The Last of Us Part II, a PlayStation exclusive game that won several GOTY awards since its release last year has seriously impressed Microsoft. That’s according to a confidential internal review from Microsoft’s Global Gaming Partnership & Development team that was included in the court documents related to the ongoing Apple vs. Epic Games trial (via VGC).
The leaked internal review, which you can find in full on Resetera, is an interesting look at the work of Microsoft’s GGPD portfolio team. As Microsoft failed to match Sony’s ability to consistently release critically-acclaimed games during the previous console generation, it’s interesting to see the Redmond giant’s genuine fascination for developer Naughty Dog’s vision and execution.
“The visual quality and attention to detail in The Last of Us Part II is absolutely best-in-class in basically every area, and the overall presentation is significantly ahead of anything that other teams have been producing on console and PC,” the review reads.
“We were frequently stunned by the quality of the game’s visuals, something that sadly seldom happens these days. It’s even more impressive considering that the game features two separate player characters with different groups of allies, in different locations, along with flashback sequences taking place years before.”
The internal Microsoft review of The Last of Us Part II wasn’t entirely positive, as the GGPD team had some things to say about the game’s gunplay and inventory system. “Naughty Dog still can’t seem to make decent gun combat in any of their games, and this one is no exception,” the review states. “Luckily for them it fits in with the game’s overall theme and pushes the player toward using stealth over head-on,” the review reads.
Ultimately, Microsoft’s GGPD team concluded that The Last of Us Part II is one of those rare masterpieces that contribute to cementing the status of video games as a true art form. “The Last of Us Part II is the exceedingly rare video game where what it accomplishes in moving forward the art of narrative storytelling in video games as a medium ultimately outweighs whether to not everyone “like” it or even if everyone has “fun” playing it. That said we loved it, had a great time playing it, and find ourselves still thinking about its characters and stories even after finishing the playthrough,” the reviewers concluded
In recent years, Microsoft spent a ton of money to add more talented developers to its Xbox Games Studios division, with the company's $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda being the latest example. There’s no doubt that this new console generation should be better than the last one regarding Xbox exclusives, but it remains to be seen if upcoming games such as Halo Infinite or Starfield can reach the same level of critical acclaim and commercial success as Sony's recent PlayStation exclusives.