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11 key takeaways from The Last of Us Part II’s State of Play presentation

Fans got an in-depth look at The Last of Us Part II during Wednesday’s State of Play. Here’s everything we learned.

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The Last of Us Part II - State of Play
Naughty Dog

Fans got an in-depth look at The Last of Us Part II during Wednesday’s State of Play. Here’s everything we learned.

A few weeks ago, Sony showed off an 18-minute glimpse of Ghost of Tsushima’s combat, open-world exploration and photo mode. And, on Wednesday, the publisher’s other remaining PS4 exclusive got the same treatment, as creative director Neil Druckmann took an online audience on a guided tour through the mechanics of Naughty Dog’s upcoming stealth game.

There was a lot to take in, and eagle-eyed viewers will certainly notice things that we missed. But, for now, here are 11 big takeaways from Wednesday’s State of Play.

1. Sneaking in Seattle

Much of The Last of Us Part II will take place in and around Seattle. Two factions are currently vying for control of the former quarantine zone.

The Washington Liberation Front (WLF) is a militia that began as an opposing force to the military occupying the city. The Seraphites, or Scars, are those religious fanatics from the hyper-violent trailer Naughty Dog put out a few years ago.

Ellie will fight both, but each has distinct characteristics. The WLF has guard dogs (more on that later) and the Scars are silent, stealth-focused killers.

2. New traversal abilities in The Last of Us Part II

In addition to being able to jump and clamber over objects, Ellie can use ropes to climb and swing over gaps. Naughty Dog has imported this mechanic after introducing it in Uncharted 4 and developing it further in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Druckmann emphasised that The Last of Us Part IIi s the biggest and most ambitious game that Naughty Dog has developed, and said that players will need to make use of ropes to “discover new areas, resources and side narratives.”

3. By land or by sea

Because The Last of Us Part II features the largest environments that Naughty Dog has created, they’ve introduced a few options to help make traversing all that land a less daunting prospect. In addition to the horse that we’ve seen Ellie riding in trailers, our heroine will also be able to travel on the water, via motorboat.

4. Ellie swims now?

Ellie need not fear the open water because, in the several years since the first game, she’s apparently learned to swim. That’s a change from The Last of Us in which Joel spent a decent amount of time searching for pallets to ferry Ellie across flooded areas. [I’m replaying it right now and I’d forgotten just how frequently that particular “puzzle” came up – Ed.]

5. More stealth options… and obstacles in The Last of Us Part II

Naughty Dog has introduced a few new options that will hopefully allow players to never stop sneakin’. The most significant? The addition of tall grass, which Ellie can crawl through to avoid alerting enemies. But, Druckmann described this technique as “analogue stealth,” and noted that enemies will be able to spot Ellie if they get close enough. Additionally, Ellie can shatter glass and shimmy through windows or crawl through tight spaces.

The bad news is: some of Ellie’s enemies make use of trained guard dogs.

Skip down to 6 if you don’t want to read about something bad happening to a dog.

Ellie even throws a molotov cocktail at a pooch during the demo. These canine opponents can smell you if they get close enough. So, in addition to sightlines and noise levels, you’ll also need to consider your scent.

6. Seamless transitions in The Last of Us Part II

Taking a page out of Sony Santa Monica’s book, The Last of Us Part II seamlessly transitions from gameplay to cutscenes. While Naughty Dog still uses the familiar shot-reverse-shot camera angles, it looks like they’ve studied up on God of War.

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7. Warring factions

The Last of Us Part II brings back the best mechanic Naughty Dog introduced in The Last of Us’ DLC. In Left Behind, Ellie could pit zombies and humans against each other, thinning the herd for an eventual attack or using the commotion as a distraction. In The Last of Us Part II, Ellie can use the same trick, stirring up fights among the WLF, Scars and infected.

8 The Last of Us Part II introduces new infected

Part II will introduce multiple new varieties of infected. The only one that Naughty Dog showed off this time around are the Shamblers. These miserable wretches are covered in armour-like pustules and emit a noxious gas if you get too close. They seem like a smaller, speedier version of the first game’s Bloaters.

9. Upgrading weapons

In The Last of Us, you could upgrade your weapons at workbenches that you found along the way. That’s still the case in Part II, but now upgrades will require specific, scavenged parts. These upgrades won’t just affect stats, but will also appear on your weapon.

10. Combat ready

When Ellie does decide to break stealth, she’ll have a few new options at her disposal. Most significantly, Ellie will have a choice between executing enemies or using them as human shields. All of this looks extremely fluid in the trailers that Naughty Dog has shown, and I’m interested to see if it always looks that good in-game.

Additionally, Ellie will sometimes have AI companions by her side who will be helpful in combat. When you’re forced to go it alone, though, you can always chuck a throwable item at an enemy’s face to stun them.

11. Vita lives?

Vita lives.


For more reports on the latest video game news, follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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Andrew King is a journalist, critic, poet, stand-up comedian and museum caretaker living in Illinois.

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Sony invests $250m in Fortnite developer Epic Games

Sony Corporation has invested a cool $250 million into Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games.

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Epic Games Logo
Epic Games

Sony Corporation has invested a cool $250 million into Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games.

PlayStation owner Sony has ploughed $250 million into Epic Games via a wholly-owned subsidiary, acquiring a minority interest in the Fortnite creator. In a joint press statement, the two companies say that the investment will broaden collaboration across Sony’s entertainment portfolio and Epic’s social entertainment platforms.

Sony chairman, president, and CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida says:

“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations. There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”

Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic, adds:

“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike.”

Epic and the PlayStation-side of Sony have long been on good terms with both the PS4 and upcoming PS5 used to demonstrate the capabilities of Unreal Engine.


Follow Thumbsticks us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard for more gaming news.

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Earn Double Gold Points on the Nintendo eShop for the next month

A new Nintendo eShop promotion gives players Double Gold points for buying Nintendo Switch games.

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Nintendo eShop Double Gold Points Fest
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

A new Nintendo eShop promotion rewards players with Double Gold points for buying Switch games.

The Nintendo eShop Double Gold Points Fest has launched in today in Europe. During the promotion, selected games give customers double the usual amount of My Nintendo Gold Points on selected games. In some cases, this is the equivalent of getting up to 10% of your money back, albeit in Nintendo’s digital currency.

The first games to be included are Square Enix’s masterful JPG, Dragon Quest XI, the brilliant Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!, and puzzle adventure, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy.

Three new games will be added to the promotion every Thursday until July 30, 2020. We’re not sure if the promotion is coming to North America but update this page if we get confirmation.

Nintendo eShop Double Gold Points Fest – Week 1

  • Snipperclips – Cut it out, together! – 200 EU / 180 UK
  • Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition – 600 EU / 500 UK
  • Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition – 400 EU / 350 UK

And what can you do with Gold Points? Well, they can be redeemed against future game purchases on the Nintendo eShop. Recent titles we’ve enjoyed include Star Wars Episode 1: Racer and The Eternal Castle.

They can also be exchanged via the My Nintendo website for Nintendo 3DS game discounts and digital themes. Read our roundup of the latest rewards to see what’s on offer.

If we’re honest, we’d rather a nice big eShop sale. But if you were thinking of picking up one of the included games, the Gold Points Fest is a nice bonus.


More from Thumbsticks

Check out the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 updates. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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The Sims 4 is free to play on Xbox One this weekend

The latest Xbox One Free Play Days promotion features two new games, including The Sims 4. Trust us, you’ll need more than a weekend.

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Xbox One - The Sims 4
Microsoft / EA / Thumbsticks

The latest Xbox One Free Play Days promotion features two new games, including The Sims 4. Trust us, you’ll need more than a weekend.

The Sims 4 is a big game, a fun game, and, for its keenest players, almost a way of life. Speaking as someone who has put over 200 hours into Animal Crossing: New Horizons without even thinking about it, there is something both comforting and compelling about life simulation games. If you like experiences where the most mundane of tasks gives as much pleasure as saving the universe, The Sims 4 is worth a look.

The Sims 4 is now free to play on Xbox One until Sunday, July 12 at 11:59 pm. That’s just enough time to scratch the surface of the game and see if grabs you. There’s a 75% discount on the standard edition to tempt you into a full purchase. There are also savings to be had on many of the game’s expansions and content packs. Just make sure you have plenty of free time in the calendar.

Online sandbox RPG Citadel Forged is also free to play for the next four days. Again, it’s probably just enough time to see if you click with the game’s loop of heroic activities and busywork.

Save progress and achievements in both titles are carried over to the purchased copies.

Xbox Free Play Days Discounts

Citadel Forged

  • Standard Edition – 60% off

The Sims 4

  • Standard Edition – 75% off
  • Deluxe Party Edition – 75% off
  • Dogs & Cats Bundle – 50% off
  • City Living Pack – 50% off
  • Dine Out Pack – 50% off
  • Discover University Pack – 50% off
  • Get Famous Pack – 50% off
  • Get to Work Pack – 50% off
  • Pack Bundle – 50% off
  • Get Together Pack – 50% off
  • Island Living Pack – 50% off
  • Jungle Adventure Pack – 25% off
  • Outdoor Retreat Pack – 25% off
  • Parenthood Pack – 25% off
  • Realm of Magic Pack – 25% off
  • Seasons Pack – 25% off
  • Spa Day Pack – 25% off
  • StrangerVille Pack – 25% off
  • Vampires Pack – 25% off

For more Xbox One games, you can grab savings of up to 90% in this this week’s four new sales.


Visit the Thumbsticks sales page for more video game deals, and our new releases section for the latest PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch games. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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You can buy Ellie’s Taylor 314ce guitar from The Last of Us Part II

The gorgeous, limited-edition The Last of Us Part II Taylor 314ce costs $2,299 and is available to pre-order now.

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Limited Edition The Last of Us Part II Taylor 314ce
Taylor / Sony

The gorgeous, limited-edition The Last of Us Part II Taylor 314ce costs $2,299 and is available to pre-order now.

For a game about revenge, the gentler pursuit of playing guitar is surprisingly prominent. From singing songs to your girlfriend with a guitar found in an abandoned music store to chilling out after a stressful day in your theatre base, Ellie will play the guitar any chance she gets.

But it’s the guitar she receives as a gift from Joel in the game’s prologue that is the most meaningful, for obvious reasons.

We first see Joel, finding the guitar while out on a run with his brother, Tommy. He sits, cleaning up the fretboard, while confessing to Tommy the events of the first game and of Salt Lake City. And it’s a lucky find, too: a tobacco burst Taylor 314ce, with a unique moth inlay and faux tortoiseshell pickguard. For the world to end and then, over 20 years later, find a two grand Taylor guitar among the rack and ruin, in good enough condition to restore and play? What are the chances?

Now the chances of you owning one for yourself has improved, as Taylor has worked with Sony and Naughty Dog to produce a limited-edition Taylor 314ce. It’s a one-to-one reproduction of Ellie’s guitar in-game and it’s a Taylor so, you know, it’s going to be an incredible instrument.

You can pre-order The Last of Us Part II Taylor 314ce from Sony right now, with orders open until the end of July and the guitars due to ship from late August. These won’t be available from Taylor or in music stores, however, nor will they be available outside of North America. Sony only plans to ship them to the USA, Canada and Mexico.

The Last of Us Part II Taylor 314ce costs $2,299, which might sound like a lot, but it’s only $300 more than the regular Taylor 314ce. We don’t know how limited edition the guitars will be, for that matter, but if you were already planning on dropping two grand on a beautiful Taylor acoustic guitar? Then you might feel comfortable scraping together the extra to make it a limited edition.

I’d like to pretend I’m not upset that I can’t get one of these in the UK. But I am. I am upset, Sony.


Read more about The Last of Us Part II – including a range of features and guides – right here on Thumbsticks.

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Save up to 70% in the PlayStation Store July Sale

Some massive PlayStation 4 games are on offer in the new PlayStation Store July sale.

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PlayStation Store sale - God of War
Sony / Thumbsticks

Some massive PlayStation 4 games are discounted in the new PlayStation Store July sale.

A brand new PlayStation Store sale starts today that slashes the price of some top PS4 titles. An impressive selection of PlayStation exclusives are included, headlined by the mighty God of War. The 2018 game is both action-packed and emotional, and a stunning reinvention for Sony’s long-running franchise.

Other discounted exclusives include Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, MediEvil, and the oft-overlooked Concrete Genie.

Other titles to get big price cuts include Dark Souls III, the excellent remaster of Assassin’s Creed III, Generation Zero, and the inventive apis mellifera adventure, Bee Simulator.

Visit the PlayStation Store for the full lineup of games in your country. Here are some more picks from your dedicated team of, erm, gaming expects here at Thumbsticks. The sale ends on July 22, 2020.

PlayStation Store July Sale Highlights

  • AO Tennis 2
  • Arca’s Path VR
  • Assassin’s Creed III Remastered
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Bee Simulator
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Code Vein
  • Concrete Genie
  • Crash Bandicoot Bundle – N. Sane Trilogy + CTR Nitro-Fueled
  • Dark Souls III
  • Devil May Cry 5
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  • Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise
  • FlatOut 4: Total Insanity
  • For Honor Complete Edition
  • Generation Zero
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint
  • God of War
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
  • Journey
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • MediEvil
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Strange Brigade
  • Watch Dogs 2 – Deluxe Edition
  • WRC 5 eSports Edition

Bookmark the Thumbsticks deals page to get updates on the latest PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch savings. You can also follow us on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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