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Do You Need to Play The Last of Us Before The Last of Us Part 2?

The sequel to Naughty Dog's critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic adventure is almost here. Do you need to play through The Last of Us to enjoy what The Last of Us Part 2 has to offer?

The Last of Us Part 2 is set to debut on PlayStation 4 on June 19. While faithful fans have been counting down the days until they can embark on Joel and Ellie's latest journey, legions of gamers are likely wondering if this new game is accessible if you haven't played The Last of Us.

If you fall into the latter category, here's a brief rundown of everything you need to know about the previous title before you dive into The Last of Us Part 2 when it hits PlayStation 4, from what the original game was about to a summation of whether it's a good idea to go in blind for the sequel.

Young Ellie looks unsure of herself as she holds a rifle.Source:

What is The Last of Us about?

The Last of Us is an action-adventure game that follows a man named Joel and a teenage girl named Ellie as they make their way across the United State in a post-apocalyptic setting. Most of humanity has been wiped out due to a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus, which essentially takes over the brain and body in a terrifying and aggressive manner. Those affected are completely stripped of their humanity and behave like zombies.

Joel lived a normal life before the outbreak occurred, and after losing his family and those dear to him, he becomes something of a father figure to little Ellie, who may be the key to finding a vaccine for the virus the fungus imparts to its victims. However, there are factions that want Ellie for themselves as well as other humans that the pair have to work together to thwart. It's a tale of survival that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Joel faces off with his gun raised against an advancing, pus-filled Infected.Source:

What kind of game is The Last of Us?

This Naughty Dog game is much like other titles in its ilk, such as the Uncharted series. It's an action-adventure game mixed with elements of survival horror played from a third-person perspective.

You'll swap between playing both Joel and Ellie as you either utilize stealth to move past human and infected creatures (such as the "Clickers") or go in guns blazing to clear out each new area.

You have a variety of weapons at your disposal to do this, such as bows, rifles, shotguns, baseball bats, and even Molotov cocktails. "Listen Mode" allows players to seek out enemies making noise to brace for potential attacks.

It's an extremely tense game with enjoyable gunplay and memorable, cinematic moments that feel exemplary of what the PlayStation is capable of.

Joel and company regroup while peering out of a windowSource:

How long is The Last of Us?

You can expect about a 16-hour investment on average. It can be sped through if you ignore collectibles and play on a lower difficulty to clock in around 13 hours, but you'll really want to slow down and take in the scenery if at all possible.

Where does The Last of Us Part 2 pick up the story?

The Last of Us Part 2 picks up five years after the conclusion of the original game. Joel and Ellie have reached the end of the cross-country trip they had been on in the main game. Joel and Ellie finally reached their destination of Salt Lake City, Utah, where Ellie was involved in a potential life-saving operation that may have resulted in a vaccine against the Cordyceps virus.

Not everything goes to plan, however, and a harrowing series of events play out between the end of The Last of Us and the beginning of The Last of Us Part 2. Following that traumatic event, the pair have decided to settle down in Jackson City, Wyoming. They spend their days at a settlement founded by Joel's brother Tommy in relative peace, but that's about to change as you start playing.

Joel and Ellie ready themselves to destroy an Infected that's illuminated by spotlight.Source:

Should you play The Last of Us first?

If you want to get the most out of the narrative, it's recommended that you play through The Last of Us before tackling its sequel. Seeing that it's a direct continuation, it would be a bit like starting a movie trilogy without seeing the first in the series.

However, you could get by just as easily by reading up on the first game's story beats or watching a play through. Without the lens of The Last of Us, however, you could also enjoy Part 2 as a standalone story. It's cohesive enough that you can go in blind and still come away with an appreciation for the story without being privy to every small detail.

This is a choice you'll have to make based on personal preference. If you have time to enjoy the first game before the second, then it's a good idea to get pumped and primed to see the continuation before doing so. If you don't have time to play, watch, or read, you can still enjoy the experience.

You can preorder The Last of Us Part 2 right now via the PlayStation Store.

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