The Last of Us Part II – Hopes and Fears of a Fan

‘The Last of Us Part II’ is the upcoming sequel to 2013’s ‘The Last of Us’, the latter of which is widely recognized as one of the greatest games ever made. Featuring a brutal yet beautiful story; realistic and nuanced characters; fantastic level design and combat that was intricate and smart, the game more than deserves this prestigious accolade.

With a sequel coming up soon, many fans of the first – including myself – find themselves extremely excited. Yet, I also find myself slightly apprehensive at the same time. The question of whether they can match the same quality is one part of it. The other part is if the game can justify its own existence.

Those are big statements I know, but it’s actually easy to explain my reasoning for both concerns…

I’ll start with my first statement: “The question of whether they can match the same quality”. As far as the raw gameplay shows, they most definitely can in that department. My main worry is the quality of the story, as revenge plots can easily fall into cliché trappings and plot holes. A secondary question is how well-integrated the gameplay systems will be with the story, but the above linked gameplay also answers that question.

Now, for the second statement…

The original ‘The Last of Us’ ended in such a way that it really doesn’t need a sequel. When I first saw that a sequel was in the works, it was hard to quantify how I felt. I was excited at the prospect of visiting the characters and combat system again in a new way, but also had – and still have – this little tickle in the back of my mind saying “It doesn’t need a sequel. Why possibly ruin a great thing?” I have a tendency to judge an entire series – rather than one part of the work – as the whole ends up mattering more to me, due to story continuity.

For example, the ‘Mass Effect’ trilogy is now lesser as a whole to me due to the ending of its third entry and how lackluster it was. I still count ‘Mass Effect 2’ as one of my favorite games, but it now feels a bit lesser and tainted due to what came after. I have the same fear with ‘The Last of Us Part II’. I feel that, if the story – as the gameplay looks solid – isn’t up to snuff, it won’t just hurt itself, but will also lessen my image and love of the first entry. It’s a real possibility.

I do have some faith that my fears will be assuaged once I play it though, as the pre-release footage shows high-quality systems at play. My main concern is the story; but seeing as it’s being directed, and, in part, written by the same man as the original, I’m willing to be optimistic and look forward to the release on May 29th, 2020.


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