Thanks to court documents published as part of the Epic Games vs Apple legal case, an internal Microsoft review document has been made public, which praises The Last of Us Part II and criticizes Naughty Dog’s approach to combat.
Two of Xbox’s Portfolio Team members played and reviewed The Last of Us II, presumably to analyze competition, and wrote that the game’s visual quality and attention to detail is “absolutely best-in-class in basically every area.”
“The overall presentation is significantly ahead of anything that other teams have been producing on console and PC,” reads the review. “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 the game features two separate player characters with different groups of allies in different locations along with flashback sequences taking place years before.”
That said, the reviewers think Naughty Dog didn’t do a good job executing combat mechanics in “any” of their video games, including The Last of Us II.
“Naughty Dog still can’t seem to make decent gun combat in any of their games, and this one is no exception,” the reviewers complained. “Luckily for them, it fits in with the game’s overall theme and pushes the player towards using stealth over head-on.”
It’s not surprising that companies check out what their competitors are producing, but this is the first time we’ve seen a document of this kind. Microsoft concluded its assessment of The Last of Us II by stating that it’s an “exceedingly rare video game.” We agree.