The last of Us II : Immersion and interactions

The last of Us II

I love this game ! Just as i loved the first game. I can already see myself replaying this game more than once and i can’t wait to see what Naughty Dogs will offer us with the multiplayer mode. I wish i could have worked on a such a great game and help provide the best experience to the players.

This article is in no way supposed to be dismissive of all the great work that has been put into this game. It is mainly focused on things that could be change in order to improve the experience.

As i haven’t worked on the game i can’t say if these changes would be implementable and this is only my personal view.

Ellie’s journal :

The journal idea is a great plus to feel closer to Ellie and her thoughts during the game. Unfortunately whenever she writes something in it, she immediately puts it back in her bag. Because the interaction to open the journal (press the touchpad) only appears after she has done it which means that everytime you want to read the journal after she adds something in it, she will put it back in her bag to then immediately takes it back in her hands as shown in the clip below :

It sort of feels unnatural and, allowing the player to press the touchpad earlier could make it possible to keep the journal in Ellie’s hands and to keep it open instead of being forced to put it back in her bag first.

Bombs and molotov :

Whenever Ellie takes a molotov in her hand, she then lights it up already, which is normal in a way but it feels weird when you equip it and then put it back in your bag instead of using it. Same goes for the other bombs.

Instead, Ellie could light it up just before throwing it (which might lengthen)

Note reading :

This example is not the most stricking but sometimes when you start reading a note, Ellie or Dina would make a comment. This sometimes happened before I even had time to read what it was saying. Maybe having it delayed a bit to make sure the player had the time to read it would be nice (since it can’t always be placed after you put the note away and therefore should still appear while Ellie is reading it).

Running :

Now i’m not sure if this one only happens to me but sometimes i would be running (pressing L1) and then Ellie would do this leaping animation. This is supposed to happen when you press L1 twice but for some reasons it happened to me few times while i was just pressing L1 the whole time.

Camera toggle :

A camera toggle could have been nice in my opinion. Sometimes Ellie is not automatically swapping her position while in cover. It can be problematic when you want to peak over the obstacle to watch or shoot the ennemy but Ellie is facing the wrong direction. Considering there is the posibility to swap shoulders while aiming it could have been a nice plus to have it available at any time (By pressing L3 for example).

Dialogues while moving :

This one is a tricky one as i don’t know how easy it is to program the AI to accurately wait for the player when needed so the conversation feels more real and the two protagonists are next to each other and not 5 meters away form each other. I felt that a lot the first time i could control Ellie. If you run, it is fine and the distance between you and Jesse is small. But it is the first time I got to player her and I didn’t wait to rush it so instead i wanted to just walk. But then Jesse would talk to me and just walk 5 meters in front of me. It also makes me feel ignored as he barely looks at me Ellie while talking. Then if you try to get closer to him with a sprint, he would do the same, hence keeping the same distance between Ellie and him.

Weapons :

More of a bug here, the melee weapon was still flashing as if i could pick it up, even though it was used and destroyed.

Silencer on pistol :

You can put on/off a silencer on your pistol. The issue is that you can put it on or off while aiming (by pressing Triangle) or via the inventory but, you cannot do while you simply have the gun in your hand (not aiming). It could have been possible to do it with the same button (triangle) while not aiming but, only when you are out of melee range as triangle is used to utilize the shiv.

Joel’s house :

This is not really a mechanic or anything but there is this scene where Ellie and Dina go to Joel’s house and Dina says she will wait here while Ellie gets what she came for. You obviously start wandering around the ground floor first to see what is in there. I kind of expected Dina to stay put near the entrance or something, but instead, she started following me around. It is not a big issue on its own but then it also meant that when I would turn around and leave one of the rooms she would be in front of me and then do this dodging animation to let me pass when i would approach her. It felt out of place in such an emotional scene like this one. I feel like Dina should have stayed put somewhere to not disturb the player who is exploring the house.

That’s it. As i write this article, i haven’t finished the game yet but i can’t wait to go back to it.

Go big horns !

I’m a psychology student (I-O psychology & ergonomics) passionate about video games and human behaviors. I combine games with different psychological concepts