This sequel introduces new characters

Video Game Review – The Last of Us Part 2


Who stays? Who’s gone? Play first to find out.

Gayle Hesser, Staff writer

The Last of Us: Part 2 is a AAA video game following the Last of Us: Part 1. This game focuses on the father/daughter-like relationship between the two characters, Joel and Ellie, during a zombie apocalypse. For an introduction to Part 1, check out

Background Information and Exposition:

In the first game, the two characters meet through pulling teeth, and throughout the story he quickly becomes a father figure for her, as her mom had died when she was born, and her father is unknown. We learn that Ellie was bitten and is immune to this “zombie” disease spreading across the world, creating an apocalypse. Towards the end, the most important part, and the climax of the story is when he chooses to save her life, over the good of humanity. The doctors were going to make a cure from surgery on her brain, at the cost of her life. Joel then lies to Ellie about the circumstance, and doesn’t reveal that he had to kill the main surgeon in order to save her.

The last of us part 2 follows these events a few years later, when Ellie is older. Ellie grows mad at Joel because she learns what he had done that day to protect Ellie. It starts off showing the awkward relationship, as he plays his guitar for her, and sings a song. I think this is a good display of emotion and the relationship between two characters, especially since this is the last time the two are seen together.

Joel then goes out to “clear out” zombies on the town, where he meets a girl named Abby. He saves her life and helps her, but only to be surrounded by a room full of people who are ready to kill him. The doctor that he killed to save Ellie was Abby’s father. When Joel is killed, Ellie is set on taking revenge.

This is how the immediate story goes. As that is said, with all that exposition and background, I was very frustrated with this game, but pleasantly surprised at times.

The Positives:

The character design and layout, and graphics are amazing for a AAA game. The game is better than The Last of Us: Part 1 in terms of fighting and gameplay, and it is extremely entertaining to fight against the antagonists (zombies, scar members, etc.) throughout the game. The zombies themselves are unique and the story behind the apocalypse is scarily realistic.

I think the zombie designs are interesting and vary between the traditional types of zombies, as it ranges on more of the disease side then a zombie side. In this storyline, sickness was created by a fungus, or spore, that causes things to go rabid, which, when you think about rabies, and how similar it is to it, it becomes worrying that these things can happen in real life. This can make it more interesting to players.

One thing I’d like to praise is the different abilities of the zombies.

There are five main zombie types; Runners, Stalkers, Clickers, Bloaters, and Shamblers.

  • Runners are in the first stage of infection, and are fairly close to human appearance. These zombies are pretty weak, and take usually one shot to the head to kill.
  • Stalkers are halfway between stages of runners and clickers. As they lose their sight they start to cower in dark buildings, waiting for the opportunity to strike. You will need to move slowly and stealthily in order to avoid these, and when you reach them, you must rush them immediately with a shotgun.
  • Clickers are the third stage of infection, and are completely blind and use echo-location to track you down. The way to evade these monsters is to stand completely still when they get near you. Since clickers have hard fungal plates on their heads, one shot to the head will not be enough to kill them. This way you should sneak behind them and kill them with Ellie’s knife (or Abby, who can break their neck).
  • Bloaters are the fourth stage of infection and they are what happens when someone is infected for a long time, even decades long. They are covered in fungal plates, which makes them extremely hard to kill. The trick to avoid these is using a Molotov cocktail on them, or a bomb. It is hard to kill a bloater with a gun, and if a bloater grabs you it will immediately kill you.
  • Shamblers, a new addition of zombie introduced in Part 2, emit a cloud of toxic corrosive spores that follow it around. They are similar to Bloaters, but look a little different and are a little different. Because of these spores it is seriously dangerous to get anywhere near them, so you must keep your distance. They go down faster than bloaters and can be killed with fire and bullets.

What about the story?

That being said, let’s talk about the story. The thing about the story, is I personally dislike it. There are also some game mechanics (such as dialogue and having to play as her character) that make it harder to enjoy playing this game. They introduced a new character, Abby, who becomes extremely unlikable throughout the series. Then, once Joel is dead, you must play as her for 10 hours, which is extremely unprecedented. The whole game revolves around Ellie finding Abby, in this revenge sequence that I do not think shows much good character development.

The story takes a long time to progress, and in general is boring and not entertaining to follow. They continuously encounter different types of zombies and places, but not much change of situation. The plot elements don’t mesh together well and the game becomes bland. It gives you no drive to play the game, as you don’t encounter many boss fights (which can make games more fun) and the ultimate goal seems generic and baseless.

The main qualm I have with the story is that they make you empathize with this character after Joel is shot which I do not agree with, from a writer’s perspective. As well as a viewer. I think, as a writer and developer, in order to keep you engaged with the plot, you need to have a drive. For this game, that drive to reach the end of the game is revenge on Abby. So why make us empathize with her? I understand this to a certain extent, because there needs to be character depth and able to make analysis, but I disagree with this decision made by the developer/writer. I believe that there shouldn’t be much gameplay with her (at least not 10 hours), because representing her side ruins the drive between players of the game. In my opinion the more hatred that carries with her will encourage the people to want to play the game more.

Another thing they could have done is more with her immunity, like they did with the first game. One of my favorite parts of this game is when Ellie reveals to Dina that she is immune, and she is not believed. But later on, while they are fighting zombies and her mask breaks, Dina finds out the real truth. This is important to the relationship between the characters and there should be less fighting and a little more story between her and Dina. They tried to do that by trying to replace the relationship between Abby and Joel, to Abby and Dina, but not providing as good character interactions.

Secondary is the interactions. Some interactions between the two characters are cringe-worthy and flat. Then there is Jesse, the father of Dina’s child. He suddenly dies and there is not much to really do more with that character. There isn’t much conflict between characters, banter, or story. Its average, plain, and boring.

Qualms with the story: Ellie’s Character

There are many problems with this character but the main problem is the character change from Part 1 to Part 2. We understand that she is older, and has had many changes in her life, but the problem is that she no longer has the qualities that people related to and gravitated towards. It’s like, for example, (in gaming terms) if Clementine from The Walking Dead became extremely rude and arrogant. We know her as a kind, and smart little child, so if she sudden changed personality so suddenly, we would no longer have any reason to root for her. This is what basically happens to Ellie. She becomes a boring, and tasteless teenager, who portrays almost a completely different person. She shows barely any emotions, and it’s like watching a different character. It serves no purpose except to drive of playing the game it just makes you annoyed. When Ellie becomes so set on revenge, you start to dislike her and not even want to root for her. This makes it less unenjoyable to play.

You start to dislike both of the characters you play for their choices and the line between antagonist and protagonist becomes blurred. Yes, that can be good in games, but for this game, introducing a random new character to sympathize with, ruins the charm of the story.

The conflict at the end, the initial fight between Ellie and Abby is uneventful and anti-climactic. Nothing about this encourages you to keep watching. You are watching a tale of two people in the wrong fighting each other for their own personal gain. It serves as just another revenge story, it has no uniqueness to it.


I think the game is often loved by people who already didn’t appreciate the first one. Something I often hear is that the story is good because they did something new with it, which I disagree with. Overall, yes the second game is more fun to play then the first one, but that’s because of the game mechanics, not the story. The story doesn’t stand for itself, which I think shouldn’t be overlooked as an AAA action-adventure game.

Because it varies so heavily from the first one, I think the game completely makes a new name for itself. It’s no longer the same story; it takes on a whole different, and frankly boring, turn. Many people loved Joel, so why kill him off? His relationship with Ellie was what made the game stand for itself, and the second game abandons that and focuses on moral complexity. I just, personally, don’t think that that’s what good writing does. Its rigid, its hoarse, the characters are bland, and the story doesn’t flow right.


I believe that this story could (and would) work on its own as a revenge story, but in the end, it is just a really poor sequel. They introduced new characters that didn’t relate much to the original story and I think it made the storyline weak. The game itself isn’t bad, because the mechanics and the fighting make up for it, but I think it deserves criticism for the writing compared to the first one.