Our Real-Time Analysis of The Last of Us: Part II Gameplay Trailer

Yesterday at E3, we were granted our most in-depth look yet at The Last of Us: Part II during a gameplay trailer which ran 11 minutes and 53 seconds. You can watch it below:

Following is our real-time reactions and analysis.


Ellie is at some kind of party. Neil Druckmann has said that she is still living in Jackson at the start of The Last of Us: Part II, so we can guess at a glance that this is where the party is at. Judging from the festive atmosphere, things have been going well at Tommy’s settlement.


The new character Jesse turns to Ellie and says, “Your old man really laid into me today.”

Sweet … we can surmise that Joel is at least alive at this point of the game. And since Druckmann has implied that this is the present, not the past, that means that his presence shouldn’t be confined solely to flashbacks (for more on this matter, please see Is Joel Alive or Dead in The Last of Us: Part II?).

Ellie seems pretty uncomfortable during this part of the conversation, but it’s hard to say whether this has to do with Joel or something else—possibly another new character, Dina, who is dancing with someone else.

As an aside, the level of detail and the lifelike quality of the expressions and movements of the characters are breathtaking.


Ellie and Dina are flirting. Dina asks how bad she smells, and Ellie answers with characteristic humor, “Like a hot pile of garbage.” It’s good to see her sense of humor has survived the events at the end of the first game. Her statement qualifies as a pun too—something she was fond of in The Last of Us.


Ellie deserves something nice in her life, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, when you’re living in the post-apocalypse, happiness seldom lasts …


Sure enough—good times have passed.


Ellie still cusses as much as ever. Probably more now, were we to guess.


It’s been mentioned that The Last of Us: Part II takes place partly in the Pacific Northwest. Judging by the vegetation and the fog here, this could indeed be that part of the country.

The environment here looks wide open compared to most of the landscapes in The Last of Us. To what degree this is illusion and to what degree it reflects Druckmann’s statement that, “Our environments are broader, more complex, and more detailed – bringing unprecedented realism, verticality and player choice to the world of The Last of Us,” is hard to say.


This set of events blurs the line between cutscene and live gameplay in terms of experience. It is of course gameplay, not a cutscene, but it has that lifelike, natural feel that you rarely get in play.


Good to see the menu looks about the same. It’s still minimal and unobtrusive, and still follows the same fairly intuitive, easy-to-use format. The equipment in the inventory is all familiar as well.


Ellie’s sure gotten better at handling herself in melee situations!


Around this point, I’m really noticing how realistic and well-timed all of Ellie’s verbal reactions are—swearing, grunting, and so on in response to events around her, her own movements through the environment, the direness of the situation, and so on. Commenting on this, Druckmann stated, “From the way Ellie plays to the way she navigates through this hostile world, you’re going to feel her physical, emotional, and mental state expressed through every facet of gameplay.”


The realistic way the grass moves is mesmerizing. One of the enemies announces, “She went into the grass!” The specificity of this is impressive. Druckmann said the AI in the game has received a massive upgrade, stating, “The human enemies you’ll encounter are now more threatening and capable, using sophisticated communication and environmental awareness to create intense, more dynamic stealth and head-on combat encounters.” You can see that clearly from this point on in the trailer.


Crawling under a vehicle to hide … there are so many more ways to interact with the environment here than there were in the first game.


One of the enemies refers to Ellie as a “wolf.” What does this mean? You might remember this Last of Us: Part II poster image:


There’s the “wolf” image again …


Now Ellie’s dragged out from under the vehicle … wow again on the AI.


We’re still flinging bottles!


Ellie yanks something out of her arm—an arrow, probably. This is more unprecedented realism.


Dodging around behind shelves and counters in a room … now this feels very familiar. Some things never change.


Now here’s something new! Explosive arrows. The fight that follows? All I can say is, “badass.”


“See—I told you. They should be terrified.”

Ellie smiles at this, and so do we.

Enjoy watching the trailer! We tried to catch as many details as we could in our analysis, but doubtless still missed plenty. Don’t forget to keep checking back on our updates on The Last of Us: Part II!