Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you
Hey, gamers and spectators! I hope you’re having a great time enjoying awesome games, but have you played The Last of Us Part II? Have you played The Last of Us Part I? If you have, get up from your couch-potato moment, get the game of the second part and then become a couch-potato again!
In this post, I’ll tell you why you should play this game. As I’ve done recently, the first part of this post before the picture of the Clicker is spoiler-free and the part after the picture is a spoiler zone. I’ll be referring to The Last of Us Part I because I’m assuming you’ve played it while reading this. To check out my review of The Last of Us Part I, click here.
The Last of Us Part II was almost perfection to me. It starts off smoothly a little time after the end of the first game, when Ellie tells Joel to tell her that everything he said about the Fireflies was true.
After that, we go into the ‘current day’ that is 4 years after to meet an 18-year-old Ellie.
The story is very well explained and articulated. There is no boring or silent moment in the game as either you’re sneaking to kill the Infected or people, you’re fighting them or you’re walking or jogging or exploring and when you’re exploring, the character converses with his or herself and with those around them. It’s a sweet touch to the possible monotony of the game as you get to know their mental state, thinking and their lives currently or years before when they came across the fact that there were infected. There are no excess, over-dramatic dialogues and the few dialogues they say occasionally conveys so much about them.
Also in the gamer, the characters love collecting a certain item which when you examine are very interesting and fun, adding a special tiny element to their personality.
As you go on in the game, you become even more and more involved with the characters and their expressions truly carry bundles of words. For me, I often questioned the characters during the game about what are they thinking? Is this right? Would I do the same thing if I was in their situation? The conflicted feelings I felt by the end of the first game was even more elevated and emphasised throughout the game play of this game.
As for the game play, it was awesome and even better than the first game. In the first game, you had limited ammo and could craft short-term weapons like shivs, molotovs, health kits and improved melee weapons. By collecting enough pills, you can increase your skills. In this game, you can do that and much more.
You can also crafts smoke bombs, bombs where you step on and it blows, bullets and arrows both regular and special, silencers and much more. As for skills, there are even more skills you can acquire as you explore, the skills including being able to hold a person hostage, being able to craft more ammo, increasing stability of weapon aims, etc. Furthermore, while exploring you come across work benches where you can upgrade your weapons from the screws and nuts you collect from your surroundings. You may not upgrade all your weapons 100% so you need to think smart about what upgrades you think are important and you need to get through the game. The same goes for skill upgrades. Hence this is a fun game of killing but being smart about it as well.
Furthermore, the fighting moments were so intense and demanding I wanted to run away half the time. You need to move fast and kill effectively while knowing you have a limited amount of ammo and the game ensures that you cannot get to a high ledge and save yourself from the throttle. Some moments come out of nowhere like when you open the door into a room and some occur after that deep sound, that occurs when you are hiding but close to danger, rises up to a bang indicating now you have been spotted. My heart was beating out of my chest throughout those moments as although I played at normal level, I was petrified. Especially because like the first game, the Clicker kills you once it reaches you.
I really liked how they kept the aspects of the game play in the first game the same in this game, with a few tweaks. For example, you still need to push the analogue stick gently while sneaking to avoid being spotted by a Clicker and the only way to kill it sneakily is by using a shiv or a knife. You still require the health kit to heal yourself and your melee weapons have a limited life so every fatal moment is a mind game. Also, the people and Infected wander around randomly and unpredictably so you need to sneak up behind them or in front of them well. However, did you really think the Clicker is your biggest worry? Think again.
Architecture and Design:
This game really took its architecture and design up the notch, even better than the first game. In this game, you explore the crumbling remains of an array of buildings that really make you appreciate how normal life is now where all the buildings and places are functional, filled with people and activity. You can sense the thirst for normality to resume in the characters between their sarcastic dialogues as they explore restaurants, bakeries, toy stores, music stores, banks, offices, TV stations, hospitals, amusement parks, cathedrals, even collapsed roads and highways where every form of life (both healthy and fungal) seeps through the cracks and crevices of human infrastructure. It’s beautiful to see the downfall of mankind and evolution of nature as grass and trees takes over the remnants of civilization. How locations of progress and enjoyment become a battlefield.
Lastly, after I finished the game, I checked out the Extras option in the game and I came across files of concept art which were very beautiful and mesmerising to see. The pictures in this post are from that concept art collection so these are the few snippets I shared. However, I suggest you check it out after you’ve finished the game. Truly, almost every aspect of this game was so perfect you couldn’t tell what was going to happen.
CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT!!!!!
Since the most spoiler-worthy part of the game was the story, I’d like to talk about it here.
I loved how they showed Ellie’s confused internal conflict throughout the game, such as her journal entries; how she wrote about her life, was ruminating her emotions and crossing out sentences that weren’t appropriate. I loved how they kept the question in our mind till half of the game as to whether she knew what happened at the hospital or if Joel knew that she knew or told her. You were told she was ignoring Joel but the reason was unclear or there was more to it. Hence, it was so devastating seeing Joel die so soon in the game and realizing that I played as Abbie so she could kill Joel. At first, I was confused as she was a part of WLF whereas the Fireflies were based in Boston or Salt Lake City where the hospital was but later on I understood she belonged to the Fireflies.
You may agree or disagree with my opinion about this but I don’t care. It is my opinion and I’m not writing this to offend anyone. I didn’t expect Ellie’s sexual preference to be highlighted that much in this game that Ellie’s relationship with Dina would make a few inappropriate scenes come in the game which I felt uncomfortable with as I couldn’t skip the movie clips as I didn’t want to miss out on the story so I had to cover my eyes and take off my earphones in those scenes, which were a lot. As a Muslim, I’m against homosexuality but I’m not a homophobe. I do not impose my beliefs on others, especially people belonging to other faiths but I would’ve liked it if such scenes were at the end so those people who are not comfortable with it can skip it. I’m not just saying this for Ellie and Dina. Abbie and Owen’s scenes were by the end of the movie clip so I was able to know the story and skip the parts that I found uncomfortable. Thankfully, they were good at not exposing nudity that much. Nevertheless, Owen I felt behaved like a baby whereas I really like Dina (and J.J 🙂 )
Continuing with Ellie, it was amazing to see her despair when she was able to not kill the people she was looking for and when she did kill the people she was looking for like Nora and Mel, especially. When I had to repetitively press square to stab Mel in the neck, I was trying to tell Ellie, “No, Ellie, don’t do this. She’s pregnant!” and when Ellie realizes that but it is too late, seeing her emotionally crumble down and her ears ring was perhaps one of the best scenes in the game as you could see all that trauma, anger and guilt come out altogether and crush her.
As for the scene when she killed Nora after knowing she was a Firefly and you find out that Ellie knew what happened to the Fireflies two years ago. I thought she might understand why they had come to Jackson and killed Joel. Yet she went on looking for Abbie. I felt so angry at Ellie, especially when Abbie found them at the theatre and yelled, “I let you live and you killed all my friends!”
Ellie knew why they killed Joel and their reason was legitimate. Joel killed all the Fireflies and every hope of saving humanity by saving Ellie but obviously, not everyone would see it that way. They would’ve seen two selfish people who thought to save only themselves rather than sacrifice Ellie to create a vaccine to save everyone. Joel knew that. Ellie knew that. Even Tommy understood that when he said, “I’d take it to the grave.”
Yet once she knew they had come for revenge, she was killing even more and more people to avenge the man who had killed so many. But neither one of the lives of the people she considered insignificant could bring him back or forgive him. She should’ve left Seattle as soon as she found out and save the people she had left from her undying guilt. However, I’m not saying she’s a bad person. She was troubled and traumatised and not in her right mind. No one going through what she had gone through would’ve been in their right mind, not her and not Joel. But not everyone was normal and I didn’t have to blindly support her just because I lived her life by playing the first game. I especially considered this when Abbie’s chapters in Seattle started, which I dreaded.
In Abbie’s story we learn that Abbie’s father was a doctor who was crucial in creating a vaccine yet was shot down by Joel. After years of searching and planning, she was finally able to seek revenge and beat and killed him mercilessly. As vicious as that was, he was the only victim. She could’ve killed Tommy and Ellie who had witnessed the torture and murder but she didn’t. She knew better. She came to avenge her father and nothing more so she let them go.
The next day she continued her normal life in Seattle. I loved how the game was really rattling my brains as I was already on Abbie’s side at the theatre but by showing me her life during that time, her beliefs, aspirations, friends and how normal her life was, it felt terrible to know that she would soon be heartbroken. It was interesting seeing how the WLF made a fortified home inside the stadium and life inside was as if there had not been an outbreak.
It was interesting to see her complicated relationship with Owen and Mel (why was she sent for patrol with that big belly?) and how she was being friendly yet had doubts. It was a bit shocking and cool to see her strong bulky soldier-like figure become a rebel as the game progressed and how throughout her whole game play, she and her friends had no idea Ellie was hunting her down. Abbie had her own goals and worries that she did not even expect Ellie to come back to her life.
Her encounter with the Scars was an awesome twist to the game and I finally found out where the teaser trailer that came out a few years ago fits in the game:
Her friendship with Yara and Lev was very interesting and either of them could’ve left the other yet they were indebted to each other and left their people to protect each other. The game play where Abbie and Lev are trying to reach the WLF base to get medical supplies was so intense such as when they had to cross the narrow bridge from one building to the other, and afterwards when they were trying to get down to the ground and had to go in circles then go from one apartment to another. The detail in destructive architecture in that chapter was so amazing I wanted to just stand there and gaze in awe in the level of detail they put into making this.
However I am confused about Lev’s preference. She wanted to shave her head; ok that’s fine and her choice. However, Yara kept referring to Lev as her brother whereas Yara appeared feminine and her voice was feminine. Later on Yara told Abbie that they wanted to make Lev, or Lilly, a wife and Lev refused and shaved her head (atleast that’s what I remember). So Lilly wanted to be Lev, meaning she was a girl who wanted to be a boy? That’s not normal but she didn’t need to be constantly attacked and killed for it, even by her own mother. Nevertheless, I really liked Lev and how she conveyed sadness and humour in a single tone.
Furthermore, the chapter where Lev and Yara’s village was burnt down was……amazing and conveyed a lot.
Finally, as Abbie stood beside the corpses of Owen and Mel, I agreed that I didn’t have to support Ellie because I had played a whole game with her. Atleast that’s my opinion.
The first showdown at the theatre was very intense. After having played as both Ellie and Abbie, I had to try to kill Ellie and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be okay with that. I had a feeling the theatre props would’ve been signficant at some point in the game. I died multiple times before finally getting to Ellie but even then, Abbie after Lev’s insistence decided to spare them. I thought then yeah! They’d both go back to their lives as they were supposed to and finally move on. But Ellie being unable to rest and forgive herself, didn’t let that happen.
Now we’re at the second showdown at Santa Barbera. There was so much tension as Ellie staggered her injured self to a miserable, weak and braid-less Abbie hanging off a pole. I thought then that Yeah! Ellie will let Abbie and Lev go. Suddenly Ellie said, “I can’t let you go.”
Abbie had moved on but Ellie was persistent and I became scared of what’s to come. After having gone through that intense agonising brawl, I had to press square multiple times and finish Abbie off. Thankfully, Ellie came back to her conscience and realized that killing Abbie wasn’t the way to tell Joel she forgave her. So thankfully, Ellie gave up and they both finally had some closure…………..with the exception of two fingers.
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A truly beautiful and amazing game overall that doesn’t leave you relaxed for a moment. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my game play of The Last of Us Part II. What about you? What did you think of the game? Do let me know in the comments.