The Last Of Us Part II (No Spoilers)

603 words.

Two things happened to derail my Assassin’s Creed franchise backlog playthrough: First, controversy surrounding the Ubisoft company (what else is new) which I assume is common knowledge by now. Though I personally do not have any difficulty distinguishing art from artists (or executives), I figured I should shut the hell up about Assassin’s Creed games for a while.

Second, The Last Of Us Part II launched on the Playstation 4.

This boat and the sound of lapping water is the first experience of the game. (I still don't know why we need to "press any button" at the beginning of every game.)

You may or probably don’t recall that I was blown away by the E3 demo of The Last Of Us Part II back in 2018, and bought a PS4 Pro almost entirely based on the jaw-dropping visuals in that demo. (It was the last time I spent a significant amount of money on gaming hardware.)

I subsequently played The Last Of Us Remastered on the PS4 for the first time (another reason I bought a PS4) and, while it took me a year to get through it and I had some quibbles with it, as a connoisseur of video games and the art of storytelling, I certainly recognized the place it holds as one of the best game experiences of the decade.

I bought and downloaded the Digital Deluxe edition of The Last Of Us Part II on launch day, which was June 19th. (I did not pre-order.) Thus far I think it’s the first new game I’ve purchased in 2020, and might well be the only one as I’m not aware of any other games I’m planning to buy for the rest of the year.

I won’t spoil anything about the story. It’s worth not being spoiled. But it’s the kind of story that’s still good even if you know what’s coming (I am struggling not to immediately replay the entire game a second time).

I personally did not see any reviews, comments, or videos about it beforehand. I knew there had been leaks but I had no idea what they were. I had seen a couple of tweets here and there that gave me the vague impression there was a “controversy” surrounding the game, but I knew nothing of the nature of it. I saw the E3 2018 demo, I believe, twice-once before playing The Last of Us, and once after-and that’s all I knew going into Part II.

I finished the game today. I found it to be an excellent sequel and a worthy successor to the original. I might even be tempted to say it’s better than the original. It’s a thought-provoking and powerful and challenging story that takes big chances, and I dare say it has more than one very important message that resonates particularly well in these turbulent times.

Since I finished it, I’ve read a few of the general complaints about the game. I can see why people might chafe about some of the story elements, but all I can say is that I didn’t have any trouble recognizing and appreciating the story they were trying to tell. I was thoroughly engaged and immersed in the world from beginning to end, as I would have been with a particularly compelling movie or book.

Someday I might write more about The Last Of Us Part II, but there’s so, so much to talk about with this game, and much of it boils down to a personal opinion, that it’s probably a futile effort. It would be like trying to explain why you like a song.

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