This post contains major spoilers for The Last of Us Part II.
The enormity of The Last of Us Part II is inescapable.
It is a game that is trying so much, with such wildly varying effectiveness depending on who you speak to, that the reactions to it are still pouring out – almost a month after release. Long form writing, tweets, message board posts, video essays and more; praise, condemnation, commentary on its themes, backlash, backlash to the backlash, examining its politics, praise of its LGBTQ representation, criticism of its LGBTQ representation. It’s a lot of things to a lot of people, whether they loved it or hated it.
Despite its almost overwhelming scope, and ponderous themes about human nature, love, hate, and everything in between — one of the most memorable scenes in the game’s 25 hour runtime is also one of its simplest.
The story of Part II is set in motion by the violent murder of Joel – the player-controlled character of the first game. The flawed-but-still-beloved protagonist of 2013’s The Last of Us suffers a reckoning that was certainly to be expected, but was nonetheless still very shocking.