The Last of Us: Part II review | Not what you were expecting…

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The Last of Us 2 – or The Last of Us: Part 2, if we’re using its proper name – is the long-anticipated sequel to the iconic post-apocalyptic narrative game and is likely to be one of the biggest PS4 games to launch this year.

Troy Baker tried to warn us. The voice-over actor, who portrays Joel in The Last of Us series, told us that we weren’t ready for The Last of Us 2 – and he was right. Whether you’ve caught spoilers, watched trailers or just have your own expectations of what The Last of Us 2 will entail, you won’t be prepared for the emotional impact of this stunning sequel – and there’s nothing like experiencing it first-hand.

The Last of Us 2 is a captivating masterpiece. Not only does it improve on its predecessor, but it trumps every PS4 game that has released this generation. That’s down not only to the emotive and nuanced storytelling, which confidently exceeds the boundaries of what we know games can be, but in the way the game takes a critically-acclaimed formula and elevates it beyond what we could have imagined. And it does so without submitting to the tropes we’re so used to seeing in games.

But this exploration of new ground doesn’t mean that developer Naughty Dog has strayed from the core elements of the series; Infected still lurk in the shadows of desolate buildings, we’re still presented with stunning, lost worlds that only offer pockets of exploration off the beaten track, and we again become emotionally tied to the beautifully developed characters laid before us.

However, with The Last of Us having been released seven years ago, there are plenty of welcome adjustments and additions to modernize what could, in the original game, often be a clunky experience. In The Last of Us 2, combat is more fluid but measured, taking into account not only how a character would approach a situation, but how their physicality informs their strengths and weaknesses, while small but vital improvements to weapon and skill upgrades allow for more control over your playstyle.

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