The Last of Us Part II: The Good, the Bad, and the Impossibly Bleak

Without a moment's hesitation, I can say that my favorite game of all time is Naughty Dog's 2013 masterpiece The Last of Us. It's a beautiful tale of crushing loss and survival in a zombie-ravaged future that is filled with an overwhelming sense of dread in every crevice but also manages to contain moments of unparalleled beauty. While the series could have easily ended with the first game's heartbreaking finale (more on that later), the mega-hit was clearly always going to get a sequel. So how do you possibly follow-up the greatest game of all-time, and how will that game play out when it coincidentally releases in the midst of a global pandemic? The answer, it turns out, is quite complicated.

The Power of Dread in The Last of Us

Dread is a powerful thing. When strong enough it can control our every action or even lead to complete shutdown and inaction. My first time playing Naughty Dog's seminal masterpiece, The Last of Us, four years ago was filled with an ever growing sense of dread and despair. This world was no longer safe for humankind and especially the young child you're trying to protect, who may just be mankind's last chance for survival. Every alley crossed and home searched was just another opportunity for an emotional hammer to be dropped on you until you were completely devastated. I didn't know what was coming, but I knew it wouldn't be kind. Each time that end of the world banjo music started so did my goosebumps.