Like many others, I consider The Last of Us a true gaming classic. It was a fine blend of survival horror, and excellent story-telling with captivating characters you learned to care for. So, the wait for the sequel was not without hype, but unfortunately, the story leaks would crush any longing to once again take the helm of Joel & Ellie. Two years after release, I would get the chance of playing the game through a rental service at my local library. I’m not sure what overcame me since I knew the sequel would butcher the characters I once liked, but I guess I wanted to see the disaster for myself. PS. The references to P. D. James and Philip K. Dick were not lost on me!
I’m not going to go into great detail about the story, but suffice it to say the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where some kind of fungus has infected mankind and turned a large part of the population into mindless murdering husks. Beyond the raging hordes of zombie-like creatures that want to eat your skin, there are also roving bands of criminals, cannibal gangs, and the corrupt remains of the United States government. Not a pleasant time for anyone involved.
The first game ended with you, Joel, saving Ellie from being a wasteland statistic. It ended on a somber note of silent understanding – Ellie would accept that Joel held back the truth through her love for her guardian. And here starts the problem with the Last of Us 2, and the blatant retcons. The reason I’m writing this article is that I watched a couple of video reviews by chance, and even if they were critical, they ignored the retcons which to me is baffling. Because these changes to the canon story from the first game make the story of the sequel to be based on something that didn’t happen, and even how much you like certain parts, character arcs, etc., it will all be based on a false narrative.
With that, I mean the sequel takes for granted that Joel did wrong saving Ellie from the operating table, and that is just not right. They even remade certain cutscenes from the first game and changed the music from a hopeful tone to menacing horror. The character in question, the doctor, which the story of the second game hangs on, is not the same in the remade cutscene. He does not look the same, he doesn’t even have the correct skin color. It’s such a blatant retcon that it’s inexcusable, making the whole sequel deserve nothing less than being thrown into the trash. It’s also implied that the surgery is a guaranteed success – they are one sacrificial lamb (aka Ellie) from getting a cure for mankind. That is just not true either, because as you make your way through the hospital in the original, you come across notes, and recordings saying the opposite. This is nothing more than a pipe dream, and countless murders before on the operation table say that in this case, it will be nothing different.
I have no idea what happened here, besides that the scriptwriter for some reason wanted to get rid of Joel, and in such a way that it would undermine the whole first game. It’s such a shame too, because otherwise The Last of Us 2 looks, and sound fantastic, there is also a couple of good set-pieces throughout the game making for exciting gameplay. Unfortunately, all that talent and all that work put into the game is wasted, because the narrative is utter crap, and based on a lie. Now that I have played through it, and not only basing my dislike for the game on what I have read, and heard, it’s probably one of my most disappointing sequels ever, and this is not even with touching the woke aspects of it.
In short, it’s another franchise killed on the altar of agenda preaching – it’s the only reason I can come up with. That, and that the story writers held hatred in their hearts for the characters of the first game – jealously? Perhaps.
Thanks for reading.