The Last of Us Part 2
A review is only one person’s opinion on a game, and I think it’s pointless to go into one of these knowing nothing about the reviewer or the context.
The Last of Us, the original, is one of my favorite games of all time. Joel and Ellie are two of my favorite characters.
No, I did not get an early review copy of this game, which frees me up to talk about things like the entire second half of the game which was not allowed before embargo, and I think it’s an absolutely essential core part of the story to discuss.
Yes, I have spent the last few days arguing with the entire internet about The Last of Us Part 2, so much so that I am already as exhausted as I was after two years of Last Jedi fighting.
But I’m pushing past that now. I’m not going to keep diving into why exactly people are review bombing the game or the mob mentality behind it, all I can do here is explain why I played this game, even having it spoiled in many ways beforehand, and came out the other side loving it. Loving how it handles its old characters, growing and evolving them, loving how it introduces new ones, and loving how the dual perspective narrative makes for a revenge tale that is infinitely more interesting than the “check the minibosses and big boss off the list” series of levels that it could have been if it had stuck with Ellie the entire way.
This will be a non-traditional review in that I do not think you should read the rest of it until you are at least a little ways into the game. Until you at least get to “the moment.” You’ll know which one.
I have no idea how earlier reviews managed to dance around the entire impetus of the plot for their analysis, but I’m not going to bother with that here, particularly since the game has been out for a few days now, and most players are probably past this point.
But yes, spoilers for an event in the first few hours of the game follow.
We cannot talk about The Last of Us Part 2 without talking about the brutal death of Joel. It’s a moment that instantly turned off many players from the game, and I’m hearing echoes of “I stopped watching The Walking Dead after Negan beat Glenn’s head in,” right down to essentially the same manner of execution. I get that, but I think you should still keep going.
The Last of Us Part 2
Ellie and Joel have found a new home in Jackson, a small town that has weathered the apocalypse, and managed to fend off infected and a few unsavory human types as well. But that changes one day when a patrol goes awry. Joel and Tommy, not as distrustful of strangers as perhaps they were four years ago, rescue a woman, Abby, who you play as briefly. But then, once Joel introduces himself, things turn quickly.
Abby and her group have been looking for Joel. This specific Joel. For a very long time. They capture him, torture him, and then ultimately, when Ellie finally arrives, Abby beats Joel to death with a golf club right in front of her.
It is, unquestionably, heartbreaking. I loved Joel as much as anyone, which is why this moment works so well. You feel Ellie’s pain practically as much as she does, and that need for vengeance carries you through the story.
And yet I did not find Joel’s death to be a surprise, as I always figured this was coming.
Yes, this moment was indeed spoiled for me during the leaks by some rando on Twitter. If you’re as online as me, that was always going to be impossible to avoid for an entire month once th