It’s what’s on the plate when you load into The Last Of Us Part II. A lonely boat, moored on a rocky, grey sea waits for you to pull the rope and row out into the unknown; An unknown you’ve craved to see for 7 years.
A garage door slides open unto golden dusk, as you’ll ride into Jackson, Wyoming; Safe-haven to our heroes Joel and Ellie. The duo have found a sense of normal, as Ellie accepts her mutation is hers alone.
Winter drenches the ground, as you learn to take aim again with small clumps of snow in-hand. The afternoon frost welcomes you onto trails which demand upkeep, as the constant threat of Cordyceps hangs in the air like icy breath.
New faces run across the floor of an old lodge, stumbling into mysterious night. Bound hearts struggle with one another, as the ever-constant threat rears it’s fungal-infested head. They reach and grab at this character, as they crawl along the ground, biting tongue as to not alert this bitter present.
Present comes crashing into unforeseen past, as a crushed heart finds the hand which crushed it.
And this hand must meet the consequence of its actions.
The hope you wrought within The Last Of Us was your entree; A morsel to satiate your need to believe in the right thing. The Last Of Us Part II is your main course, dragged through the early winter setting and served icy cold.
You’ll carry this course with you throughout the rest of the game, hoping to give it away. Yearning to throw it away. The rot of its dreaded life causing you to turn away in disgust, but it is your course. It is your order, and it must be consumed.
The table will have its guests, and they may come and go; Some will help you with your course. Some will implore you to finish it.
And others won’t realise they have the same plate.
The Last Of Us Part II is a staggering journey through a confrontation you don’t want to be part of. A past you had no choice in. And a chance at happiness where the die rolled is blank on all sides.
How you go about it, may be new and wondrous. But it will also be familiar, eliciting a sense of pride in the growth of our characters. As is only fair, the wonder is shared by terror, as those who wish to halt your journey come in new forms and sizes.
Bigger. Faster. Haunting. And all more personal.
Human factions facilitated by religion and power will attempt to break you. On the outside they may look different, but their intent is the same. All the while, they are hunted, like you, by the Infected who see no difference in name, shape and colour.
When you reach your end, will you have had your full? Was the main course enough as you desperately grabbed at it, hoping to dull the roaring hunger? Or will you realise you weren’t hungry at all?
Because in your main course; In your revenge, you forgot about the morsel.
When you remember the morsel, you’ll see the main course compliments it tremendously. The morsel is the reason the main course, as harrowing and burdensome as it is, is gorgeous. It will make you cry. It will make you angry. And at its end, you will finally free yourself of it.
Because it was never about revenge. It was about love.
I've never enjoyed being pulled through a tumultuous journey. But the one I took with THE LAST OF US PART II was worth every moment.
It sits with you, forcing you to think about the road you just took; Making you wonder if it was the right one. If "killing them all" was worth it.
As the grey sea rolls over to golden dawn, and the autumn grass dances between your fingers, it's your choice if it was.
XENOJAY.COM was supplied with a media copy of the game for review by Sony, and it was played on the Playstation 4 Pro console.