The Last of Us Part 2 is dark, emotional and heavy

The Last of Us™ Part II

So… The Last of Us Part 2 is dark, emotional and heavy. I’ve been dragging my feet with this game. Not because it was bad or anything, though some might disagree. But, it’s mainly because of all the vengeance and death.

It all kept building up to a point where it just made my chest feel heavy. Truly a testament to how powerful and immersive this game is.

It’s not for the faint of heart. So, if you’re not up for a dark and heavy read, feel free to check these ones out instead.

Just starting up The Last of Us Part 2 set a very somber tone, I had to prepare myself mentally and emotionally.

Going into it myself, I questioned whether I was ready to jump back into this universe. The beginning of the game was thankfully a slow build up, but I could still feel that pressure.

When Ellie and Joel first interacted at the start, there was a very palpable tension between the two. I got the sense that their relationship dynamic was greatly strained, something changed.

It wasn’t the same wholesome feeling that I remembered from the prequel. The end of The Last of Us gave off a sense of foreboding though.

I don’t know what gave it away, but I felt that something monumental was going to happen to both of them. And it wasn’t going to be good.

So, I wasn’t at all surprised when that “something” happened pretty early in the game. The single most important character death in the game.

From then on, The Last of Us Part 2 got progressively darker and heavier.

The Last of Us Part 2 Darker

Each scene with a major character death hit me square in the chest, I was glad I was sitting. I kept thinking “Ellie, this is not the path you want to take any farther.”

With each person Ellie puts down, I could see in her face that it was tearing at her soul. The facial expressions were so full of anguish, hurt and disbelief, it was hard to watch.

In some parts of the game where I was prompted to push a button, I just couldn’t. During these times, I had to take a break, dragging it out. Hoping that the game would take over so I wouldn’t have to make her do it.

Alas, if I wanted to progress through the story, I had to follow the button prompts.

It made me feel wretched and sad for Ellie, pushing herself to go through with it all.

So many deaths, what’s worse was that they didn’t fight back.

The people who drove Ellie to do these things acted in self defense from the way I saw it. Sure, they’re the ones who brought this on themselves, but still, it was brutal.

Playing through Abby’s perspective, I could tell their actions haunted them. In their mind, they did the right thing, but the method in which they did it, was monstrous.

Two sides of the same coin. The Last of Us 2 gives us both perspectives.

The Last of Us 2 presents us with two sides of the same coin and shows us that this classic saying entails so much more. Don’t hate me for this, but I sympathize with Abby a bit more than I do with Ellie this time around.

At first, I absolutely hated Abby and was in sync with Ellie’s line of thinking. Hunt her down and get payback.

Then, I get switched over into Abby’s perspective and played as her for the next little while. Learning about her past and what drove her to do what she did, I understood. She had lost her father very suddenly, her only family left and they had a close relationship too.

Abby’s father didn’t deserve to die the way he did, trying to save human kind.

I admit, he was pretty single-minded in this way. Readily willing to sacrifice Ellie without telling her the truth about making a cure. He, didn’t seem to really care much for Ellie’s well-being. That would have made what he had to do that much harder though.

With everything that went on in The Last of Us 2, I think Ellie would have agreed with him. Being the only person in the world during this time to have immunity to this terribly powerful fungus.

Her life mattered, and she could have helped save the world, but that decision was taken away from her. I don’t condone what Joel did, he effectively doomed everyone and wiped out hope. Also, he took a beloved parent away from their child.

I’m not hating on Joel or anything, I just strongly disagree with his actions. He was good to Ellie, treated her like his daughter.

Many parents would do anything for their child, even at the cost of the world and their well-being. So I understand that, but due to his actions, he made himself a huge target, and Abby was aiming for him. 

Here’s the thing, if you’re going the “eye for an eye” route, you might as well go for it all.

The Last of Us Part 2 shows us that this saying just doesn’t work out the way you meant it to. When I first found out that Abby’s father was the doctor that Joel killed, everything clicked and I started to feel sorry for her. It’s understandable that she would go after him to get payback.

That’s all she wanted, she sacrificed her relationships to train and obsessed over finding him. All that hate festering the whole time until it exploded when she finally found him.

Unfortunately, the two closest people to Joel were there to watch what she did, and she lets them go. A huge mistake in a dog-eat-dog world like this. With Ellie and Tommy’s personalities, it’s inevitable that they would go after Abby to get revenge.

This wouldn’t have been so dark if she was their only target, but Abby’s friends got roped into the mix as well. Then again, this could also be her fault for dragging them all down with her.

It’s such a deep and complex story, I could talk for hours about it, but for the sake of this post, I won’t get too into it.

I could not support what Ellie did, but I can understand why she did it.

The Last of Us Part 2 Ellie is shaken

Hunting down all of Abby’s friends for information regarding her location is fine, but brutally killing them isn’t.

I couldn’t help but feel that Ellie was the enemy despite what she had to witness. Personally, I thought these deaths were unnecessary and that Ellie didn’t really want to end them anyway.

Each time she got back to base, she was visibly shaken, like she couldn’t believe what she’d done. It was more than just “an eye for an eye” it was the arms AND legs.

This is why I felt sad for Abby, and was more on her side in The Last of Us Part 2. She not only lost her father, but also all her friends.

But even after all this, she shows mercy and spared Ellie and Tommy once again. Like, how can I hate her for what she did?

I get that she tortured and killed a very important and beloved character. She did it in the most cruel way possible, but if you were consumed by hatred and the need for revenge, wouldn’t you have done the same to your enemies?

That’s where it ends though, she stopped her crusade there, without killing anymore people. (The common enemies in the game don’t count).

I think Abby regretted her actions and that guilt has gotten to her. She tries to be a better person, even going as far as saving her enemies.

She betrayed the WLF to save 2 children that were members of the seraphites (scars), a group of people that she’s been fighting a long time. A group of people that she hates.

A tragic story all around.

I get why this game has been getting a lot of hate, but for me, it’s just sad.

I know I sound like I’m team Abby, but I’m really not. I’m just a gamer looking in from the outside. Both Ellie and Abby have lost very important and beloved people. I feel so bad for the both of them.

Oh, and Lev, poor Lev, he also lost his one true support, his rock in such an unforgiving world. Ugh, The Last of Us 2 just makes me want to cry for everyone unfortunate enough to be alive in those times.

I was worried about Ellie the entire game.

I know that this whole time I might seem like I’m totally biased towards Abby, but I’m not. The most hard hitting moments were when I was playing as Ellie.

Everything she’s been through and all the things she’s discovered just makes me want to take her far away from everything.

I wish that none of this happened to her. She was doing fine, even after finding out that Joel was lying to her about what happened at the hospital back in the first game.

The Last of Us Part 2 Ellie and Joel

Going through her memories with Joel, I found out why there was a strain on their relationship. Then in the last memory, I learned that she was working on forgiving and improving her relationship with Joel.

That memory of him taking her to a museum for her birthday was precious. It made me feel horrible for Ellie.

To see their relationship deteriorate overtime from then on. Then knowing that there was no chance of repairing it anymore was depressing.

Ellie almost destroyed her soul.

The Last of Us Part 2 Ellie Alone

It was especially hard to see how each major death affected her in such a tremendous way. Each one made me internally cry for her. The effects were visible, she’d shake, throw up, then retreat into herself.

It was very hard to watch. Made even worse with my forced participation in these acts. I’ve mentioned this several times throughout this post, but I still don’t feel like I can adequately communicate how crushing it all was.

At the end of The Last of Us Part 2 where I once again took control of Ellie to find Abby again, I was worried that she had leaped off the cliff. For a bit there, when I saw Ellie cutting her enemy down and saving her from a slow death, I had a spark of hope.

Then it was snuffed out when I saw that she just couldn’t let it go and wanted to fight Abby. Going as far as pulling out her knife on Lev while he was laying unconscious in the boat. Intent on provoking a final confrontation between the two. 

It was absolutely horrible, the child had nothing to do with the quarrel between Ellie and Abby.

Thankfully, he was spared. Of course, this was short-lived as I now had to fight Abby for the final time. After going through the story on both sides, I just didn’t want to. I was so distraught, asking the screen “why?” as if it could answer me

Vocalizing my discontent in the forms of “no, Ellie!” and “you don’t want to do this” as I was forced to continue the fight.

When I knocked Abby to the ground, I felt that if I hit the attack button one more time, it would be an end that I didn’t want to see.

So, instead I hesitated, prolonging the fight. She eventually got up and I had to dodge and counter yet again until she went down a second time. I steeled myself then, and reluctantly pressed the button.

It all became a blur then, I don’t remember if I had to mash the button as Ellie grappled to keep Abby’s head submerged.

I just remember that I felt a little piece of me die or was about to die as soon as Abby stopped moving.

Looking between the two, seeing the play of emotion on Ellie’s face, full of anguish and pain as they both continued to struggle.

She had this look on her face, that she was asking herself whether she really wanted to go through with it. To finish it like this.

When she decided to let Abby up, I breathed a sigh of relief, I felt like a great weight was lifted off my chest.

I swear, if I could have shed tears, it would’ve been at that moment. Ellie decided to stop her crusade and let Abby go, coming to her senses before she completely lost herself.

The Last of Us Part 2 was so emotional, it felt suffocating at times.

Ellie

Overall, I found the game to be a very hard pill to swallow. It was just so real, blurring the lines between good and bad, putting my morals to the test. It was a fantastic journey, one of the best emotionally thought provoking stories that I’ve played this year.

Despite all the dark and heavy feelings, I enjoyed it very much. Sure, it made me feel things that I didn’t like feeling, but it was worth it.

I think this was a journey of grief, vengeance and forgiveness. Abby let revenge consume her and now she’s trying to repent in a sense.

Ellie did the same thing and now has to deal with all the guilt as well. I also believe that she did these unspeakable things because she was lashing out at her tragic loss.

In my opinion, the difference between Abby and Ellie is that the former did what she did with a calm head. The latter acted out of rage and wasn’t capable of thinking straight.

Both are still monstrous and shows us that the true threat is human nature, not the infected creatures that have taken over the world.

What did you think of The Last of Us Part 2? Did it make you feel things you didn’t want to feel?

Let me know down in the comments below, I’d really like to hear your thoughts and opinions on the game.