The final Last of Us 2 gameplay trailer is too violent for comfort

Last of Us 2
(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

On Wednesday, we got our final extended The Last of Us 2 trailer before the game arrives on June 19 during Sony's latest State of Play live stream. 

What we got was a deep dive into Ellie’s new moves and weaponry, as well as some of her new adversaries, the militaristic Washington Liberation Front and cultish Seraphites... and we also got buckets of blood, cult leaders breaking people's arms with a ball-peen hammer, dogs set on fire by molotov cocktails and many, many blood-spurting neck wounds.

It’s a pretty wild ride. 

The 30-ish-minute trailer (embedded below via YouTube) is our last look at the game before launch and while we really appreciate how the game has turned out, the latest trailer reveals just how intense the gameplay is going to be.

Now, admittedly, we’ve known for the better part of two years that The Last of Us 2 would be that way – the original game is basically built on crunchy combat and intimate killing in the dog-eat-dog dystopia, so it makes sense that the sequel would follow in the same footsteps. 

But even for a franchise built on bashing baddies with a 2x4, the latest trailer feels a bit extreme.

Too much or just enough to get the point across? 

The debate about how much violence should be in games has been going on, since, well, video games have been around. It’s a worthwhile debate, even if it’s uncomfortable to have.

The crux of The Last of Us is the lengths we’ll go through to survive and protect the ones we love – it’s what drives Joel to protect Ellie through the whole first game. 

But when Ellie has to get violent to protect Joel, the moment is jarring – it’s the loss of innocence being played out in real-time by the player. It's similar to the feeling you get when you kill a beast in Shadow of the Colossus, a profound sense that maybe, life isn't meant to be taken away... before you go on a murdering spree.

The issue here isn't that the game is violent – because depictions of violence need to exist – but the extent to which that violence is committed is tough to stomach, especially for a game that could last 20 hours or longer.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.