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10 Things We Need To See In The Last of Us 2
The Last of Us was quite a ride. From start to finish, the action never let up and neither did the emotional scenes. This game has power. It certainly deserves the recognition it has been receiving. However, after beating the game you’re left with an ending that makes you beg for more. What happens next? I believe we’ll get to see exactly that in a few years when The Last of Us 2 releases. The ending left open the possibility for more.
With this epic now behind them, Naughty Dog is no doubt thinking about what to do next with this game and I believe there are ten things that need to be looked at for The Last of Us 2. Let’s head through the list now.
#10 – Chit-Chat and More Landmarks
There are rare occasions in The Last of Us that allows you to look deeper into something you see or try to figure something out with a character. These events show up as talk icons above a character’s head or on a landmark. There are too few of these.
The talking or sight-seeing events are quite remarkable. They bring more depth to the world and the characters you come in contact with. They are by no means necessary or required but they really add to the game. The conversations you have with characters during these events are usually big tidbits on who these people are, their traits, personalities, and what they hope the future is like. These talking events are even better when they happen with Ellie. She’s so young yet trying to be strong scene after scene, battle after battle. It’s nice to hear her just stop for a second and talk about her feelings. It brings more to her character; a sort of humanity outside of the dangers and violence she has to run through.
#9 – More Infected Types
Runner. Stalker. Clicker. Bloater. There ya go! That’s all of the Infected types in the game. C’mon on, Naughty Dog. I need more!
The four types of Infected are very well fleshed out and utilized but it leaves almost nothing to the imagination when the lore says after Bloater stage the Infected just dies and grows as a spore. This is a five-stage Infection that has so much more potential.
Instead of changing up the stages of the Infection, why not add variations or events that change the Infected stages? What if a Runner eats something with some sort of chemical on it before turning into a Stalker and changes up the evolutionary chain? What if that change makes each stage – including the spore growth – different and more dangerous? Maybe something Ellie isn’t immune to?
There are a lot of ways this infection can be changed up and given more opportunities to scare us, harm us, and kill us.
#8 – Better Fighting Mechanics
Combat in The Last of Us works. It just works and honestly I had no issue utilizing it to complete the game without getting pissed off but there’s so much more that can be done here. You can upgrade Joel’s “abilities” throughout the game but none of them, except what you can do with the Shiv, helps out in combat.
Why can’t I plug some pills into getting better with grapples – both offensive and defensive? How about upgrading grapples to allow me more time with moving an enemy before I have to choose what to do with it? Or perhaps an upgraded grapple can help me get out of grabs faster so I’m not standing there being choked and getting shot at?
There’s a lot of other aspects of combat that can be enhanced like melee power, dodge rolls, slides, and some other forms of efficiency upgrades.
#7 – More Options Through Encounters
Early on The Last of Us tells you that you have three options of getting through encounters: offensive kills, stealth kills, or avoiding it all completely. This isn’t always the case but to be honest I never felt inclined to avoid an encounter completely unless it was a room full of Clickers and I didn’t feel like using all of my Shivs. Aside from them, other enemies can be easily dispatched. This makes me feel limited in my options and that I should just take the encounter head on and deal with it.
I’d like to see some more uses of environment during encounters. Can I drop a piano on top of some enemies a floor below? How about rig up some traps before an ambush to thin out numbers? I have nail bombs but I can’t rig them up to a wall like Bill does? How about letting me shimmy across a ledge outside of a room to skip an enemy or an entire encounter?
Obviously with more options comes more ways to fail but also gives more depth to the game and chances to add some hard to obtain trophies. Avoid every possible encounter in the game for a gold trophy? Yes, please.
#6 – Boss Encounters
The Last of Us only had one real boss and it was the first Bloater you encountered. It was cool, hectic, and fresh at that point in the game but then Bloaters became regular enemies placed throughout encounters to give a slight difficulty upgrade.
I liked the first Bloater encounter. It felt needed at that point and made me get really into the game for that portion of time. I’d like to see more mutations of the Infected be highlighted through hectic, boss-like encounters. Perhaps a rare mutation of the infection through some sort of new incarnation (hint: see #9) surfaces as a one-time fight that acts as a chapter boss.
#5 – More Lore
It was awesome finding letters, recordings, lists, and maps from other survivors telling their tales but what the hell actually happened? There is zero lore on what made the outbreak happen in the first place. It hit then 20 years later everything is screwed up and people are just trying to live. Okay, cool, but why?
I’d like to know more about this outbreak and where it came from. Obviously spores have something to do with it but was the source just a new plant type? Did some researchers find something in a jungle and bring it back to a populated area?
The thing is, it hit almost instantly and happened all over the country (international incidents unknown, as well!) in the course of one night. Obviously something happened to affect the west coast, east coast, north, and south of the United States all at once.
Also, what about Mexico? Canada? The UK? Japan? Tell us more, Naughty Dog!
#4 – More Notable Characters
Throughout the game you hear of things like the Firefly faction, the military, and bandits. You’ll hear names like Tess, Bill, Henry, Marlene, and the like as well. However, you only get a couple of characters that mean something to the over-arcing story. Tess is important for a portion of the story and so is Bill. Marlene is just an acquaintance that makes a return and Henry is just a one chapter character.
To be honest, one of my favorite parts in The Last of Us was the whole thing with David during the Winter. Dave turned into a real villain who had a legitimate reason to hate Joel and Ellie. His people do some crazy stuff and he himself isn’t very stable. He puts on a good front but David isn’t everything he tries to make you think he is. He was an awesome character that proved to be a huge threat to the game’s plot and it was so fresh to have that in the game at that point.
I got a bit tired of just fighting through city streets filled with bandits or tunnels with Infected and spores with no reason other than to “endure and survive”. Having David and his town of people come into the fray was a huge breath of fresh air. I think The Last of Us 2 needs more big name characters with a backstory and a goal in mind.
#3 – Progress on Society
I can’t see The Last of Us 2 being any less than 5 years after the first game. I can see it being a lot more than that, too. The game ends with Joel and Ellie reaching Jackson City. That city has power, entertainment, a growing population, and hope. That city can’t be the only one in the world having that kind of progress. Even if it is, some survivors who aren’t jerks or bandits will come along and see what Jackson City did and try to replicate it.
With a time gap between the first game and The Last of Us 2, there needs to be some degree of progress on bringing normality back to the world. Obviously outside of the walls and gates, things will most likely still be terrifying and dangerous but the world, and humans, will move on. I’d like to see the game world show some progress on this in The Last of Us 2.
#2 – A Grown Up Ellie
With everything Joel went through with Ellie, it’s hard to think he would be the main character once again. Going off of my minimum of 5 years after the first game, The Last of Us 2 would have Ellie be 19 years old. That’s a perfect age for her to have honed her skills, get over having killing people and what she did to David, and become her own woman. That kind of Ellie is who I want as my main character in The Last of Us 2.
Ellie has a lot of story left to uncover. What really happened in Salt Lake City? Can the infection really be cured? Combine that with the possible mutations Naughty Dog could introduce to the game (again, see #9) then Ellie’s immunity becomes even more important and possibly useless, as the same time. Can she be immune to the new mutations?
#1 – Return of the Lie
At the end of The Last of Us we saw Joel go against the Fireflies, kill a chunk of them, take Ellie away, and flee to Jackson City. He didn’t want her to die just to find a cure. He had grown attached to Ellie and saw her as his daughter; a new Sarah. Selfish? Absolutely. Risky? Oh yes. Emotional? You betcha.
However, Joel’s decision is unknown to Ellie. He lied to her and said there was no cure and that the Fireflies knew of other immune people and nothing ever came of researching them. Ellie has no idea of what happened in Salt Lake City and the consequences haven’t hit her or Joel yet.
I suspect The Last of Us 2 to delve into those consequences and how Ellie reacts to them. I can’t wait.