FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Game review: The Last of Us Part II

By Damian Seeto
Mon 15 Jun 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Last of Us exploded back in 2013 when the first game came out for the PlayStation 3 console. Even though the game came out late in the PS3’s life, many people have called it as one of the greatest games of all time in that generation. 

Making a sequel seemed like an impossible task for developer Naughty Dog because many gamers were satisfied with the previous game’s ending. However, it’s now 2020 and Naughty Dog is set to release The Last of Us Part II. Can the developer strike lightning once again with the franchise’s second outing?

The Last of Us had somewhat of a happy ending, so I was kind of worried what will happen in The Last of Us Part II. After playing the sequel for many hours and finishing it, I’m happy to say that Naughty Dog has managed to knock it out of the park once again. That being said, there are some story elements that may not please everyone though. 

Anyway, The Last of Us Part II’s main story takes place four years after the end of the first game. Joel still hasn’t told Ellie what happened to her at the end of the first game, but he does feel guilty about what he did. After a short while, Ellie witnesses a very traumatic event and she starts to question what really happened to her that day and why. 

There’s more to the story than this, although I’m not allowed to say much without giving you major story spoilers. All I will say about the story is that it’s an eye opener that may not satisfy every gamer that decides to play it. It’s controversial and very ambitious because it doesn’t paint any of the characters to be ‘heroes’. Even Ellie herself isn’t the noblest human being because she’s forced to push herself against the horrors that await her. 

While the story might be controversial, one thing that will please everyone is the game’s excellent looking graphics. The visuals easily surpass both the original PS3 version of The Last of Us as well as the remaster that came out a few years ago on the PS4. While the character models and hair physics look really good, the many photorealistic style backgrounds look really amazing. It is also great playing this game on PS4 Pro as the visual upgrades are immediately noticeable especially if you’re playing the game on a 4K TV.  

I also like the diverse number of locations that you can get to see in The Last of Us Part II. Some of my favourite sceneries in the game included an abandoned aquarium in Seattle as well as a dinosaur museum. The game is also chock-full of green vegetation making your journey look beautiful throughout its multi-hour gameplay duration.

As for level design, the stages in The Last of Us Part II are much bigger and less linear compared to the first game. One section sees you navigating through a map in Seattle, and Ellie has to use her horse in order to traverse through the many sections of the city. It’s quite a large area and it can be fun just staring and admiring the beautiful scenery that surrounds you. 

In terms of gameplay, there are many new gameplay elements that make this game very tense and exciting to play through. One big improvement is the fact that Ellie now has access to a knife that she can use infinitely. This saves you time crafting the ‘shiv’ multiple times that you needed to do in the first game. 

Aside from her knife, it’s sad to say that other melee weapons only have a short lifespan. You can only use machetes and baseball bats for only three to four times before they break apart. I would have liked if these weapons lasted a bit longer because they become really helpful if you are going up against a swarm of the infected beings. 

Resources are also usually scarce, but you can rummage through rooms to grab as many supplies as Ellie can carry. Many of the same things can be crafted in this game such as bandages, Molotov cocktails, stun grenades and many more. You have to conserve ammo too throughout your journey because there are many scripted battles in the game that forces you to face off and kill hard enemies!

Ellie can also pick up special parts that improve the firepower for the many guns that she will use in the game. You can add things like a silencer or you could increase the damage of the shotgun. All you need to do is have the right parts and find a crafting table to do so. 

Another new element to the game is special pills that can help you upgrade Ellie’s stats and abilities. You have to collect a LOT of pills in order to fully unlock all of the abilities and stat upgrades for her. I feel people will have to play the game more than once in order to fully unlock everything as you cannot obtain everything in just one gaming session. 

The game also includes a pretty useful dodge mechanic that allows Ellie to avoid punches and lunges from enemies. It becomes very important to use during some of the boss fights that occur in the game. The hand-to-hand combat is a big improvement and felt more interactive compared to the first game because of the aforementioned newly added feature. 

A thing that I admired about The Last of Us Part II is the fact that the game includes many accessibility options. One feature I used a lot was the navigation marker that you can use by pressing the L3 button. Whenever I got lost in the many dark corridors Ellie enters in, I used the navigation markers to help guide me to safety. 

You can also become ‘invisible’ while prone if you turn this option on. Again, this was helpful to me when I needed to stealthily kill a large number of enemies all in one area. The multiple options that you can change means both beginners and pros can enjoy this game based on their own preferences. 

Overall, the gameplay in The Last of Us Part II is quite similar to the first one, but it adds a few new welcome features. If you liked the gameplay in the first, you should feel right at home playing the sequel. I will note though that the difficulty level in Part II is much higher than the first game so expect to die more times than expected!

I managed to finish The Last of Us Part II in 20 hours, although it might be a longer playthrough if you choose the harder difficulty settings. There is some replay value on offer here if you want to max out your abilities, or if you want to track down all of the trophies. There’s no multiplayer mode at the moment, although it could be added in the future after the game launches. 

 Once you finish the game, you can also unlock concept art and in-game character models to view in the ‘Extras’ section. There’s a lot of cool concept art to see which spans throughout the entire game. The character models are also nice to attain as you can appreciate how much work goes into a game of this calibre. 

Even though The Last of Us Part II is a near perfect game, it isn’t without some minor flaws. One thing that bugged me is the cover system. Sometimes I’ll enter cover but if I pressed forward on the analogue stick, Ellie would exit cover and stand up. It’s just a small annoyance, although it was frustrating to do during a firefight. 

I also felt the game was too stingy when it came to acquiring ammo. Some boss fights require you to use as much ammo as you need, but sometimes you cannot find what you need. I know this is a survival game, although I always got scared if I didn’t have enough ammo to kill the bad guys…

The story is also something that will not please everyone. However, I managed to appreciate the direction of the story more once I finished the entire game to completion. Something like this comes down to your own opinion though, but I still enjoyed the plot as it’s very unpredictable. Just make sure to fully avoid the leaks if you want don’t want to get it spoiled for you. 

The Last of Us Part II is another great game from the talented folks over at Naughty Dog. The sequel is gory, gritty and gloriously violent. If you liked the gameplay in the first game, you’ll love what the second game has to offer. The only thing that might upset some people is the story in the second half of the game. Despite this, I was still satisfied with the story once I played it until the end. 

Verdict: 9.5/10

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Game review: Stray (PlayStation 5)
Stray is a new unique 2022 video game where you control a cute ginger cat. As a person that feeds eight stray cats, I knew Stray was a game that I really needed to play.
Story image
Cyber resilience
NZ’s Cyber Resilience Framework to be evolving and potentially automated
The government's already putting $2.4 million into the Cyber Resilience Framework in its initial stages, what is it and why is it important?
Story image
Australian Grand Prix uses CENNZnet blockchain for fan experience
CENNZnet was employed by Power'd Digital to deliver the Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix's 2022 AusGP Access program.
Story image
Game review: Sweet Transit (PC Steam early access)
Team 17’s Sweet Transit invites players to build a thriving colony in a world whereby trains are the only form of transport.
Story image
Hands-on review: Huawei Watch D smart watch
The Huawei Watch D is the latest flagship smart watch from the Chinese tech giant, and it's further proof that the company is more than capable of competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the highly competitive wearable market.
Story image
Hands-on review: JBL Flip 6 portable speaker
Once you switch it on, and listen away for up to 12 hours, you will quickly realise that this is a little speaker looking for a party.
Story image
Home security
Hands-on review: Eufy Wire-Free Dual Cam Video Doorbell 2K
We have had our house secured by Eufy products for over seven months now. We love the brand, and it has never let us down.
Story image
Game review: Digimon Survive (PlayStation 5)
Since there’s little actual gameplay in Digimon Survive, the biggest draw card to the game is its long and interesting story.
Story image
Digital key for smart investment in public infrastructure for NZ cities
Major public infrastructure projects can better manage risks of cost overruns and delays if they deploy data and digital tools at the earliest planning stages.
Story image
Comedy legend Jimeoin fronts Epson advertising campaign in NZ and Australia
According to Epson the company’s EcoTank models now account for 74% of all printers sold in the category in New Zealand, alone.
Story image
Norton research finds NZ threat landscape diversifying on social media
Norton's quarterly report has highlighted the seriousness of the threat landscape in New Zealand.
Story image
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
Story image
Samsung introduces new generation of foldable smartphones
Samsung has unveiled its new range of Galaxy Z smartphones, bringing new developments to the company’s foldable smartphone portfolio.
Story image
NZ program recovers and recycles more than 177 tonnes of e-waste
The TechCollect NZ pilot program says its milestone of recovering and recycling more than 177 tonnes of ICT e-waste recognises the efforts of many.
Story image
Game review: Disgaea 6 Complete
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny originally came out in 2021, and more than a year later, the game has now been re-released.
Story image
MyRepublic unveils 'choose the speed you need' mobile plans
Broadband provider MyRepublic has announced the details of its new 'choose the speed you need' mobile plans, designed for New Zealanders. 
Story image
Major media companies sign new online safety framework for Aotearoa
A new joint development between Netsafe and some of the world's leading social media companies is set to provide Kiwis with safer online experiences.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Product Management
TeamViewer and Siemens to innovate product lifecycle space with AR
TeamViewer's new partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software to bring the power of TeamViewer's AR platform, Frontline, to Siemen Teamcenter software.
Story image
Hands-on review: James Donkey RS4 Knight Wireless Gaming Keyboard
I have always liked mechanical keyboards, and this is no exception. I find the action much easier to use than the modern keyboards with limited travel.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Chromebook and tablet shipments see another rapid decline for the year
According to research from Canalys PC Analysis, Chromebook and tablet shipments have fallen for the fourth quarter in a row for Q2 of 2022.
Story image
I-Pro officially marks launch of brand in Australia and New Zealand
I-Pro has officially launched in Australia and New Zealand, following a series of new releases as an entity that started in early April.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Hands-on review: Xencelabs Graphic Display Tablet
Xencelabs seemed to show up out of nowhere on the market. I had no idea who they were or what they were about, but I was very intrigued.
Story image
Hands-on review: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro gaming headset
SteelSeries, being no stranger to creating premium gaming peripherals, sent over its Arctis Nova Pro wired headset kit for us to take a look at.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Hands-on review: HP Evo Spectre X360 Flip Ultrabook 13.5” laptop
The Spectre comes with a keyboard that makes working for long hours something to be looked forward to. It has to be one of the best keyboards I have seen on a 13.5” laptop.
Story image
Hands-on review: Norton Secure VPN
Norton is obviously serious about your privacy. They have a “No-log” policy, which simply means that they do not track or store any of your on-line activities.
Story image
Hands-on review: Arlo Go 2 security camera
In my humble opinion, Arlo Go 2 offers security for anyone needing to keep a remote eye on prized possessions or premises at different locations.
Story image
Hands-on review: TCL 30 SE mobile phone
TCL continues to provide consumers with budget phones that still pack a punch with the TCL 30 SE mobile phone. 
Story image
Chorus announces Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports
Chorus has put its support behind New Zealand's Esports community with a newly announced three-year Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports.
Story image
Orcon brings faster fibre to Christchurch with Hyperfibre offering
Orcon has today launched the next generation of fibre speeds in Christchurch, bringing its Hyperfibre offering to the city.
Story image
Microsoft and Auckland Transport announce new cloud agreement
Auckland Transport (AT) and Microsoft have announced a new cloud agreement aimed at promoting innovation, reducing costs and improving sustainability in transport services.
Story image
New range of Samsung Smart Watches announced with health focus
Samsung has announced new additions to its SmartWatch portfolio, with the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro to be released in late August.
Story image
Garmin expands NZ footprint with new Auckland distribution centre
The facility at Goodman’s Highbrook Business Park will be fully operational from October 2022 and features 3,586sqm of warehouse space.
Story image
Minors using Discord servers to spread malware for cash
Avast has discovered an online community of minors constructing, exchanging and spreading malware, including ransomware and a mix of information stealers and cryptominers.
Story image
Hands-on review: SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Keyboard
SteelSeries has taken the design of its range of Apex keyboards to create a smaller version, the Apex Pro Mini. Techday’s Darren Price checks it out.
Story image
Research shows attacks on the gaming industry are getting worse
Web application attacks in the gaming sector have grown by 167% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, according to new research from Akamai.
Story image
InternetNZ appoints new chief executive. Will take over in October
InternetNZ has announced the appointment of its new chief executive, with Vivien Maidaborn taking over the role from interim chief Andrew Cushen in October.
Story image
Virtual Reality / VR
Virtual reality app reduces phobias through NZ trial
"With this VR app treatment, trialists had increased control in exposure to their fears, as well as control over when and where exposure occurs."
Story image
Logitech G’s new Aurora collection looks to help change gaming stereotypes
The company’s new Aurora collection is designed to be gender inclusive, not gender exclusive, addressing the needs and wants of women gamers while also still appealing to a wider general audience.
Story image
2degrees unveils eSIM functionality for selected devices
2degrees has enabled eSIM functionality to work with a variety of Apple, Samsung and Oppo devices, including a range of iPads.
Story image
Game review: Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
If there's something missing in today's gaming industry, it's the wonderful discovery of finding new games for hire at your local video rental store. I remember my family hired out the first Klonoa game for the PSOne back in 1997, and it was a blast to play as a kid.
Story image
Home Entertainment
Hands-on review: TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV
We introduce you today to a TV that brings the height of immersion to your viewing experience: The TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV.