The Last of Us 2

From the first moments, of Joel's story, to the song he sings to Ellie in the opening, I can already tell this is going to be a tear-jerker. Hearing this song reminded me so much of my girlfriend, who makes up the other half of The Dating Warriors. "If I ever were to lose you, I would lose myself." I knew from the moment I saw the teaser years ago. We would lose Joel. I've felt that way even today. But, do we truly lose him? I'm not spoiling much here, but in the early moments of the game, if it doesn't grip your emotions, nothing will.

From what I heard in early goings of Naughty Dog, the game will be very dark. Well, given that I wanted to give this game a proper review, and not rush it, I decided to take my time with it. Now, keep in mind, this review is a review in progress. It is not fully completed yet. I will be submitting edits to it so that I can fully review it. If you want to hear more about it or watch my streams, check out DragoniaCat on Twitch. I'm streaming every time I boot the game up. We did have technical difficulties that didn't allow us to stream the first part of the game, but we'll fix that. Without further ado, here is the beginning of my review.

The game starts off in Wyoming, with Joel staying at his brother's camp. They have set up camp in a town, and it's quite charming actually. Reminiscence of the Wild West days, there's stables, blacksmiths, and saloons. The opening shows Joel giving Ellie a guitar. I guess that deleted scene got into the next game, with a twist. Instead of Joel teaching her to play, he instead plays that heartwarming song mentioned above. You truly begin to see Joel's downfall. He now sees Ellie as his "own", though the game does not mention it.

After losing his daughter in the first game, you already saw his downfall at the ending of the Last of Us, and in LoU II, it only furthers that with the way he is towards Ellie. But, don't expect much gameplay of Joel, as this is Ellie's quest. There's somewhat of a spoiler alert, but not in the way you'd expect. Ellie sets off on a journey to Seattle in order to find Joel's brother. He left without a word, leaving only a note to his wife. Ellie must track down Tommy before the outlaw group known only as the Washington Liberation Front, gets to him. That's all the spoiler alerts you'll get, as you need to play the game in order to fully understand what's going on or watch my streams live.

The gameplay remains the same, aside from Ellie. Her movements are much quicker. She can dodge, make her way through tight spaces, and even go prone with an army crawl. There are new ways to take down the enemies, and even more, crafting screen has improved. It's no longer straight across for each upgrade, but rather downwards. Needless to say, the improvements don't make it feel like a brand-new game.

To me, this game feels more like a spin off of a main game. Like the Miles Morales reveal of Spider-Man, or for those who played the Uncharted Lost Legacy spin-off, that's what this feels like. Yes, the graphics are truly impressive, and the soundtrack is amazing, but is the game truly a 10? I'll have to play more of the game to give it a proper review, as I said, but, it's good so far.

The story reminds me much of the first, though. The first game was spent mostly trying to find the Fireflies, only to have Joel kill all of them, while saving Ellie. However, this game is not about finding the cure. Instead, it's about revenge. We end up playing as Ellie with some help from her girlfriend. Ellie is on a quest to kill everyone that wronged her in the beginning. Without giving spoilers, I can safely say I've made it through Day 2 of 4. This is where most reviews stop, and it's where mine will stop for now. I will edit this review after completing the game, but that one will have spoilers. For now, this game gets a 4/5, only because it felt more like filler material than a good story. I personally haven't cared much for the story or the characters introduced. The level of difficulty in this game can be adjusted per encounter, but it's been quite difficult for me, so I set the difficulty back to slightly below normal. It's not so much the combat as is it the enemies swarming over, and I don't like taking games slow. I'm more of a run and gun guy. The second part of the update of this review will be available soon, as this game deserves a full playthrough to give it justice.

Brian Eckels