The Last of Us Part II is the Defining Technical Achievement of Playstation 4

June 13, 2020 at 8:00pm
By Jason Stettner

This was certainly a remarkable journey to take, and one that was incredibly visually appealing. While I’ve done a full review of the title, I also wanted to compile something to go over the visual aspects of the game a tad further. I do have to write this in regards to the embargo at the time, so consider this to be spoiler free to a deep degree.

With that, The Last of Us Part II is the definitive technical achievement of the Playstation 4 console. That is in regards to how it pushes the platform, and the level of quality that’s present within this release.

This type of realization was only made possible through the various games, and upgrades that Naughty Dog has made over this last generation. While other first party games were also pushing the envelope such as Horizon Zero Dawn or God of War. This title does however push things even further, providing a seamless and realistic world.
The Last of Us Part II visuals
It was fifteen hours straight of gameplay without a single loading screen. Even in death, it was swift to throw me right back into the action again. This was somewhat mind blowing, and only something I even realized was happening until I took a break between the two sessions I played this within. You really can play this start to finish, without any sort of loading being present.

Of course, if you have that sort of time. It might take you longer as other plays I’ve been told about were greatly increased in terms of length. I actually really should have done a walkthrough for it under that time note, but I digress. The Last of Us Part II is seriously impressive when it comes to the seamless design, in a number of ways.

Now, I know how they achieve this and where they hide the loading. It’s just done in a way that a regular player wouldn’t likely ever know. Let’s just note that there are many, many segments where you’re sliding through things or opening door areas. It’s a smart trick we saw start showing up late over the previous generation, and they’ve perfected the style quite honestly. It’s really neat how they transfer you from gameplay to cinematics, it’s majestic actually.

I also wanted to briefly talk about the character models. These are some of the most impressive models I’ve ever seen for characters in a game. They feel incredibly life-like not only in terms of their look, but how they react to the world. The rain bouncing off them or soaking clothing, how their limbs brace against the world and the cinematic presentation. Furthermore that the AI feels real, it helps you and moves naturally within a scene so that they feel like another living person beside you. I could go further, but a brief touch upon the visuals of characters.
The Last of Us Part II Ellie
Continuing with that seamless style, the game feels like that too. I say that in the sense that your character doesn’t feel out of place. Ellie embraces the world around her. That’s whether she’s hugging a wall, climbing over something or even pushing an object out of the way. Everything feels natural, it doesn’t come across as being placed and that makes this come across as an entirely realistic journey one could take. It’s also just a gorgeous journey, every single area is filled to the brim with detail.

That includes seemingly endless fields of grass, or just regular buildings. Every building could seemingly tell a story as you moved through it gathering resources or being stealthy. Objects are strewn across the place, the building is likely destroyed and there are tons of places like these. Hell, you might not even visit one of them. There’s an aspect of choice in how you approach areas, if you take one route you might entirely miss a small building that you could entirely explore.

It’s just incredible the amount of detail that’s present here. You feel like a real person in a vast, crumbling city. You also get that sense if you’re exploring other desolate places. The way the buildings seem worn down due to time and decay is touching. Some buildings even have deeper tales such as left behind notes, hidden safes or lost secrets that paint a very sorrowing world.
The Last of Us Part II PS5
Things didn’t go well for almost anyone here, and you’re what’s left of this place visited long forgotten areas that others might not ever have been able to visit. With the run down state of places, it’s also neat how Ellie moves through them. Sliding through cracks in the walls, climbing in tight spaces and just enjoying the atmosphere. This is a world that can paint some seriously morbid spaces while also having glowing warm areas.

There’s a good distinction that I’d like to dive into further, but I can’t at the time of writing this due to those embargoes. It just has many touching human moments, and some that are chilling. I also want to touch upon the combat, it feels insanely tense and visceral. Any moment could very well be your last, every hit matters and getting attacked is unsettling. This is great, and makes it feel action packed.

Equip that with a revenge theme and some pent up anger, you get a very powerful sense of focus within this. At least, for most of the story you do. It does hit that 1080p 30fps mark very well on the base console and I hope with the next generation offering that 4k 60fps might be an option. Despite the lower fps, this is a perfect technical feat for the generation and the platform. That’s about all for now, it’s a stunning game. You can read my full review below, or check out the generation hub for Playstation 5 too.

Read our The Last of Us Part II Review
View our PS5 Hub

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner