The Last of Us Part II is a carefully crafted world filled with beautiful sights, interesting characters and nightmarish monsters. In the sixteen hours and change I spent with the game, I constantly found myself in awe of the experience Naughty Dog has built for it’s players. There were several jaw dropping moments in regards to the scenery and impeccable lighting, along with heart pounding moments of adrenaline and fear from what lurks in the city of Seattle.

The story is wonderfully written and invokes emotion from beginning to end. The team at Naughty Dog ensured that almost anyone can experience this heart-tugging ballad thanks to a wealth of accessibility and difficulty options. Where most games have tiered difficulties such as easy, medium and hard, The Last of Us Part II allows you more flexibility to curate the experience you want by adjusting how tough the enemies are, how often you find ammo, how viable stealth is and so on.

I personally lowered the settings quite a bit because I’m not a fan of stealth and I really just wanted to get in there and bash some heads. These options allowed me to do just that and it made my time with the game fast, fresh, exciting and most importantly – fun.

The moment to moment gameplay consists of finding items to aid in your survival while managing your arsenal and character upgrades to ensure you’re ready for the next encounter. Each of these encounters has several ways you can tackle them but I put literally nothing into my sneaking ability and instead worked on getting more health, more ammo and better durability on items that helped me slaughter infected and other enemies more efficiently.

The truth of the matter is that there are a hundred different reviews that touch on the story beats and while I won’t go on beating a dead horse I will say that it’s difficult to relate to a lot of the criticisms I’ve read online once I played the game and began comparing my experience. This has lead me to believe that a lot of the ill opinions regarding the story and it’s characters are likely coming from people who are either trolling or who haven’t played the game.

Don’t get me wrong. Some people will not like The Last of Us Part II and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But a lot of the hateful and short-sighted comments regarding the game seem to be the product of digesting influenced opinions and despite my efforts to sympathize with some of these views (and outright disregard others – especially those that focus exclusively on hateful contexts) I fail to find most of the flaws that these people are highlighting substantial.

My experience with the game was wonderful and every time I thought I was close to the end, another two hours of unexpected events unfolded leaving me constantly wanting more and curious on what turn we would take next.

Without spoiling anything, I can safely say that I simultaneously love and hate every single character in this game. My feelings towards characters in the beginning of the game had several shifted back and forth over the course of the story and by the end of the experience I was left with understanding, anger and sympathy for nearly everyone.

As I watched the credits roll and reflected on the emotions I was feeling, I knew that this was a one-of-a-kind experience that I had been given and I became thankful for it regardless of how upset it left me.

The Last of Us Part II hasn’t left my mind in the week that’s passed since I’ve beaten it and it’s been a lot of fun talking to my friends about it as they continue their way through the journey.

The game is a wonderful extension of it’s post apocalyptic universe and serves as a phenomenal follow-up to the original entry. I implore everyone who is interested to give the game a try themselves and formulate their own opinion, rather than letting the internet possibly cheat them out of a game that they’ll likely remember for a long, long time.

This game was played and reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro.