Naughty Dog gave PlayStation 4 gamers another never-before-seen snippet of The Last of Us Part 2 gameplay during a PlayStation State of Play livestream on May 27. The roughly eight minutes of footage shown features the game’s main character Ellie infiltrating a camp of enemies, and the sequences showcase five brutal combat techniques and tricks Ellie can do that Joel couldn't in the original game.
Here's how the sequel might wind up feeling totally different.
Not only will TLOU 2 make Ellie more deadly, but it will also include massive, open areas that she can traverse with ease thanks to her agility. Game Director Neil Druckmann explained that these new terrains and tools will give players much more freedom of how they choose to approach combat scenarios.
“These new open environments create new strategic considerations in combat,” he said. “Whether it’s to get the jump on enemies or to bypass them entirely.”
5. Rope for tactical advantage
Ellie will start her journey in a peaceful settlement in Jackson, Wyoming and go to the bandit-riddled streets of Seattle, Washington. The ravaged city has become a warzone for human factions and is infested by the undead victims of the Cordyceps fungus that brought society to its knees in the first game.
Ellie will have access to a rope she can use to scale abandoned skyscrapers, drop down from bridges, and explore hidden areas like Joel was never capable of.
“With Part II, we’ve introduced new traversal mechanics that afford great exploration and ways to navigate threats,” explained Druckmann. “Ellie is not only able to climb and jump over gaps, but she can use ropes to scale vertical terrain or swing over obstacles allowing you to discover new areas, resources, and side narratives.”
4. Dodging enemy attacks
When stealth isn’t an option, Ellie can hold her own in close-quarters combat against much stronger enemies thanks to her ability to dodge. She’ll be able to quickly move out of the way when an enemy attacks, creating an opening for herself to attack, a mechanic that looks like a more refined version of the dodge system in the Resident Evil 3 Remake.
“Ellie is more agile than most of her enemies," Druckmann said. "She can sprint and quickly dodge incoming attacks. Learning how opponents attack with different weapons and mastering the timing of her dodges will prevent you from taking damage and create opportunities to counter-attack.”
Joel could sprint and find cover, but when it came down to mano-a-mano combat in the original TLOU, players had no options to quickly avoid enemy swings. The way dodging leads directly into specific kinds of counter-attacks is also interesting, as it begins to feel a little bit more like a "Soulsborne" game as a result.
3. Pitting enemy groups against each other
Both Joel and Ellie have impressive stealth combat skills, but only Ellie can make her enemies fight amongst themselves. If players are caught between two groups of different enemies, say a pack of Infected and a squad of bandits, they can toss a bottle between them both to lure the groups into conflict. They can then sit back and wait it out.
“Between the human survivors and the roaming Infected, there will be times when multiple threats are present, creating new strategic considerations and opportunities,” revealed Druckmann. “You can choose whether to attack these opponents separately and directly, or find ways to pit them against each other.”
2. Craft explosive arrows and other new resources
Joel was incredibly crafty and taping together makeshift explosives in TLOU, but Ellie will be able to whip up deadly explosive arrows that can completely obliterate large groups of enemies. Plus, she’ll also be able to craft classic items, like smoke bombs.
It's unclear just how many customizable items there will be in The Last of Us Part 2, but it does seem like Naughty Dog has taken some cues from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the way it's grown the item pool to present players with varied solutions to the many problems and battles they'll face.
1. Detect a dog's scent path and fight them directly
Joel got to see a handful of dogs during his initial journey, but they never posed a direct threat. Ellie, however, will be hunted by many groups of bandits that use trained dogs to sniff out their enemies.
The Washington Liberation Front (WLF) are one of the main splintered human factions that roam the streets of Seattle in TLOU 2. Ellie will need to either skillfully avoid contact with this rogue militia to avoid breaking out a massive firefight, but if she’s caught by one of the WLF’s dogs she’ll be forced to do what Will Smith had to do to his faithful canine companion in I Am Legend. In a snipper of the gameplay thrown, Ellie threw an explosive down on a dog and its owner. It seems like killing enemies is really the only option to progress, which might make The Last of Us Part 2 one of the most brutal games ever.
The Last of Us Part 2 will release on June 19 on the PlayStation 4 and eventually the PlayStation 5.