And there it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, The Last Of Us Part II is finally here! Well, it will be in a few years time, anyway. But let’s not get too caught up worrying about the painfully long wait just yet, and instead, indulge ourselves in the good news that the follow-up to the PS3’s swan song hit is indeed in development.
No doubt, if there’s one PlayStation franchise that’s earned its place in the “legendary status” section of our scrapbook, it’s The Last Of Us. The critical and commercial darling became PlayStation’s most beloved IP almost overnight back in 2013, surpassing even Uncharted 2 (or 3), as the console’s must play title. And given Uncharted’s status as PlayStation’s flagship franchise, trumping such an iconic trilogy in a single game was a quite remarkable achievement. And now, following the universal acclaim of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog have it all to do again to up the stakes with The Last Of Us Part II.
Surely, there’s few who would deny Uncharted 4 was a superb achievement; the perfect icing on the cake for a series that has been universally adored for years. Naughty Dog just doesn’t seem to miss, constantly redefining what the video gaming medium is capable of in regards to cinematics, presentation and narrative. So, how do you best a game that’s sitting as the undisputed king of its platform and genre, and follow up a title that holds such a special place in the collective hearts of PlayStation fans?
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Well, if the way in which Naughty Dog have handled Uncharted 4 is anything to go by, gamers should have no fear that they’re going to be able to pull it off. In fact, I’d suggest the game provides somewhat of a case study for how they might go about expanding upon some of The Last Of Us’s gameplay mechanics and story.
Certainly, if there’s one thing we learned from Uncharted 4, it’s that Naughty Dog aren’t shy about sharing assets between the two franchises, using experiences learned from one game to improve the other. And Nathan Drake’s latest adventure is definitely a step above what we’ve seen from other entries in the series; the gunplay is tighter, platforming far more intuitive, and there’s a smoothness to its general controls that is of a higher standard than the PS3 titles.
A Thief’s End absolutely benefitted from the introduction of mechanics lifted straight from The Last Of Us’s code, too. Refinements to stealth made sneaking sequences feel very familiar to those who had played through The Last Of Us, with the Nate and Sam buddy system echoing Joel and Ellie noticeably. In fact, the emphasis on stealth was one of the big differences in Uncharted 4. Features such as marking, takedowns, and less linear corridor-like level design put a greater emphasis on strategy and player choice. It’s a lineage that originated as a direct result of the developer’s experience with The Last Of Us.