When I got the notification that The Last of Us Part II has yet another lengthy gameplay trailer, the last thing I expected to see within it was a PS Vita. Look, I know there are more exciting and interesting things to talk about but come on. Naughty Dog straight up put a PS Vita in TLOU II and something about that just tickles me the right way.
All jokes aside, this gameplay deep dive shows off a pretty healthy slice of what players can expect from the action-adventure game filled with fungus zombies and very grimy men with slightly less grimy machetes. Beyond the utterly gorgeous visuals and animation, it’s clear that Naughty Dog has opened up their game to encompass far more than the original and it looks great.
The very first difference is more character growth than mechanical because while swimming was a system in the original game, Ellie was previously unable to do so, something she consistently reminded Joel of when traversing flooded areas. Ellie, swimming into some kind of enemy base seemingly built into a dam, eliminates a stray guard (the one with the PS Vita) and proceeds to take out a load of patrolling dudes, all unaware of your presence. The crafting system is shown off, including the ability to form a make-shift silencer for her pistol and, seemingly, new arrows for the bow. The “listen” system returns as Ellie is able to pick up moving enemies through cover, a nice advantage in the thick of a tense situation. Having very recently replayed the original game, the combat does seem to follow a similar pace of quietly eliminating as many enemies as possible before eventually making a mistake and being forced into a violent scrap.
The other very cool addition, and one that I’m not sure was shown off in previous trailers, is the more in-depth skill and weapon upgrade system. While the weapon upgrades are still governed by scrap found in the world, the skills seems to be more open ended, with significant expansions to traits such as stealth and precision. Entire upgrade branches have to be discovered and unlocked as you play the game, which certainly entice exploration more than random pieces of crafting materials (which have also returned).
Oh, and the other huge new feature seems to be…vents! Those fun little avenues that allow playable characters to eavesdrop on conversations while stealthily crawling above their prey. Other than that, the actual gameplay looks very similar to the first game but blown outward with more dynamic environments, verticality and opportunities to explore, evade and attack. Considering the original game was very set on the whole “chest-high cover” motif, some more realistic environments are a welcome addition. All aboard the hype train!
Last Updated: May 28, 2020