I’m becoming more and more excited for The Last of Us Part II as the days tick by. As both a massive fan of Naughty Dog and the first game, the second part of Ellie and Joel’s saga can’t get here sooner. In just three weeks, we’ll finally have an answer as to whether or not the second game is able to surpass the benchmark set by the original, but until then, we’ll just have to gobble up trailers to satiate the hype hunger. While last week’s trailer focused on the game’s narrative, the latest featurette released last night was dedicated to discussing the gameplay, mechanics and level design of The Last of Us Part II.
To give you a brief rundown on what’s discussed in the video, the shift in protagonist forced Naughty Dog to change things up in terms of mechanics. Ellie is obviously a lot smaller and more slight than Joel, meaning that she won’t be able to land devastating right-hooks when spores hit the fan. What it does mean is that she’s far more agile and nimble, so her movement options obviously reflect this. Unlike the first game, Ellie has dedicated jump and prone buttons to encourage players to use the extra verticality in the environment to their advantage. The prone also allows for more options around stealth and ambushes as players will still have free use of all their equipment when lying down.
Of course, this emphasis on outmanoeuvring opponents means that the enemy AI has been forced to grow alongside Ellie. Going prone under a car isn’t a sure-fire way to escape a fight as enemies will be able to drag you out from underneath your hiding place. Ellie also has a dodge which will allow her to counter-attack or, probably more commonly, escape combat entirely. The level design is reflective of these expanded movements with wider environments that better take advantage of Ellie’s agility, meaning encounters should hopefully flow more dynamically instead of the sometimes stilted sequences of the first game.
Give the video a watch if you’re interested. I always enjoy these kinds of featurettes that give an explanation of designer intentions, as someone who has no idea how to make a game. The Last of Us Part II is due out on 19 June 2020.
Last Updated: May 21, 2020