The Last Of Us Part 2 Spoiler-Free Review: An Epic And Thought Provoking Revenge Tale For Modern Times

The Last Of Us Part 2 Spoiler-Free Review: An Epic And Thought Provoking Revenge Tale For Modern Times
Credit: Sony

This is a spoiler-free review of The Last of Us Part 2. 

The Last of Us Part II has been out for over a week now and I’m still processing what I saw and went through.

The game has been no stranger to controversy, from huge game breaking spoilers released online by hackers to rumors of a crunch culture environment at developer Naughty Dog leading to continued delays.

But I was able to put all of that out of mind and look at The Last of Us Part II for what it was; an absolutely brilliant game.

I’m going to get this out of the way right up front. I loved this game. I was pulled in by it and it held me. So, if you’re one of those fans looking for a cathartic experience where someone rips this game a new one, I’m sorry to say you’ve come to the wrong place.

Now, as this is a spoiler free review, I’m not going to be diving into the plot in a huge way so I’ll skirt around the major spoilers while still managing to say what I liked and didn’t like while playing.

The Bad

Let’s start off with some of the bad aspects of this game and close out with the good.

I found at times that the camera could be a little shaky. This was especially true when trying to sneak my way through hordes of Infected. There were more than a few times where someone was attacking me or shooting at me and I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from.

Also, one thing that really bothered me is not so much an aspect of the gameplay itself, but more the marketing that surrounded the title. Naughty Dog definitely used some deceptive marketing strategies when putting this game out. I understand why they did it because of certain story events, which I’m not going to go into specifics about.

However, I don’t like feeling lied to by commercials, trailers, etc. In the case of this game, Naughty Dog 100% deceived the audience, and it’s easy to see why a lot of them felt betrayed. When you think you’re spending money on one thing but it turns out that many of the scenes you saw in the advertising campaign were either completely fabricated or heavily altered, you’ve entered a marketing moral gray area.

Not cool, Naughty Dog.

The Good

First off, this is an absolutely beautiful game. I don’t think anyone can deny that.

The combat, which was awesome in the first game, was refined and made to feel a lot more real in this sequel. They also upped the horror movie factor. There were incredibly tense moments in this game where I felt real gut gnawing edge of my seat levels of fear. The Infected are much more capable in this game and way more terrifying, which is saying a lot.

The AI was nothing short of spectacular. The fact that the NPCs all had names and connections to one another made the game feel more real. It also tugged at my conscience a lot. It’s much harder to hunt down characters who have emotions, friends, and family. These enemies never felt like throw away foot soldiers. You feel it every time you slit someone’s throat and leave them for their friends to find.

But I think the biggest positive of this game was the story. It speaks to life in a post apocalyptic world in a way that a lot of zombie media hasn’t been able to hit on. We see the concept of good and evil on full display here. Without going into specifics, we are shown how evil and good are concepts created internally, and vary based on perspective.

Characters we see as bad or evil early on can easily see the people we perceive to be the heroes as evil in their own right.

A number of new characters were added to the mix in this game, and all of them brought something to the table. For me, the standout new characters were Dina and Lev. They were both interesting, had a great emotional tie to the main characters, and showed us something about life in this world.

Final Verdict

Yes, The Last of Us Part II engaged in some dirty marketing, but I was able to get over that quickly. What I found was a fun, heart pounding, thought provoking adventure that has earned the high marks most professional critics are giving it.

I highly recommend it and I feel as though it’s a strong installment in what I hope will be a continuing franchise for Sony.