- May 9, 2019
It is around the 6-minute mark of the video when I noticed, for lack of a better word, an increased sense of spatial immersion. This coupled with the impressively detailed facial animations of the characters populating the game world makes it more believable. It is genuinely one of the very few moments where I've thought, "This looks next-gen". Say what you will about The Last of Us Part II looking like just another cinematic movie exclusive from SIE but ironically it is very much a video game and the idea of being immersed in one (whether we're talking about emotional immersion or spatial immersion) is something that's been talked about every console generation. Especially following the advent of HD graphics. It was someone at Microsoft back in the day, maybe Peter Moore, who compared video games to lucid dreams. If I remember it correctly, he was watching his son play Gears of War. Fast forward 13 years or so later and I still believe it to be the most accurate description of the medium.
This isn't really about The Last of Us Part II even though I think it looks amazing but a celebration of the technical power of exclusive games. I don't think this game would look anywhere near as impressive if Naughty Dog were developing it for multiple platforms, and that's true in a way if you think about how long Naughty Dog have been creating PlayStation games. I remember the first time I played the demo for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on the PS3 and I replayed it many times before playing the full game. I can very much see this gameplay demonstration being its own demo you could download on the PlayStation Store with people picking it apart and praising certain aspects though in reality we will just have to wait for the full game to release... I don't know, next year?
In the meantime, rewatching this gameplay demo in HD full-screen, you get to a certain point in the video and it's like, now you are the player character, Ellie, and you are aware of the size of everything in the game world relative to you. And of course you get the same feeling actual playing video games but it's cool when it's a new video game and there's that feeling of the game world being bigger, like the actual level is bigger than a similar scene rendered on a last generation console (e.g. The Last of Us to The Last of Us Part II). You know what I mean? Maybe it has something to do with the increased resolution to 4K.