Things are quite bleak at the end of the world (No Major Spoilers)

User Rating: 8 | The Last of Us Part II PS4

I clearly remember playing through the first Last of Us and being blown away by how realistic the visuals were, especially considering that was two generations back on the PS3. Of course everything else was great too from the tight combat to the engaging plot line. See this is where The Last of Us part 2 makes it's mark by delivering a much deeper layered story with more intricately motivated characters. I'd be lying to if I didn't also remark on how astounded I was by the length of this latest entry. It is that much more impressive then that Naughty Dog manages to keep up the polish and level of detail they're famous for throughout. This is an emotionally exhausting experience like no other and while technically very impressive honestly may be too much for some people.

Taking place just a couple years after the events of the first game we find Joel and Ellie have settled down in the city of Jackson. Joel and Ellie are pretty much going through the motions until Abby arrives. Abby does something to really upset Ellie which leads Ellie to travel all the way to Seattle to get revenge. Ellie isn't going to travel alone as she has her friend Dina for company and she is hoping to find Tommy, Joel's brother, who got a head start on hunt. From this point you'll spend a couple days wondering around Seattle tracing Abby's movements. The catch is you won't just see these events through Ellie's perspective. Abby is a playable character as well and playing as her you'll get to see things through a different lens as you witness what Abby has had to go through this whole time.

That is about as much as I can say about the story without getting into spoilers. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic world the game is very bleak and the story is often emotionally draining. It is quite easy to question the choices some of the main characters make but given how much trauma they've all been through it doesn't seem too far fetched that they'd make some of these stupid, if not cruel, decisions. While there is no doubt about the amount of blood you'll need shed to achieve your objectives their are a handful of lighter or amusing moments sprinkled in to lighten the load a little. While the story unfolds in present time you'll often have flashbacks which provide much needed insight and gives a taste of how much both protagonists have lost.

Gameplay is a mix of exploration, looting, climbing, and combat. While this isn't necessarily an open-world game you'll travel through some very large environments giving you able opportunity to collect resources and route your own path through hostiles. Finding scrap is key both crafting useful items such med kits, molotovs, and special ammo. Arguably more important is pills and parts which increase your knowledge and improve your weapons respectively. As you gain knowledge you can become better at sneaking, more crafty, or a better shot. Weapon upgrades improve things such as stability, capacity, reload times, and damage. Based on whether you're fighting the infected or fellow humans you may have to adapt to different strategies.

Everything about this game from its level of detail, to the length of your travels, and the depth of the characters is very impressive. While very deserving of all the technical praise with is such a draining game on your mind, especially the farther you get through the story. I could handle it but that doesn't mean it was always enjoyable; of course I can only assume that was the intention of the writers. This game tries to be very realistic and in the real world things don't always play out like you'd imagine it should. Of course growing up in the aftermath of an epidemic of the scale seen in this world doesn't help the matter either. As long as you have the stomach for it I can easily recommend a playthrough of The Last of Us part 2; just make sure you're prepared.