The Last of Us Part II -- Here is Everything You Need To Know Before Release
With the long-awaited Naughty Dog title a week away from release, here is everything you need to know about The Last of Us Part II.
While it seems like a lifetime (and a pandemic) ago that The Last of Us Part II was first revealed, the long-awaited sequel is finally almost here. Next week (Friday, June 19), the next chapter of Ellie and Joel’s journey will finally be in players’ hands, and given what we’ve seen of the game so far, it’s likely to be riveting and heartbreaking all the same.
With The Last of Us Part II a week away from release–and easily one of 2020’s biggest releases–we’ve broken down some of the biggest questions you might have about the game. It can’t be for nothing.
What is The Last of Us Part II?
As the name implies, The Last of Us Part II is the direct sequel to Naughty Dog’s acclaimed 2013 title, The Last of Us. Originally revealed at PlayStation Experience 2016, the initial teaser trailer showcased how Part II will not only reveal a brand new chapter of the story of its main characters, Joel and Ellie, but provide another heartbreaking and memorable story to experience.
After several reveal trailers over the past few years, initially Naughty Dog had planned to release The Last of Us Part II in February 2020. However, the game ended up being delayed to May 2020, with Naughty Dog pushing it back to allow for additional development time to polish the game before release. In the lead-up to the game’s planned launch in spring 2020, Sony and Naughty Dog had delayed The Last of Us Part II (alongside other exclusives like Ghost of Tsushima and Iron Man VR) in response to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Later on, Sony had confirmed that The Last of Us Part II would be released in June 2020.
The story so far
The Last of Us Part II picks up about five years after the events of the first game and continues to follow the story of Joel and Ellie after their journey through the post-apocalyptic United States. This time around however, Part II focuses a bit more specifically on Ellie as she embarks on a journey of revenge following a traumatic, devastating event that takes place in her story.
From what we’ve seen in trailers so far, the game will seemingly begin in Jackson, Wyoming, the location that Joel and Ellie reached at the very end of The Last of Us. At a survivor settlement in Jackson, which is headed by Joel’s brother Tommy, we’ll most likely see some of the events and community that have formed in the years since we saw Joel and Ellie in TLOU, with Ellie now 19 years old and living on her own.
Previous trailers have also introduced several new characters that will likely play a big part in the story of TLOU Part II, including Jesse and Dina, who is Ellie’s love interest. It has also been revealed that Ellie will eventually make her way towards Seattle, Washington, which seemingly will be a huge, expansive location that players will explore for a portion of the game, as we saw in the latest State of Play broadcast on the game. It’s not quite clear just yet what other locations we might see in-between Jackson and Seattle, but that leaves a lot of ground to cover for Ellie and potentially some new destinations on her journey.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re looking forward to playing The Last of Us Part II next week, the game was recently subject to a series of big story leaks back in April that spread online and across social media (including Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube). We’d recommend that if you want to go into TLOU Part II spoiler-free, other than avoiding certain parts of the internet, you should mute keywords related to the game (“TLOU,” “Ellie,” “Joel,” etc) on social media to make sure you don’t unknowingly see some of the spoilers.
Who should play it?
The Last of Us Part II is certainly a must-play if you’re a fan of the original game, as Part II (from what we’ve seen so far) is likely going to shed some new light on the events of the original. Likewise, with Ellie now older, we’ll get to see the game’s brutal world and setting from her perspective as she fights for survival and revenge.
However, the best way to sum up how The Last of Us Part II plays is that it’s a stealth-oriented action-adventure game that is played in third-person perspective. Most importantly, The Last of Us is a heavily story-driven experience with incredible performances and storytelling. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker, who respectively play Ellie and Joel, give each of these characters unique perspectives and humanity that is worth witnessing for yourself, alongside a world that draws memorable comparisons to The Road, Children of Men, The Walking Dead, and other post-apocalyptic stories.
If you’re looking to get caught up on the story before The Last of Us Part II comes out next week, the best way to do that is by playing The Last of Us Remastered on PS4. This remastered edition, which released in 2014, features the complete original game with fully-revamped visuals and audio, while also including its Factions multiplayer mode and standalone single-player DLC, The Last of Us: Left Behind.
Overall, The Last of Us should take you about 15 hours to play through from beginning to end, and Left Behind should take about 3-4 hours to complete. By playing through TLOU Remastered, you’ll be completely caught up on the story of the original game and ready to see what happens in Part II.
What to expect from The Last of Us Part II
Aside from what we’ve seen of the story so far, some of the most prominent aspects of The Last of Us Part II that we already know is that it’s likely going to be a heavy, intense experience. Several of the previous trailers and cinematics shown have highlighted that TLOU Part II will be a dark narrative that is focused on “the cycle of violence” that these characters encounter throughout the story, especially as seen through the eyes of Ellie.
The game’s director, Neil Druckmann, has previously mentioned that one of the core themes of The Last of Us Part II is “hate,” compared to the original game’s theme of “love.” According to Druckmann, TLOU Part II won’t be an easy game to get through, but intentionally meant to have players question what actions they would take for their loved ones, and to highlight the effects of violence and revenge through different perspectives.
Aside from its storytelling and dramatic themes, TLOU Part II also makes some significant changes to the gameplay of the original. As Ellie, players will have access to a skill tree to upgrade and enhance her abilities, along with a more robust crafting system and weapon upgrades. Ellie will also be able to swim, jump, and can use new mobility options, such as swinging on a rope to cross a gap.
Additionally, Naughty Dog is also bringing some of its largest, most expansive environments to TLOU Part II, which it experimented with in its more recent games like Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. With The Last of Us‘ emphasis on exploration and player decisions, seemingly TLOU Part II‘s more open environments will let players make more dynamic decisions on how to fight and survive enemy encounters, and to explore different areas to find crucial supplies like health items, crafting components, and ammo.
How long is The Last of Us Part II?
In terms of the game’s length, Naughty Dog’s developers have recently stated that they estimate The Last of Us Part II to be about 25-30 hours long, and that it is aimed to be the studio’s largest, most ambitious game to date.
Previously, TLOU Part II writer Halley Gross had said that the game would be about 50% larger in scope compared to the original game, which seems to put it in the ballpark of about 20 hours. It remains to be seen how long the actual game will turn out, as developer estimates can sometimes be a bit higher than what players might experience. Either way, it seems that The Last of Us Part II will still be a much larger experience compared to what we saw from the original game.
Will The Last of Us Part II have multiplayer?
Alongside the single-player story of The Last of Us, the game also featured a unique multiplayer mode called Factions, which saw players fighting to survive as competing groups and completing objectives. Factions had a small (but dedicated) following over the years before the mode’s PS3 servers were shut down last fall. The mode, however, still has an active playerbase in The Last of Us Remastered on PS4.
Naughty Dog confirmed last year that The Last of Us Part II will not feature the Factions mode (or any form of multiplayer) when it launches in June due to the scope of the single-player campaign. However, the studio did hint that there will be some form of TLOU multiplayer content down the line, whether that is a new iteration of Factions or something else entirely.
Where can you buy The Last of Us Part II, and how many editions are there?
TLOU Part II will be available physically and digitally when it launches on June 19, 2020. If you want to go the digital route, you can pre-order the standard edition of the game right now on the PlayStation Store for $59.99. A Digital Deluxe Edition is also available for $69.99, which includes a digital artbook, soundtrack, bonus item packs, and a dynamic PS4 theme. Pre-loading is now also available so that you can download the game ahead of its release and be able to play it right when it launches. TLOU Part II will reportedly ship on two Blu-ray discs physically, so expect a big download.
For the physical release, you can find TLOU Part II at major retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Walmart, and more. The standard version of the game runs for $59.99, while several premium editions of the game are also available with added bonuses and collectibles for fans of the series. We’ll break all those down below.
The Special Edition of The Last of Us Part II ($79.99) includes a collector’s SteelBook case, alongside a 48-page mini artbook from Dark Horse Comics, bonus item packs, and more. The Collector’s Edition ($169.99) features all of those items alongside some special collectibles, such as stickers, enamel pins, a replica of Ellie’s bracelet, and a 12″ Ellie statue. The final premium version of the game is the Ellie Edition ($229.99), which collects these items and other bonuses such as a logo patch, vinyl record, and an authentic replica of Ellie’s backpack.
Every version of the game is taking preorders right now for both the digital and physical releases. The Collector’s and Ellie Editions are sold out at most retailers (or in limited availability) at this point, but keep an eye out in case there are any last-minute restocks at retailers before it arrives.
Sony will also be releasing a limited edition TLOU Part II-themed PS4 Pro bundle for $399.99 that includes the game and a specially-designed 1TB PS4 Pro console. You can also pick up the limited edition TLOU Part II-themed DualShock 4 controller on its own for $64.99.
Aside from the digital and physical editions of the game itself, you can also put in a pre-order for The Art of The Last of Us Part II from Dark Horse, which features over 200 pages of concept art, sketches, and behind-the-scenes work on the making of the game. The regular hardcover book is $39.99, while the deluxe edition runs for $89.99.
Will The Last of Us Part II come out on PS5?
At the moment, it hasn’t been confirmed just yet if there will be a dedicated PS5 version of The Last of Us Part II when the system arrives later this year. However, with backwards compatibility confirmed (to an extent) on Sony’s next-gen system, we at least know that TLOU Part II will be compatible with the PS5 when the console launches, according to Sony’s Jim Ryan in an interview with CNET.
Whether Sony and Naughty Dog end up releasing a “remastered” PS5 version of TLOU Part II later on is unclear at the moment, but it wouldn’t be surprising considering that The Last of Us–which was one of the PS3’s last exclusives before the release of the PS4–received a remastered release on PS4 a year later. A similar situation could happen for TLOU Part II to take full advantage of the PS5’s hardware, but probably not for some time after the game debuts on PS4.
The Last of Us Part II will release exclusively for PS4 on June 19, 2020. For more on the game, stay tuned for our upcoming full review and check out our other coverage on the long-awaited sequel.