The Art of the Last of Us Part II

details
TITLE: The Art of the Last of Us Part II.
Publisher(S): Mike Richardson.
Editor(S): Ian Tucker.
Assistant Editor(s): Bret Israel.
Designer(s): Stephen Reichert
Digital Art Technician(s): Chris Horn.
PUBLISHER
Dark Horse Books.

FORMAT: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
RELEASE DATE: June 16th, 2020.
PAGES: 200.
GENRE(S): Art.
ISBN13: 9781506713762.

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★.

thoughts

Have you ever loved something so much that you’d do anything to get more of it? I have been a gamer all my life and it is upon getting my hands on the PlayStation 3 that I fell head over heels in love for the Uncharted video game franchise. It is upon playing their first game in that generation of consoles, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, that the video game developer Naughty Dog became my all-time favourite team as every game they released going forward had a quintessential focus on story-telling with innovation at heart in terms of gameplay mechanics, score immersion, and visual realism that pushed the limits of the console to unimaginable milestones. In 2013, when they released their brand-new IP, The Last of Us, they have successfully proven to the world that they were at the top of their game and will always aim to deliver authentic, original, and compelling stories for fans around the world. On June 19th, 2020, they’ve come out with what was my most anticipated game of the year, The Last of Us Part II, and my excitement for it couldn’t have been any higher as I went on to complete the game clocking in almost 25 hours of gameplay for this critically-acclaimed single-player game and its controversial story.

What is The Art of the Last of Us Part II about? It is a collector’s item created in collaboration between Dark Horse Books and the developers at Naughty Dog that presents fans the behind-the-scenes of their artistic conception of the video game The Last of Us Part II, the sequel to The Last of Us, an action-adventure story set in a post-apocalyptic United States of America where a mutated strain of a fungus grows exponentially throughout the world and humanity’s last ray of hope lies in the hands of Joel (a smuggler) and Ellie (a teenage girl with a gift or a burden). With a foreword by the art director Erick Pangilinan and a prologue by the game director Neil Druckmann, this deluxe edition hardcover offers an extensive look at various concept art for characters, creatures, and settings as it recounts the whole story of the video game from start to finish. It also sparingly chronicles the development of the game with some never-before-seen details on omitted ideas while also offering insight on the importance of detail to better capture the desired realism within the game.

Instead of trying to find an ‘interesting story’, we needed to unearth a strong emotional core.

– Neil Druckmann | Director of The Last of Us Part II

This artbook is exquisite in itself. The glossy paper allows the pictures to be appreciated in all of its rendered greatness, the oversized hardcover format offers a perfect size to display multiple shots without overcrowding each page, and the spine treatment is meticulously produced to avoid issues over the long-term for collectors. The quality of each concept art is also stunning as the developers invited countless artists from around the world to help bring their ideas to life. From photorealistic to digital artwork, it is impressive to discover how the game was conceived. While playing the video game is an experience in itself, this artbook sends chills down your spine as you relive certain unforgettable scenes, whether it’s set in the snowy Wyoming regions or the destroyed Seattle territory. To be able to see and understand how art was turned into a 3D video game environment within this artbook is simply magical.

The detail in the concept art is also beautifully terrifying. The colours add a tone to each shot and further captures the post-apocalyptic setting in which evolves the entire the story. Since the artbook is also presented in chronological story-wise order, you’re immediately in a position to understand the direction that was desired for the story. The commentary that sometimes accompanies certain pictures also unveils the importance of every single detail. From the clothing choice to the spacial environment design, it’s awe-inspiring to further understand Naughty Dogs’ desire to make every little feature matter. It is also worth noting that this artbook will only satisfy those who have finished and loved the video game, especially with the number of spoilers it contains. But if there’s something this artbook will succeed in doing is to invite you to replay the video game just to appreciate the finer details in the environment that they’ve created for fans of The Last of Us.

The Art of the Last of Us Part II is a stunning and beautifully-conceived collector’s artbook for fans of the video game.


EXHIBITA
THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!

exhibitb
I’ve never reviewed a video game on my blog before but I would be happy to share my thoughts on this one if I hear some interest for it. Let me know. 😉

Banner1

INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKGOODREADSTWITTER – OUTLOOK

44 comments

  • Wowwww~ A game-turned-book with amazing, detailed graphics?? Sounds like a treat, Lashaan! You lucky devil you, getting your hands on this copy from the publisher! Brilliant review, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  • As lucky as you are and as great as this review sounds. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on LoU and part two. People seem to be in two minds about it. Great game the first one was, i am actually trying to get all single player achievements.
    Reviews of LoU part two have come in and people seem pissed of… i pretty much know what happens in the game now and will rather keep from playing that. Leave the story where 1 stoped

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dawie, I appreciate the kind words. I’m an absolutely huge fan of the first game and I consider it a real masterpiece, even the remastered edition on PS4 makes the game even more stunning!

      The second game is truly controversial. Especially for the story that they went with. The director of the first game isn’t on it anymore and Neil Druckmann decided to do something that was bound to kill a lot of the fandom. I’ll definitely try and sneak in a review for it in the near future though.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I was completely unfamiliar with this, but I love your enthusiasm for it. The sample visuals from the book are fantastic. I can only imagine how immersive the game must feel, and if I were more of a gamer I’d be very tempted to give it try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Todd! I think as a photographer, you’d probably understand even more why this feels like a wonderful companion piece to possess as a fan. It really feels like they actually went somewhere to take pictures instead of having drawn them from scratch! 😮

      Like

      • Definately. And it wouldn’t at all surprise me if they did actually scout real locations. I recently picked up a small artbook about Makoto Shinkai and his anime, and it mentions they often visit locations and create photos that allow him to then create animation with a very real look to it. This game also has that look, very real. I love these sorts of artbooks!

        Liked by 1 person

  • My gaming days are limited to my Nintendo Switch these days, but I must admit I’ve been drawn to The Last of Us, especially after hearing my brother rave about the game. I’m a sucker for artbooks and I love spotting the details in the work and think it’s a great companion piece to the game, especially if it makes you want to replay the game haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not easy being a gamer hahaah Having multiple consoles can be soooo time-consuming but at least you’ve got plenty to enjoy on the Switch alone! 😉 If you get the chance to try out the first game (and even the second afterward), I do hope you have a good time with it. Take it away from your brother if you have to. 😛

      Like

  • Art books can be real boons to true fans. Getting all of the little gems you’d never get anywhere else is great.

    As for a videogame review, why not? Your blog after all 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely agree. Like looking into the behind-the-scenes of movies you love or documentaries on the process behind something. It’s always fascinating to see how much work was put into creating the final product.

      You’re right. Why not. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaahahah hey, if you could get into those Assassin’s Creed books, I’m not surprised by the interest in this. I wish there was a novelization for you to try though. I think I did see one made by a fan and shared on reddit that seems pretty legit, if it interests you to read the first game’s story. But man, if you ever were to try the game or watch playthroughs on Youtube, you’d be impressed by this one a lot! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

  • OMG I loved the game…until maybe the end, for a whole lot of reasons that gave me all kinds of feelings I’m still trying to sort out, lol. The first game is close to my heart too, which is why somethings in this one made me quite upset, but I guess that’s understandable 🙂 I really need to pick up this one, I collect art books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah I had issues with HOW they went on to tell this story but I appreciate most of the ideas. I can see why the ending would leave you like that though… If you collector artbooks, then this is a MUST! You’ll even see what “alternative” death they had for that ONE character we all love. 😉

      Like

    • I wish the game would have let you choose at the end – whether to kill or spare. That would have been awesome and daring. But nope, they chickened out on that and just let the game play out on rails 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • Awesome review Lashaan and I’m so glad to hear that you love the Last of Us Part II given some of the hate (even vitriol) that has sadly been levied against by some of the gaming community. I’m just over half way through the game myself and I feel it’s just as much a masterpiece as the first one, I love that they have not taken the easy route and given us a story that puts the player through the emotional ringer and asks some morally challenging questions. Couple that with the beautiful acting, made all the better with the motion capture work and this is more than a game and the cinematic design plays an important part in that so it’s great that concept art has been collected and released in a nice hardcover edition.

    I don’t want to finish the game but at the same time itching to reach the end and see how it all comes together. Actually, it’s convinced me to play through the first game again once I’m done with Part II.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chris! I’m glad to hear how much you adore this IP. I, myself, consider the first game a full-on masterpiece, even in it’s remastered form. Everything about it was flawless. As for the second game, I agree with you on a lot of what you just mentioned but I still had a relatively big issue with HOW they decided to tell the story. I’ll try to sneak in a full review of the game in the near future to share more of my thoughts on it. Nevertheless, Naughty Dog is God and they further cement my love for them and Playstation (for being an exclusive). 😛 I do hope you enjoy the second-half and ending of the game though. There’s a lot that goes on. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I totally agree, the first game was the first time I was truly moved and emotionally engaged by the characters and story of a video game and that’s only heightened with Part II. They certainly take some risks with the sequel and can perhaps see why some would not be happy with aspects of it (but not to the point of some of the vitriol we’ve seen about it online) but it’s working for me – giving me the unexpected and leave me thinking about things long after I’ve put the controller down. To me, that’s art at its best!

        Yep, after these two games and the Uncharted series, especially A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog are certainly…ahem…top dog!

        Need to get this game finished and playthrough the original, got my eyes on Ghosts of Tsushima!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahahah indeed! I’m already super excited for their next game, especially their next IP. I think I’ve seen rumours that a multiplayer TLOU Part II game might be possible too but I’d honestly prefer if they just worked on their next project for the PS5! 😛

          Same here for Ghosts of Tsushima! What a Summer we’re having! 😛 Could’ve been even better if they hadn’t delayer Cyberpunk 2077 too!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ah, yes I almost forgot about Cyberpunk – that’s certainly on my list as well!

            I heard the rumours about a multiplayer TLOU but I don’t think that’s for me to be honest, I much prefer it to be a single player story experience. But hey, if there’s an audience for it then that speaks for itself!

            Liked by 1 person

  • Beautifully terrifying. AH! Right up my alley! 😍

    Honestly, I have never been a gamer but I think I’ll still buy this BECAUSE FIRST – 5 STARS?! YEP. There must be something to it! And SECOND – LOOK AT THAT COVER! It is tooo gorgeous for words!!! 😭😭😍

    BLESS YOU FOR ADORNING MY FEED WITH THIS BEAUTIFUL POST! Love it! 😍😇

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oooh, pretty, pretty! 😀 I’m currently going through something similar but for Assassin’s Creed – a delicious publication 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • We can definitely feel your love for this game through this review! 🥰 I can’t wait to explore this universe more! The artwork here is amazing but I’m not that surprised since the game is already very pretty 😍 Great review, lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaah I love Naughty Dog and the first Last of Us A LOT! 😛 While I had issues with the 2nd game’s story, it was still such a blast to go through! 😀 Hope you’ll be able to play them both too. Thanks, Caroline! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahah for an artbook, something that’s more of a collector’s item, I feel like my usual rating system doesn’t really apply too. After all, there’s no real story here (besides the fact that it quickly summarizes the story of the game). Thanks for the vote there. I’ll probably try that out soon. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sooooo glad to know that you took the time to check out streams for the game! It really is an impressive and stunning story to follow! 😱 And this artbook makes you realize how much effort was put into the visuals! 😍 Thank you for dropping by! I appreciate it so much!

      Liked by 1 person

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s