Many were turned off by The Last Of Us Part 2 due to leaked story spoilers, but the highly-anticipated Naughty Dog game still emerged as the fastest-selling PS4 game of all time, evidenced by 4 million copies sold in the first three days of its release.
In the midst of its seemingly-polarising reviews amidst players (no thanks to the recent review bombing of TLOU2 on Metacritic), two things are certain: TLOU2's ingenious accessibility features allow gamers to enjoy it however they want, not to mention a technical marvel that pushes the boundaries of narrative storytelling.
Here are some ways to fully awash yourself in the TLOU2's groundbreaking innovations, and dive deeper into the PS4 survival adventure experience:
Although it's tempting to sit back and enjoy TLOU2 with the subpar audio quality of modern TVs, we recommend taking it a step further: play with headphones on. Naughty Dog has crafted one of the most amazing and intimate sound designs in a game with TLOU2, so much so that it's almost a crime to relish such a gift without immersing yourself in it with earphones. Equipped with any plugged-in audio device, you'll be in Ellie's shoes gaping at the sound of birds chirping from left to right or the padded footfalls of Ellie stepping on snow. Yet, you'd also be terrified by the ambushing Stalker from behind or the snarl of Runner hordes all around you. It's simply the most immersive way to enjoy TLOU2.
If you're planning to tackle the series' signature Grounded mode (the hardest difficulty with no HUD and Listen Mode), earphones will also be your best friend in overcoming the challenging journey.
Did you know that you can tweak the difficulty of five different aspects in-game? Apart from the standard selection, Naughty Dog went deeper and inserted specific difficulty options for players to adjust, which include Player, Enemies, Allies, Stealth and Resource. Modifying each of them would affect only that sole aspect of the game, which means you can tailor it to a gaming experience that's fully suited to your idea of fun. You can also remap the control inputs to your preference.
Fun fact: Shadow of the Tomb Raider also had the same option for players, allowing them to change the toughness of Combat, Exploration and Puzzles.
If you think these were detailed enough, there's actually even more choices that we didn't mention! You need only explore TLOU2's Settings section and find out what else you can change, which brings us to...
Most of us may have functional relevant body parts to play games, but not everyone is as fortunate. However, in TLOU2, no gamer is excluded from gorging on the beauty and thrills the post-apocalyptic PS4 exclusive. Featuring the most comprehensive accessibility selection yet, Playstation explained that there are "more than 60 accessibility settings, with expanded options focused on fine-motor and hearing, as well as completely new features that benefit low-vision and blind players."
Even if you have no problems playing the game, you can still make use of its features to ease your experience. One of this writer's personal favourites is enabling Auto Pick-up, which lets you automatically loot resources without the tedium of mashing the triangle button.
It's easy to feel down in the dark, cold world of TLOU2, especially when it centres on themes of vengeance, hate and the consequences of violence. However, there are plenty of things in the game to be amazed at amongst the dirt, and it helps to appreciate those little wondrous moments or details to pull through finishing the game. Whether it's admiring the impressive graphics of water streaming down Ellie's coat (during the game's fluid, yet brutal combat) or basking in the gorgeously detailed Seattle; it helps to have feelings of gratitude to finish the game's heavy plot.
Another tip on taking a step further, why not use Photo Mode more often? It's a game filled with intriguing atmosphere and scenery, not to mention that the action is oh so cinematic worthy of a film poster, so there are plenty of chances to take an awesome screenshot and show it off on social media. Treat it as little breaks from TLOU2's bleakness.
Got your expectations soured by the Metacritic review bombing of TLOU2? This fact might bring some comfort to you: four days after release (24 June), Inverse noted that TLOU2's 4.1 user score was most likely attributed by fans who hated the game without finishing it, so it's fair to assume they were bitter by the leaked plot, intending to punish the series. As of 1 July, TLOU2's user score went up to 4.9 on Metacritic, which is a good sign, right? (Avoid reading the reviews as they may contain spoilers)
Thus, we suggest going in TLOU2 with an open mind. The leaked story details may sound baffling, but it's merely one segment of a 20-hour campaign; good stories need time and nuance to be told well, and Naughty Dog have proven time and time again that they are worthy storytellers.