We are now less than two weeks out from the release of The Last of Us Part II. Naughty Dog’s sequel to instant cultural phenomenon The Last of Us is coming to all storefronts on June 19th, 2020, arguably serving as this summer’s first major release. It’s been a long road to the game’s release, with hints about Ellie’s journey into adulthood first materializing years ago. This is Naughty Dog’s first project since Uncharted: The Lost Legacy in 2017, a standalone expansion to Uncharted 4, and together with Ghosts of Tsushima will likely serve as a parting gift to PS4 owners as Sony embarks on the PS5 rollout.
Naughty Dog Brings a New Standard for Action-Adventure
Where Naughty Dog franchises in the past have generally relied on a streak of levity (be it the attitude of Crash Bandicoot or the Spielberg-like tone of Uncharted), The Last of Us places players in a stark post-apocalypse, where the horrors of mass infection and human nature alike combine into a singular terror. The near photo-realistic capabilities of the PS4 promise to make The Last of Us Part II even more immersive than its predecessor. The dilapidated Seattle environment is at once harrowing and beautiful as dense foliage and lifelike lighting spills over the abandoned city.
Despite some false alarms, full details of the narrative and gameplay have been kept under wraps. However, what we’ve seen of the game in recent promotional videos illustrates a refinement of Naughty Dog’s past ambitions. Third-person stealth and urban exploration remain the central focus, now with landscapes that are more open than ever. Ellie is mutually equipped to ambush or sneak past enemies, with verticality of the environments and improved enemy AI erasing the linearity of the game’s prequel. A narrative about survival amidst the downfall of civilization is paired with survival-focused gameplay. Crafting and resource management is now integrated amongst carefully deployed encounters. An even tenser campaign stands before the player.
The Last of Us Part II treads toward a greater reconciliation between cinematic storytelling and thorough gameplay. Those who were enthralled by Joel and Ellie’s characterization and a vivid approach to pandemic-based horror can rest assured that The Last of Us Part II will bring forward a cathartic evolution. Those waiting in anticipation can treat themselves to 23 minutes of gameplay footage released by Naughty Dog.
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