What is it that makes a game great? Great story telling? Flawless gameplay? Realistic character development? Gorgeous graphics? Well I’m here to tell you that a game of that magnitude exists. That game is The Last Of Us Part II. Not only has the development team at Naughty Dog produce the greatest game of the PS4 generation, but they’ve done it twice now. They’ve taken that title during the PS3 era, and now as we wrap us this great generation, Naughty Dog has done it again.
In the twilight years of the PS3, Naughty Dog were developing a post apocalyptic title in between releases of their flagship franchise Uncharted. That game would spawn one of the most powerful franchises in all of gaming. Bringing powerful story telling, and a gameplay system we’ve never seen at the time, The Last Of Us became an instant hit. Making a sequel to such a great game can be daunting, but Naughty Dog went above and beyond to make this the greatest game of the PlayStation 4 era.
You have been warned.
Right off the bat the game sends us on an emotional roller coaster. Within the first hour or so the franchise’s main protagonist, Joel, is brutally murdered. I was watching this in absolutely shock. I was almost getting upset that Naughty Dog would deliver such a fate to such a beloved character. To make it worse they made Ellie watch! The main “antagonist”, Abby, delivered a fatal blow to Joel after torturing him for a few hours. It set the stage for Ellie to take hot revenge on the people who killed the one person who ever truly cared for her.
The game continues on to Seattle, the home of Abby and her band of murderers. Ellie, along with her girlfriend Dina, set up base in an abandoned theater to search for leads of Abby’s whereabouts. Ellie soon figures out that there’s alot more going on than she’d care to get involved with. She learns that Abby is apart of a group called the WLF (wolves), who are locked in a brutal war with a faction called the Seraphites (scars).
Over the course of their journey, you can see Ellie and Dina’s relationships truly start to blossom.
After several hours of amazing adventuring gameplay Ellie tracks Abby to an abandoned aquarium where she is met by a man named Owen and a mysterious pregnant female. Well, Ellie being Ellie, she guns them down when they try to jump her and take her weapon. With her leads dried up, and with Dina needing to return to Jackson after finding out she’s pregnant by her ex-boyfriend, Abby strikes. Abby sneaks into the theater and ambushes Ellie’s group, killing Dina’s baby daddy. At that moment you possibly couldn’t hate Abby more….so you know what Naughty Dog does? They make you play as Abby to see her point of view….
The game takes a U-turn and sends you back to the first day Ellie arrives in Seattle. Only you’re in the shoes of Abby. I actually seriously didn’t like this at first. I mean, putting me in control of the person who brutally murdered Joel? How could they! I wanted her dead as much as Ellie did at that point. However, as her story progressed we started seeing little glimpses of who Abby truly was. We are also given light as to why Abby killed Joel. During the events of the first game when Joel saves Ellie, Joel kills the doctor about to perform the procedure on the unconscious Ellie. Well, Joel kills him like it’s nothing. End of story, right? Nope…that doctor was Abby’s dad.
Over the course of Abby’s tale she gains a follower named Lev. Lev is a female that pretends to be a male kid so she didn’t have to marry one of the elders of the Seraphites. It’s actually kinda messed up. As the two adventure on I start to feel a little more understanding for Abby. She’s plagued by nightmare of the day her father was killed by Joel. It adds a sense of justification as to why she killed the franchise’s main protagonist. Along with Lev, her ex-boyfriend, Owen, plays a large part into her character progression.
Abby is such a powerful, imposing figure that every time Owen comes around she acts little a middle schooler with a crush. There were plenty of interesting scenes involving the two, but the most intriguing is the akward sex scene on Owen’s boat. At first I thought that it was highly unnecessary, but after some time to reflect on it I couldn’t have been more wrong. Abby is portrayed to be this muscular, no bullshit soldier who isn’t afraid to get bloody. Seeing her in such submissive situation was the first time we’ve ever seen her put her guard down. Her being in a vulnerable position was some of the best character development I’ve seen in an “antagonist” in such a long time.
Near the end of this masterpiece we see Ellie, years later after suffering a terrible beating from the hands of Abby. She and Dina settled down in a little country house in a beautiful valley with her newborn son. However, Ellie begins to suffer from PTSD from all the trauma she’s been through with the events of Joel and Abby. She decides to abandon her cozy life to take one more shot at her rival. She travels out to California to put an end to Abby, but ironically enough ends up rescuing her instead from some slavers. After the escape together Ellie challenges her to one of the most epic fights I’ve witnessed in a video game.
Knee deep water, and a thirst for vengeance sets up this fight perfectly. Ellie and Abby literally lock into this 10 minute fist fight that keeps you on the edge of your seat. After getting the upper hand, Ellie nearly drowns her rival, but a brief memory of Joel resurfaces. Overcome with emotion she let’s Abby go and tells her to just leave. Ellie returns home, ashamed that she let herself become blinded by revenge, to see that Dina left her. She packed up their belongings and left behind the empty shell of a house. It was at this moment that Ellie fully understood what she gave up for revenge.
It’s a very powerful message that the developers deliver to us. Going through all that hardship led Ellie to absolutely nowhere in her pursuit to avenge Joel. She started her journey with friends, love, and a home only to lose all three by the time the credits roll.
No matter how gut wrenching that ending is, The Last Of Us Part II is the greatest game of this generation. I’m going to be waiting in anticipation for the next installment on the PS5 in a few years. Hopefully Naughty Dog won’t wait until the end of the life cycle to give us Part III, but I guess only time will tell. We’re going to leave you here today with what is one of the most powerful scenes from this epic masterpiece. Enjoy friends, and be kind to each other. Let’s show that love still exists in the world.
YouTube: Boss Fight Database
101 Militia Gaming Rating: 10/10
Are you a fan of The Last Of Us? What is your favorite part of the series? Let us know in the comments below!