The last of us Pt. 2 practices: you can not pet the dog, but you can expect terror

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Before our review of June 12, The Last of Us Pt. 2Naughty Dog has given us the green light to describe a small portion of the PlayStation 4 game. The content in question is a 1.5 hour mission that takes approximately 12 hours in the entire campaign.

For many games, this would be an inconsequential way of setting fan expectations for what's to come. Think of a Halo game, where the shooty-shoot in a later mission is representative of the entire game. Standard game preview stuff, you might say.

The Last of Us Pt. 2 it's not necessarily that kind of video game. Using this preview to make that point is difficult, as Naughty Dog has kept members of the press at an incredibly high level of secrecy, enough to make me debate whether to post this article for impressions. Ultimately, I can say a little bit about this game by pointing out what I can not mention, and why the "allowed,quot; content excites me to share more about this game with you. Smarter readers can notice what I mention about this unique mission and read between the lines. (This is a particularly safe article to read if you are reluctant to spoilers.)

With those caveats in mind, grab your spiked bat and crawl through rainy Seattle with me.

Warnings: many questions remain unanswered (for now)

The spoiler restriction list for this single mission is quite massive. We can tell you that Ellie, the partner / protagonist from the previous game, is the main character in this mission and that she travels alone to infiltrate a post-apocalyptic Seattle hospital. Your mission is to confront someone named Nora (you may have seen this character in a TLOU2 trailer).

What is Ellie doing in Seattle? How do I get there? Who is Nora What does Ellie want with her? What has Ellie been up to in the years since the events of the original PlayStation 3 game? Who else do you know in Seattle now?

Not only can't I answer those questions, but I also can't clarify the way Naughty Dog tells this story within the confines of this game. I would like, but I can not.

Instead, I can describe a mission that is largely divorced from the game's plot, and it honestly feels like the kind of vertical game you could expect at a "spoiler-free,quot; press event months before a game's release. .

Seattle: so authentic, it will check your ORCA card

The first thing I can describe is the relatively accurate description of my hometown, Seattle mission. Many years after an infection took over the world, downtown Seattle has been overrun with native and local foliage, which Naughty Dog uses to display the company's impressive leaf rendering system and organically block its routes. That means we see only a few facsimiles of modern Seattle landmarks, including the Paramount Theater mission starting point, a collapsed version of the Washington State Convention Center, and an eventual march to the cobblestone streets of Pioneer Square.

When these moments arise, Naughty Dog proves to be adept at combining real-life topography and interesting gameplay moments. The architecture of the convention center, filled with bulging rectangular concrete blocks, becomes a dangerous series of jumps for Ellie. And the overgrowth of vineyards and trees in Pioneer Square transforms one of its largest parks into a chilling combat theater setting.

Between these benchmarks, Ellie moves through this mission mostly linearly, often because a path she takes includes some way to "barricade this door behind me,quot; to limit how many dangerous forces can sneak into her six. These include: mutated people who were hit by a virus and crawl like zombies; surviving humans who have joined an organized militia, the Washington Liberation Front (whose members adapt their initials, WLF, to call themselves "wolves,quot;); and a mysterious contingent of surviving humans known as "Scars,quot; emerging for the first time on this mission. At this point in the game, Ellie doesn't quite understand any of the guiding principles of these organizations, though the mission in question includes several handwritten notes on the tensions between the two groups, along with tragic letters that never came to be loved. . some.

Some parts of the mission terribly tell the story of the stopping human society. In a particularly heartbreaking battle against zombies, Ellie must sneak in and crawl through an abandoned newspaper office, which is occupied by an advanced form of the game's Infected: a fast-moving, by-default monster class dodging and triangulating around Ellie in instead of stupidly shaking or running straight. Without electricity, Ellie must rely on the flashlight on her shoulder and the dim light through the windows to navigate this office environment, whose cubicles and publishers' offices all seem to have taken a day off from work yesterday. Photo frames, prizes, and plaques can be found everywhere, along with text traces on the walls that tell the story of the newspaper.

Family combat in new premises

Ellie's battle arsenal hasn't evolved too dramatically since the original game. At this point in TLOU2Ellie's selection of weapons has expanded to include a pistol, revolver, shotgun, and hunting rifle, and also carries a bow, three types of bombs (proximity mine, "tip,quot; ball, Molotov cocktail) , A hard hitting implement (brick or bottle), and any melee objects you can find on the ground (stick, machete, etc.).

As in the first game, Ellie can find crafting tables that allow her to spend "gears,quot; on specific weapon upgrades. You can also spend "pills,quot; to improve your personal skills, though you get more new upgrade options in the latter category, all with the help of new "training manuals." Find a manual in a hidden corner of the game and you'll have access to a new skill tree; its perks and perks must be unlocked in order, so you can't access the convenient "sneak kills are 100% faster,quot; advantage until you spend pills on the other four upgrades in your category. At this point in the game, Ellie can access up to five skill trees: Survival, Crafting, Stealth, Precision, and Explosives.

Since those coins and equipment are relatively limited, TLOU2Quests (including this one) organically push players to comb through every corner of every abandoned building in hopes of finding more. The buildings are also stocked with ammunition and crafting supplies, used to resupply things like health kits, bombs, and a new pistol silencer add-on. Whether you will need all of those specific battle supplies depends on your play style and chosen difficulty.

Case in point: The final part of this mission, in which Ellie arrives at a WLF-fortified hospital, includes some paths to her second floor, which is her ultimate goal. On a "normal,quot; difficulty, I attempted this mission in two ways, and one of them was a dazzling, violent outburst. The normal difficulty includes enough ammo pickups that you can fight like this about 20% of the time and not worry about running out of ammo for your five main weapons. However, the difficulty increases and this becomes a more difficult proposal.

No, you cannot pet the dog.

My other tactical approach, then, included my stealth to a well fortified cover point where I had solid 270 degree walls behind me and three cover points to switch to. Once there, I was able to align enemies one by one and eliminate them with my two silent weapons: a silenced pistol and a bow. Every time I pulled someone out, another enemy wandered to the new corpse, began to murmur in horror, and stayed still long enough for me to pick them up. And each time, the new straggler came up and said the name of that person with fear. (Apparently, Naughty Dog had his voice actors recite a ton of names, which will be traversed at random).

Therefore, I am afraid I should report that TLOU2 It doesn't magically solve how easy "cheese,quot; is through stealth battle scenarios, at least in certain battle scenarios. The aforementioned zombie battle in an abandoned newspaper office is an example of a more satisfying and terrifying sequence, as is his first major battle against the Scar warriors in a pioneering Square Square. The latter sees those troops flank and circulate to bother you with their bows and arrows. The hospital's mission, at least, employs the game's new dog hunting system, where humans will patrol an area with a dog by their side, and this adds a new element to Ellie's "sensory,quot; system of displaying her scent. like a trace of His most recent steps. If you sneak around carelessly near a dog, it will perk up, bark, and move in your position blazingly fast.

At this point in the game, I discovered the best way to deal with dogs as a threat: kill their owners from a distance with an arrow or a silenced bullet. But be careful: this takes place in a rather messy way. This tactic constantly stops the dogs as they huddle next to their former master in complete confusion and begin to complain. Killing a dog first, on the other hand, will make its owner scream the dog's name and direct more members of the militia wherever the shot comes from. Either way, TLOU2Dogs are too aggressive to leave them alive. You cannot throw a gift at them or lure them to join you. The game forces you to kill virtual hunting dogs, in addition to killing virtual humans.

Interestingly, the Naughty Dog preview deal allows us to talk about a specific battle that you may have already seen: the "parking,quot; sequence, which I've embedded below.

The Last of Us Pt. 2, E3 2018 reveal. Jump to the 5:35 mark to see the content mentioned in the article.

I inserted that video because what you see here is, in general, what I experienced in the final game. Contextual moments in a battle mean that you may very well be pushed against nearby objects, such as a car, while enemies try to suffocate you. The melee system includes a smooth "L1 Dodge,quot; system whose animations flow primarily smoothly and dramatically (with exceptions, of course). If you carry an arrow on your shoulder or chest, you will bleed to death until you pull the arrow. Camera angle pans in battle look so dramatic and professional. And the fatal blows and cuts to enemies are truly heartbreaking to experience.

When Up News Info reported on this reveal in 2018, I wondered how false this sequence was. A few moments in the video above, particularly a member of the militia kicking a corpse, is never played. Others rearrange to make the sequence real plus dramatic. Otherwise, it is legitimate. Hiding under a car with a finger on the trigger; fighting multiple melee enemies simultaneously; operating in organic light environments in a post-electricity world – everyone is in the final game.

I keep coming back to a feeling of exaggeration when I think of the hospital-related mission I'm allowed to talk about. TLOU2Combat is not a mechanical revolution compared to the original game. Instead, it has been softened with overwhelming surprises and cinematic touches that offer some of the most memorable combat moments I've ever seen in the brutal adventure genre. Our views on how they fit into the full Naughty Dog package will have to wait until our feature film review is released on June 12.

Listing image from Sony Interactive Entertainment / Naughty Dog