If you’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of The Last Of Us Part 2, I’m sure you’ve already seen the eight minutes worth of new gameplay footage unveiled by Naughty Dog last week. With the review copy of the game, I’ve received the privilege of playing through the full section of the short sequence shown in that same footage.

Lasting approximately two hours, the chapter begins with The Last Of Us Part 2 protagonist Ellie setting out to find and hunt down Nora, one of several antagonists in the game, who is at a nearby hospital. It’s already been previously established that there are several factions in The Last Of Us Part 2, including the militia group Washington Liberation Front (WLF) and the cult-like Seraphites of Scars.

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As I ventured out from my base of operations (which I can’t reveal), I had to pass through a section of the city. The Last Of Us Part 2 encourages exploration and the rewards scavenging, as I discovered more weapons, items, and even additional story moments simply by going off the beaten path. Game director Neil Druckmann wasn’t kidding when he said that certain story and narrative moments can be missable.

The first obstacle in my path was an abandoned newspaper building. It was darker than usual inside, and I met one of the more annoying types of Infected; the Stalkers. The Stalkers are sort of a hybrid between Runners and Clickers, as they still have eyesight albeit with more durability and speed. They probably got their name from the fact that they like to hide and ambush people when they least expect it.

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Anyways, I had to fight my way through several swarms (yes, swarms) of Stalkers in the dimly-lit and narrow offices of the newspaper building before finally escaping into a sewer. Fortunately, my time in the sewer was brief and I managed to get out to relative safety. Or so I thought.

As I stumbled upon a heavily-forested area, I heard an unidentified and chilling whistling sound in the distance, before an arrow strikes Ellie in her shoulder. They caught me completely by surprise as I was passing through a seemingly safe forested area, hitting Ellie with an arrow to the shoulder.

Ellie shrugs off the arrow by pulling it out, and I’m met with more echoes of creepy whistling sounds approaching.

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It turns out that this was the work of the Seraphites, or Scars. That’s right, unlike the conventional militia troopers of the WLF, the Scars communicate with each other not by speaking, but instead by whistling as if they’re descended from dolphins.

Imagine getting stalked by a bunch of fanatical weirdos who whistle to signal their friends, like they’re aliens from outer space.

Despite being freaked out, I was actually at an advantage, seeing as the forested area gave me sufficient places to go prone (lie down on my belly to avoid detection). This is a new mechanic introduced in The Last Of Us Part 2, improving the stealth options in combat. I essentially crawled my way to each Scar grunt and picked them off one by one. To my horror, I had to fight even more Scars in the next area, which can be seen in the E3 2018 gameplay trailer, if you’re interested.

After defeating the mysterious Scars, I finally entered the area as seen in the gameplay footage revealed last week, and encountered the now-famous girl with the PlayStation Vita. Even after killing her, I could clearly see the PlayStation Vita on the ground, still intact, with the screen actually showing Hotline Miami.

What’s amusing here -and a nice piece of detail I’d like to point out- is that I could still hear the subtle tunes and hum of MOON’s “Hydrogen”, one of the most popular songs from the first Hotline Miami.

Then, I found myself in a huge compound outside the hospital with quite a number of WLF goons strewn about. My first course of action was taking out the sniper on the watchtower as soon as possible, then picking off the WLF soldiers I could spot from above. It’s strange though, the AI seems to be a bit dumb, in that they couldn’t pinpoint my location.

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I know this because none of them even attempted to climb up the ladder to the watchtower where I was camped. I expected them to rush or at least converge to my location, but they didn’t, so I had to abandon my elevated position on the watchtower and come down to finish the rest of the stragglers off. As I made my way deeper into the hospital, I finally found Nora, but that’s all I can say for now.

This two-hour section retains the same dramatic narrative and tight action beats that we’ve come to expect from the original The Last Of Us. The weapons pack the same satisfying punch and it’s as thrilling as ever.

I sincerely hope that the rest of the game will be able to keep up the same level of quality and pacing until the finish line. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s looking pretty bright for Naughty Dog.

Stay tuned for our full review for The Last Of Us Part 2 on 12th June. The Last Of Us Part 2 is slated to release on 19 June 2020.


 

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