Ambulances in The Last of Us Part II: A Review

They carry live-saving gear and have tiny, cramped compartments.

Spoilers for a mid-game boss in The Last of Us Part II.

Last night, after a 33-34 hour stretch of gameplay, I saw credits roll on The Last of Us Part II. I liked it — quite a lot — though it had some cheap tricks and parts that fell flat for me. But you can hear Fanbyte writers Natalie Flores, Kenneth Shepard, and Collin McGregor go in on the game in our review podcast and in-depth spoilercast. I’m here to discuss one element, and one alone: the ambulances in the game.

They pepper the landscape of post-apocalyptic Seattle, as they might in an actual post-apocalyptic world — and call to mind, somewhat uncomfortably, just how oversaturated New York City was with EMS crews just a couple of months ago, in the real-world Coronavirus pandemic that saw call volume here spike over 7,000 calls in one day. As an EMT in this crisis (albeit a very part-time one), I met crews from several states during the thick of it. There were ambulances everywhere, and sirens day and night. I couldn’t really shake that as I was playing.

Ok, the spoilers start here, in case you are worried about that kind of thing.

But one very special ambulance sequence calls to mind the terror of a call gone bad. At one point, perhaps just after the halfway mark in the game, you are tasked with finding surgical supplies to save a young woman’s life. Abby (the buff lady that 100% looks realistically chiseled, despite what some people *who have never seen the inside of a gym in their lives* believe) has already shown some medical know-how for fashioning a splint out of an old chair leg for the injured Yara, but she needs much more than that. A surgeon tasks young Abby with finding some much more sophisticated instruments, which prompts a visit to an ER wing that hosted the patients’ zero of this particular fungi apocalypse.

You find the good stuff in the back of this ambulance, which, despite being a tad too narrow (the stretcher needs to fit in there, it’s one of the most important parts), looks a lot like the real thing. We’ve got the various cabinets, the bench seats to the side, and, oh, yes! The monstrosity that you need to fight to progress in the game.

Look, this is not exactly a realistic game, Abby’s muscles aside. We don’t carry bonesaws or most surgical instruments on ambulances (unless my EMS friends in Seattle have some wildly different protocols out there). But this monster is an emotionally resonant visual representation of what it feels like to be on a call that’s breaking bad. The fear… the blood… the probable smell! 

Despite its (awesome) over-the-top horror imagery, this one got pretty far under my skin. Like a psychic infection.

The ambulances in The Last of Us Part 2

8.9

They keep medical supplies and horrifying monsters, kind of like the real thing!

Pluses
  • Sturdy
  • Carry the things you need
  • Who doesn't love the bandaid brigade?
Minuses
  • Too narrow to carry an actual stretcher
  • Opens up to my least favorite boss battle in the game, even if the idea and horror setting are genuinely very cool
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