After reading about the leaks for Naughty Dogs sequel to one of the best games I’ve played in my adult life, I have to admit I was thrown off. In my opinion, the leaks caused me and other fans of the franchise to think this installment would be unrelatable.
However, the truth about the Last of Us Part II is it is a story about loss, grief, and revenge. Ellie is forced to watch the only family she’s had for a long time be murdered by Abby. Abby, while she did not watch her father die, found him lying as a result of Ellie.
Both of these women, who act as antagonists and protagonists depending on what part of the game you are at, are struggling with their issues. Sure they meet people along the way that change their perspectives, but ultimately it is up to them to decide who they will be in this world.
Despite Ellie’s friendship with Dina, she’s unable to forge forward while grieving for Joel even when she’d been spared by Abby two times. From my perspective, Ellie struggled with her grief because she and Joel had not fully resolved their issues before Abby lodged a golf club in his skull.
However, when you consider Abby, one could think she changed for the better. She met Lev and Yara of the Seraphites, and I think she took on an obligation of protection after years of being a ruthless Hunter.
Many things made no sense, as well. To name a few, why did we, as the player character, spend no time with Joel, except in minor flashbacks. I was also confused as to why Mel was on the front lines so far into her pregnancy. That seems very irresponsible.
I know this campaign meant to force you to see the other side of the story. But, I couldn’t care less about Abby’s crew because of how they were introduced as the killers of Joel. By the time Ellie and Tommy started to take them out, it was just another part of the game that I needed to get through.
I understood both sides of the story, but that was overshadowed. I went through a large part of the game as Abby to form a connection with her. It felt overdone. Statistics say we spent around the same amount of time as Ellie, but it didn’t feel that way.
Even though we needed to see Abby’s side, I thought I did not get enough playtime as Ellie. I rationalized Naughty Dog’s choice to detach us from the Ellie and Joel relationship, but it did not work for me.
By the time Abby and Ellie came face to face for the last time, I was still rooting for Ellie. Despite Abby’s fragile state, I always wanted revenge for Joel.
I could be the only one, but, at times, when I was playing as Abby, I sighed in an exacerbation. Why was I playing her for so long?
That aside, the action, combat, and graphics were amazing. However, I had no doubt it would be.
The future of Last of Us (theory):
Maybe Last of Us Part III will detach us even father from Ellie, especially now that Joel is gone. Perhaps we will only hear of Ellie’s tales moving forward by finding journal entries, and Abby will take over the primary character mantle to help introduce another new character struggling to survive in this post-apocalyptic world.
I don’t know how I’d feel about that, but it would make sense. Ellie and Joel weren’t the only people affected. Naughty Dog could possibly be trying to expand the types of situations that people are experiencing by passing the baton from character to character in each game.