As previously mentioned, 2020 was a weird gaming year because I spent much of it playing Modern Warfare and Minecraft. So, before I (eventually) get a PS5 I want to spend some time catching up on a few games I’ve missed. 2021 will be the year of the single-player game!

The first game of 2021 is The Last Of Us Part II. I’ve recently completed it, so here’s some thoughts. Usual warnings about spoilers!

So, I’m going to put it out there straight away. I thought this game was a masterpiece. Naughty Dog made some brave storytelling choices and I applaud them for it.

First off, the death of Joel. The guy you play as for the majority of the first game, gets killed early in the second? The developers could have played it safe, kept him alive and just carried on where the first game left off. It would have still been great and people would have still bought it. They didn’t take that easy option.

And then there was playing as Abby for a good chunk of the game. On the surface, that seemed like a crazy decision, forcing you to play as the detestable person who killed Joel. But I went from wanting to get her storyline over as quickly as possible so I could rejoin Ellie, to feeling sympathy and affection for her and what she’s been (and goes) through. It’s almost as though Naughty Dog challenged themselves to make it work.

What really showcased the multifaceted emotions involved in this game were the two battles between her and Ellie. When I was controlling Abby, and was basically forced to hurt Ellie in order to move the game forward, I hated it. Likewise, when Ellie was drowning Abby near the end of the game, I felt horrible. Strange emotions to associate with a game, right? Yet that’s what made it so, so compelling to me.

The gameplay is fine. A little formulaic at times, but solid. Combine it with the storytelling though, and it makes for one of the most accomplished games I’ve ever played.

My next game is going to be Days Gone. I’m guessing it won’t have quite the same impact.