In essence, the game delivers a prologue, Ellie’s gameplay, Abby’s gameplay, and then the epilogue.
Casual gameplay can take about 30 hours. That means 12 hours with each character, plus a couple of hours on the intro and outro. A completionist playthrough on the highest difficulty can take over 40 hours.
Other than that, TLOU2 has 46 chapters across 11 acts. Each chapter takes around 45 minutes, plus the time it takes to find all collectibles.
Each Act is a particular day in the story. The meat of the plot happens in Seattle Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Both Ellie and Abby play their respective day-acts.
Is there a map?
Only the Downtown Seattle part of the game features an in-game map. You can find it inside a trailer with a “Road Work Ahead” sign.
As you find hints in the area, Ellie will mark points of interest on the map. Once you explore these places, Ellie will mark the map with an X.
The innovative feature is unfortunately short-lived, only present for an hour-long chapter.
Is TLOU2 open-world?
The game is linear, but, contrary to the first game, the areas are larger. You can approach the scenarios in multiple ways, like sliding in-between cracks, climbing with your rope, sneaky, or aggressive. These are “sandbox” elements not present before.
Also, there’s a semi-open area, Downtown Seattle, during Seattle Day 1 Arc, Chapter. It’s the biggest location in the game. You have a horse available, as well as the in-game tourist map to guide you.
Are the graphics good?
The Last of Us 2 graphics are stellar. Naughty Dog won prizes and critical acclaim for its visual prowess, and I will explain why.
Notably, developers created a new engine that adds and controls dynamic light sources. The scarce light sources in the game (like the Sun, stars, and torches) interact with each other to create high contrast and immersive backgrounds.
Because of the game’s particle rendering technology, light interacts with dust particles as well. It makes places make areas appear rotten, old, and decrepit.
Then, Naughty Dog used “temporal antialiasing” for their cinematic cuts. It creates clean edges, superb focus, and smooth motion blur.
Lastly, they added motion-capture animation for all of the characters in the game. They first used the technology for 2013’s The Last of Us.
Lastly, I should say the game renders in 1440p on both the PS5 and the PS4 Pro. It can run at 60fps on the PS5, whereas there’s a 30 fps limit on the PS4 Pro. On the base console, TLOU2 runs at 24fps and 1080p.
The main characters
Ellie lives in Jackson, a thriving community in Seattle. She and Joel grew apart after the events of the first game.
Even though Joel never told her what he did, she doubts her. Sadly, she believes everything they went through in the first game was ultimately pointless. Guilt has made her cold and somber.
Ellie’s journey starts when Abby, the “antagonist,” kills Joel. Hers is an arc of revenge with hardly anything else to say other than “revenge is bad.”
The “villain,” Abby, killed Joel for her own revenge. She lost her father to Joel’s hand. As you play with her, you meet a broken person with a heroic side.
Abby’s part is mostly an extended flashback to explore the person. On her side of the story, she clashes against an evil religious cult, the Seraphites, after saving two kids in the woods.
Ultimately, the game plays out how each character reached the other for a violent clash.
The side characters
The rest of the characters feel like real-life people living in a harsh world. Voice acting, development, facial animations, and general atmosphere serve the purpose.
For example, there’s Owen, Abby’s partner. He shares his particular views on how it feels to fight against other humans. Also, he’s Abby’s driving force.
Lev is more enjoyable. He’s a trans man running away from a dangerous religious cult. You rescue Lev during Abby’s playthrough, and then he plays a pivotal role on your journey.
There’s also Manny, the leader of the Washington Liberation Front. He’s also a former member of the Fireflies and presents himself as protective, empathic, and tough.
On Ellie’s side, there’s Dinah, her partner. She grows, learns, and has interesting things to say. While Ellie becomes consumed by her revenge, Dinah tries to make her forgive and let go.
Another recurrent character is Ellie’s friend, Jesse. He’s loyal, kind, and ready to do everything he can to help those he cares about.
Tommy Miller, Joel’s brother, is also present. He’s polite, humble, and caring. Ultimately, though, he becomes brutal, ready to avenge his brother.
Lastly, Joel is present as a side character as well. You might feel the best parts of the title are the flashbacks where you get to play Ellie and Joel.
Is there a main villain?
The game does not state a clear villain. Both Ellie and Abby are blinded by revenge and suffer the consequences.
Seraphite Cult members are the villains during Abby’s part. She faces their leaders in a tough boss fight.
Both Abby and Ellie fight against zombie-like humans, including memorable boss engagements against The Infected. One of these action set-pieces happens in one of the game’s flashbacks, where you get to play as Ellie and Joel.
The other boss fights are Ellie and Abby themselves.
The Infected is better than ever, and the game shines whenever these monsters show. However, most Infected encounters are not mandatory. You can pass them by running or with stealth.
Either way, the new and old Infected types on TLOU2 are:
These are the weakest ones. They are fast, but their attacks are sluggish. You can use melee weapons to defeat them. If you see them in hordes, though, running away or using mines is better.
You’ll find runners in dark corridors. Oftentimes, they have their faces against the wall, so stealth kills with a switchblade are easy.
These hide and stalk their prey in the dark. If you’re not careful, they will jump on you from walls and corners, so prepare your hearing skills to dispose of them with fire.
Stalkers frequently appear in abandoned and dark buildings, parking lots, basements, sewers, and subway areas. You can defeat them with flamethrowers and Molotov bombs.
These are blind but can track you when you make noise. You can approach them with stealth and kill them with Ellie’s switchblade. Abby would need a “Shiv” for a stealth kill (more in the general walkthrough section).
If Clickers engage, you can stand still or throw objects to distract them. Alternatively, kill them with any weapon. They can appear anywhere in the game, open areas and otherwise.
These are huge and have thick fungal plates to protect them. They can throw poisonous spore bombs at you and, if they grab you, you’re dead.
You shouldn’t use melee weapons against Bloaters. Their skin is too thick and thus can resist melee damage. Yet, Bloaters can charge at you, so be careful and keep your distance.
Other Infected may appear during Bloater combat. You can still prioritize the Bloater, as the other Infected will stay around him.
These monsters have no weaknesses, so you can shoot at any part of their bodies. Overall, you need heavy firepower to defeat them, like Abby’s flamethrower or a shotgun. I also recommend you to use Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs, and trap mines.
Bloaters die during cutscenes after they take enough damage. They are rare and thus only present as boss battles.
These are new enemies that function like bloaters. Instead of throwing fungus bombs, they can release a poisonous cloud around them to attack. They also release the toxic cloud on death.
Their poison is hazardous. Also, if you grab shamblers or approach them with stealth, they can throw acid at you (instant-death).
Similarly, shamblers can charge at you. Unlike the bloaters, they are fast, so you’ll need to dodge them and run away to stay alive.
Keeping your distance is vital. Long-range weapons like the rifle and the bow are your best bets.
Shamblers are somehow common and often appear in pairs. You’ll find them in abandoned buildings like stores, warehouses, and offices. They also dwell in underground places like tunnels and sewers.
The Rat King appears a single time for the most memorable fight the game offers. You need to defeat him as Abby in the Seattle Hospital Basement (Abby’s Seattle Day 2 Arc, Ground Zero chapter).
Multiple Infested makes up for a Rat King; it’s tough. It’s a slow monster, but It can kill you with a single hit, so keep shooting and moving around.
Defeating the Rat King requires inflammatory shells, Molotov bombs, the flamethrower, and pipe bombs. If you don’t have fire at your disposal, use the rest of your arsenal.
After a lot of damage, it will split into two Stalkers during short cinematic cuts.
TLOU2 general walkthrough
The Last of Us Part 2 is a linear game, which is why it doesn’t need a walkthrough. Yet, I’m pointing towards the most essential stuff you need to know and find.
For starters, ammo is scarce, so take your time to explore, open drawers, and check corpses. After a couple of hours of scavenging grind, you’ll have enough supplies.
Secondly, you don’t need to engage in combat all of the time. The “sandbox” elements of the game allow you to bypass many battles by stealth or sprinting.
Thirdly, stealth is your biggest weapon. The mechanics are fun but overpowered. Enemies take too much time to hear you, see you, and engage when you’re sneaky.
Lastly, there’re not many puzzles in the game. If you find yourself stuck, look around for places where you can use the rope, shoot an arrow, or break a window.
Weapons and weapon upgrades
There’re 12 weapons in TLOU2 split between Ellie and Abby. Most of these are automatic rewards, whereas others require some exploration.
If you miss weapons, they will respawn in other random locations until becoming an automatic reward.
Then, you’ll find workbenches during your playthrough where you can upgrade most of your weapons with “Parts.” It’s a simple process.
Here’re the weapons available in the game, in order of appearance:
Semi-Auto pistol: it’s in Ellie’s inventory.
Bolt-action rifle: you get it automatically during Chapter 4: Patrol.
Revolver: you get it automatically during Chapter 7: Packing Up.
Pump shotgun: during Chapter 9: Downtown, you can find it inside the bank vault. The bank is on the left side of Downtown Seattle. It’s code is 60-23-06.
Bow: you can find it during Chapter 16: Hillcrest. During a cutscene, a Stalker will grab you after you squeeze into a garage. Kill it and loot it for the bow.
Ellie can upgrade the five weapons available for her.
Military pistol: it’s an automatic reward during Chapter 24: The Stadium.
Semi-auto rifle: another automatic reward during the same chapter.
Hunting pistol: you can loot it during Chapter 25: On Foot. Go inside the MS Corporation Soft Drink Distribution Center building via a cracked wall on the back. Then, open a sage for the pistol. The secure code is 17-38-07.
Double barrel shotgun: you can find it in Chapter 28: Hostile Territory. Within the Chinatown area with shops, go to the last shop on the left and then upstairs. Here, you’ll fight against three clickers.
Afterward, jump on the balcony across the street. Then, take a left turn, drop down the hole in the floor towards another shop, and check behind the counter for the weapon. In case you miss it, it shows up automatically in the next chapter.
Crossbow: automatic reward during Chapter 31: The Coast.
Flamethrower: automatic reward in Chapter 34: The Descent.
Silenced submachine gun: the last automatic upgrade during Chapter 44: The Resort.
You can pick up melee weapons during your playthrough. If you pick these up, you equip them automatically. They have a durability meter and break when reaching the threshold.
Until then, you can store them on your inventory and even upgrade them. Open the crafting menu, go to Melee Upgrade, and press and hold X to upgrade a melee weapon.
The materials you need are tape and scissors (a blade). An upgraded melee weapon is more powerful and can execute enemies with a single attack.
Lastly, Ellie uses the switchblade if you perform a melee attack with no melee weapon. Abby, though, uses “shivs.”
Abby uses her fists for stealth kills, unlike Ellie’s small knife. However, she can’t take out tougher enemies like Clickers or Seraphite cult members.
So, she can craft shivs, a small knife, after learning the Craft Shivs upgrade, the first skill on Abby’s Covert Ops branch.
The ingredients you need are a blade and a binding material (tape).
The two games in the series feature skills. TLOU2 has distinct skill paths for each character. You can progress through these trees by finding special collectibles.
Ellie’s trees are Survival, Crafting, Stealth, Explosives, and Precision. Abby’s options are Field Tactics, Covert Ops, Firearms, Close Quarters, and Ordinance.
Another notable collectible is the supplements. These are your “skill points,” as they buy Player Upgrades (skills).
Another notable collectible is Parts. You use scrap parts to upgrade your weapons.
Lore-wise, you will find Artifacts and Journal Entries. Both serve as worldbuilding elements, so finding these items is fun.
You can also find Safes, but you need a code to open. Often, the code is on a nearby Journal Entry or environmental clues. Within safes, you can find ammo, supplies, crafting resources, or weapons.
Workbenches and weapons also count as collectible items. In particular, workbenches are present within your standard story path.
Lastly, there’re Trading Cards and Coins. These serve no in-game purpose, but they reward trophies and achievements.
Can you find all of the collectibles in TLOU2?
You can’t go back to another chapter to pick up collectibles, but, as I’ve said, the notable items will respawn further down the road.
Luckily, you store your collectibles on your character profile automatically. That means you don’t lose these items on death, and they carry over into a New Game +.
If you have trouble finding these items, there’s an in-game option to make things easier. Go to Options – Accessibility – Magnification and Visual Aids – High Contrast Display – Setting 1. This marks collectibles and items in yellow, and you can see these items from far away.
Alternatively, go to Options – Accessibility – Navigation and Traversal – Scan Time = 1S / Enhanced Listening Mode = ON / Scan Range = 30M. Now, your listening skills can highlight all collectibles 30 meters around you.
The Last of Us Part 2 Review: is it better than TLOU?
I enjoyed the first game more. I believe Joel’s journey from a reluctant hero towards a loving father is endearing. It’s a game about sacrifice and morality. Ultimately Joel wasn’t ready to sacrifice her surrogate daughter for the greater good. After all, was humanity worth saving at that point?
On the contrary, TLOU2 is not made to make you like the characters. Instead, the game wants you to despise their revenge journeys. And it can be exhausting.
Significant problems include little development to side characters, inconsistent story arcs, and shock value over storytelling. By the latter, I mean some “plot twists” rely on “subverting expectations” rather than following up a course of actions.
Other problems revolve around its split storytelling. Most people agree it would have been best to tell the story linearly rather than resetting towards Abby’s extended flashback.
Even worse, the game leans too much on presenting Ellie as a terrible person. On her revenge path, she kills dogs, tortures people, and hears the painful screams of her victims over and over.
Meanwhile, Abby loves someone, has friends, plays with dogs, saves some kids, and puts her life on the line to defeat the very evil Seraphite cult. She still horribly killed Joel, even after the former protagonist saved her from an Infected horde.
Speaking of which, the game pushes Joel aside too fast by using glaring plot conveniences.
Still, TLOU2 succeeds in telling a story about the tragedy of revenge. The presentation and even the execution are flawless.
Is the gameplay better?
There’re significant improvements compared to the original title. Things like being able to go prone or craft different arrow types make a great difference.
The broader levels offer an element of freedom not present before. Combine this with the outstanding presentation and performance of the game, and you get a solid survival shooter.
“Solid” because The Last of Us Part 2 is a jack-of-all-trades. It has fine survival, shooting, melee, exploration, sandbox, character progress, and stealth elements, but it doesn’t excel on any.
That said, cinematic cuts take a significant chunk of the game (about 5 hours). Walking-from-A-to- B scenes are common as well. That means the “play” part is not as significant as you’d like.
Did TLOU2 deserve Game of the Year?
There’re valid reasons to dislike the game. It’s neither the 10/10 game media believes nor the 5.7/10Metacritic user score. Rather, it’s something in-between.
With that said, 2020 gave birth to various perfect titles in their genres, like Doom Eternal, Ori and The Will of Wisps, or Hades.
That’s enough reason for us to doubt the 2020 Game of the Year award.
Is TLOU2 difficult?
The game offers various difficulty levels: Very Light, Light, Moderate, and Hard.
Additionally, the Grounded Update debuted in August 2020. It offers extra options to make the game harder (like Permadeath) or crazier (like different color palettes).
Is TLOU2 scary?
Although the Infected are not as present as in the first game, these enemies are scary. Boss battles against bloaters or The Rat king are particularly frightening.
Moreover, there’s a jarring amount of violence, brutality, and gore all across the board. We don’t recommend this game for kids.
Does TLOU2 have multiple endings?
The Last of Us 2 is a narrative game. You don’t have any say on what happens, so the game takes you to a single conclusion.
Does TLOU2 have multiplayer?
There’s currently no multiplayer and no official word about it.
Does The Last of Us II have ray-tracing?
Neither the PS4, PS4 Pro, or PS5 versions have ray-tracing. Naughty Dog might be working on a ray-tracing upgrade nonetheless.
TLOU2 vs. Days Gone, which is better?
According to user reviews, there’s a higher chance that you’ll like Days Gone more. It has superb gameplay, outstanding horde mechanics, and a straightforward plot.
TLOU2 vs. Red Dead Redemption?
TLOU2 is a divisive game, whereas RDR2 is universally loved. Rockstar’s masterpiece is one of the best games in history.
Will there be a The Last of Us 3?
Yes, Naughty Dog is currently working on the game. The studio’s director Neil Druckmann says they already finished writing the story.