We were able to see the new Naughty Dog game for ourselves about three weeks before the release and spend a full mission with Ellie in Seattle.
The Last of Us Part II Preview: dark, brutal, mature
The Last of Us Part II is coming out on June 19 for the PS4. In our The Last of Us Part II preview, we'll reveal what's in store for us in the game.
The Last of Us Part II is without a doubt one of the hottest games of the year and is THE June highlight par excellence. Almost exactly seven years after the legendary debut of the duo around Joel and Ellie, the two continue to fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. In The Last of Us Part II preview, the action-adventure presents itself even darker, more brutal, and more mature than its predecessor. A TV series based on the game is also on the way.
Quick facts about The Last of Us Part II:
- Entwickler: Naughty Dog
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Platform: PlayStation 4
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- Spieler: 1
- Release: June 19, 2020
The Last of Us Part II: Welcome to Seattle
Ellie rubs her arms shivering as she enters the street. It's cold and rainy, wafts of mist drift across the Seattle floor. After all, the US metropolis is known as Rain City.
Several decades after a cordyceps fungus caused the collapse of civilization, nature reclaims the streets. We stomp through green meadows, past skyscrapers, street signs, and car wrecks that tell their very own story. A surreal picture. But we hardly have any ammunition for our pistols and rifles. Luckily Ellie is trained in handling a bow and arrow. Extremely useful to get rid of annoying infected people, humans, or clickers.
The silent weapon is not the only innovation that fundamentally changes The Last of Us Part II gameplay. After all, we've expanded our repertoire of moves since our teenage years in Part 1.
Ellie is finally able to jump, climb obstacles, or swing over ravines on ropes. These new possibilities not only make exploring The Last of Us Part II much more varied, but they also make the entire game experience more tangible. Ellie moves through the hostile world in a more realistic way, which adds to the fun of the game. The much larger areas and the vertical level design are pleasing in comparison to the predecessor.
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The power lies in tranquillity
We get an idea of the new possibilities relatively quickly. In no time at all, we climb a small checkpoint and jump onto a roof where we find useful resources and crafting materials.
Connoisseurs of the first one will immediately find their way around the crafting system. Still, on our journey we collect different materials like alcohol, rags or scissors, which we then cobble together to Molotov cocktails, med kits or explosive weapons. Our journey takes us through an orphaned shop and out onto a meadow full of lush green grass. A moment to pause and let the breathtaking graphics and atmosphere of The Last of Us Part II take effect on us.
Butterflies play merrily in the air. The wind whistles through the trees while crows have made themselves comfortable on a street sign.
But there is not much time to catch our breath. After all, we are on our way to a hospital to visit a certain Nora. Who's Nora? Well, we must not and will not reveal that at this point.
To the left of us, there is a bar, both entrance doors are locked. At the push of a button, we activate the eavesdropping mode, already known from the predecessor, which reveals the silhouettes of some enemies behind the windows. Now we could smash the windows with a stone or our knife to get inside. But this attracts all opponents. How are we supposed to get in there now? We cross the street to look around the building there. Fortunately, the enemies are not waiting here, but a message written in blood on the wall. "Feel their love"
The message doesn't seem particularly inviting, so we climb through an elevator shaft up to the second floor. There we find a rope with which we swing over a glass canopy to the other side to find more materials. Wait a minute: the infected can't reach us here, right?
Death-defyingly we hurl a brick across the street onto the bar, the windows shatter and it takes less than five seconds for two nasty clickers and several runners to come storming out. We unpack our bow and get rid of the mutants. Just like in the first part, weapons can be improved with upgrades. With the runners, however, a well-placed shot is enough to send them into the afterlife. The blind clickers are much tougher, but with the right tactics, they're no problem either.
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New Infected: Stalker
After a short riddle, we climb up a staircase over a wall and spot our destination at the very back of the horizon. Fortunately, leg-hard action sequences and calmer moments alternate in regular intervals, also in The Last of Us Part II. Every now and then the title lets us take a short breath to soak up the incredibly dense atmosphere, explore the surroundings or learn more about the dark events in notes.
Fortunately, the core gameplay of The Last of Us Part II doesn't change much compared to its predecessor. Due to the new movements and the more extensive crawling elements, everything feels a good bit rounder and more realistic. Ellie has learned a lot, since it's bitterly necessary. Especially when we have to deal with the new enemies.
Our journey leads us through a run-down hotel, which has an unpleasant surprise right at the entrance. Four stalkers are beating their stomachs at a corpse. Besides the already revealed shamblers, this is a new type of infected people.
Compared to the well-known clickers, the stalkers in TLoU 2 are much faster and meaner. They hide behind objects in the dark, only to strike at lightning speed when we turn our backs on them. This is particularly nasty because our eavesdropping mode is not too much help when we meet them.
Almost a horror game
The aforementioned section is also very powerful and could come directly from a survival horror game. In complete darkness, we make our way through an old open-plan office. Only our flashlight shows us the way. A careless moment, already the stalkers storm towards us from all sides, attack, and disappear again as fast as they came. Was there a shadow? Where did the sound come from?
Honestly? Such an oppressive feeling hasn't triggered a game in us for years, and so the joy is correspondingly great when we slowly catch sight of some daylight at the end of the room again. Too bad that the exit door is locked. It's a race against time that ends with a quick time event.
Together with a stalker we fall into a torrential stream and end up in the stinking sewer. At its end, we climb a ladder while a sign tells us our location: Pioneer Square station - in the middle of 3rd Avenue in downtown Seattle. The hospital is on the fifth. So it shouldn't be too far anymore.
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The gameplay is refreshing
We decide to take the shortcut through the park which, thanks to the accurate depiction of Seattle in The Last of Us Part II, should be City Hall Park. Only that the park in the game is so overgrown that it almost resembles a jungle. Full of giant trees and ferns so high that you could hide there. Our trip into nature comes to an abrupt end when suddenly a loud whistle breaks the silence. A moment later an arrow hits us right in the shoulder. Ellie takes cover, we remove the arrow under a painfully distorted face and camouflage ourselves in the thicket.
Shortly afterwards we are surrounded by enemies. Panic spreads, because there are a lot of them! All that can be heard is the howling wind and the rustling of the grass. Now and then a whistle from our adversaries breaks the deceptive calm. It's another moment in which The Last of Us Part II shines with an incredibly dense horror atmosphere.
Yes, The Last of Us 2 has not only gained a lot in terms of gameplay or graphics but especially concerning the atmosphere. In combination with the lifelike animations and the detailed facial expressions of the characters the gripping adventure is much more tangible and even more intense than the already outstanding first part.
Sneak, fight or flee?
The last of Us Part II gives us a couple of options on how to proceed. We could now take on all our opponents. We either face them in direct combat until we run out of ammo and then swap to melee. Alternatively, we can sneak slowly through the tall grass, separate them and pick them off one by one.
As a final option, we can ignore the enemies completely and move on without them even noticing us. We have a choice. All options can work. We opt for the stealth approach, where Ellie can easily take on the stealth pros Solid Snake or Sam Fisher.
Quite a while later we reach the hospital, which of course is teeming with enemies again. However, this time it's another human faction that doesn't rely on the silent bow, but on powerful firearms. They also have a dog which can smell our scent even from a distance.
No fight is like the previous one
The Last of Us Part II features much more varied types of opponents, each requiring their own unique strategy. You learn how to approach the clickers, stalkers or human through experience. This also fits perfectly into the survival setting.
The story of The Last of Us Part II isn't just about a vendetta, but about the profound development of Ellie in a hostile world. It's about topics like dehumanization or obsession. How far am I willing to go to achieve my goal? In the past few years, the inquisitive, bright girl has become a tough (but by no means emotionally cold) survivor. How this happens and how well the title manages this character development has to be shown in the final game, though.
Ellie is ready to walk over dead bodies to achieve her goals. In the underground of the hospital, we meet an unsuspecting woman, from whom we elicit the location of our target Nora. When the lady tries to overpower us, we don't hesitate for a second and brutally ram a knife into her neck. Yeah, The Last of Us 2 is definitely not for kids.
The emotions The Last of Us Part II conveys in the facial expressions of its characters, the body language and the outstanding voice acting alone are simply breathtaking. We are sure: If the story fits in the finished game, developer Naughty Dog will deliver their masterpiece, which should surpass even the predecessor and the excellent Uncharted series.
Through the winding corridors of the hospital we make our way up and see our destination from a ventilation shaft. In one room we confront Nora. We learn that their paths have apparently crossed in the past. And with that ends our allusion version.
It's hard to describe what the two-hour-long experience of The Last of Us Part II triggered in us. Naughty Dog certainly know what they're doing
Featuring new moves and stealth elements, as well as more varied enemy types, The Last of Us Part II plays even rounder, more varied and more intense than Part 1. Technically, the post-apocalyptic adventure gets everything out of PlayStation 4 and features graphics that regularly make us drop our jaws. It comes as no surprise that the title will also make it to the upcoming PS5.
However, it's not just chic textures or more details in the environment. It's the entire interplay of a dense atmosphere, lifelike facial expressions and animations that leave us amazed. We're sure the game will be a highlight of 2020 and will no doubt claim plenty of awards. The Last of Us Part II, awaits us on June 19 and we can hardly wait.