I was lucky enough to get my hands on Naughty Dog’s latest outing a little early and have now spent roughly four and a half hours playing the sequel to my favourite game of all time, here are my initial spoiler free thoughts.

I already covered my first two hours of the game with a rambling filled video over on our YouTube channel, you can watch me excitedly try get my thoughts out in the video below.

A lot of my thoughts from the video above haven’t changed too much after playing another couple of hours but I’ll cover them again anyway in a more calm manner now that I’ve calmed down a little.

First off, The Last Of Us Part 2 looks absolutely stunning. I’ve been messaging everyone I know who has the game to gush about just how realistic the entire thing looks and feels. Locations look both huge and close to real life. Although I’m nearly five hours in, I wouldn’t be surprised if an hour of that has just been me slowly wondering around and admiring my environment. It also helps that the levels feel way bigger and more akin to an open world map than I’ve ever seen before in a Naughty Dog game. I also find myself panning the camera round to Ellie’s face whenever she’s in conversation during the game because the games facial animations are fantastic. Not only in cut scenes which resemble movies now more than ever, but also in-game when the characters are in conversation. Zoom into Ellie’s face when she’s listening to a bloody and disgusting story and you’ll see the grimace in her face. It’s such a small touch that just engrosses me into the game like never before.

It’s not just the visuals that make TLOU Part 2 feel so close to real life, it’s the gameplay. I always loved Part 1 for how heavy the combat felt. It feels like the sequel has doubled down on this making the new combat system feel just so damn realistic. Every time I grab hold of an infected, every time I punch a person and every time I fire a shotgun it all just feels so.. real. I know I sound like a broken record going on about realism but I can’t help it, over four hours in and I’m still completely in awe over it.

I’m going to talk about the story before I get out of here, I’m going to avoid spoilers but it goes without saying that if you want to go in completely blind then maybe sit out the rest of this article.

It’ll come as no surprise to fans of The Last Of Us that the story told in the early portion of the sequel is absolutely outstanding. Neil Druckmann and the team at Naughty Dog have spoken before about not wanting to even make a follow up to the original unless they landed on a story they felt had to be told, and that’s exactly what’s happened with The Last Of Us Part 2.

If you haven’t played the first game for a while, I would highly recommend playing it again or watching an in depth catch up video before you start your Part 2 adventure. The two unsurprisingly work hand in hand and the amount of call backs and references to the original is something you really don’t want to miss out on. It’ll just make your overall experience a better one, trust me.

Unfortunately (well fortunate for you dear reader if you haven’t played the game yet) I can’t really say a lot more without ruining your experience. I will say that they do not hold back, this is a ballsy story which continues to surprise me around every corner. This story will make you shocked, happy, sad and even make you laugh from time to time. It’s video game storytelling at its undeniable best and nobody in any industry (yes I include movies in this) does it better.

Although I’m not going to give a full review until I’ve finished the game, I can’t help but feel I’m riding the hype train right to a 10/10 masterpiece. I’ll be back very soon with more The Last Of Us Part 2 content because all I want to do apart from play it is talk about it.

Remember you can let us know your first impressions in the comments or let me know how much fun you’re having with the game by tweeting us @RespanwingUK or myself @MikeyGalaszia.