The Last Of Us Part 2 is game of the generation – Reader’s Feature

A reader explains why he thinks The Last Of Us Part 2 is Naughty Dog’s best game and how it’s replaced the original as his favourite game of all time.

I’ve never experienced a game like The Last Of Us Part 2. It will subvert your expectations tenfold, and even when you think you know where the game is going, you won’t. For me, it is Naughty Dog’s crowning achievement and easily one of the most bold, brave, and thought-provoking games to ever exist. It’s been days since the credits rolled and I’m still thinking about it.

It could have so been just a rehash of the original with updated combat, and for many a developer that would’ve been the case. But knowing Naughty Dog, they had to set a new benchmark whilst making Part 2 its own game. And for me, this is their finest game to date. It serves as a testament to what games can be when a developer pushes and changes the template of what we expect on almost every level.

Taking place in the beautiful, haunting remains of Seattle, the world-building is just as good as ever. Side story content comes in the form of letters left behind, and can end up riveting or horrifying you, as every abandoned part of this world feels like it used to be lived in. Family pictures of happier times remain intact, with everything else either broken or overgrown. 25 years later, nature really has reclaimed the earth.

In terms of what you’ll do in Part 2, you will have enemy encounters with the infected, local factions, and the hallmark walk and talk Naughty Dog is known for. I want to give a big shout out to the level designers, who make each encounter that bit more intense due to their fantastic work. It is tense enough already having just about enough ammo to scramble through, but add in the maze-like qualities of each encounter and it’s a whole different ball game.

Early on, I bumped into a patrol near a gas station. Hiding in the tall grass, I spotted a sniper on the roof and took my chance to sneak past everyone and silently execute him. Now my chances were a lot better, even though I only had four bullets, so the remaining enemies were going to have to share. My plans were fumbled through, as when I was climbing back down from the roof, I was spotted.

I managed to take one’s head straight off with my shotgun, with his friend howling out in sorrow and anger. With a bottle in my inventory, I quick-threw it before charging him down and stabbing him slowly to death. The others heard the commotion and start checking the area, calling their now dead friends’ names to make sure everything was alright. It really wasn’t. I used my listen mode to see where they were, slowly climbing through the grass and taking them out stealthily with my trusty switchblade.

In short, the combat is outstanding and easily Naughty Dog’s most accomplished system. Each gun feels different and each one carries a big punch. Ellie can now lay prone in the tall grass, making stealth more viable and easily the most fun to do since Metal Gear Solid 5. There’s even a dodge button, making brawling with runners and humans a more fluid affair.

In every way, the combat has been improved and I would think revisiting the original would feel very dated now. As mentioned briefly, enemies will mourn their comrades being killed should they see it happen; they will actively search for you and can even pull you out from underneath the truck you’ve been hiding under. A faction will even communicate through whistles, so eerily it feels like the human equivalent of a clicker. It will go right through you, just like arrows. You can manually remove arrows, as leaving them will cause frequent damage to your health. It’s a nice extra layer that feels justified, and really brings home how cruel and dangerous the world is.

To top it off, the infected are still as intense as ever, and most of the time they are downright terrifying. I can’t tell you the amount of times I was screaming obscenities with my heart going 10 to the dozen. It really will, at the very least, leave you thankful for any moment of levity, with the excellent soundtrack really bringing that home.

I think The Last Of Us Part 2 changed me as a person. It’s very rarely a game, let alone a sequel, that covers so many themes and nails every single one of them. Part 2 is a harrowing and extremely risky character study, a game that truly is a perfect companion piece to the original. For the past seven years I’ve been telling everyone that my favourite game is The Last Of Us. But now I know that I have a new favourite game of all time.

Challenging what a video game can be, Naughty Dog have changed the way I perceived what a video game is, and made me realise why the power of video games is something to cherish.

The Last Of Us Part 2 is easily the game of the generation. For me at least.

By reader Charlie Ridgewell

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