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Change YoY: =   My Rating: 9.2 / 10

Seemingly one of the most divisive games of the last several years, The Last of Us Part II had people saying that the game sucks months before it was even released because the leaks revealed that something they didn't like would happen in the story. At that point I basically decided that I wasn't going to put any weight on anybody else's opinion regarding this game, as it was clear that a lot of people had long since made up their minds and were never going to like it no matter what actually took place in it. I also did everything I could to avoid spoilers beforehand, though I did get spoiled about the big early game twist that sets the story in motion. As a result, I thought the game was fantastic overall, with a few notable shortcomings that cannot be overlooked.

I found The Last of us Part II to be a great continuation of Ellie's story, making sure to develop the familiar characters further from where they left off at the end of the first game, while also introducing some very intriguing new ones. At the start of the game you get to see what life for Ellie and Joel could have been like if they had just been left alone, both having grow kinder and softer in the years between the two games. Unfortunately, in the end their actions in the first game come back to haunt them, forcing Ellie back into the world she had effectively left behind, and steering her towards some very dark places in the process. In many ways, this game is a cautionary tale of what happens when a person lets revenge consume their life. Almost none of the main characters come off this one unscathed, with everyone losing something important over the course of the story. In general, The Last of Us Part II is tonally an extremely dark game, with no characters getting a truly happy conclusion to their story.

However, it is that dark tone that can sometimes be a problem as well. While the first game was certainly a melancholic tale as well, it had its significant moments of levity throughout. The Last of Us Part II on the other hand gives the player much fewer of those lighter moments, or at least it feels like that, possibly because the game is also much longer than the first one. This can make the whole experience very harrowing, as often it feels like nothing but bad things are happening on a constant basis. Despite how much I love the game, it's not one I'll be going back to play again any time soon. That might also be why one of the best sections of the game is Joel and Ellie's visit to a museum. The other major issue I thought the game had was its length, as I thought it could have easily been 5 to 10 hours shorter without really losing anything of note. With all that said, this is still an exceptional game, and I'm curious how Ellie's story continues if and when the next game is released.