Last Of Us 2 Gameplay Review: An Undead Rating


Photo illustration courtesy of Sarah Dooley

Symbols are scattered throughout The Last Of Us, which help the player figure out the story. The hunters, Scars, WLF, and last but not least The Fireflies. Each one of them a liar.

The Last Of Us 2 – Developed by Naughty Dog – Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) – 24 hour gameplay, adventure, fiction, action, survival horror

Disclaimer this review contains minor spoilers.

‘The Last Of Us 2’ takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and is about a few recurring characters from the first game, ‘The Last Of Us’ searching for revenge on a murderer. ‘The Last Of Us’ is a game where Joel (voiced by Troy Baker) and Tess (voiced by Annie Wersching) were assigned to smuggle a little girl who was immune to the disease that caused the outbreak of zombies also known as Ellie (voiced by Ashley Johnson) to another gang called The Fireflies to develop a cure. Of course they had help from Joel’s brother, Tommy Miller (voiced by Jeffrey Pierce).

Tommy gives Joel transportation with a horse and offers him sanctuary when the journey is over.

To get the cure, they had to cut into Ellie’s brain to figure out what was going on with it and what was causing the immunity. The development of the vaccine would kill Ellie, and Joel was too connected with her from the long trip across the country to let her go.

Now, they’re back in the game with their revenge and Abby (voiced by Laura Bailey), who is the murderer they are searching for, faces conflict with her own allies in the Washington Liberation Front (WLF). Their leader, Issac Dixon (voiced by Jeffry Wright) hunts her for going AWOL and protecting two kids, Yara (voiced by Victoria Grace) and Lev (voiced by Ian Alexander) who come from their enemies, a hostile religious cult, Scars.

The Scars worship a woman named The Prophet and don’t believe in modernism, so they abandoned technology and most modern advancements such as cars and some electricity. They believe that The Prophet can grant them things like salvation, personal improvement, success in the war, better lives for their children, and peace with the WLF.

The WLF think differently though. They fight for peace instead of trying to make it. They believe that force is the way to handle things when it comes to war and Issac gets desperate for a way to stop the Scars and come to terms with them so he settles attacks and raids to get them to give up and fall the WLF ways.

While this is happening, the zombie apocalypse that had broken out 26 years before hasn’t been forgotten. Instead, since so much time has passed, new mutations have started to grow and introduce new zombies such as the Shamblers, who are able to release a cloud of spores that follows the player, and The Rat King, who is able to split into multiple zombies.

Tommy takes off to Seattle to bring the murderer to justice while Ellie follows him to try and bring him back to Jackson while wanting some of the revenge for herself as well.

On her way out of Jackson, Ellie brings her partner Dina (voiced by Shannon Woodward) and figures out she is pregnant half way into the journey, when it’s too late to turn back. The two of them also run into a close friend named Jesse (voiced by Stephen Chang) along the way after he snuck out of Jackson to help.

Throughout the adventure they run into other groups trying to kill them such as Hunters, Wolf’s (WLF), and Scars, and they have to fight to survive. With zombies on top of homicidal groups hunting them, every situation is a higher risk.

It is a kill or be killed world, and Ellie will take her chances if that means she can get vengeance.

The game focuses mostly on the justice Ellie and Tommy are searching for, for the murderer but they end up finding out that just when they thought the fireflies were wiped out, they are regrouping not far from them.

‘The Last Of Us 2’ was released on June 19th 2020 and has not only disappointed quite a bit of players with a rating of 3.0 stars but caused some of the fans to message or tweet Neil Druckmann, the director of the game himself.

According to Neil Druckmanns post on his Twitter, “You can love or hate the game and share your thoughts about it. Unfortunately too many of the messages I’ve been getting are vile, hateful, & violent.”

Many fans were homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic and targeted him directly, saying things like “I hope you get coronavirus” or “you racial feminist scum” on Twitter because of Ellie and Dina’s homosexual relationship with each other.

The flashbacks consist of previous homosexual relationships Ellie has had and it was obvious that she wasn’t straight which caused most homophobic countries to ban the game completely.

Sure, it’s hard to keep track of the different times and ages of the players in the flashbacks because they happen so frequently and the game would go back in time and build up to the present moment and where the player is forced to play as the villain against Ellie but that shouldn’t be any reason to target the cast and directors personally.

The game’s marketing campaign also left some fans feeling that the sequel’s trailers and promotional material had relied too heavily on violence, especially towards the increased and intensified violence towards women characters in the game such as Abby and Ellie themselves. The fans disagreed on the market’s decisions to focus on such violence and felt that it made it seem unjustified or unnecessary.

Despite the handful of unhappy fans and scattered plot, the game was still a bestseller.

‘The Last Of Us 2’ was one of the best selling Playstation 4 attribution games in the year. In the game’s release weekend, over 4 million copies of the game were sold. It has also received over 350 game rewards since its been released, coming 4th place in the most awarded games.

The game has the usual impressive scenery and emotions embedded into the story.
Though even with the game being a best seller, it has received a lot of criticism. Players fail to pay attention to the quality and emotion of the story all together.

This game is so heavily underrated by unhappy fans.he director Neil Druckman ignores the toxic comments and focuses on the rightful meaning of the story. The story was based on some of his experiences in the West, where violence wasn’t uncommon.

In an interview with Dean Takahashi, the Lead Writer in GamesBeat, he states “the intention of the game was to open an experience to the player where the characters would explore where no creator of a zombie game has been before, and would help them experience the conflict in the gameplay and feel more of what it is like to truly exist inside a world where each step could make or break your characters existence”

Hayley Gross, the writer for ‘The Last Of Us 2’, noted that a goal of the writers was to “create the most multifaceted characters you’ve seen in a game” and “ a world where there is no hero or villain” and that is just what they gave us.

Gross also wanted to explore Ellie’s multifaceted behaviors, showing her power as well as her insecurities.

The strong emotions in the story will change every players prespective on the game entirely. The sorrow and dread when searching for the murderer and the grief at the end where none of the characters are even recognizable anymore, shows just how much this game can hit a player in the gut.

Ellie is given little to no time to process her grief because anger immediately fogs her mind of everything else that matters, even her family.

After a close call with her partner’s (Dina) life, she attempts to settle down with her new family. She can’t eat, she can’t sleep, she is barely getting by, so she tries to go after Abby one last time and leaves her family once again to finally try and achieve peace of mind.

But she ends up making the same empty decision as Joel did, many years before then.

When Ellie comes back, Dina has moved out and she sits in her empty house, realizes the decision she’s made and is finally given the time to process her grief. The decisions she’s made and the people she’s killed finally takes a toll on her and the player can almost feel exactly what she expresses.

Being on the journey while playing as Ellie doesn’t feel like the player is just playing a regular old game, it feels like they’re with her. Experiencing every hoard, every fight, every romantic gesture, every joke, every emotion.

The more the player explores, the more the player realizes that the characters will never be like how they first saw them. They’re constantly growing and developing like any human would, and that’s when the heartbreaking realization that they will never be the same sets in.

It can be painful for the player, and the emotions that have been sewed perfectly into the underrated story is something the directors and developers knew that the player will never forget.

The game is beautiful from the quality of the scenery to the music and has its own emotional connections and twists with the player, it is recommended that everyone experiences them.