The Last of Us Part II roguelike has a Joel problem

The Last of Us Part II roguelike has a Joel problem
Images via Naughty Dog

Written by 

Tom Chapman


23rd Jan 2024 12:05

The remake renaissance is here, and while Capcom largely has the market cornered by giving its classic Resident Evil games a fresh coat of paint, we've recently had stellar remakes for everything from Dead Space to Super Mario RPG.

Despite Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II only being released in 2020, it's also been given a new-gen facelift. With questions about whether a three-year-old game needed an update, we've been given some extra bang for our buck with the addition of the No Return roguelike mode. Unfortunately, it has a problem.

The Last of Us Part II's No Return has a problem with Joel

While we won't look a gift horse in the mouth, the addition of No Return sees the tank-like Joel Miller getting some serious backlash. Even though Joel is a strong pick for No Return thanks to his impressive loadout, it seems he's gotten a little sluggish in his later years.

As pointed out on The Last of Us subreddit, Joel's No Return character can't dodge. Although Joel's strength makes his sturdy against melee attacks, it looks like he's trapped in a loop as he's repeatedly pummelled by close-range attacks while being unable to dodge. We're getting flashbacks to that golf club scene

The OP wasn't alone in their pain, as another added, "Idk like sometimes I think they were implementing 'oh he's older the power still there but not much in gas tank' mentality which I could somewhat understand but they could allow somewhat of a dodge." 

Another said, "I feel like having Joel in No Return without some kind of counter for the constant melee battles you are *forced* into in some situations is the most frustrating thing I've dealt with so far. :(" A third concluded, "At least like let him f*****g parry sh*t, Spider-Man 2 has it I'm sure they could’ve worked that in for his character."

The point of No Return

Joel Miller in The Last of Us Part II's No Return roguelike
Click to enlarge
Image via Naughty Dog

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Many feel that it would've been easy to remove stun locks for non-dodgers, but someone accused the team of being "lazy." Others have pointed out that Tommy handles a lack of dodging a lot better. Still, it's a relatively minor gripe when considering No Return is a whole new mode.

Joel is one of the eight playable characters in No Return, but given that he's one of the later unlocks, it's disappointing he's been overshadowed by a lack of dodge. To get Joel, you need to complete four encounters as Tommy. To get Tommy, you need three encounters as Jesse, requiring three encounters as Dina, requiring two encounters as Ellie.

Roguelikes are all the rage these days, and while No Return isn't quite up there with Hades, it's still a welcome addition to The Last of Us Part II Remastered. We even listed it as one of our reasons to upgrade from 2020's original. God of War Ragnarok recently added its own roguelike, and it looks like the genre is the trend of the moment. 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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