We live in very strange times: this 2020 never ceases to surprise us (obviously in the negative). Yet thinking of a pandemic like that of The Last of Us makes one reflect; if it really happened to all of us, which of the many things we have today in our (almost) routine would you miss? The thought bounced in my head, along with a myriad of different feelings, throughout the test of The Last of Us Part 2, sequel to the famous game Naughty Dog which at the time saw Joel and Ellie cross an America destroyed by this plague towards a shred of hope, and which today instead leads us to discover what happens in that world 5 years later.
Living in the spectrum of that jewel packaged in 2013 on the then PlayStation 3 was difficult, and the obstacles in the path of Druckmann and his companions were not few, but if there is one thing we can say right away, in spite of all the paradigms of reviews, is that with The Last of Us Part 2 you will experience everything you have already experienced the first time, but amplified to the nth degree. Of course, some dynamics will change, the feelings will not necessarily be the same as in that first chapter and we will probably talk about this game in the months to come, but what is certain lies in its quality, in every fiber.
We often confuse these two words: we define human being as any individual belonging to the human species, but we forget that the word humanity carries within itself (as well as the meaning of characteristics inherent in man such as weakness, fragility and defects) also the meaning of "feeling of understanding, indulgence". A duplicity that in The Last of Us Part 2 permeates every single part of this story. Without ruining the plot, one of the best things in the game, this time we will find ourselves living the events in the role of Ellie 5 years after the events of the first chapter. The world goes on, regardless of whether Cordyceps continues its contagion incessantly, and evolves accordingly: new enemies, new friends, many problems and unresolved issues color this story that speaks of human feelings, be they good or bad. The very fact of being human makes the plot so close to the player that it touches strings that this medium rarely manages to touch: the way in which we will behave with enthusiasm and adrenaline will be as exceptional as the one in which we will have to do something necessary (albeit ugly ).
With a duration that settles around 20 hours (30 if you try to take all the collectibles), the game will capture you in vicissitudes so close to reality as to make you empathize in a way rarely happened in video games: this quality, alone, already of his own would make the game a masterpiece capable of making school for the next generations, yet the wonders do not end there.
Being a survivor
Perhaps at this point you will have in mind what you would miss in a similar situation: what you will never know, however, is what you would be willing to do to survive. The Last of Us Part 2 manages to immerse the player in his world to the point that the choices you make will feel yours: every enemy killed, every dog killed and even every exterminated clicker will give you a shred of suffering through the use of some mechanics that are as simple as they are functional. Killing an enemy of some faction will make the others scream with sadness, perhaps engaged in shouting the very name of that soldier that in any game you would not have even calculated but that you will remember here even days after his death. If this can be heartbreaking, it is instead excruciating to see the death of those poor dogs, killed violently amid the cries of their masters. To conclude this slap to the heart we think the infected: even these, once killed, will have that rattle useful enough to make you remember that, once upon a time, they were also human beings.
For the rest, the AI (which pays off in the higher difficulties but certainly improved compared to the previous chapter) will make you not only sweat every gun phase, but it will even make you feel every shot you place; a rifle hitting the shoulder could severely detach the enemy's limb, causing him to scream for a few seconds while standing in shock, for example. Obviously, first you will have to get there: the fact of being able to deal with these playful phases in the way most congenial to you will give you free management of the gameplay, very rarely blocking the viable roads and this time taking advantage of verticality much more.
In fact, if the ways to reach from point A to point B will be varied (even if for the purposes of the game it will not change much), being able to pass under the vehicles or over the scaffolding (which highlight the level design work of the team) will be useful. just enough to give greater depth to the game itself, this time taking advantage of larger spaces. For the rest The Last of Us Part 2, being a survival horror, aims to give you little ammo, little life and a lot of anxiety: this will lead you in some cases to make mistakes but never to a dry gameover, a sign that the game not only rewards perfection in completing in stealth mode, but leaves ample room (depending on the difficulty) for each style. For the rest, the crafting system returns, now improved and deeper, as well as that of the improvement of weapons and skills: the latter, this time, to be enhanced, will need manuals and magazines (which you will find around the game) that will give you access to new branches with techniques and upgrades of various kinds.
Be a killer app
The Last of Us was released in 2013, right between the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4, and now The Last of Us Part 2 does the same by coming out in June, a few months before the PlayStation 5. In short, Naughty Dog seems to want to be there. 'the only producer of the "swan song" of every Sony console: although in fact there will be new PlayStation 4 titles in the near future, what The Last of Us Part 2 looks like is the non plus ultra, the maximum level reachable from the console. However, these details are only a smokescreen capable of hiding their true value: it is not just about power, features and realism, but interactivity. Often in the video game we talk about interactivity precisely to define the interaction between player and game, but in this case we also talk about how the various sectors work in unison, like a perfect machine. Every sound does its duty, every music colors the right moment, every dialogue is studied to perfection to give the right mood, every interpretation by the magnificent cast that lends voice and face (to praise also the dubbing in other languages, really to level of the whole opera) resonates in unison as in a fantastic melody. However, if these dynamics are already known in many productions of the medium next door, cinema, this time even the gameplay, the interaction, the features and even the game dynamics manage to keep up with the rhythm, almost to look like those instruments rarely used in an orchestra but which instead fit damn well.
The Last of Us Part 2 is a story of human beings: it too, like them, falls into some trap. For example, it happens to find the usual desire on the part of Naughty Dog to want to highlight where to go, or every now and then the desire to give so much magnificence to some parts that it seems perhaps a bit forced, but even these things magically fall into the signature. of a study that, for better or for worse, regardless of any problems it may have had, has managed to pack a sequel capable of surprising after the already high amazement had in 2013. The exception that confirms the rule that defines the worst sequels of the first chapters, The Last of Us Part 2 is an indefinable agglomeration, but this time not because we are faced with a "game" where there is little and no game. it is another way of defining it, but because it plays as a team and creates an alchemy between the various elements so deeply rooted as to form indissoluble bonds, to the point of making production a must, regardless of genre, features, history or even what you are a gamer or not.