E3 2018 has finally given us a first look at The Last of Us 2 (opens in new tab) gameplay, showing an older Ellie fighting a cultish group of survivors in a forrest.
Take a look:
There's a lot to unpack here. Firstly, no sign of Joel, only the mention of 'your old man' lecturing one of Ellie's friends about patrol routes. The gameplay then goes on to show Ellie fight some trench coat wearing survivors for... no clear reason. The violence is gratuitous. The original game was brutal with its skull bashing fights and neck biting clickers but it was never this... literally visceral, with intestines and opened necks prominently displayed.
The strong violence might be, in part, due to the incredible looks on display. The foliage, lighting and facial animation looks incredible here. There are a number of interesting mechanics on display as well. Things like a dodge mechanic, or using foliage for cover and bodies as a shield. At one point Ellie is also able to grab a bottle, mid-run, and throw it to stun an enemy without breaking pace suggesting a fighting system that's far more reactive and fluid.
The one thing we don't have is any idea what's going on. None of these characters were in the previous gameplay demo, with the only connection being the trench coat wearing villains and the whole hanging/disembowelling thing we previously saw at Paris Games week. Given Naughty Dog's liking for deceiving fans with misdirection (opens in new tab), at this point, there's still now way of knowing where any of this is going.