The Last of Us Part II will see the continuation of the journey of fan-favourite Ellie. At Naughty Dog’s hands-on preview event, several new gameplay features have been revealed, with the daring darling teen now as the main playable character. Let’s take a look at some of the new additions to the sequel to the 2013 masterpiece.
Ellie flies solo
Yes, it looks as though you’ll only be able to play as Ellie in The Last of Us Part II, despite the surprise appearance of Joel (the previous game’s main protagonist) in the latest trailer. This, however, shouldn’t come as a disappointment to fans, as Ellie being in her late teens makes her way more mobile and athletic than Joel, meaning to say that there are more movement options to the player.
Possessing a small, slender frame, Ellie can slink about in small crawl spaces and corners, and even lay prone in the tall grass and sneak up behind enemy lines. Because of this, stealth will actually play a huge role in The Last of Us Part II, vis-a-vis the new analogue stealth system. She can climb and sprint faster, as well as jump (yay!) to higher areas, all of which Joel at his current state would never have been capable of.
Ellie is a combat expert in training
Taking a cue from Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games and Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Ellie’s weapon of choice is the bow and arrow. Its low-cost, low-noise output makes it the perfect companion to Ellie’s nimbleness.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Ellie won’t use the likes of firearms, or even melee weapons such as baseball bats and axes. She can even craft new weapon mods, such as silencers, which add on to her stealth-focused playstyle, as well as remote mines that can be detonated on command. And, when all goes to naught, Ellie can also sock it to an enemy’s face, (wo)mano y mano.
Thanks to her agility, she can even easily Dodge quick attacks with the simple tap of a button, making gameplay feel more seamless, due to the fact that your button presses are timed, rather than it being limited to quick-time events.
Furthermore, you can invest skills in various upgrade paths (even more so than the previous game) to dictate how you want to play Ellie. There are now three: with Survival (which improves the likes of health and Listen Mode range), Crafting (which upgrades crafting speed, as well as opens up with more crafting options), and Stealth (which perks up Ellie’s movement speed, or improves stealth kills and whatnot).
Ellie’s enemies get an upgrade as well
Ellie may have more movement and combat options available to her, but it doesn’t make The Last of Us Part II any easier. The various baddies – both human and Infected – get more variants, each of which come with their own unique new traits that make combat much deadlier.
The human side sees guard dogs make an appearance, accompanying the bandits on patrols. In the first game, you only had to deal with humanoid enemies (besides Infected, of course). Guard dogs are as quick as they are erratic, making them a hassle to deal with, even for one as agile as Ellie.
If the guard dogs aren’t giving you a hard time tackling you into the ground, then the huge, tanky Shamblers might be. These super-durable Infected not only serve as damage sponges, but they also make melee combat with them extremely difficult with the acidic gas that they spew at you if you get close. And if that’s not enough, they explode with deadly force when finally put down.
The levels are now huge sandboxes
Where the locales in The Last of Us were generally tight and claustrophobic, the general vicinities in the sequel are much, much larger. This coincides with Ellie’s enhanced movement, as well as the increased focus on enemy encampments. It also means Ellie gets to travel around on a horse more.
Whatever the case, Naughty Dog has really taken their time to sit down and add more than just flair and visual aesthetic to The Last of Us Part II. From the looks of it, you can expect a more fluid gameplay experience, with way more agency with which to do so.
The Last of Us Part II releases on February 21, 2020.
Marion has a serious RPG addiction. Sometimes it bleeds into real life; he forgets to sleep because he thinks he has a Witcher’s body clock. Forgive him in advance if he suddenly blurts out terms such as “Mind Flayer” and “Magic Missile”, because never once does he stop thinking about his next Dungeons & Dragons game.