What’s New in The Last of Us Part II and Why it Matters
It is no surprise that The Last of Us Part II is a masterpiece of storytelling, but the handful of new features and optional settings are what really set Naughty Dog’s latest story-driven adventure apart from the original. These welcomed additions to gameplay allow for a fully customized experience based on your preferred play style and approach to the game’s resource management systems. Let’s break down the new features, as well as some tips on setting up your controller with the performance gaming gear offered by KontrolFreek.
The most basic of The Last of Us Part II’s new features comes the in the ability to jump. Gone is “climb” but instead replaced with the ability to jump to reach ledges, cross gaps, and hop over obstacles while running from the infected. This new feature is the first clue into the nimble nature of playing as Ellie throughout this journey as well as the ability for greater exploration.
Possibly the biggest change to gameplay comes in the form of the ability to lay prone and crawl. This introduces a whole new stealth mechanic to gameplay in way that feels incredibly unique to Ellie and keeps within the theme of Ellie being more nimble and agile than Joel (The Last of Us). Holding circle, or pressing circle from crouch, will drop Ellie to a prone position to crawl under obstacles, hide in strategic places, or take cover to slip out of an enemy’s line of sight. Setting this mechanic apart from other games, Ellie remains able to complete all actions from the prone position whether it is crafting or firing weapons from advantageous positioning. This also allows you, as the player, to begin playing to your play style preference as you explore additional weapon and stealth approach options. Are you a gun blazing player looking for a fight, or do you prefer to play from the shadows, quietly picking off your enemies? Prone allows you a bit more flexibility.
Speaking of flexibility in playstyle, The Last of Us Part II, offers multiple skill tree options to tailor Ellie’s skills to your preferred playstyle. Survival improves health, the range of Listening Mode, as well as throw distance. Stealth increases movement speed while in the prone position, take down time of stealth kills, and unlocks silencers or pistols, ever increasing your ability to quickly and quietly attack. If you are more inclined to make the most of your resources, focusing on Crafting provides Ellie with smoke and stun bombs, improved crafting speed, and also allows for upgrades to melee attack options. While you will not be able to fully unlock all of Ellie’s options, the amount of collected supplements will allow for you to maximize Ellie to your personal play style preferences. Choose wisely!
Limited resources, especially depending on the level of difficulty you’ve chosen to play on, can leave you in tight spots without the immediate ability to return fire or flee from your attacker. Welcome, Dodge! A well-timed button press now allows you to dodge incoming attacks, opening a window for counter melee attacks. It is definitely worth taking the time to get familiar with and learning this game mechanic as it can often save your life, save precious ammunition, or allow a brief moment to run to a safety and regroup. Dodging will become a necessity in close-quarter combat, especially teamed with the speed of some of the infected (and surprise attacks!), but performing the move perfectly is extremely satisfying and welcomed addition to Ellie’s arsenal.
More than ever, you can manipulate the game settings to how you’d like to play, or how much of a challenge you are looking for. If you are playing on a mode with less resources, or you don’t want to miss one of the games collectibles, it may be wise to make some changes to the a couple of the game’s many settings to make things easier on you. For example, entering the Accessibility / Magnification and Visual AIDS menu option, you can toggle the “High Contrast Display” to make seeing items (and enemies) much easier by swiping across the touch pad to activate on and off. You can also turn on the “Enhanced Listening Mode” under Navigation and Traversal to enable the ability to scan for items when Listening (R1). Again, the game offers a multitude of options to provide the player the best, or most comfortable gameplay to take maximize all that the The Last of Us Part II has to offer. No one will be judged for taking advantage of the settings to suit your needs.
When playing The Last of Us Part II, we found the combination of Grips, Omni, and Edge tuned our controller to best suit gameplay, and maximize comfort and performance. The moisture wicking and comfort of the KontrolFreek PlayStation Grips paired nicely with intense gaming sessions, especially when the engaging story led to longer play sessions. We found we simply could not put the game down! Due to my personal preference, I enhanced my controller with the KontrolFreek Grips XT which are a slightly thinner grip than our traditional or extra padded options. All grips wick moisture and provide a quality and comfortable grip, but each version carries a different thickness to the padding to suit your preference.
As for KontrolFreek thumbsticks, due to the nature of the game and the demands to run/move while also pressing the face buttons, we are recommending a low concave thumbstick like Omni (available in blue or black. Black pictured) for the left thumbstick and a low convex thumbstick like Edge for the right thumbstick. Omni thumbsticks provides more grip and surface area, but remain low and cradles thumb with a concave shape which lends itself perfect to exploring and running in this vast adventuring environment. For the right thumbstick, we are using the low Edge thumbstick which features a spiral design and a domed, convex shape which provides a smoother, faster aim while maintaining a low profile for quick access to the face buttons of the PlayStation controller. Edge does come with a low and a high thumbstick for a greater precision aim, if you are looking to maximize a single KontrolFreek product while playing The Last of Us Part II. Like in the game, the choices of how you play and the tools you use to your advantage, are up to you.
Regardless of the style in which you choose to play, the difficulty you play on, or the preferences in your controller performance gear, The Last of Us Part II has something to offer, blending storytelling and gameplay in a way that feels fresh and unique. We hope that you enjoy the game and advantages of using KontrolFreek performance gaming gear!