The Last of Us Part 2 Gameplay Preview

How have you changed in the last seven years? For Ellie at least, things are looking quite different. We can hardly believe it but the Last of Us Part 2 is almost here. Gaming has made big strides since 2013, so it should come as no surprise that Naughty Dog’s long-awaited sequel is showing some serious progression too. 

The recent State of Play showcase gave us our first extended gameplay sequence and a good look at how combat in The Last of Us Part 2 will play out. Here are some of the biggest changes (and a few similarities) to how combat works in The Last of Us Part 2.

Stealth is still crucial, and combat sometimes optional

A big part of The Last of Us was balancing the value of taking a fight versus skirting around it. With both human and infected enemies, often the best course was the play it slow and safe, careful avoiding enemies as you stole supplies. The same certainly seems to be true here, with Ellie also capable of crawling through long grass and hauling herself over fences as she skirts past her enemies. 

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If you do need to strike, the bow and arrow make a valuable return as a silent option, and Ellie has plenty of other tools up her sleeves too. Learning from Joel’s crafting skills, Ellie can craft a range of deadly traps, explosive arrows, and even pistol silencers that’ll muffle her ranged takedowns. She’ll need these tools too because the factions you face are not messing around.

Dogs. Oh god, the dogs

Aside from the infected, the two main groups Ellie will be fighting through on her journey for revenge are The Washington Liberation Front and the Seraphites. While the religious zealots of the latter are scary, it’s the ex-military types of the WLF that have us worried, mostly because of their use of attack dogs. 

Killing dogs in video games was always going to be controversial, but it seems The Last of Us Part 2 will leave little choice in the matter. Canine patrols are capable of picking up Ellie’s scent and following it to her hiding spot. That’s a big problem for the patient predators among us who prefer to wait around for the perfect time to make our move. You can see your scent trail in Listen mode, but Ellie will definitely need to keep a lot more mobile while sneaking about. Thankfully, she’s been through some extensive training since we last saw her.

Ellie is much more agile than Joel

While the years between The Last of Us and its sequel have left Joel looking even more weathered, but Ellie on the other hand has grown into a skilled fighter. During combat, she’s capable not only of dodging the deadly swing of an enemy axe, but also swiftly maneuvering through the environment. 

We’ve known for a while that Ellie has a dedicated button for jumping and clambering around the world, but she can also smash in windows, slide quickly over tables, squeeze through thin cracks and pick up items while on the move. Her enemies may be deadlier than ever, but Ellie is more than capable of handling them.

The infected have quite literally grown more deadly

Clickers were pretty scary, huh? Well, we’ve got bad news: They’re back. Unfortunately, that’s not even the worst of it. Stalkers in The Last of Us 2 are sneaky types that prefer to catch us unawares. Naughty Dog has confirmed that you’ll find them plastered to walls as part of a fungal infection, but only sometimes will they tear themselves free to lunge at you. 

The Stalkers aren’t the only new foes either. Shamblers are a new type of armored infected that exude a corrosive spore cloud, burning anyone who gets too close. There are even more waiting to terrorize us in The Last of Us Part 2, but Naughty Dog has kindly left them for us to discover and presumably be horribly killed by.

You won’t be fighting alone

One concern we had following The Last of Us Part 2’s initial reveal was that that the story would be a largely solo affair. Part of The Last of Us 2’s charm was the interplay between Joel and Ellie, both in the narrative and their scrappy fights. While Ellie certainly has a single-minded focus, the State of Play footage made sure to reassure us that she’ll have assistance along the way.

Jackson County’s Dina and Jesse were both shown teaming up with Ellie in the State of Play footage, and we’ve no doubt that Joel will make his presence known for better or worse during the adventure. We don’t know how much of Ellie’s time will be spent alone or with an ally, but we’re glad to see that she’ll have at least a few friendly faces to turn to during the story.

What did you make of the combat shown in The Last of Us Part 2’s State of Play broadcast? Are you eager to get your hands on the sequel, or has that footage of a poor pup being molotoved put you off for good? Let us know down in the comments below.

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Henry Stenhouse was formerly a PhD physicist before being born anew in the fires of game journalism. An unashamed Super Smash Bros. fanatic, he’s still waiting for the rest of the editorial team to accept his daily challenges for an Ultimate showdown. Other genres of interest include FPS, RTS and western RPGs. You can follow him on Twitter at @Fernoface