WARNING: This post contains spoilers!
The Last of Us Part II Review (Part III – Chapter 3
Well, I was planning on this review covering both chapters three and four, but three ended up having much more detail than I thought. So, we will just dive right into chapter three and the fourth installment of the review will follow shortly!
Chapter 3 – Seattle Day 2
We pick back up with Ellie waking up from her birthday flashback with Joel. She grabs her gear and walks back to the front of the theater in search of Dina, but she isn’t there. Turns out Dina is an expert at fixing broken radios, so you can expect to find her up in the radio room. There isn’t any point exploring here if you had done so before the flashback as nothing new will be in this part of the theater. Dina is blowing chunks into a trash can as Ellie walks in, but at least the two can joke about it a bit before they get down to business. Dina has been listening in on the WLF and has some info on where they need to head next, as well as a little tidbit on Owen and him going AWOL. The two discuss some logistics and plan what they’ll do before Ellie gives the most half-assed apology of all time. Good thing fro her that Dina is so cool LOL.
As the two continue their chat, a voice chimes in over the radio talking about a lone male trespasser in area 14. Dina isn’t exactly sure where that is, but based of what she learned the night before, she infers that it should be somewhere in a neighborhood called Hillcrest. They get ready to bounce from the theater, but Dina is still visibly shook and looks like she may need to go find somewhere to vomit yet again. Ellie tells her to stay behind to keep tracking the WLF movements before we are promptly cut into her arrival at Hillcrest. I was kinda bummed that we didn’t get to make our way to Hillcrest ourselves, especially after how open downtown Seattle was, but at least Hillcrest itself did not disappoint.
Ellie isn’t sure she has found the correct place upon her arrival, but some gunshots off in the distance reassure her pretty quickly that she is. This area is stocked with some awesome goodies, so be sure to explore the area thoroughly before pushing towards the fighting. Ellie will need to hop up onto a truck at some point to make her way to the next area and a mini cutscene will trigger that shows a truck full of WLF soldiers heading towards the gunshots. I thought there was no way they would NOT have seen Ellie here, but I was also very glad they didn’t, and we didn’t need to start the fighting just yet. This next area is also a massive, loot-filled town (especially off to the immediate left once you jump down from the truck) that will eventually lead Ellie to the roof of a building. In the roof there is a rather large hole that Ellie decides to jump through, and it leads us into our first dilemma of the chapter.
The second Ellie’s feet touch the ground, one of the WLF’s and his dog get an inkling that someone is in the building they just exited. You are prompted now that a dog has your scent, and the only way to get rid of him/her is to throw a bottle to distract it from you, or to sneak yourself far enough away so that it loses you. The latter is much more formidable than the former, so I suggest always having a bottle in your inventory from this point forward. You can also turn your volume up a bit to listen to the WLF soldiers, as they will ask the dogs “What do you have there?” which will let you know they’re on to your scent.
Anyways, The best plan of attack here is to toss a bottle through the broken window in Ellie’s room out into the street, where the pup and his/her WLF teammate will venture to check. You should then backtrack, push left through a building, and make your way out back towards a fence that you can hop over. This way makes it much easier to distract (or take out) the remaining dogs/WLFs without leaving bodies behind that will get you caught, and it also just doesn’t have as many people patrolling it. If you’re playing on a lower difficulty, you can also just toss a bottle to distract the two people near the door you need to go through to progress in the chapter, run over and enter the door before anyone is the wiser.
From here, Ellie pushes through another empty building and out into a parking lot of sorts where she is greeted with another small puzzle. You need to push another dumpster and use it to jump over a wall, but this time there is a slope that makes the dumpster slide away from the wall. I’ll admit, I spent way too much time here searching for something to hold the dumpster in place rather than simply jumping up on it while it was moving, and I am not proud of that one bit. You cross through another room here that allows you to restock Ellie’s inventory before heading out to another street of Hillcrest you must traverse. This area is also full of ammo and collectibles, but be cautious as it also has some infected hiding around it as well. If you venture left, you will find a locked room with a safe, but it also has five or six runners waiting for you as well (I suggest heading here last or you will draw everything’s attention to you from the entire area as you kill these zombies). You can also head off to the right and down into a basement for some gear, but you will need to fight off two bloaters in order to escape. Either way, your path needs to cross through the pet store/bar which has another bloater and some runners, but at least these can be stealthily taken down (which is how I prefer to keep all of my infected interactions LOL).
Once through that building, Ellie comes across a dead soldier with some arrows in him before ascending a set of stairs before hearing an explosion and seeing a massive plume of black smoke. The next small area has infected in it, but you can honestly sprint or sneak by them, hop the fence, and find your way safely in the backyard of a house. Quickly scrounge the house for its ammo if you need it, then push into the garage. SURPRISE! There is an infected soldier in here that you must take care of after it jumps you, but attached to his back is the greatest weapon in the game: The bow. As someone who enjoys drawing (no pun intended) the least amount of attention to myself when I play survival-horror games, this weapon could not have made its way into my hands any sooner. Ellie opens a garage door to a front yard full of practice dummies, which proved I was very rusty with the bow and needed some practice before hopping the next fence.
You land, yet again, in a WLF filled stretch of Hillcrest that has roughly 12 soldiers and four dogs from what I remember. I strongly urge pushing left again here, otherwise you will find yourself stuck in one of the houses with a god finding your scent from multiple angles, and a firefight will more than likely ensue. If you couldn’t tell by that extremely specific example, that is what happened to me my first play through, and I ended up having to run through all of my ammo before pushing further down into Hillcrest.
** Side Note: if you do find yourself in this predicament, know that you can crawl under beds to hide. However, dogs can still sniff you out under there, so don’t get too comfortable! **
Once you slide down into the next area however, more WLF soldiers immediately make their way towards your location. A well-placed bottle here can allow you to sneak past them, through a window, and into the next area, but killing them is honestly way easier and will probably save you some time in the long run. After you get past these soldiers, you jump down into a backyard/alleyway where a dog sees you, drawing attention to Ellie as she jumps down into the basement of the next house. Three WLF soldiers immediately descend the stairs into the basement and charge at Ellie. From here, things get hectic. You can run through the rest of the chapter, but it’s not the easiest thing. There is essentially no more sneak left in this chapter, so be prepared to lock and load against the waves of soldiers you are about to come across. Also, as you’re going through the end of this chapter, turn your volume up and listen to the WLF conversations. You can catch them talking about “him”, who at the moment we have to assume is Tommy, and can also hear some other interesting things.
However, as Ellie makes it to the bottom of Hillcrest, she is grabbed from behind, but not by Tommy. It’s actually Jessie who the WLF soldiers are talking about (or it could be a mixture of both Tommy and Jessie, it’s never clarified from what I remember), and the two quickly sneak out to the front yard to kill some more WLF soldiers before hopping into a truck to escape. Their escape doesn’t end up being as easy as they thought though as an enemy truck comes crashing through a fence from behind. An epic chase scene ensues, and Ellie needs to take out four WLF soldiers, one of which is the driver, which causes both trucks to crash. The noise from the crash, of course, lures infected to the area (very similar to the truck scene from TLOU1 with Joel and Ellie) that nearly kill Ellie while the two are trying to drive away. Jessie ends up crashing the truck into a river as the two are trying to escape, but thankfully this seemed to be all they needed to finally get out of harms way.
A cut scene triggers as the two swim out of the river, and we cut to the theater where Dina opens the door for Jessie and Ellie. Dina is both shocked and happy to see Jessie, yet she does not tell him that she’s pregnant. She does, however, end up taking care of Jessie, which leads Ellie to meander off into the theater as we fade into another flashback for Ellie.
We find ourselves two years in the past with Tommy and Ellie atop a hill outside Jackson. This subchapter was definitely another favorite of mine as we were able to snipe zombies with Tommy’s rifle without any repercussions. I thought it was really well done, and the discussion the two of them have while atop the hill was actually extremely insightful into what has been going on between Joel and Ellie since we last saw them. Ellie clears out three zones of infected before the two make their way back downhill to the safe house Joel is currently waiting in (I believe this is the same safe house that they bring Abby to as well in The Horde from Chapter One. Something is definitely off between Joel and Ellie, but the two set out for the town situated even further down the hill to find some guitar strings for Ellie’s poorly taken care of instrument.
The two begin heading down the hilltop on horseback, where Joel starts some small talk with Ellie. He tells her that he’s heard how well she’s been doing on her patrols before segueing into a discussion about the “savage” doctor Daniel Star. For those of you who don’t know, Daniel Star is the lead in one of the comic series that Ellie loves, and this convo lasts us just about all the way down to the town. The path Joel wants to take is no longer a viable option, so the two must pass through an abandoned hotel to make their way to the guitar store. Upon entering, the two cross paths with some spores and Joel tells Ellie to put her mask on. She really doesn’t want to since, well you know, she’s immune, but Joel goes on to lecture her about how reckless it is for Ellie to let people know she is not affected by the spores. Ellie reluctantly agrees, puts her mask on, and continues following Joel deeper into the hotel.
After some exploration (and some tricky to find collectibles), the two head into the lobby and are greeted by a handful of runners and some clickers. I believe there are multiple things that can happen here, and ill explain why I say that. During my original play of this level, I killed a runner in plain sight of another and ended up fighting what felt like 25 infected before being allowed to move on. They were falling form the second floor, crawling through nooks and crannies, and just seemed to be non-stop coming from every direction. When playing through my NG+, I killed the 5 or 6 downstairs zombies without being detected and moved on immediately. I am not sure if its due to difficulty settings or if by staying quiet I avoided an extra 10-15 zombies, but I just thought I’d let everyone know that.
Any who, after the lobby, Joel and Ellie continue pressing into the hotel. They eventually have their passage blocked, but can maneuver forward thanks to a massive hole that allows them to travel between the walls themselves. I instantly had a bad feeling about this (survival horror + character between wall = monster crashing through wall to grab main character), and that feeling was rewarded with an insane Bloater mere moments later. Ellie accidentally breaks a pipe that lures the beast to grab her, and then this thing just eats bullets from both characters. I’m still not actually sure what triggers the end of this fight because it also ended differently bot h times I played it. The first time through, I survived a handful of infected that made their way into the room and dodged the bloater for roughly 10 minutes before he caught Ellie and the scene with Joel going ape s*** triggered. On my second play through, I just let the bloater attack Ellie after a landed a few explosive arrows on it and the same scene triggered, but the other infected never showed up. So it could be a damage threshold or you may simply just need to be captured here, but either way its nerve wracking as hell fighting this monstrous Bloater in such a cramped, pitch-black area.
From here, Joel and Ellie make their way out into the hotel’s coffee shop, Dolce Crema, where they find the couple who ran off from Jackson the year before. Both are dead now, but thanks to the letter left behind by the boyfriend/husband, we know exactly what happened. From how I took the letter, they both were bitten and decided that killing themselves was the best way out. The Guy would kill the girl and then himself, but that’s not what happened. After his girlfriend/wife was dead, he chickened out and couldn’t do the same to himself, so he turned. Ellie says aloud, “if only they were immune” before she turns to Joel and asks him what really happened at the firefly hospital two years ago. This doesn’t really go all that well, but it could have been worse if Joel actually told the truth. He eventually ends the conversation by telling Ellie that they need to get these kids back to their families in Jackson, which confused me just a teeny tiny bit. One was mushy flesh on the ground from a year of decay (and probably getting eaten), and the other was a dead, infected. Not sure their families would want those bodies returned LOL. But, the two go back to being quiet and the scene fades to black as we make our way back to the present.
Back in the theater, Ellie is tending to her wounds and attempting to stitch herself up. Dina walks in telling her that Jessie is out cold, but that she can take care of Ellie’s wounds now. Ellie asks Dina why she didn’t tell Jessie about the pregnancy yet, and she simply says it wasn’t the right time. Dina quickly changes the subject and explains everything she has learned about Abby and her friends while Ellie was out. Apparently, Abby was at the hospital with her friend Nora, and upon hearing this, Ellie starts packing up her gear. Dina is shocked that she would want to leave so quickly, but Ellie’s reasoning makes some sense. She figures that if they know about the hospital, Tommy will as well, and she doesn’t want Tommy to keep going after Abby on his own.
We find ourselves back in control of Ellie outside the theater, and she must make her way down Route 5 to get to the Nora and the hospital. We pass through a QZ gate and a gas station before Ellie winds up in a desolate (or, so I originally thought) part of the city. There’s a ton of goodies here, and some infected in the building on the left-hand side of the road, so follow the detailed IGN guide for all of that. Ellie eventually cannot proceed any further along unless we solve another dumpster puzzle, but this one was much simpler than the first. Knowing now that we must do certain things while the duimpster is moving, I brought it to the top of the slope and sprinted towards the gate. As long as you make it and spam triangle before the gate reaches, the dumpster will make it under the gate, which in turn allows Ellie to climb up into the conference center. Once inside, you must jump/climb down some scaffolding, which I want to point out is very easy to miss jump on to, and can result in a very painful death for Ellie.
Once safely on the first floor, Ellie pushes deeper into the conference center where we are greeted with what I believe to be the creepiest undead of all time: the Stalkers. Ellie mentions these as if she has run into them before, but we don’t really get any info on them before we are surrounded by about six of them. The crazy thing about them is that THEY DON’T SHOW UP WHILE YOU LISTEN UNLESS YOU CAUSE A COMMOTION THAT MAKES THEM MOVE. So they’re basically just super sneaky zombies that peer their heads around corners and were created to scare the bowels out of you (is that about right, Naughty Dog?). Overall though, they are simple to kill once you find them (and you could just sprint through this area too), but the trick is actually in luring them out. I also want to mention that the ruckus you cause may not draw them out. To me, it almost seemed as if you threw a bottle too close to them (say perhaps you watched them run and hide behind a desk and then quickly threw the bottle right next to the desk to have them move out into plain view) they would realize what you were doing and just remain behind the desk. So, the moral of the story for Stalkers… be careful!
Once through, Ellie finds herself on a fire escape and catches a glimpse of a rapid rushing river, which is more foreshadowing by Naughty Dog (very similar to TLOU1, when Ellie also falls into the rushing water below the firefly hospital). After some stair climbing and a risky jump to another fire escape, she must head back inside the building. More Stalkers, Clickers, and Runners await for you inside this insanely creepy and cramped stretch of spore filled rooms. Just as Ellie appears to be escaping, a stalker busts through the door and tackles her out the window into, you guessed it, the dangerous river below. We now must spam fight the Stalker while underwater, all the while also trying not to drown, just to end up in a sewer system somewhere below the city. Ellie makes her way up and out of the sewer and into a subway station. With subway stations there are usually maps, and the one Ellie finds points out that she is almost to the hospital. She can save some time if she cuts through the park though, so thats where we head next.
After about 100 feet in the park, we begin hearing some whistling but cannot see where it is coming from. She eventually makes it to a point where she needs to hop up a small rise in the ground, and as she does, an arrow comes whizzing out of nowhere and finds itself in her shoulder. We learn here that when hit with arrows we can bleed out, and I thought this was a very interesting aspect to add into the game. It makes total sense, most of the time when someone gets hit with an arrow they will bleed, so I approve of this and hope more games add things like this into the mechanics in the future. After the arrow, the Seraphites (or Scars) are on Ellie quickly, so I suggest tossing a bottle or a brick over their heads as soon as possible. Once they turn, hop back up and hide somewhere in the grass to start picking them off one by one. Once they have been taken care of, Ellie can make her way even closer to the hospital, but not before she finds herself among an entire army of Scars.
For those of you who remember the gameplay preview we got in 2019, this was that scene. Ellie needs to take care of these Scars while making her way through a parking garage and its surrounding areas. If you pay attention to what they’re all talking about too you will hear them mention Lev and Yara, who are two characters tied to Abby’s storyline that we meet later in the game. Once that’s over with, she pushes towards a strip mall of sorts to be stunned by a brute of a man who is exiting a room Ellie is attempting to enter. This guy is super easy to kill though if you have some mines on you, as you can just place one or two in front of the door (or in the path he seems to take every single time no matter where you run to) and he will walk over them. Ellie then makes her way through the mall building and climbs a ladder down into a flooded street, which is where the short path to St. Mary’s begins. A little more swimming action and Ellie finds herself right up in the WLF base just outside the hospital.
We stealthily swim up behind a younger woman (once again, I have no idea how she wouldn’t have heard Ellie swimming or climbing out of the water…) playing on what I thought was a PSP (amazed this would work still in such an apocalyptic time LOL). Ellie grabs her to interrogate, but of course, the WLF girl can’t make things easy. She ends up with Ellie’s knife in the dead center of her throat before we push out of the building and into the courtyard of the hospital itself. There are a bunch of WLF soldiers out front and just within St. Mary’s, so be weary as you make your way inside to search for Nora.
Once through, Ellie heads up a flight of stairs to the part of the hospital that the WLF’s are supposed to be clearing. Ellie shimmies her way up into the air ducts yet again for a little recon work. She actually ends up climbing over Nora, where we get yet even more looks into the latter part of the game (AKA Abby’s chapters… and this scene would fall right after Nora helps Abby escape after the WLF soldiers who locked her up). Ellie watches Nora head into a back room before hopping down out of the ducts into the middle of a hallway. I thought this was super reckless and didn’t male much sense, but I guess we are supposed to infer that Ellie must’ve witnessed all the soldiers leave the hallway before climbing out. We follow Nora into the room for a brief cutscene before she takes off and Ellie must chase her. The two will begin sprinting through the hospital (don’t bother stopping to look for anything, there is nothing you can grab from what I could tell. Plus, if you lose Nora you have to restart from when she takes off running anyways). After some serious parkour from Ellie, we get to an elevator shaft that Nora clears and Ellie follows suit. The second Ellie’s feet touch the other side, she gets tackled by Nora, who gets up and sprints away yet again. Eventually, Nora runs into a dead end and Ellie catches up, but so do Nora’ WLF soldier friends. Nora is visibly shook by the hole that is causing the dead end as it leads down to the basement levels that the WLF’s have not cleared yet. Ellie grabs Nora and uses her as a meat shield to protect herself, but realizes that she doesn’t have a great chance of surviving here. So, she pulls Nora to the edge and falls back into the hole.
The two land in the spore filled basement after falling what had to have been at least tow floors you would think, yet Nora STILL gets up and runs off. She is coughing from all the spores, but our girl Ellie is fine. A pack of WLF soldiers is now making their way down into the basement, but if you turn around you notice that there are also some infected in the room as well. Toss a bottle across the room towards the WLF team and let them fight each other, then handle the remaining handful yourself. Ellie pushes out of the room she fell into and into another set of rooms where she can hear Nora coughing in the distance. Ellie makes her way to her, and is now in the first huge moral predicament that she comes across for herself in this game. Nora is clearly going to die down here, yet Ellie still wants her intel on Abby. She offers to kill her quickly if she cooperates, but Nora says she will never give up her friend. We are then prompted to press square and begin beating Nora with a lead pipe (you have no choice here, you must press the button to progress). This was a very brutal scene to end the subchapter and flash us back to the theater.
Ellie is standing out in the rain, drenched in blood (most of which is not hers), as she knocks on the theater door. Dina answers and opens for Ellie to come in, and then we get a nice scene between the two girls and Jessie. Ellie claims to know where Abby is now as we find out she made Nora talk after all. The two girls are by themselves now, and we get a moment where Ellie seems to clearly be noticing how dark and almost evil she is becoming. “I don’t want to lose you” she whispers to Dina, and we fade into another flashback subchapter.
St Mary’s Hospital
We find ourselves two years in the past again, but this time Ellie has made her way (by herself mind you) back to the Firefly hospital from the original game. She is roaming the hall right before the room where the surgery was supposed to take place (and where Joel eventually went on his rampage) and slowly makes her way into the surgery room. There isn’t anything in the room of note besides a bag filled with items, one of which is a tape recorder. We jump to Ellie outside now, playing the recording over and over again as Joel rides up on his horse. She now knows the truth behind what Joel did, and that it caused the Fireflies to split into two groups (one to go after the “smuggler and the girl” (Joel and Ellie, and other that is never really clearly defined). Ellie is pissed, and even though she knows that the vaccine would have killed her, she is made that Joel took that choice away from her. The two head back to Jackson on horrible terms, and we find ourselves heading towards the beginning of Chapter Four.
Another chapter is in the books! Going forward, you can probably expect more than one chapter in each review of the game as they tend to shrink a bit in size, but don’t be surprised if I end up with way too much detail (LOL). As always, head to DustyPosts for all of my other original content, and follow this link to read everything related to The Last of Us!