The last of us It is a masterpiece of the game. Part Man child, part The way, The last of us tells a very moving story about a cross-country journey through the zombie-infested United States. And while all things zombies are obviously cool, the game drew most of its praise due to its stellar writing, fantastic performances, and notable characters.
It’s no secret that video game writing is not of the highest caliber. When it comes to entertainment media and their respective stories, video games are pretty low on the list. But games like The last of us they are slowly changing that perception.
Joel is the main protagonist of The last of us, and arguably the biggest protagonist of modern games. Like many great literary works, the game asks us to question Joel’s morality and motivation. Is he a good but tragic and flawed person doing his best in a post-apocalyptic hell, or is he a selfish villain willing to condemn the world for his own personal satisfaction?
The end of The last of us Let the spectators answer these questions for themselves, and it can throw player perceptions into chaos.
Next to Joel is Ellie, a young woman apparently immune to the virus. Joel is initially hesitant to protect Ellie, both because of her lone wolf personality and because she reminds him too much of his deceased daughter, memories he would rather keep buried.
Of course, Ellie eventually grows into Joel, and he accepts her as his daughter. Ellie is a great character. Unlike many other sidekicks in escort games, Ellie is smart, doesn’t do silly things, and can certainly hold her own in battle. Of course, there is also a loving tenderness and childlike innocence hidden under the tough exterior.
Tommy is not in The last of us for a long time, but his screen presence is memorable. Tommy is Joel’s estranged brother, who moved west to join the Fireflies after their fight. Now he runs a power plant in Wyoming with his wife.
Tommy shares many of Joel’s traits, but he also differs from his brother in many important ways. Perhaps the most important is his willingness to embrace Sarah’s memory, offering Joel a photo of his deceased daughter, an image that Joel quickly returns to his face.
One of the most memorable characters in the game is Bill, played by the wonderful actor W. Earl Brown. Bill is the only resident of Lincoln, having equipped the small town with numerous booby traps (one of which snagged and nearly killed Joel). Bill is an archetypal “survivor” character, but he also has a wonderful sense of depth and dimension.
Fighting with his partner Frank did a lot to toughen Bill up, and he will do anything to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. There is not much tenderness inside Bill, but again, this new world does not require much tenderness.
From a plot perspective, Marlene is the leader of the fireflies. But his role is more interesting from the thematic point of view. At the end of the story, he acts as a pragmatic opposite of Joel.
Joel dooms the world by killing Marlene, running from the fireflies, and keeping Ellie safe for his own selfish gain. Marlene wishes to sacrifice Ellie so she can study her brain and hopefully develop a cure for the virus. It certainly constitutes an interesting dichotomy.
The last of us contains some human antagonists, the most famous of which is David. The world of The last of us It is a violent, cold and ruthless place, and that is horribly summed up through the character of David. David initially meets Ellie at the lakeside resort, offering her his medicine in exchange for her food.
It’s not until later that the truth comes out: David is the leader of a gang of cannibals, and they kidnap and kill the homeless survivors to use for food. There is nothing worse than that.
Sarah is not in The last of us for a long time, but it leaves an indelible impression. It is a testimony of the writing of The last of us that gamers know so much about Sarah despite her painful lack of screen time. Sarah is obviously self-reliant and independent, a character trait that is largely due to Joel’s grueling work schedule.
It is also obvious that Sarah loves her father very much, even gifting him an expensive watch for his birthday. Unfortunately, his tragic death is the understandable catalyst for Joel’s personal slide into violence, depression, and nihilism.
Henry serves largely as Joel’s counterpart, protecting his younger brother, Sam. Obviously, Henry is less experienced than Joel and often relies on Joel’s help to escape more precarious situations. Like Joel, he is very protective of his younger brother and will apparently do anything to protect him.
But he and Joel share a huge difference in character, and that’s their ability to move on. While Joel continues after Sarah’s death, Henry kills himself immediately after killing a converted Sam.
Henry serves as Joel’s counterpart, just as Sam serves as Ellie. Sam is Henry’s much younger brother, and is largely at the whim of his older brother’s combat prowess. Unlike Ellie, Sam is generally useless in combat.
She is also much more childish than Ellie, despite being roughly the same age. Talk about their different experiences. While Sam has been protected by her older brother, Ellie has been forced to survive alone and thus become a more pragmatic and ruthless survivor.
Speaking of cold-hearted survivors, Tess is perhaps the coldest of them all. Tess is Joel’s smuggling partner, and she’s just as tough and unforgiving as the main character. His role is small, but also very important for the development of Joel’s character.
Tess is bitten and quickly realizes that Ellie’s immunity is legitimate (as she is more advanced in the infection than Ellie, even though her wound is much fresher). She successfully convinces Joel to confront Ellie, and he comes off in an incredibly badass way, securing her place in her memories. The last of us players everywhere.
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