The Last Of Us Part 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the 2013 game of the year, The Last Of Us. Where the first game was an adventure across ruined United states and told a tale of humanity through the eyes of Ellie and Joel. Part 2 tells a tale of forgiveness disguised as a revenge story while discussing themes of actions and consequences along the way.
Story at a glance
The game begins with the aftermath of Joel’s painful decision at the end of the last game; the choice to save Ellie and thus preventing a cure. After that, we have a nice bonding moment between Joel and Ellie where Joel plays a touching song to Ellie. This is a slow but thoughtful beginning and sets the tone for the game.
Without having to rehash the entire story in written form I’ll lay out some key points.
Ellie begins the game mad at Joel, we later learn in a flashback sequence that Ellie now knows the truth behind what happened at the hospital in the last game. This is heartbreaking because shortly after the opening moments of the game, we find a group of travellers from Seattle hunting Joel for what he did 5 years ago at that hospital. In a twist, Joel actually saves them and is brought into where they are hiding. Unbeknownst to him, they are there to kill him. A shotgun blast later and a blown knee, Joel is on the ground clinging to life while his brother Tommy watches, helpless to do anything. We cut to Ellie and her love interest Dina having an intimate moment while securing an outpost when her friend, and Dina’s ex, shows up, Jessie. He tells them both that Joel and Tommy haven’t checked in and that something may be wrong. Ellie tracks down where Joel is being held and interrupts the torture of Joel. We find that Joel has been being beat with a golf club to an edge of his life. The group pins down Ellie and forces her to watch the killing blow dealt to Joel. The group leaves as Ellie is left alone with a knocked out Tommy and a lifeless Joel. Dina runs in and helps the two and the game moves forward to the next day, and the game officially starts.
The story of Ellie in this game takes her and Dina to Seattle to track down the group that killed Joel, while also tracking Tommy as he is doing the same but with a head start. I say the story of Ellie because midway through the game we switch perspectives. After a penultimate moment in the game, we take control of Abby. Abby is the woman who tracked down and killed Joel. We then go through her story up until that penultimate moment in the story. Through her story, we find that the doctor who was going to do surgery on Ellie, and that Joel killed, was the father of Abby. This is Abby’s motivation to kill Joel. Now let’s analyze both stories in the game.
Ellie’s story is revenge, at the end we find that it’s really about forgiveness. The story takes her and Dina to Seattle to track down the group that hunted and killed Joel. Through the story, Ellie visits many iconic Seattle landmarks such as the Ferris wheel and the city centre. The infected return from the last game and aren’t the main baddies that you’ll face this time around. The two main groups you will have to fight are The Wolves and The Scars. The Wolves are the group Abby is with and acts as a militia in Seattle. The Scars are a cult that worships this woman that we never really see but only hear about. Through Ellie’s journey, we will have to fight these two groups to get to the people involved in Joel’s death.
The story of Ellie in this game involves melodrama, death, revenge, forgiveness, and pain. The Melodrama comes from the love triangle of Ellie, Dina, and Jessie. We find out that Dina is pregnant with Jessie’s baby, as they were previously together. This causes Dina to take a backseat in the story and stay put in their camp in an abandoned theatre. Later though, we find Jessie also came to Seattle to help Ellie and Dina. Jessie finds out that Dina is pregnant and wants everyone to come back to Jackson after finding Tommy. Ellie doesn’t want to go back until Abby is dead, which causes conflict within the group.
Death consumes Ellie through her journey. First is Joel, which starts this whole thing. However, the second death that hits her is when we catch up with two members of the group that murdered Joel and Ellie kills them both. The big thing is that the woman Ellie killed was pregnant. This is bad enough that Ellie killed a pregnant woman, the worst part is it reminds her of Dina who is also pregnant. Luckily Jessie and Tommy show up to get her. The last death isn’t a death, rather it’s her obsession to kill Abby.
The forgiveness aspect doesn’t’ appear until the end of the game when you finally catch up with Abby. In an emotional final fight between Abby and Ellie where Abby doesn’t even want to fight but Ellie forces it. The fight between them is full of emotion as they’re both heavily injured after a confrontation with a slave group. The fight ends with Ellie about to finally kill Abby. However, Ellie gets consumed with thoughts of Joel and ends up sparing Abby and letting her go. This moment surprisingly didn’t feel forced and was amazing character development for Ellie and showed how tired Ellie was of all the killing she has done.
Abby’s story is the opposite of Ellie’s. Instead of a story focused on one goal and sacrificing everything to get it. Abby’s is about finding your humanity and escaping your violent past. The story of Abby starts with her at the Wolf base which is located in a stadium. The base is a community akin to Jackson and features many farms, houses, and working lights. Abby then gets an assignment that sees her leave the base and later get ambushed by scars. Her and her team adventure to a nearby base to re-group after the ambush. At the base, she learns that one of her friends has gone awol and tries to find him. This leads her on an adventure to an aquarium to find him.
Abby’s story involves a lot of flashbacks to when she was younger to help us better understand her motivations through her story. And in her story, we see her also go awol and help two scars, a brother and a sister. In a tense moment where Abby gets captured and hung by scars, these other two scars help her escape. Later on, Abby feels remorse for leaving those two scars and returns to save them. This turns into a whole ordeal that sees Abby travel to a Wolf hospital for supplies to save the older sibling while travelling with the younger one for support. During this time, Abby and the younger sibling, Lev, bond and we learn why they left the Scars. After getting the supplies from the hospital, Abby returns to the aquarium to save the older sibling. Later we find out the real reason they both left the Scars. Lev, the younger sibling, is a transgender boy and the Scars rejected that and wanted to kill him. The two siblings stuck together and escaped. I’ll say it again, this story beat doesn’t feel forced in the slightest. However, what does feel forced is when Lev goes back to the Scar village where he was rejected. This part of the story feels like the forced conflict that didn’t need to be there. This ordeal leads them to go to the village and a huge battle between the Scars and the Wolves takes place. In my opinion, this is where the story suffers. The action and fast-paced gameplay of this section reminded me a lot of Uncharted when it shouldn’t have. After this though is when the Ellie and Abby story starts to intersect. Abby returns to the Aquarium to find her friends dead, the same friends Ellie just killed.
Now, we’re back at the theatre where Ellie, Dina, Jessie, and Tommy are. Abby has Tommy hostage, Jessie is killed, Ellie is trying to negotiate. Things escalate and Tommy is shot and Abby and Ellie have their first fight. Abby wins this, but with her humanity story arc coming to a close she decides to spare Ellie and threatens to kill her if she ever returns to Seattle.
Flashforward, I think, a couple of months and we see Ellie and Dina living their best life in a farmhouse they spoke of earlier in the game. The baby is born and it’s a pleasant scene of home life. Ellie is taking care of the baby, Dina is washing the clothes. It’s perfect, that is until Ellie gets a PTSD trigger. Dina tells Ellie to herd the sheep into the barn for the night and a loud sound spooks Ellie and triggers her PTSD in the form of vivid memories of Joel’s death. The mental health of Ellie is always something I wondered; she goes through all this trauma and I’m quite glad that they realistically showed what would happen to someone. Shortly after, Ellie and Dina get a visitor, Tommy. I thought when Tommy got shot by Abby he died. It’s shown, however, that Tommy lost his right eye where he got shot. Tommy is here to tell Ellie that he located Abby in Santa Barbra. Ellie declines the offer to hunt her again and Tommy isn’t happy. He yells that she promised him and that she needs to do this. Dina kicks him out and the game cuts to night. We see Ellie sneaking out of the house and gets confronted by Dina. Ellie explains to Dina that she can’t sleep, eat, or think straight knowing Abby is still out there. Ellie is completely consumed still and can’t control the urge to hunt her down. Dina tries to talk her out of it in a heartfelt semi argument. lastly, Dina says if she goes, Ellie has nothing to come back to. In other words, if Ellie goes their relationship is done. Ellie decided to go to Santa Barbara and leaves that night.
Cut to Abby in Santa Barbara and we learn the reason she is there, to find the re-established Fireflies. Abby finds a clue in a house and radios to the Fireflies. Their luck runs out though and they are capture by a new group, The Rattlers. The Rattlers are a slave group that kidnaps people to work for them. If they don’t cooperate, they then crucify them. The game then cuts to Ellie a couple of months later in Santa Barbara. When searching for Abby, Ellie gets caught up in a Rattler trap. Two Rattlers come by and take Ellie, but she manages to escape and interrogates one of them. The Rattler tells Ellie where their camp is and Ellie is off. At the camp, Ellie frees the slaves and eventually finds Abby. Turns out however that Abby and Lev have been crucified. In a sign of humanity from Ellie, she cuts them down and leads them to a boat. Thinking they’re in the clear, Ellie says to Abby “I can’t let you leave” and forces Abby to fight her by putting a knife to Lev’s throat. As I said previously, the fight happens and Ellie ultimately lets them go.
The Last scene in the game sees Ellie going back to the farmhouse. The farmhouse is empty and all that’s left is Ellie’s stuff in her office. In her office, Ellie picks up her guitar to play it. During the fight, however, Abby bit off two of Ellie’s fingers, so Ellie can’t play the guitar like she used to. Symbolizing that Ellie truly lost everything; Joel, Dina, Jessie, her love of playing guitar, everything. The very last scene of the game shows Ellie and Joel in a flashback. The flashback is Ellie forgiving Joel for what he did at the hospital and Joel be thankful of Ellie. The sad part is the flashback taking place the day before the death of Joel. Meaning Ellie didn’t have a chance to continue her life with Joel after forgiving him.
Overall, the story was good in some cases but bad in others. Ellie’s storyline was the best in my opinion. It added character development and depth to a character that needed it. Moreover, it’s a good representation of a lesbian character as her sexuality was her defining aspect. Rather, I think it was her perseverance through the game as nothing could stop her from achieving her goals, even if it meant losing the people she loves. Abby’s story, on the other hand, was just okay. It was a story about someone finding their humanity but it was also a story about loss. Her journey had her lose all her friends but making one along the way in Lev. Speaking of another good LGBTQ representation; Lev is, I think, the first transgender character in a triple-A mainstream game. Although that’s the strongest part of Abby’s story. Her story is more Uncharted meets The Last Of Us, mainly because she had the most “loud” scenes with heavy action.
Closing thoughts, I still like the original game’s story and wish they continued it a bit more. I understand that killing Joel was necessary for the story they were telling, just wished he was in it more in flashbacks.
I give The Last Of Us Part 2’s story a solid 8.5 Fireflies symbol out of 10.