The Last of Us Part II Non-Spoiler Review
Although I played and finished The Last of Us Part II within a month after release, there has never been a game that made me so exhausted to get through. This was partly due to playing the game in huge chunks of time, but this was also due to the game being my most anticipated game of the last several years that pushed me to get my Playstation 4 to be able to play this. This is a non-spoiler review, so you can freely read this without concern. The other reason why this review is a bit late is because I wanted to let the game rest more in my mind and to compile my thoughts better for a non-spoiler review.
It’s difficult to discuss precisely why The Last of Us Part II was so disappointing without spoiling the game, but I’ll do the best I can. On a positive note, the game is technical masterpiece and the melee combat was especially engaging and dynamic for the experience. The ability to go prone was a much better addition to the game than I thought it would be, but in the end it turned out to be a game-changer in tough situations. The enemy AI in The Last of Us Part II made the experience more intense due to their upgraded tactics, real names attached, and various pathways to get to you. To be fair, the gameplay in The Last of Us Part II is not that different than the original, nor is it all that complex. In fact, a disappointing element of gameplay is the upgrade system because it’s more linear and less customizable than advertised. I had to take upgrades I didn’t really care for to get ones I wanted. The graphics of the set pieces were incredibly amazing, the cinematic scenes featured amazing voice acting, but more specifically, the facial expressions of characters stood out the most to me in the storytelling.
Given that The Last of Us Part II is a story-driven experience, the story is what will make or break the experience. This is where the game lost me. The structure of the story and HOW the story is told is as much of a reason for why the story didn’t work as the story itself. The story has way too many head-scratching decisions of character decision, why some characters suddenly show up somewhere, and why some characters make it out it out alive in certain situation. They just mount up to a story that feels so unrealistic in a realistic, which makes the story flaws so glaring. The Last of Us Part II also features many flashback scenes that have no time labels and force you to guess the timeline based on Ellie and Joel’s hairstyle. The flashbacks are just so overly used and an example of how not to use them. That’s not to say there weren’t good ones, but the presentation of the timeline needed to be better.
All in all, many things in the story were just incredibly annoying and aggravating to endure. The Last of Us Part II is no doubt about it the second most disappointing game for me ever (Diablo 3 #1).