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The overarching tone of this immersive experience 'The Last of Us 2' is set by composer Gustavo Santaolalla / techradar.

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The dystopian Seattle of The Last of Us 2 is a vision of the Pacific-Northwest unlike anything witnessed in the pages of Lonely Planet. The cordyceps fungus has lain waste to a city flooded by busted waterways and overgrown with foliage, which only serves to camouflage its diseased population. Rusted campervans share blocked highways with abandoned tanks and the detritus of a guerrilla conflict that is dysfunctional, desperate and coming to get you.

But amid the chaos of this beautiful apocalypse there are scraps from the past and connections with a vanished life that help to build the humane core running through Naughty Dog's universally lauded new blockbuster. Here, for example, you will find the Valiant Music Shop. Scavenge beyond the corroded synths and warped vinyl to discover an acoustic guitar, where Ellie can practice her newfound craft and, even, strum the chords of A-ha's Take On Me. 

Indeed, for all the accompanying headlines around character bloodlust, crunch culture and LGBTQ+ themes, music plays a decisive role. It's there in the unblinking devotion of Joel's Future Days Pearl Jam cover, Ellie's reworking of New Order's True Faith – with its bullseye refrain of "My morning sun is the drug that brings me near. To the childhood I lost, replaced by fear" – and also, of course, in the soundtrack of Gustavo Santaolalla.

Like The Last of Us, the overarching tone of this immersive experience is set by the Argentinian composer, who feels as integral as any component in realizing the bleak heart and wilderness soul of these debased environments. Santaolalla, who won Oscars for his Brokeback Mountain and Babel soundtracks, sees clear parallels in his methods across cinema and gaming.  
(Image credit: Naughty Dog/Sony)

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