Everything in The Last of Us 2 takes work. Every weapon reload, killing blow, and crafted item takes time and button presses. At times the game is painfully slow; even in the most action-packed sections you put in effort to move things forward. You’re paid for this work in a grim story and explicit violence. It can be exciting and beautiful, but mostly I just felt like shit.
This piece originally appeared 6/12/20. We’ve bumped it today for the game’s US release.
The Last of Us 2, out June 19 for PlayStation 4, is a sequel to Naughty Dog’s dark 2013 sort-of-zombie adventure The Last of Us. It’s a third-person game where your character is trying to exact revenge, but infected ex-humans and warring militias keep getting in the way. You can deal with these obstacles by sneaking past them, but more likely than not you’ll end up fighting them with limited ammo, improvised weapons like trip mines and pipe bombs, and a thrown brick or two. Its main setting of a post-apocalyptic Seattle is huge and challenging to navigate—when you aren’t fighting, you’re pushing debris out of the way, squeezing through gaps, and crawling under rubble. This gives the game a sense of effort and scale that make traversing a few city blocks feel like a huge adventure, but it’s also exhausting.