‘The Last of Us Part Two’ Mingles Apocalypse and Adventure

Ellie strums her guitar, remembering the lessons Joel taught her. Photo courtesy of Gadgets 360.

Photo By Gadgets 360

Ellie strums her guitar, remembering the lessons Joel taught her. Photo courtesy of Gadgets 360.

By Zoejane Ostebo, Extras Editor

In 2013, Naughty Dog, a well-known video game studio that created games such as Crash Bandicoot and Jax and Dexter, came out with The Last of Us. A story-based game, The Last of Us revolves around a smuggler named Joel, who treks across post-apocalyptic America to deliver a girl, Ellie, to a militia group. The Last of Us blew up the gaming community, as many games at that time did not have as strong of a story as The Last of Us did. Now seven years later, Naughty Dog gifted the quarantined world The Last of Us Part Two

The beginning hour of the game shoots the player a few years forward, showing us Joel and Ellie living their lives. Everything seems normal until we switch to a brand new perspective. They introduce us to one of the new characters, Abby, and then they instantly villainize her. I was shocked by the suddenness of it all for it left me confused and upset. I truly expected some kind of build-up or some hints towards what would happen, but Naughty Dog just shoved it into my face. 

I had to take a break after the first hour or so, as I needed time to try and make sense of everything that just happened. Part of me didn’t really want to keep playing, fearing that it would somehow get worse but it was important to continue on and finish the game. 

As it went on, I realized that not every story has a happy ending, and that can be a good thing. The story continues on even after it feels as if it ended. We can’t always get what we want or what we feel is fair. All we can do is accept it and move forward. 

Both games definitely have dark scenes that no one was ready for but they’re accompanied by sweet little moments that made the game enjoyable. The Last of Us Part Two did have less of these moments since the storyline was driven by revenge. It focused more on incorporating action than developing the story, contrary to the first installment, which had a direct, clear path. I felt that it portrayed Ellie’s mental unhinging through the murder she felt she needed commit to give her closure. 

The main difference between the two games was the shift in perspective between Abby and Ellie in Part Two. In the first game, there was a shift between Joel and Ellie but only for a brief period of time that simply added to the story and cleared things up for the player. In Part Two, the player looks through Abby’s perspective for nearly half of the game which provides a different angle to the story. 

Since Abby was made the bad guy from the beginning of the game, it took me a while to warm up to her. Every time I played from her perspective, I didn’t care for her or her story. It made the gameplay a bit boring and stretched out. Near the end of the game, the player fights Ellie from Abby’s perspective. It felt like a betrayal to a character we had grown so attached to, especially when she was nearly killed by Abby. 

But over time, I slowly got invested in Abby and her friends, sympathizing with their losses and rejoicing at their achievements. I truly felt terrible for her when she discovered what Ellie did. It made me realize that our actions have real impacts on people. One thing we do can ruin someone’s life without us even knowing. 

The themes of the game underscored the importance of recognizing that revenge isn’t a good thing. Even if someone hurt us, it’s better to work things out or move on than seek to ruin their day. I reflected on who I was and now I’m working on being a more forgiving person. It’s weird being changed by a video game, but it goes to show how deep the storytelling is. It wasn’t just a game detailing endless murder that by the end would result in the death of the villain, but a complicated, perspective-shifting story that impacts the player throughout. 

The game tackles many real world issues like LGBTQIA+ acceptance, transgenderism and mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while still focusing the storyline on death and revenge. It displays how complicated life can be and how not every problem can be solved in the same way. The story truly left me speechless from how realistic the experiences of the characters were. Naughty Dog really goes the extra mile to provide the players with an in-depth, accurate look at complicated psychological issues. 

Another great aspect of the game is how well it’s made. It might be a lengthy game full of prolonged gameplay, but the graphics, controls and transitions made up for that time. The realism of the beautiful environment art and detailed character design really made me feel as if I was watching a movie. Nothing seemed choppy and there were few to no glitches, so the only thing I was frustrated with was the story. But even I grew to enjoy that after a while, making The Last of Us Part Two a newly beloved game for me. 

Regardless if you despised The Last of Us Part Two’s storyline or thought Naughty Dog wrote an amazing story, you’ve got to respect the hard work and real depictions of life. The gorgeous, detailed graphics accompanied by the smooth transitions between gameplay and cutscenes  really made the player feel like they were there. I’d recommend this game franchise to any lover of horror and deep storytelling. It is truly a cinematic masterpiece.

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