a significant follow-up to the first game and shows that in a way no one is a hero and every act has its consequences and victims. A decision of yours can trigger a circle of violence that cannot be left out.
It is difficult to describe the story and many aspects of the game in general, as much of it is forbidden by the embargo. So I can't fully illustrate what works great on the story, where it is a bit crooked, but maybe I can tell you at least that this will not be just the story of Joel and Ellie. It will be the story of several of their loved ones, it will also be the story of completely new characters. Many of these characters are two-faced coins, and you'll look at both here. Fans will be pleased to see familiar faces such as Tommy and Maria return. However, new characters that the game is about can also be popular. They are not few of them, they have enough space and they are greatly helped by the great acting performances of experienced actors and actresses supported by a quality script.
A great new character is, for example, Dina, dubbed by Shannon Woodward. Although he is just a side character and accompanies you as part of the game, you will easily like her. It's as spacious as Ellie, but a little more spirited, which creates a great contrast and chemistry between the characters. Also, the strong supporting characters have something in them, there is a varied palette and everyone is different, with their own motivations and dreams. Ellie is a bit of a problem. If you haven't known her before, it's hard to love her. It's not exactly a nice character, and as long as the game develops what moved it like that, you can already sense it, but it will also stop you from being a bit interested, and that's never good for such a story game.
Only gradually does the game bring you closer to the events that have taken place in those few years. With Joel and Ellie you will experience moments of joy and especially one playable flashback is simply a complete shell and one of the top game moments of this year. The story is not completely chronological here. There are more lines here, you often go back in time in longer or shorter passages. They work well, only with Ellie noticing that the developers may not have focused so much on her, and much of the game only looks like a one-dimensional character with no more interesting development.
On the other hand, the little chill will settle for what awaits you. The game is brutal in terms of violence and bloody. Don't have any illusions that Ellie is a positive character. He is the main character of the game, but he does ugly things. Not only to infected, but also people. Overall, playing is a big flurry of psyche and in large doses it didn't do me any good, but it's not a critique of the game. All this murder is portrayed very naturalistically, and if you're not hurting someone, someone is hurting your character. Tearing demons to pieces, on the other hand, is a rag, it seems too realistic, it evokes unpleasant feelings, but at the same time it perfectly fulfills its purpose.
The Last of Us: Part II is first and foremost an action game. Although strongly based on the story, but an action game. Ellie sets out on an expedition only relatively modestly armed, and that's enough for her first skirmishes in the woods. Gradually, he collects more weapons, or resources, which are not many, but they are enough to be able to survive later in a more dangerous environment of Seattle. You also collect resources for the simple production of things (which could have shifted more since the first game) and for the improvement of weapons and characters. If you sprinkle the characters with pills, you will get enough experience points to improve their endurance, fighting skills, or production possibilities. By finding the manual, you are gradually gaining access to other branches of the tree, don't expect an RPG from it, but it's a nice variety.
It might seem that firearms are playing here. The game most often puts them in your hands and there are moments when you simply can't do without them. However, there are several problems. They are noisy, which attracts enemies, and you definitely don't want to have two clickers on your neck, for example. This type of infection is just as scary as before, but new infections have also been added. Especially against the stronger ones, you can't do without pistols and rifles. However, there are also more elegant solutions, such as later bows. Arrows are for multiple uses (if you aim precisely) and it is a pleasure to eliminate enemies inconspicuously.
The second problem is that the action with weapons is not so much fun here, you will want to avoid it yourself and you will lean towards the stealth procedure, which you will also enjoy very much. You can bypass enemies, crouch in tall grass, eliminate discreetly from behind and so on. Maybe it's missing something, but the game handled these mechanics very nicely and you also have to check which enemy you can neutralize from behind and who you just upset. A sharpened hearing mode also helps in stealing, revealing enemies so that you don't get stuck in front of their noses. Your visibility is also great in terms of sound. You don't have to know who sees you, but the sound will tell you. Later, you will also use knives that you make yourself.
This great impression of stealing is again a bit spoiled by artificial intelligence. Enemies are nice, they can bypass you, even surround you or drive you into a corner. And right after that, your companion will run before their eyes and the whole impression is gone. This is something that was blamed on the first game and here it is again to the same extent. Even enemies are sometimes blind and deaf to your character in moments when you say it is impossible for them not to register this. And even on higher difficulty. These moments aren't as much as with your AI companion, but they also impress a little down.
And even though I personally enjoyed the quiet procedure a lot, there were also moments when the game design wanted to disgust me. The game is usually designed in such a way that you feel very handy and intelligent when stealing. You go around them all, no one notices you in the locality, but suddenly it seems that you have nowhere to go. No doors allow interaction, there are visible or even invisible walls in the vicinity, so you can't walk through bushes or a closet thrown on the ground. It will start to frustrate you a bit, the first one will notice you and it will already be hanging. You have to draw a gun and shoot. You eliminate them all and then the game takes you to the door where you originally came, but then they were not interactive. I found two or three such moments in the game and they did not please me. Unnecessarily, the game pushed the action if it could be elegantly avoided. It works similarly in passages where the door cannot be opened at once, but QTE is waiting for you.
The environment has opened up compared to the first game, but it's still a linear game that pushes you forward one way. However, there are a few passages in the city where the road branches off and you are offered alternative alternatives. For example, you will inconspicuously move around enemies, or run straight. Although it will attract their attention, but sometimes it is also a solution, you cross a point, a script runs, for example, the character falls into the mud, slips somewhere and no one chases you. However, the possibilities of collecting prey are also opening up. There are buildings here, in the apartments it is even more articulated vertically, so you will enjoy the exploration a lot and you will have fun.
And for two reasons. The first and simpler is that you get another source - you have more ammunition, a stronger figure, more smokestacks, first aid kits and I don't know everything in stock. These are the things you urgently need, and the higher the difficulty, the more you need them. And also the game was textured by emergent narrative. It's the kind of story that comes up while playing, and it's not about the main story, but about the number of smaller stories you discover and create yourself.
These are, for example, letters you find after the dead. It's the graffiti you find around town. These are, for example, links kept by neighbors. And they are also safes in which "treasures" are hidden. Finding combinations for them is primitively easy and I probably only miss one of the whole game, but at the same time it perfectly illustrates the world in which the game takes place. It is cruel, without hope and a huge number of people have a very bad fate in it. You may read the link from some of them and you will immediately come across it in a form that you have to fight.
Compared to the first game, the second one significantly worked on the variability of the content. Today I have the impression that the unit was about one and the same "puzzle" with the translation of the board around. The filling is significantly more interesting and also more fun. There are more puzzles, the board / ladder is not missing either, but this is probably just a reference to the players of the first game, because the game is really richer. Again, don't expect to get stuck somewhere on a "puzzle", but it will diversify the gameplay and in a pleasant way.
If it was still just about action, it would gradually start to get boring. As I mentioned, shooting is not so much fun here and the game doesn't always let you solve everything inconspicuously and quietly. But overall, in terms of gameplay, it's a mix that won't bore you. And when it seems that the loop of gameplay is too repetitive, there will be a big change, which will significantly enliven the game and practically shoot to the heights. The second half brings the best moments you will experience in the game. It's more interesting from the point of view of character development, from the point of view of the story, from the point of view of the world, from the point of view of side characters, simply as long as I enjoyed the game, until I really started to enjoy it here, because the gameplay started and it stagnated a bit. Here, the story gained momentum and turnover, and even new elements came to the gameplay that enlivened it. If you do not approach the game with prejudice, you will really enjoy the whole game and maybe some passages even more than you would expect.
However, the ending is again a bit problematic because it suffers from the Return of the King syndrome. It's one of my favorite movies, but it's true that it has three endings that are unnecessarily stretched. And something similar is here. With the game, even with a proper collection of everything around, you will spend some 19 hours, which is a great game time for a singleplayer game that is not an RPG and is not in the open world. But the last hour or two is very stretched, and the cotton wool doesn't push it all forward much. There's a lot of gameplay that takes time, but you don't do much. For example, I would rather watch this in the cutting scene, because the game handled them very well. Then another fight awaits you, which is just a recycling of what you have already done, and then comes the final end. Honestly, if they gave me a 20-minute cut scene with the fact that I would only play the full conclusion, or if they cut it and put the cotton wool at the end, I would probably enjoy the conclusion more. That way, I was more exhausted with him than Ellie, and I probably had as much fun as he did (not too much).
Graphically, the impression is a bit contradictory and it's just a pity that we are forbidden to give our own pictures for reviews. I would like to show you one place that is part of a later passage of the game, where you are actually chasing after sunset and the game will literally take your breath away. But I also can't show places where, for example, vegetation and textures look like from the first game, and it's been a few years. Globally, it's still a very nice game with great animations (although they can sometimes hang out), great character depictions and nice graphics, it just seems that some parts of it were created earlier and lag behind others. For example, God of War looks better to me, also Spider-Man. Even both games (depending on the noise of the console) make the PS4 Pro more juicy than this one.
We've already touched the sound, but will elaborate a little. It is great. And now a little more. The effects will draw you into this ruined world, the dubbing actors will move you, the NPCs will still have a lot of different dialogues with each other, ambient sounds will tell you if it's your neck, and then there's the music. She is perfect in how minimalist she is. The absence of music is also an important part of sound design, it is just more difficult to work with. Here, however, they managed it 100% and you will enjoy those moments when you hear something. All the more so if Ellie plays it on your guitar.
Not satisfied with the rating? It doesn't matter, it can be a perfect game for you, just as someone can throw it away. Does he have his faults? Definitely. Are they serious? Not at all. Did the unit do some things better? Yes, revenge as the core of the story is a little bit. Enjoy one of the best games of the year and one of the best PS4 exclusives? That's right. Just don't be unnecessarily discouraged by nonsense that doesn't reflect what this game is at all. You may be surprised at how some things are handled here and how you will have fun with them.