Spoiler Warning. In case the title wasn’t clear, this post contains spoilers for the plot of The Last Of Us Part 2.
In my review of The Last Of Us Part 2 I mentioned a twist mid game that sort of resets everything. This twist is where you stop playing as Ellie to live through Abby’s perspective.
From the start of the game to the near end of Ellie’s story Abby is the main villain. Many people didn’t like the game because of Abby. After all, who wants to not kill the baddie or fail to get revenge for the sake of understanding another character? We want the simple satisfaction of finishing it and getting revenge for a beloved character.
However, Abby is just another survivor in another tribe that’s trying to survive. Her motivation relates to the conclusion of the first game as her dad was killed by Joel as he saved Ellie. To Abby what she does at the start of Part 2 is completely justified, especially when Ellie then does something very similar for revenge.
Abby is a physically strong, muscular, battle hardened woman. She’s older than Ellie and has more experience behind her. We get a few flashbacks of a younger, softer version but it’s clear that Abby has learned to show no fear. She does care for those around her which demonstrates her big heart. The bulk of her story is looking for a friend as she tries to get through cultist territory. The rest is about the cult which turns out to be a misled religion that’s quite similar to how real ones work. We also learn that Abby likes dogs and old coins (which are her collectibles).
In truth Ellie and Abby are very similar as characters, both have a tragedy where they lost a father figure and both want revenge for it. However, we get to know Ellie from youth as we see everything she went through in the first game while Abby doesn’t get that same treatment. Abby is hard to connect with because of her early role as a villain without much backstory. As the story progresses Abby becomes more likeable as she takes care of some kids while putting her own life at risk, all this is thrown away with a cat-and-mouse boss fight that I started wanting to see Abby get killed in (a player should never want their character dead for story reasons).
Gameplay wise Abby is much more difficult as she has to craft shivs for takedowns and has different skill trees and equipment that makes a player have to relearn the game a little. Abby gets some good moments like fist fighting zombies in the woods or climbing a skyscraper, and there’s some interesting stuff in her flashbacks.
The transition to playing as Abby ruins the game a bit as we’re forced to play a character we’ve been set up to dislike. There are ways to fix the issue like a different chapter structure or by having Abby’s story be an unlockable second campaign after you finish Ellie’s, but the way we hit the climax of Ellie just to be put back to step one really didn’t help.
The way Ellie beats her in the end just doesn’t feel right as she’s weak and pitiful, not the strong figure that we see as the baddie.
Annoyingly, Abby’s story makes her quite similar to Joel from the first game, a soft spot for children and an objective to find the Fireflies as well as her strength and more combat focused gameplay. She could have been so good to play as if only the game was structured differently.