"The Last of Us Part II" has sold more than four million copies since its worldwide launch on June 19, making it the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive ever.
The first "The Last of Us" sold more than 20 million copies on PS3 and PS4, and fans have been anticipating the sequel for seven years.
"The Last of Us Part II" builds upon the brutal gameplay and emotional storytelling that made the first game iconic and pushes the PlayStation 4 to its technical limits.
The result is one of the PS4's best games, released just months before the PlayStation 5 is scheduled to arrive.
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Sony has confirmed that developer Naughty Dog's "The Last of Us Part II" is the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive ever, with more than four million copies sold worldwide. The sales surpassed the record held by "Uncharted 4," Naughty Dog's first PS4 release back in 2016.
"The Last of Us" burned its way into the memories of millions of gamers in 2013 with a gripping father-daughter story set more than a decade after a zombie apocalypse. Critics heralded the game as an ideal blend between scripted narrative, gorgeous environments, and brutal survival horror gameplay. The game sold more than 20 million copies on PS3 and PS4, and has been optioned for an HBO original series.
Hardcore "The Last of Us" fans have spent years wondering if any sequel could be a worthy continuation. Seven years later, "The Last of Us Part II" is one of the last major PlayStation 4 releases and a definitive title for the world's most popular video game console.
"The Last of Us Part II" hits the same high notes that made its predecessor iconic — unmatched visuals, savage combat, rich environments, and an emotionally engaging story. The game also achieves the difficult task of bringing closure to the first game's morally ambiguous conclusion.
"The Last of Us Part II" picks up four years after the first game's shocking ending.
The story of "The Last of Us" begins and ends with Ellie, a teenage girl with a rare immunity to the fungus turning humanity into zombies. Picking up four years after the first game, a violent turn of events near Ellie's home sends her to the ruins of Seattle looking for revenge.
Players who are new to the series will immediately be caught up on the events of "The Last of Us" at the start of the new game, and "The Last of Us Part II" uses a series of flashbacks to further explore the four-year gap between the two games as you progress.
Exploring the environment is just as important as fighting, and "The Last of Us Part II" will give you plenty of downtime.
"The Last of Us Part II" is a survival game at its core, so Ellie has limited resources and is constantly scavenging the area for weapons and items to replenish her stock.
Navigating through the city's collapsed structures are a challenge, requiring strategic jumps and short puzzle sequences to progress. Players are rewarded for exploring hard-to-reach areas with extra items and collectibles that add small anecdotes to the story.
Though you'll encounter a few unexpected scares, "The Last of Us Part II" does a good job of separating the action from the more casual exploration, giving you time to unwind and appreciate the game's amazing environments and haunting atmosphere.
With limited resources, Ellie has to fight harder to survive than most video game heroes.
The fast-paced gunplay of shooters, like "Call of Duty," often makes players look superhuman, but combat in "The Last of Us Part II" intentionally leaves players vulnerable with punishing one-hit kills and limited weapons. Instead, the game encourages you to build a strategy to survive each enemy encounter.
As Ellie tracks her targets, players can employ stealth tactics and craft items to avoid hostile survivors and eliminate the constantly mutating zombies that infest abandoned buildings. Players decide when and how to engage their enemies, and sometimes you can even trick the zombies into attacking humans for you.
The story introduces different partners who join Ellie's adventure, and they'll help you out in fights, too.
You'll occasionally be joined by computer-controlled partners for story reasons, and without spoiling too much, Ellie isn't the only playable character in "The Last of Us Part II."
Conversations with your companions (and stray conversations between enemies) bring a ton of personality to the characters and cut through the loneliness of exploring the post-apocalyptic world.
"The Last of Us Part II" is one of the most impressive looking PlayStation 4 games ever released.
"The Last of Us" made the most of the PlayStation 3 hardware at the end of its lifespan, pushing the boundaries of video game graphics in 2013. Similarly, the graphics of "The Last of Us Part II" reach levels of detail and stability that are largely unmatched on the PlayStation 4.
The game's characters and landscapes are photorealistic and complex, and emotional moments are seamlessly animated during cutscenes using advanced facial motion capture. "The Last of Us Part II" also manages to keep a stable frame rate during intense action scenes, avoiding a common pitfall for blockbuster releases on the standard PlayStation 4 hardware.
With the potential for a PlayStation 5 visual upgrade when Sony's new console launches later this Fall, "The Last of Us Part II" could end up being one of the best looking games for years to come.
The violence is incredibly detailed, which may be a turn-off.
Whether it's a cutscene or a regular enemy encounter, "The Last of Us Part II" displays violence with gross detail. While the game doesn't glorify killing in the same manner as titles like "DOOM" or "Mortal Kombat," the realistic nature of the violence will certainly be disturbing to some.
Bullets and bricks cause visible damage on enemies, and Ellie's death animations showcase the distinct differences between being shot, burned, eaten, or otherwise killed. While the brutality of those deaths contributes to the game's survivalist themes, "The Last of Us Part II" clearly wants us to question "how much is too much?"
Accessibility options in "The Last of Us Part II" allow you to customize the difficulty.
Like most single player games, "The Last of Us Part II" has multiple difficulty settings ranging from casual to extremely hard, but Naughty Dog went to great lengths to give players an accessibility menu that lets them adjust a number of minor settings that impact the game's difficulty.
For example, if you don't like the game's "realistic" weapon sway making it harder to aim, you can disable camera sway under accessibility options, or you can make it so that enemies won't see you while you're laying flat on the ground. More impactful accessibility options, like high contrast mode, can help people who are legally blind complete the game by labeling items, enemies, and other objects with distinct colors, like yellow, blue, and red.
If you can handle the game's overall violence and a handful of jump scares, "The Last of Us Part II" can be tweaked to whatever difficulty you prefer. It's an awesome amount of control that makes the game easier to customize and less frustrating overall.
If you can stomach the violence, "The Last of Us Part II" is must-buy for the PlayStation 4.
Like its predecessor, the "The Last of Us Part II" is a once-in-a-generation game that reflects the peak of the PlayStation 4's technical power and some of the most thoughtful storytelling in the video game industry.
Though the experience doesn't feel quite as unique the second time around, "The Last of Us Part II" surpasses the incredibly high bar set by the first game when it comes to overall gameplay and presentation, and the game's impressive use of parallel storytelling keeps things suspenseful throughout a campaign that can last up to 30 hours.