LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Warning: There are spoilers for The Last of Us Part II throughout this article.
Let's get this out of the way: the people who were up-in-arms over the spoilers all over YouTube and the internet got it wrong. The Last of Us Part II is a beautiful yet brutal game that is a worthy sequel to the first game.
Is what happens in the game controversial? No, not really.
What happens is that Ellie and Joel are left with the ramifications of their actions through the first game and how the victims of those decisions (Ellie included) deal with the trauma and grief.
If you've made it this far, turn back now. It will be impossible to discuss the game without spoilers.
Hopefully by now you've probably read the spoilers or played the game long enough to know the biggest thing that happens in this game, which is that Joel is killed by a group of former Fireflies. That group is led by Abby and her dad was the surgeon who was killed by Joel at the end of the first game.
And that's where a lot of people have unjustly judged this game. Because Neil Druckmann and the creative team, a bunch of people online have written off the second game as a waste of time or subverting expectations for subverting sake.
But the game is more than that.
The game tells a very layered, complex story about how Joel's actions have created more victims and harm than he ever intended to.
And that bleeds over into the trauma and pain Ellie and Abby feel in their respective journeys through the game.
That in turn also impacts the lives of new characters like Dina and Jesse, who are a shining light of positivity in a world full of fungi zombies and brutality.
If you've read the spoilers and decided to not play the game, I'm encouraging you to give it another chance. While Joel dying is most definitely a bummer considering he is such an influential character in The Last of Us series, his death serves as the catalyst to tell a larger story about PTSD and overcoming grief.