The Last of Us Part 2

Game Recs

You need to play 2020's most controversial game on PS Now ASAP

Featuring one of the greatest gaming switcheroos.

Sony

While Xbox Game Pass has been in the spotlight for years, Sony’s comparable PlayStation Now has slowly chugged along in the background, amassing its fair share of quality games. With over 800 titles to choose from across PS2, PS3, PS4, and PS5, the value is evident. In October 2021, Sony added a tremendous game to PS Now — one that was highly talked about in 2020, taking home many Game of the Year awards. Despite that, it’s a game that stirred up controversy in more ways than one. With it being on PS Now, members can dive in at no additional cost and we highly recommend doing so, because it’s one of the best games of the past decade.

The game we’re referring to is The Last of Us Part 2, a highly anticipated sequel with huge shoes to fill. While it’s up for debate whether it met expectations, it’s clearly one of the most important games from the PS4 catalog.

Spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2 ahead.

There isn’t anything quite like The Last of Us Part II. It features a story that could only be told through video games, as its interactivity is so integral to the emotion Naughty Dog wants you to feel. Since many of us had played the first game, we went into the sequel with an attachment to protagonists Joel and Ellie. The first game told the story of a beautiful bond between these two, with Joel stepping in as a father figure who truly cares about Ellie.

That’s why it’s so shocking when Joel is brutally murdered at the hands of Abby, a new character, within the first couple hours of The Last of Us Part II. This was no doubt one of the game’s most controversial moments, as it felt almost like a betrayal from Naughty Dog. But this moment is essential for fleshing out what comes next.

From here, you take control of Ellie, seeking revenge for Joel’s death by following Abby. It’s a harrowing journey through Seattle, building tension towards what will be one of many brutal encounters. After an arduous series of events that seem to last for hours, the game flips the script, making you play as Abby, covering the events from the day before, but from a totally different perspective.

The character switcheroo is one of the game’s highlights. Sony

This switcheroo harkens back to playing Metal Gear Solid 2 as Raiden, subverting expectations in such a smart way.

Seeing things from Abby’s point of view makes us, somehow, understand why she did what she did. Eventually, we grow to care for Abby while Ellie seems more and more like the antagonist. By the time they find each other, you aren’t rooting for anyone because you don’t want to see anything bad happen to either of them.

It’s a testament to the superb character development, pacing, and writing that we’re somehow able to understand Abby’s motivations, despite initially hating her for what she did to Joel. No game has done this as successfully as The Last of Us Part II. It’s a game about perspective and gray areas, with characters who aren’t clearly “good” or “bad.”

In between the narrative is top-notch gameplay that leans heavily into survival horror, while encouraging exploration. Part Resident Evil, part Uncharted, The Last of Us Part II is a polished sequel that, against the odds, matched the quality of the original.

While it’s not necessarily a fun experience because of the subject matter, The Last of Us Part II is immersive and thought-provoking, while pushing boundaries in a way we haven’t experienced before. And for that, we can’t recommend it enough.

The Last of Us Part II is available on PS Now until January 3, 2022.

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