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Due to its nature as a sequel, spoilers for The Last of Us and the Left Behind DLC will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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"...but I can't walk on the path of the right,
because I'm wrong."

"I'm gonna find... and I'm gonna kill... every last one of them."
— Ellie
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The Last of Us Part II is the sequel to The Last of Us, developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4.

Its story opens a few years after the end of the first game, and once again follows Action Survivors Ellie and Joel in a United States that has been destroyed by a fungal based Zombie Apocalypse. After a violent encounter with another survivor group, a now 19-year old Ellie embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge across the shattered country.

The game was released on June 19, 2020, after being delayed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and a major Content Leak.

Previews: PSX 2016 Trailer, PGW 2017 Trailer, E3 2018 Trailer, State Of Play 2019 Trailer


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The Last Of Us Part II provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: There are two "final" weapons to be found that can't be upgraded, but they don't need to.
    • Abby gets a flamethrower that is essentially a One-Hit Kill against anything below Shambler levels of suck. Its ammo consumption is okay-ish, as is its range, giving you a get-out-of-jail-free card in most situations if things get hairy.
    • Ellie gets a natively suppressed submachine gun instead. With an ammo cap of 60, a two-shot burst fire mode that instakills most humans on a headshot, and plenty of spare ammo pickups, that's 30 dead enemies even without restocking. Its only downside is its abysmal accuracy.
  • Actor Allusion: Laura Bailey plays a buff, military grade female antagonist in a PlayStation exclusive developed by Naughty Dog who's presence and actions in the story is divisive among the fandom. Also holding an outright hatred of the protagonists' way of doing things, and ultimately gets spared.
    • To boot both roles are awfully similar to her role as an elf assassin who's also divisive among the fandom, has a negative relationship with the protagonist, is playable, fights the protagonist twice while being controlled by the player, and kills a protagonist. note 
      • In an extra spin of irony Troy Baker plays Joel, Sam Drake, and Talion as protagonists for those respective games. While Laura's characters Abby, Nadine, and Eltariel had successfully, really wanted to, or twice killed Troy's characters respectively.
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    • Alejandro Edda plays a militaristic man who spitefully spits on Joel's corpse after he had just beaten to death by a golf club. Edda previously played El Chapo on Narcos, where in a scene similar to Joel’s death, he angrily spits on Clavel's corpse, who had just been clubbed to death by a baseball bat.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The PSX 2016 trailer has Ellie quietly playing the guitar, only for the camera to pull out to show a large shootout has just occurred in the house she's sitting in.
  • Action Girl: Abby, whose gameplay section is more focused on fighting enemies head-on; her weapons loadout gives her customization options such as incendiary ammo and can gain a melee strike/insta-kill skill. Her section also contains less hiding spots and one truly terrifying Boss Battle. Ellie is an Action Girl as well, but she’s best when taken the stealth route.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite being the faction that Ellie is shown fighting in the first gameplay trailer, the Seraphites have nothing to do with her goals, they are only enemies when she has to pass through their territories. The WLF are Ellie's true enemies or rather specific members of the WLF. Downplayed during Abby's segment of the story. The Seraphites are the main antagonists she deals with since she's a member of the WLF, and is trying to help 2 children escape them. Played straight again when the WLF turn on Abby, and then she is just trying to escape while the two factions tear each other apart. Then neither faction shows up in the last arc.
  • A.K.A.-47: All weapons in the game are faithfully modeled after real-life gear but are only referred to by generic names like revolver, hunting rifle, pump-action shotgun and so on.
  • All for Nothing:
    • The WLF's all-out assault on the Seraphite's home turns out to be a senseless waste of life on both sides of the conflict. The Wolves are slaughtered and completely routed after Isaac's death at Yara's hands, with the only survivors being the ones who didn't participate in the invasion and remained at CenturyLink Field or the FOB. The Scars violently and horrifically massacre the invaders, but their homes and supplies endure a scorched earth level attack, meaning those that survive will most likely die from their injuries and/or malnutrition. After the Time Skip, neither faction is ever mentioned again, suggesting both were disbanded due to lack of sufficient numbers left on either side.
    • On both ends of the spectrum when it concerns Ellie and Abby's quests for revenge. The latter does avenge her father but it doesn't bring her any closure and her friends paid the price in trying to achieve her revenge either by Ellie or Tommy's hands. For Ellie, while she does take out some of those responsible for Joel's death, she ultimately spares his killer at the end of everything. However, Jesse was also killed and by the time she breaks her Cycle of Revenge, she's given up her family for the sake of revenge with Dina making good on her threat of not being there when Ellie returns. The only things Ellie had to show for her efforts were losing her switchblade and two of her fingers after her final fight with Abby.
    • On a smaller scale, Abby's ordeal to obtain medical supplies for Yara, including her nightmarish encounter with the Rat King, is rendered moot when Yara is shot dead by Wolves less than a day after her surgery.
  • Ambiguous Ending: While at first glance it seems that Ellie gets a Downer Ending, with her returning home to find Dina and JJ gone with nothing telling her where they went; the loss of two fingers as a result of her final fight with Abby preventing her from playing the guitar, which Joel taught her; and just her being completely alone without Joel and a good deal of her friends dead or gone, there are also some hints that it's not what it seems and that Ellie's ending isn't as bleak as it appears. Things such as Ellie wearing completely different clothes and looking a bit fuller compared to how skinny she was in Santa Barbara, the only items left behind in the farm specifically being things that remind Ellie of Joel, Ellie's lack of surprise regarding Dina and JJ not being there, and the fact that Ellie is wearing Dina's bracelet, imply that she and Dina did reconnect after she gave up on trying to kill Abby and that they simply moved elsewhere, with the reason she's at the farm being so she could finally confront and get closure for Joel's death. However, since nothing is outright confirmed, how the game ends is ultimately up to the player's interpretation which is ND’s official stance about it.
  • An Aesop: Sometimes the best thing to do in a bad situation is just to walk away; the cycle of revenge can only end with you. Letting go does not mean you should forgive your enemy, it means you should save yourself from further pain and loss.
    • Abby realizes that killing Joel didn’t bring her the catharsis she wanted so she lets go of her grudge, shows Ellie and Dina mercy and walks away to start a new life with Lev, who gives her life meaning.
    • Ellie, on the other hand, can’t let it go, even a year or so later after she and Dina have settled into a normal life with the baby. She goes to California to chase Abby down, even when Dina tells her she’s not going to wait around on her and may not be there when she gets back. It’s not until she and Abby have their final fight that she realizes that she cannot go through with killing Abby. In the end, it is possible that she lost everything in the pursuit of revenge, but she has regained her self-esteem.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The guard dogs of the WLF are this to Ellie. Enemy squads will occasionally bring a dog along with them and these dogs can sniff out Ellie, following her scent trail without fail and then attack viciously. Of course from the point of view of the WLF, a guard dog is a helpful and friendly Canine Companion.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Somewhere between a third and half of the game, including the entire second act, is played as Abby.
  • And Then What?: Abby spent the last 4-5 years becoming big and strong and a ruthless killer, all to find Joel and kill him for what he did to her father. She tracks down Joel, kills him brutally, and...she's still having nightmares. His death didn't bring her closure, her ex and closest friend Owen still loves her but is terrified of her, Mel sees through her and knows she's a bad person that's done terrible things, and Isaac and the rest of the WLF still expect her to be the top Scar killer and torturer and don't actually challenge her morality. It's no wonder she gravitated to Yara and Lev so quickly.
  • And Starring: The opening credits sequence has "And Laura Bailey", who plays Abby, the main antagonist.
  • Annoying Arrows: Played Straight by the player; while you can be shot with arrows by the Seraphites during combat and they have to be removed in order to stop progressive health loss, it's still only a minor inconvenience rather than being a crippling injury. Thankfully Averted for the enemies though, as any shot is almost always lethal on an unarmored enemy, like the first game.
  • Anachronic Order: The story bounces between flashbacks and current events, it also bounces between Abby and Ellie's perspectives; Ellie shows her current unrelenting drive for revenge, while Abby's side of the story is shown to garner sympathy for the people and animals that Ellie kills.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • When you kill all the enemies in an area, your character will always give a verbal statement letting the player know the area is secure, so you will know it's safe to stop sneaking around and can freely search for supplies in peace.
    • The game gives players a huge range of options to adjust its difficulty according to one's personal preference, giving gamers who aren't good at this sort of game a decent chance to enjoy its story without worrying too much about combat. The litany of accessibility features can also be used to make the game much easier to play even if you don’t need them for their intended purpose. A lack of difficulty-related achievements only makes this more attractive to casual gamers.
    • Aside from ammo, enemies now also drop crafting components if you're running low on those.
    • Ellie retains her trusty unbreakable switchblade from the original game. Not having to rely on jury-rigged shivs makes the dreaded clickers much easier to deal with as long as they haven't detected her.
    • No matter where you go through buildings, your horse will always be waiting on you when you get outside so you don’t have to go looking for it.
    • When unlocking the safes, you don’t have to turn directly to the numbers the first time for it to open like you would in real life. That way you’re not sitting there forever trying to open it if your finger slips or you just accidentally turn to the wrong number.
    • If you reload a checkpoint after picking up collectables in the same area, said collectables don't need to be picked up again to make sure you don't miss or forget about them.
    • All of the breakable glass or tripwire traps have a few bricks or bottles nearby to use on them.
    • Watching your companion's behaviour is a reliable way to judge if there's trouble ahead. They'll walk casually when you're safe, draw their weapons and move more carefully when you aren't, and drop a line like "that's all of them" after combat encounters to let you know you're in the clear.
    • Instead of the vague descriptions in the original game, Part II's weapon upgrades tell you exactly how effective they'll be (like "+25% damage" or "+60% stability") to allow you to make more informed decisions on what to spend your scarce resources on.
    • Finishing the game lets you replay its chapters individually, complete with showing you the total amount of collectables they contain versus the ones you've found.
    • Inverted with Ellie's bow due to it no longer showing the arrow's trajectory, making it much harder to aim accurately. With arrows now only being recoverable after a headshot (maybe), silent ranged combat mostly comes down to the suppressed pistol.
  • Anyone Can Die: And boy, do they ever. You'd be well advised to not get attached to any particular character.
  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: Joel asks Ellie in the PSX 2016 Trailer "You really going to go through with this?" in regards to her planned Roaring Rampage of Revenge. With Joel not only being dead at this point but also the motivation between the whole rampage, it's a textbook case of Trailers Always Lie.
  • Armies Are Evil: Just like in the first game, every organized military force is depicted negatively. Both the WFL and Scars are shown as more than willing to slaughter anyone they come across, including kids and civilians.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zigzagged. The human enemies in the final chapter wear riot armour that protects them from headshots and lets them soak up a few more hits to the body, but it does nothing against melee takedowns, Molotovs, or explosives. Other enemies, such as WLF soldiers and certain infected, wear ballistic vests but aren't any tougher than folks clad in jeans and shirts.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Unless you neuter it in the options menu, the enemy AI is terrifyingly good at its job of making your life a living hell. No nook or cranny is safe from their investigation while they're looking for you, they usually cover each other well enough to make it difficult to take them out individually without alerting the whole group, and once open combat breaks out, their well-rehearsed teamwork will get you flanked and surrounded before you know what hit you if you aren't constantly aware of your surroundings. And woe betide you if they brought guard dogs.
      • They can peek under cars and anything you can prone under, and pull you out for example. They also use advanced room clearing and search and patrols.
    • On the flip side, with all protagonists now being adults, your sidekicks have also taken several levels in badass. Companions like Dina are very capable at defending themselves from most attacks, pulling raging infected off of you, killing attackers quickly and efficiently, and even setting up the occasional melee combo with you. If you manage to ninja your way through hostile encounters until only two enemies are left, they'll stealth-kill the last one while you're taking care of the other baddy.
  • Artistic License: For the most part, the traversable areas in Seattle are accurate, though there are a few artistic liberties taken for the sake of gameplay and story and/or to keep things lawyer-friendly, such as removing building names (like the Polyclinic), adding buildings (the nonexistent Serevena Hotel), changing appearances of buildings (the courthouse), and replacing buildings (the gas station doesn't exist there in real life).
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: The WLF's football stadium-cum-farm is several hundred times too small to support the number of animals living in it. Dozens of cows and sheep are shown grazing comfortably in about half an acre of pasture. That wouldn't be enough to feed one cow for one week, never mind dozens of them over several years.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: The player characters can again collect random pills, but after decades, there is no chance that whatever chemical in the pills would have a beneficial effect great enough to buff the characters, and that's not counting the facts that the pills are scavenged indiscriminately and ingesting a mix of medicines without care is never a good thing to do.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI may have taken several levels in badass since the first game, but some of the old tricks still work like a charm. Case in point: while facing un-alerted infected, throw a bottle or brick, wait a few seconds, then throw a molotov cocktail at the exact same spot. Nine times out of ten it'll reduce the pack to one, maybe two stragglers at most, if not wipe it out completely quickly and efficiently. The best thing is that it mostly falls under Gameplay and Story Integration since infected are basically dumb animals that fall easily for such tricks. Trying this on humans won't work nearly as well.
    • Enemies never react to pipe bombs at all. You can throw one directly at an enemy soldier's feet while they are engaged in a shootout with you, and they will just continue taking pot shots until it blows them to bits.
    • The human enemies can often be tricked with old tricks used in the first game, despite their advanced AI, including the distraction-then-Molotov trick.
    • As competent as the AI is at fighting the Player Character, as inept it is at fighting NPCs. This becomes painfully apparent whenever WLF soldiers and Seraphites go up against each other, and especially when humans are attacked by infected. A single Clicker, sometimes even just a measly Runner, can wipe out whole squads of heavily armed soldiers with nothing in terms of meaningful resistance.
  • Asshole Victim: Oh boy, where to begin... With the story revolving around hate and revenge, set in a city that's being fought over by two equally evil factions of survivors, almost everyone who bites the dust qualifies, minus a small handful of sympathetic supporting characters that didn't deserve their gruesome fate. And then the final chapter introduces a group of slavers to massacre without remorse. You know a story is dark when the resident infected hordes are the least evil threat because, dangerous as they may be, they're merely driven by animalistic instincts instead of the worst facets of human nature. With the apocalypse having well established itself, the infected are narratively a background threat, if one that sometimes asserts itself, most notably in the form of The Rat King; in one flashback while out on a patrol, Tommy casually notes that they have established migration patterns now.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: Abby's semi-automatic rifle can be upgraded with a burst-fire mode. While certainly cool, it changes nothing about the rifle's ammo cap of 18 rounds, so using burst fire cuts down the number of potential dead enemies from 18 to 6. You're better off sticking with semi-auto fire and investing the upgrade resources into something more practical.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Abby and Lev as a Foil to Joel and Ellie in the first game.
  • Bag of Spilling: There are a few times where the protagonists end up with a reduced inventory, but these are usually justified. Some are a consequence of Time Skips, others of official procedure, like Ellie checking in her weapons plus any salvaged ammo at the end of her patrol for Jackson. Weapon upgrades are permanent, though.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The sniper battle at the Seattle Harbor. The majority of the fight is Abby and Manny attempting to close in on an unknown trespasser who just killed Manny's WLF team, with the shooter only being seen as a reflection from their scope and a shadow behind it. As they get closer, however, a keen-eyed player will notice the assailant looks oddly familiar. After the trespasser kills Manny and Abby pursues them onto the pier, the sniper slams a door on their head, pummels them against the railing, and the camera turns around to reveal none other than Tommy.
  • Bait the Dog: Abby's first on-screen interaction with Joel is a positive one; he saves her life and they fight together to survive. Also, before that Abby is shown to be a pretty decent person. Killing him is her driving motivation, and she brutally tortures him to death a while later.
  • Bald of Evil: Male Seraphites shave their head. This is actually a plot point because Lev also shaved his head, basically saying that he identifies as a man.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The WLF's all-out invasion of the Seraphites' home quickly sets their main town ablaze from end to end. You spend some intense minutes trying to get through this hell alive.
  • Battle Couple: Ellie and her girlfriend Dina kick some major ass together.
  • Battle in the Rain: It's raining for most of the time the protagonists spend in Seattle, so they have plenty of those.
  • Biblical Motifs: The Seraphites take their name and inspiration from the Seraph order of angels in the Bible. They're seen in the books of Isaiah where they help him see the error if his ways and Revelation where they're constantly in God's presence.
    Revelation 4:4-8: [A]nd they rest not day and night, saying, 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
  • Big NO: A gut-wrenching one by Ellie as she watches Joel's brains get bashed in with a golf club.
    • Tommy does a similar one earlier when he sees Joel get shot in the knee with a shotgun before being knocked out.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending is more bitter than sweet, but the two protagonists of the game do end up with a little slice of peace. Ellie ultimately decides to end the Cycle of Revenge and lets Abby live, but Joel is still dead, Jesse was also killed by Abby, she murdered a lot of people in her journey for revenge, and she also lost two fingers and her switchblade in their final confrontation. Ellie returns to Wyoming, only to find that Dina has left and taken the baby with her (having previously pleaded with Ellie to let go of her desire for revenge and warning her that she might not still be there when she returns). Finding that she can't even play the guitar anymore (the last link she had left with Joel) due to her lost fingers, she abandons the guitar and leaves the farm. Abby succeeded in avenging her father by killing Joel, but it brings her no closure or catharsis, and her revenge quest directly led to the deaths of her closest friends including Owen, the man she loved. She ends up running away from the WLF with Lev after growing completely disillusioned by their endless conflict with the Seraphites and follows a tip about a possible reorganization of the Fireflies that leads to her and Lev’s capture by slavers. She survives her final fight with Ellie, but she and Lev are wounded, malnourished, and have nowhere to go and no one to turn to, except the following the Fireflies tip, which may lead to nothing. Both women's futures are uncertain, but at very least Ellie has forgiven Joel posthumously and has made peace with his actions, is finally confronting her survivor guilt and still has Tommy, Maria and Jackson to go back to (that is, if she's not still with Dina, see Ambigious Ending). Abby, for her part, regained her humanity and let go of her hatred, and found purpose in life thanks to Yara and Lev, and wherever she goes from this point, Lev will be by her side.
  • Birds of a Feather: Apparently, Ellie's first long-term girlfriend was a tattoo-artist named Cat, whose only commonality with Ellie was that both of them were sexually attracted to each other.
  • Blackout Basement: While exploring, one can always find dark areas hidden from sight, usually with good loot but also sheltering a mob of infected. The only lighting available there will be usually the characters' flashlights and they are frustratingly prone to temporary failures in these specific areas.
  • Blamed for Being Railroaded: Abby's grudge against Joel is the result of his killing her father, who was the lead surgeon on the operation on Ellie at the end of the first game. This is deliberately invoked, as any player who finished the original game would have had to kill the surgeon in order to finish the level, making them complicit in the act.
  • Bland-Name Product: A lot of the stores in Seattle are made up companies to keep things lawyer-friendly. However, a few, in particular, stand out for being clearly based on real ones.
    • When Ellie is fighting the Seraphites, you have to go through a makeup store called “Merci” to progress. With its black and white colour palette and store layout, it’s a pretty obvious stand-in for a Sephora store. The name also gives it away since the company is owned by French beauty conglomerate LVMH.
    • In the Capitol Hill section of Seattle, Ellie can explore a wooden-shelved, chalk sign using a stand-in for Trader Joe's.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Holy shit. The gore effects are hugely improved from the first game, with a focus on minor grisly details rather than just reducing everything to a red pulp. Jaws get split open by machetes or even just flat out shot off, skulls get crushed by lead pipes or get skinned with a blunt weapon, limbs get blown off by shotguns and hunting rifles, pieces of bone can be found in the gore that remains of an obliterated head, teeth get knocked loose by baseball bats, bodies get bisected by landmines with their guts spilling everywhere, Pretty Little Headshots is averted even harder than in the first game, throats that are slit have realistically large blood spurts, and blood will realistically and dynamically pool from wounds in ways that are consistent with the environment surrounding the corpse. If someone dies in an explosion, you may find a sizeable chunk of their viscera as an interactable object you can push around.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water:
    • Enemy blood pools will get diluted by puddles of water.
    • Ellie stabs a Clicker to death in a river, producing a cloud of blood.
    • Happens when Abby bites Ellie's fingers as she's being choked in the ocean.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Several shots from the story trailer show Ellie covered in varying amounts of blood, including a scene in the rain where she's completely drenched.
  • Body Horror: Thanks to the updated graphics, the infected look more disgusting and horrifying than ever. For much the same reason, whatever you do to your enemies also tends to have very nasty effects, from gaping bullet wounds to entire limbs getting blown off by shotgun blasts or explosions, all rendered in excruciatingly realistic detail.
  • Body of Bodies: One boss that Abby encounters is the Rat King, a unique infected form where the Cordyceps fungus has caused several clickers to merge into one disgusting blobby body. Things get more complicated when the damage Abby inflicts on it helps a massive beefed-up stalker-clicker hybrid to tear free from the main form, forcing her to fight two boss-level enemies simultaneously.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Jordan has a fatal lapse of this. He insists on keeping Ellie alive to pump her for info, which is fair enough, but after Dina shoots his partner dead and comes crashing through the roof, he puts his gun away and decides to chance his victory on a physical throwdown instead, giving Ellie all the time she needs to break free and shank him in the neck. Dina is able to recover from the fall pretty quickly and puts up a decent fight, giving the player a generous window to free themselves.
  • Book-Ends: The game begins and ends with a shot of Ellie's guitar.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Helmeted enemies only appear in the final chapter, making headshots with any gun instantly lethal against anything short of clickers and other Elite Zombies for most of the game.
  • Boring, but Practical: The basic pistol remains indispensable throughout the whole game thanks to its relatively high ammo capacity, frequent ammo pickups, good base stats all around, its ability to kill almost any human enemy with one headshot, and being the only reliable silent ranged weapon when fitted with a suppressor. It's the main reason you should always be on the lookout for more bottles to turn into suppressors.
  • Boss Battle: Quite a few of them, though with varying degrees of intensity.
    • At least two Seraphite Giant Mooks armed with heavy hammers must be killed to proceed. Ellie has her full arsenal at her disposal while Abby only gets a melee weapon.
    • Once again, Bloaters must be defeated in two separate instances.
    • The sniper at the Seattle Harbor. A sequence that tests the player's ability to proactively duck and cover from a relentless shooter off in the middle distance while staving off hordes off infected that the assailant is luring over with their gunshots. You finally reach them, only to find out your deadly enemy was actually Tommy
    • Ellie and Abby throw down two times. The first time, the players control Abby while Ellie behaves much like a One-Hit Kill Stalker, leading to a deadly game of cat and mouse in the theatre. The second time is a brutal melee fight with the player controlling Ellie.
    • And of course there's the Rat King, a unique infected that Abby encounters in the basement of the Seattle hospital. Out of all these examples, this one is arguably the one "true" boss battle.
  • Boss Corridor: In the hospital, Abby has to go the parking lot to find an ambulance for medical supplies. The area is very quiet despite the clear signs that something big is roaming. Sure enough, the Rat King attacks her as soon as she enters the ambulance and grabs what she needs.
  • Breakable Weapons:
    • Although Ellie's primary melee weapon, her switchblade, is as unbreakable as it was in the original game, heavier melee equipment still breaks after a few uses. Fortunately, the craftable upgrade that increases their damage now also restores them to full durability, so with some careful planning and the occasional investment of resources you can prevent your weapon from breaking for quite some time.
    • Not a weapon per se, but the jury-rigged suppressors Ellie can craft for her semi-auto handgun only last for three to five shots before burning out.
    • While playing as Abby, single-use shivs are once again required to take on clickers in melee.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: After Abby's crew captures Joel and shoots him in the leg, Abby tells him to guess who they are when he asks why they are doing this. He thinks for a moment, then tells her just to get on with whatever speech she has prepared. Later on, Ellie even tells Dina that there is no point speculating who they were with (this being before they learn about the WLF) since Joel crossed a lot of people in his time.
  • Call-Back:
    • With a touch of Ironic Echo. The first teaser for The Last of Us showed Ellie arriving in a building where Joel was busy killing enemies, one of which is lying bloody on a bed next to a busted window overgrown with vegetation. In the teaser for Part II, Joel is now the one arriving in a building where Ellie just finished murdering the enemies inside, before she's sitting on a bed next to a broken and overgrown window.
    • The game proper begins with Joel recounting the original game's ending to his brother Tommy, with the flashbacks including brief shots of Ellie's and his journey through the US and a montage of scenes from the Fireflies hospital that returning players will probably remember all too well.
    • When in Seattle, Ellie and Dina stumble upon two WLF members who were tied to chairs and tortured to death. Ellie then tells her about how Joel tortured two of David's men by getting each one to confirm the other's information- deducing that Tommy did the same.
    • While travelling through the booby-trapped streets leading to the WLF controlled news station, Ellie mentions to Dina how Bill had a similar method of defence.
    • Ellie gets trapped by a hanging leg snare much like Joel did in the first game when approaching Bill's place. The game, in general, recycles a lot of gameplay elements and set pieces from its predecessor, like two separate Boss Battles against Bloaters, a segment about getting through a hostile sniper's kill zone, a hospital-level full of professional soldiers, and more.
      • During the leg snare, Ellie also ends up swinging and puncturing her torso with a broken tree branch in basically the exact same place Joel was impaled in the previous game's final chapters, leaving her with an essentially identical wound for the final part of the game.
    • Much like Joel lost touch with his possible love interest Tess in the first game due to personal reasons, Ellie loses her potential love interest Dina when Ellie loses Joel and chooses to continue on her path for revenge.
    • During one of the flashback scenes, Ellie finds a pallet in the water. Should the player interact with it, Ellie will ask Joel if he wants to give her a ride, referring to the previous game's requirement to float Ellie across water as she couldn't yet swim.
  • Cap: This game's ammo limits are somehow even lower than the original's. Up to 8 shotgun shells can be carried at one time, down from 18, the pistol gets no more than 16 bullets (previously 28), and so on. This is probably meant to balance out that gun-toting enemies now drop ammo more often and also wield a wider variety of weapons, making it generally easier to stock up again after a shootout. Of course, with the infected now only dropping crafting components, you'll still want to place your shots particularly carefully when fighting them.
  • Cassandra Truth: Early in their relationship, Ellie reveals to Dina that she's immune to the Infected, but Dina dismisses it as mere BS. Lampshaded when Dina finally gets the full story (after having seen the graphic proof) in a movie theatre where the billboard is for a feature named "Cassandra".
  • Central Theme:
    • The cycle of violence brought on by hatred and revenge.
    • Perspective is another theme as several events in the game are shown in a different point of view, as well as how groups of people compare themselves to others.
    • Hate, namely: how love can lead to incredible hate and how hate makes us dehumanize others. Neil Druckmann even said that the first game was about love, and this sequel is about hate.
    • Grief and trauma, and how they can completely change even the most moral person.
  • Character Death: The body count is ridiculously high in this game compared to the predecessor. In short, the fastest way to tell you who doesn't die would be faster: Ellie, Dina, Dina's baby, Tommy, Maria, Abby, and Lev all survive.
  • Combat Breakdown:
    • Abby and Ellie's first fight begins with both of them armed with guns and ends with Abby delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown with her fists.
    • Downplayed in Abby and Ellie's final fight. Ellie starts off armed with her switchblade, while Abby is unarmed. Once Ellie loses her knife in the ocean, the fight becomes a simple bare-fisted brawl.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Duh, it is the Zombie Apocalypse. For most characters, anything that remotely smells of elegance or fairness goes out the window the moment a fight starts. Eye-gouging, hair-pulling, biting, hitting people with shit scattered around like bricks and 2x4s, you name it, as long as the other guy is dead and you ain't then it's fair game. Even plain ol' perfidy - a lot of badly wounded Mooks will shamelessly plead for mercy when you have them at gunpoint, but if you actually oblige then they will just get up and continue trying to kill you (which usually gets them killed instead).
  • Commonplace Rare: While it's understandable that working duct tape or sharp blades have become a rare find in the post-apocalypse, the low number of empty soda bottles in the post-consumerism US can be a bit perplexing. Even with only some of them being intact enough to be turned into jury-rigged suppressors, you'd expect more lying around.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Joel made a comment in the Spring chapter of the first game that after he and Ellie were done with the whole thing, he'd teach her to play the guitar. This game starts with Joel gifting Ellie a guitar, and mentioning how he promised her that he would teach her how to play.
    • Ellie has Sam's robot toy from the first game in her room.
    • While riding through a winter landscape, Dina quips to Ellie that "You'll probably die from hypothermia from wearing canvas sneakers in the snow." which is what Ellie wore throughout the entire Winter section of the first game. Ellie clearly has a better wardrobe now though as she defensively tells Dina "I am wearing boots today".
    • Joel was exasperated by Ellie not being able to swim in the first game and he told her at one point he'd teach her when they got the chance. She knows how to swim now.
    • In the Fall chapter of the first game, Ellie at one point mentions that had she been living in the "old" world, she would have wanted to become an astronaut. In Part II, a closer look at her backpack reveals that she has a spaceship pin on it, and she has an astronaut statue in her room.
    • Ellie tries to use the same map-based interrogation method on Owen and Mel that Joel used in the first game to find out where Ellie was being held captive by the Cannibals. Due to Ellie's inexperience and lack of leverage against the two, however, it backfires on her.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • It's startlingly fortuitous that the first person Abby runs into after tracking down the Jackson group's base is the target of her vengeance, Joel himself; on what was a spontaneous scouting trek, no less. The circumstances behind their meeting also perfectly segue into Joel being at her group's mercy. Even she seems a bit rattled by how absurdly easy this sequence of events made what she and Owen both believed could be a difficult, risky, and possibly futile nut to crack.
    • In an additionally astounding coincidence, Ellie just happens to show up there within minutes as well.
    • Based on nothing but jacket emblems that say "Washington Liberation Front", Ellie just assumes that Abby's faction is based in Seattle. Even though they could literally be anywhere in the entire state of Washington, this guess turns out to be correct.
    • After Abby discovers Owen and Mel's corpses, she manages to find a map that Ellie had very conveniently dropped in the same room so that Abby would have an easy way to track Ellie back to her hideout at the theater.
  • Covers Always Lie: The box art features Ellie on a black background. While she serves as a main character in the game, the retail cover doesn't show Abby who is the game's Villain Protagonist and second playable character.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Ellie's collectable trading cards repeatedly mention an in-universe fictional character named Dr. Uckmann, who is based off of the game's creative director Neil Druckmann. He's also listed as villainous.
    • Another collectable trading card concerns another in-universe fictional character nicknamed The Imp, who is based off of the game's narrative lead and co-writer Halley Gross. She's stated to be psychically connected to Dr. Uckmann (An allusion to the fact that Halley Gross and Neil Druckmann are connected as co-writers of the game) and, like him, is listed as villainous.
    • In Ellie's first segment, the banjo player sitting outside the Copper Peak Inn is modelled after composer Gustavo Santaolalla.
  • Creator Thumbprint: The dodging and punching gameplay has shades of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which was developed by the same people. Particularly noticeable with all the Fisticuffs Boss fights.
  • Cult: The Seraphites are a religious cult based out of Seattle who believes the plague was God's way of purging the Earth of its sinners.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The entire plot of the game is set into motion by Joel killing the Firefly head surgeon (out of three personnel) who were going to work on Ellie in the previous game. Whilst the encounter was mandatory to complete the game, it was ultimately up to the player if Joel killed all the surgeons despite only Abby's father opposing him with a scalpel in desperation, forcing Joel to kill him if he isn't shot immediately. It is also possible (difficult, but possible) to reach the operation room without killing any guards, but the flashback of the beginning of this game will show one of the hallways littered with the corpses of guards too to further cement how many Joel killed to save Ellie.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The main gist of the story. Abby kills Joel to avenge her father, but doesn't feel any better and ends up setting off Ellie to go after her to avenge Joel. In the process of Ellie's quest, both she and Abby end up losing almost everyone they love, and even by the end of it, when the two are just tired of all the violence, Ellie still insists on killing Abby but ends up having a Heel Realization to spare her to break the cycle.
  • The Dead Have Names: Enemies now will occasionally cry out the name of anyone you have killed.
  • Damage Over Time: The Shambler, Bloaters, and The Rat King and the Stalker that breaks from it throw or shoot out acidic spores, causing this effect until you walk out of the cloud. The Seraphites also have archers with them that can impale you with an arrow, causing this effect until you pull it out.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game overall is arguably the most graphic and grittiest PlayStation exclusive ever made. While the first game was no walk in the park, Part II has somehow proven to be even darker and more nihilistic. Enemy NPCs can cry out the name of anyone you killed, and some of them might even shout that you just killed their husband or wife. Fights are more graphic than the original, there's less humor, and the game even features explicit sex scenes between key characters. That's not even going to the vicious cycle of hatred and revenge overtaking the original's emphasis of survival, loss, and personal connections as its main theme, and how it leads to dire consequences for the game's characters.
  • Deconstruction: Of Protagonist-Centered Morality. For one, Joel is killed early on as a consequence of his actions at the end of the original game, with the perpetrator, Abby, firmly believing he deserved it. Second, both Ellie and Abby both believe that they are unquestionably in the right when it comes to their respective quests for revenge. However, the game shows how their actions cause pain for other characters via the game's use of both as player characters. Ellie is ruthless and brutal in her pursuit, her rage very evident as she continues through the events of her portions of the story, while Abby's sections tend to show just how painful this is for her, losing her friends left and right because of Ellie. In the end, both Ellie and Abby are in the right from their own perspective, but from the opposing side, they are irredeemably horrible. The game pulls no punches, basically saying that just because a character is the protagonist does not mean they are right, or even that they are good people.
  • Developers' Foresight: Abby suffers from acrophobia (fear of heights). If you're walking on a ledge while playing as her and looks down, the view blurs and stretches and Abby begins to pant anxiously.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: Emily has a revolver and pulls it out when she has Yara cornered. She hears noises coming from the forest and fires a few shots. When Yara tries to attack her, she fires again but misses as Abby restrains her. She tries to fire at Abby, but the revolver is out of ammo.
  • Dramatic Irony: Inverted; it's revealed midway through the game that Ellie had known for years the exact nature of what Joel did at the Firefly hospital at the end of the first game. Knowing that sure makes some of the events earlier in Part II seem a little different in hindsight.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hammers are a weapon of choice of sorts among the Seraphites as they're sneaky fighters and technological Luddites. Ellie can take them from them and use them as melee weapons and one was used in the fight between Yara, Lev, Abby, and the Seraphites in one of the trailers.
  • Dueling Player Characters: Ellie and Abby fight each other twice. The first time, the player controls Abby and Ellie gradually uses every trick the player has (except listen mode, for obvious reasons). The second time, the player controls an injured and switchblade-armed Ellie against an emaciated, unarmed Abby.
  • Dungeon Bypass: An entire chapter of Abby's story branch is devoted to finding a way from Seattle's aquarium to the hospital that doesn't take a whole day to traverse. Lev knows one - a network of rickety sky bridges the Seraphites constructed between downtown Seattle's skyscrapers to bypass the WLF patrols on the ground. To say the acrophobic Abby is not thrilled about this would be putting it mildly, but for Yara's sake she goes through with it regardless.
  • Dying as Yourself: The bank robber’s corpse Ellie and Dina can find in the Seattle bank vault has a note describing how he got locked in the vault after he got bit during a robbery on Outbreak Day and commits suicide before he turns.
  • Early Game Hell: Much like in the first game, you spend the first several hours without much-advanced weaponry although you have the rifle from the beginning and you learn how to make the Molotov cocktail a bit earlier. It’s not too bad if you’re fighting humans and the earlier levels of infected but fighting clickers, in particular, is much more challenging earlier on. It’s not until well into the Seattle section that you really start getting the higher tier weapons.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect:
    • Several Seattle landmarks appear in the game; the in-game Pinnacle Theatre is based on the real-life Paramount Theatre, The Washington Conference Center appears as the Seattle Conference Center, The WLF's base is CenturyLink Field in Seattle, and the Seattle Aquarium and the Great Wheel feature prominently. This is basically Inverted with the Space Needle, as Seattle's most iconic building only makes a brief appearance in the penultimate level set in Seattle.
    • In Abby's flashback, we see the Salt Lake Zoo in Salt Lake City once again.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The WLF army has equal numbers of men and women in their ranks. Surprisingly, the same holds true for the otherwise ultra-conservative Seraphites.
  • Evil Counterpart: The WLF to Jackson, they are both groups that have been able to restore some sense of civilization despite the post-outbreak world. But while Jackson is an idyllic settlement just interested in keeping safe, the WLF is a heavily militarized organization that is determined to take control of Seattle at any cost.
  • Evil Luddite: The Seraphites dislike technology and don't even dare touch the Lost Technology of the pre-outbreak period believe it is full of sin. That said, they have no problem using guns and powered elevators for military purposes.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Both the WLF and the Seraphites are led by genocidal lunatics driven by nothing but hatred for the other, and their leaders' charisma ensures that most of their troops share their mindset. Neither Cold-Blooded Torture nor the indiscriminate killing of kids is beyond them. They're also more than willing to turn on their own people without mercy, as shown with Lev and Yara for the Seraphites, and Abby herself for the WLF. No tears are shed when both sides tear each other apart in the penultimate chapter.
  • Evolving Title Screen: There are two title screens, one for pre- and post-game completion. The former shows a small boat moored in shallow water during foggy weather, foreshadowing Seattle's grim atmosphere. The latter shows the boat's final destination, a sunny beach near Catalina Casino on Catalina Island. This serves as a stinger to the game's story: indicating that Abby & Lev made it to the supposed new home of the Fireflies, while the sun breaking through nearby fog shows us that Abby and Ellie have both let go of their pain and are on a path to healing.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Ellie’s hair is noticeably shorter after the roughly year-long Time Skip in the last chapter.
  • Expository Theme Tune: In the PSX 2016 trailer, Ellie sings a Then Let Me Be Evil folk song before committing to her planned Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The main events of the game, barring the final chapter, takes place over only three days but leave hundreds, if not thousands of people dead and the lives of the survivors in shambles.
  • Failed a Spot Check: After Ellie murders Owen and Mel, and then breaks down in disgust to learn at the last second she killed a pregnant woman, she accidentally leaves the map she had used to track down her targets next to their corpses. When Abby returns, Lev finds the map, helping Abby track Ellie's group at the theatre.
    • Even though she is controlled by the player, who could be more observant, Ellie does not notice that the escape ladder that Abby uses to infiltrate the theatre is a security risk while checking out the place.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • You get to see Ellie topless from the back, except her body is covered in bruises and cuts, after an escape from a traumatic fight in Seattle.
    • The final fight features two young, muscular women in jeans and tank tops duking it out in shallow water, a premise which would not be too unusual for a typical Cat Fight. But when the women in question start off badly injured and/or starved, get even more injured and covered in blood as the fight wears on, and are genuinely trying to kill each other? Not so appealing any longer.
  • Fed to the Beast: The player can actually exploit the combined hunger and blindness of Clickers by using the grab & drag mechanics; if the player snares a human enemy —or a Runner— and then throws them into a Clicker, the Clicker will be distracted as it kills and eats the enemy.
  • Final Battle: Ellie and Abby slug it out in the surf while freed prisoners battle the Rattlers offscreen.
  • Fingore: Ellie loses two of her fingers from a bite during her final fight with Abby. One is lost outright, and it's implied Ellie amputates the other.
  • Finishing Stomp: One way Abby can kill Ellie in their final fight is by stomping directly on her face. Also one of the ways you can kill an infected if it ends up crawling at you, which results in its head being entirely crushed.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The first game's flamethrower returns as a weapon that Abby can find. It spits short-ranged bursts of flame, ideal for taking on the infected.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: Quite a few, including the fights between Abby and Ellie, take place without your guns available.
  • Flashback: Part II makes extensive use of flashbacks to provide background exposition about its protagonists.
  • Foil: Ellie and Abby are contrasted and compared with each other throughout the game:
    • Ellie is a short, slender woman, Abby is ripped with muscles and much taller.
    • Ellie is fond of puns and jokes, Abby has a no-nonsense type personality and doesn't joke around.
    • Ellie is a lesbian, Abby is presumably completely heterosexual.
    • Gameplay-wise, Ellie is best at picking off enemies one by one using stealth and using traps and smoke bombs to distract, Abby is best in a firefight and using her hands and melee weapons.
    • Ellie is in love with Space and astronomy, Abby is scared to death of heights.
    • Both women are alike in that they both have caring Love Interests that reconcile with their partners' darker natures, both women have nerdy interests (Ellie with comic books, while Abby is more of a traditional book nerd), and both have older male characters (Ellie has Joel, Abby has her father) that were devoted to them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Part Foreshadowing, part Establishing Character Moment; in the very beginning of the game Seth apologizes to Ellie for his homophobic tirade at the dance and offers a steak sandwich, both of which Ellie rebuke, indicating she doesn't forgive easily. Joel definitely knows this for a fact after Ellie found out on her own about the lie he told to her at the end of the first game, after which she stops being on friendly terms with him for years, and only starts to repair her relationship with him before he tragically gets killed. It's also she continues her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, despite it's detriment to her relationships and mental health.
    • During the game's prolouge, during while out on patrol and during a blizzard, Ellie briefly loses sight of Dina and is alone. The game's ending has Dina leave Ellie with JJ and Ellie comes back to an empty house.
    • During Seattle Day 1, Dina makes a couple of comments about wanting to live in a farm and asking Ellie about pets and saying that they "get a little creature together" when they get back. Both of which come true, though JJ isn't a pet, but Dina and Ellie's child.
    • Ellie and Dina also talk about Bill from the first game, a paranoid shut-in that drives everyone away from him, leaving him alone and isolated. Ellie finds herself in the same situation (possibly) with her quest for revenge consuming her to the point she loses everything, Dina, JJ, two of her fingers, and ends up alone.
    • During "Seattle, Day 1", if you pay attention to Dina, she can occasionally be seen holding her stomach and acting like nothing's wrong when she thinks Ellie sees her. Towards the end of the chapter, she reveals to Ellie that she's pregnant.
    • A conversation in the theatre during Day 3, combined with a dash of Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    Tommy: Hey. They got what they deserved.
    Ellie: But she gets to live.
    Tommy: Yeah. Is that okay?
    Ellie: It has to be.
    • During an early part of Abby's playthrough, one of the WLF soldiers gets his hand badly injured and is later seen getting it mended. He remarks that that at least he'll keep most of his fingers and Manny quips that he only needs three. The end sees Ellie losing two fingers as the result of a bite from Abby, leaving her with only three.
    • During Ellie's section in the hospital's uncleared area after she pulls Nora into the spore pit, suddenly the power comes on which startles the WLF enemies. During Abby's playthrough in a different area of the hospital, she turned on the power to unlock some of the doors.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the Seattle Harbor sniper battle, when Abby and Manny push the sniper off their bridge and into the pier building, if the player is quick enough and aims at the shooter, you can clearly see that it's Tommy.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Goes both ways for Abby and Ellie:
    • The surgeon Joel killed in the ending of the first game was Abby's father and she's been hunting Joel ever since. Abby's allies are uneasy around her and Lev is the one who gets Abby to finally let go of her anger so she can start again. Abby also learns that Joel's death meant nothing, her dad is still dead and it didn't bring the closure she was expecting.
    • Ellie's revenge against Abby makes her just as bad, if not worse than Abby herself. As shown by how they interact with pregnant women: Abby almost murders a woman and says "good" when told she's pregnant, whereas, Ellie thoughtlessly kills a pregnant woman and is horrified when she realises what she did. In the end, Ellie sacrifices her happiness in her pursuit of Abby, she just couldn't let him go in the end.
  • Futureshadowing: Near the end of the museum flashback, Ellie encounters a diorama of an elk being attacked by wolves, and later goes through a gap in a wall that puts her in the centre of a group of stuffed wolves, all snarling at her. Not too hard to guess the meaning there.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Ellie sometimes freezes in a default pose upon interacting with collectables, making it impossible to progress without loading the last checkpoint. Remember to save often.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Ellie plays differently than Joel because she's a girl who lacks his upper body strength and is a lot smaller/lighter than him. Essentially playing as her compared to him, you're meant to be sneakier and do more ranged fighting since she doesn't have the upper body strength to brute force her way through like him. The game gives you more options in stealth and explosives (since you can throw them from cover without being spotted) to make encourage this way of fighting. You can also craft a pistol silencer to give you a more reliable quiet weapon. However being lighter and smaller also has its advantages since you can now hide in and squeeze through places Joel could never have been able to and Ellie is much lighter on her feet, adding a traversal element. She's also much faster than him, making running away from a hairy situation much easier. Abby plays somewhere between the two because she's stronger than Ellie but not nearly as much so as Joel.
    • Abby's acrophobia. If you position yourself near an edge leading to a fall that will kill you and look down, the camera will do a Vertigo Effect, darken around the edges, and Abby, will begin hyperventilating, her facial expression will turn to horror and she will shiver and clench her arms and hands close to her body.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When hearing the word "Seraphite" spoken for the first time, Ellie claims she doesn't know it, even though the player has likely read at least one note using that name by that point.
  • Gender Is No Object: You only fought and killed male human enemies in the first game. In Part II, there are about as many female mooks as there are male and Ellie can brutally kill anyone she meets regardless their gender.
  • Geo Effects: Part II expands on its predecessor's cover mechanics by letting Ellie go prone to hide in tall grass. Enemies can still spot her in this state but need to get pretty close to do so.
  • Get It Over With: Taking a shotgun blast to the leg and restrained by the others in the WLF group, Joel realizes their intentions and accepts he's doomed, telling Abby to give whatever speech she's rehearsed and to get it over with. Unfortunately for him, Abby does not want Joel to simply die quickly.
  • The Ghost: Dina mentions her sister, Talia, a lot and you can find a recent picture of the two of them but she never shows up and it's not clear if she lives in Jackson or is even alive.
  • Giant Mook: The Seraphites field a couple of huge fighters that can't be stealth-killed normally, turning them into minibosses of sorts (and two of them provide actual boss fights). Keep an eye out for dudes wielding two-handed hammers lest you run into a nasty surprise.
  • Golf Clubbing: Abby takes some Extreme Mêlée Revenge on Joel by beating his head in with a golf club. Ellie even gets to see the final strike that ends Joel's life.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera stays on Ellie when she beats Nora to death with a pipe.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Trophies can be earned by collecting all trading cards, coins, artefacts, training manuals and weapons, as well as for finding all weapons benches and unlocking all safes.
  • Great Offscreen War: Seattle was once the battlefield of the war between the WLF and FEDRA, an authoritarian faction trying to impose order. Ellie can stumble upon the remnants of their hideouts and the corpses of their fallen soldiers.
  • Green Hill Zone: When entering Seattle's downtown, Ellie and Dina stumble upon a rather large grassy plain with gentle slopes, next to no enemies, and plenty of hiding spots for loot. Ellie does point out that the zone ended up like this probably because of heavy bombardment.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The bloater Ellie fights is killed in a cutscene triggered when it hits her after taking a certain amount of damage. The complete counterintuitiveness of this has led some emptying entire ammo reserves in vain.
    • This time around you have to find some of the weapons and they can be missed. The flamethrower is one of these. Good luck fighting the Rat King without it.
  • Gun Accessories: Gunsmithing is back, and unlike in the original game it actually shows the modifications you add to your guns. They're mostly the Boring, but Practical kind that don't look flashy but help you survive in the post-apocalypse, like extended magazines, better stocks or grips for improved stability, or a mid-range scope for the hunting rifle.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: In the name of preserving the game's cap on the ammunition you can carry, you end up constantly walking around with one full magazine loaded in your gun and, for whatever reason, a spare mag loaded with only a few rounds- even though there's no reason not to fully load both magazines.
  • Hand Cannon: Abby can find a Thompson Contender, an antiquated-looking, one-shot but powerful gun.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Ellie has one right before she almost kills Abby; seeing a vision of Joel smiling at her. It's at that point she can no longer go through with killing Abby, it's implied that she finally understood just why Joel saved her and how her life mattered to him.
    • Abby through her campaign comes to a slow realization of her misdeeds, her killing of Joel didn't bring closure, Owen can't look at her the same way, and Mel gives her a "Reason You Suck" Speech on how suddenly caring for Yara and Lev won't absolve her of her previous actions.
  • Hero of Another Story: Tommy pursues Abby on his own revenge mission and is offscreen for the majority of Ellie's story until it's conclusion, but his handiwork is seen as Ellie begins to catch up to him. Torture victims, bodies riddled with bullet holes and/or mutilated, vehicles burning and destroyed, Tommy does at the very minimum as much damage to the WLF as Ellie does, if not more. He also appears near the conclusion of Abby's parallel storyline, with the player wondering where he is after witnessing all the destruction he caused in Ellie's storyline, only to appear as an unexpected surprise in the final hours of Abby's.
  • Heroic BSoD: At the farm, Ellie suddenly gets a flash of Joel being killed and suffers a terrifying panic attack. It's indicated that this was one of many episodes that she's had. After getting intel from Tommy about Abby's location, she leaves to finish things for good, just to feel some sort of closure and get out of her depression.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted. Improvised suppressors can be crafted for the pistol, but they not only have limited durability, they also can't completely suppress the report. If you shoot it close enough to someone else, they will hear it.
  • Hope Spot:
    • After the brutal encounter in the theater, the story jumps forwards to Ellie and Dina's new life on a farm, raising the latter's baby. It's a sweet, peaceful sequence that offers Ellie a chance of happiness with a family after the hell that she's endured, though PTSD from Joel's death and general depression by her own admission prevent her from taking any serious solace. When Tommy arrives with intel on Abby's whereabouts, Ellie leaves to finish things despite Dina's pleas, and by the end of the game she and the baby are gone for good, Ellie's need for revenge having ruined her chance for that life with her family.
    • After Abby shoots Joel in the leg, she orders her men to tourniquet it. You hope that maybe she's decided to spare his life for some reason. But no. She wants to kill him slowly.
    • Though Genre Savvy viewers know something is up when Abby reveals her location over the radio, there is a brief moment of happiness for Abby and Lev before the Rattlers (slavers) catch them.
  • Hell Hotel: One of the most gruelling and brutal stages of the game is called "The Descent", which which Abby and Lev get stranded on the top of a high-rise hotel building overrun with infected and have to fight their way down to the street level.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The first ND title to get a sexual content warning in its ESRB rating. The game contains the company's first explicit sex scene between Abby and Owen and a more chaste one between Ellie and Dina.
  • How We Got Here: The entirety of Abby's character arc basically exists for two reasons: to show the player who she is and why she did what she did, and explain where she was the whole time Ellie was searching for her and how she finally ended up in the theatre.
  • Human Shield: Just like Joel, Ellie can take human enemies hostage at gunpoint. However, certain bow or gun-armed human enemies will continue to attack Ellie through said human shield in order to deny her the use of it.
  • Idiot Ball: Too many cases of this to even count, but the most blatant one is probably Ellie leaving her map of Seattle on the floor of the aquarium, despite knowing Abby is still alive and could return there any time.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: One of the reasons for leaving Ellie and Tommy alive is that the group wanted Joel and that killing Ellie will make them just as bad as Joel.
  • Ignored Confession: Early on in the game, Ellie admits to Dina that she's immune to the infection. Her admission is passed off as a joke.
  • I Have No Son!: Yara and Lev's fanatical mother utterly disapproved of Lev coming out as a trans man and wanted to have nothing to do with them after they fled the Haven. Heartbroken that Yara was willing to abandon their mother to start a new life, Lev rushes back alone to the island to convince her to flee with them, only their mother became hysterical and tried to kill him, forcing him to defend himself but ended up accidentally killing her in self-defence.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: If you enable the Reduced Enemy Accuracy option in the Combat Accessibility menu, gun-toting enemies can't hit the broadside of a barn. You can go through most of the game without suffering more than an occasional graze as long as you're not actively trying to get shot.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Despite the game's relentlessly grim atmosphere, groan-inducing puns make a return to lighten the mood every now and then, although it's not Ellie who's telling them this time around. Joel of all people cracks one in the prologue in an effort to cheer up his still-crestfallen surrogate daughter, and Dina also comes up with some.
    Joel: What's the downside of swallowing a clock? It's time-consuming.
  • Inertial Impalement:
    • Dina has a scar on her abdomen from when she fell off a skateboard onto her knife when she was 12.
    • When Ellie gets caught by the Rattlers' snare, the momentum swings her right into a sharp tree branch that stabs deep into her side.
  • In-Series Nickname: The two warring factions in Seattle, the Seraphites and WLF, have nicknames for each other. The former are “scars” because of the scars they’ve cut into their cheeks and the latter are “wolves”.
  • Internal Reveal: Early in the game, Ellie tells Dina that she’s immune to the infection whilst explaining she gave herself a chemical burn to hide the bite mark; Dina doesn’t believe her & Ellie has to tell her all over again months later, after her mask breaks while they're about to be overtaken by a horde of infected and she wants to stop to share a mask.
    • Through the flashbacks it's revealed that Ellie returned to the hospital from the first game's ending in search of answers, already being dubious of Joel's lie and struggling to come to terms with how her immunity means little now there is no chance of a cure. Searching through the hospital reveals what actually happened, and when confronted Joel comes clean with the truth, resulting in his and Ellie's relationship becoming strained before the start of the second game.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Downplayed on two occasions:
    • Abby punches Ellie hard in the face at least a dozen times during their first fight. By the end, her left-hand remains unmarked, and her right-hand ends up, at most, skinned (the blood could potentially be from a slash wound on the same arm, or even from Ellie). Neither of her hands ends up broken.
    • The same happens in their final fight. Both end with, at worst, skinned knuckles despite winging haymakers at each other's jaw (Fingore notwithstanding).
  • It Can Think: Not as dramatic as other examples, but Tommy notes that the infected are starting to form herds and migrate seasonally like animals, whereas previously they would've just paced around aimlessly looking for something to attack.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: While trying to get to Nora's hospital, Abby needs to go up one of the few standing skyscrapers in Seattle, taking one of the hidden routes of the Seraphites. Unfortunately for her, she has acrophobia and she's definitely panicking when she has to cross the jibs of a tower crane that connect two skyscrapers.
  • Jump Scare: Has quite a few given the setting.
    • After exploring most of the Seattle area on horseback, Ellie and Dina leave the area and consider camping for the night. They jump over a barbed wire obstacle only to get knocked off their horse by a hidden anti-personnel mine. The reason it's effective is you're controlling the horse and there's little to no warning it'll happen.
    • In one of the optional buildings in the first explorable area in Seattle, a runner jumps out at you from a bathroom stall. Dina wonders out loud just how the Infected get into those places.
    • At one point Ellie explores the house of a man who was a pro archer and very proficient at killing infected from some of the notes you find. However when you reach the garage area, that same archer jumps you as a Stalker which you have to put down.
    • When you reach a hotel area, there doesn't seem to be anyone there and just another abandoned building with items to grab and a workbench to upgrade your weapons. Go to do so and an enemy combatant will suddenly attack you from behind without warning, forcing you into a firefight with his friends after you kill him. The heck, game?!
    • Some particularly heavily infested buildings have Stalkers grown into walls that'll suddenly revive, break free and charge at you screaming if you get too close.
    • The flashback to Ellie's 16th birthday contains a nasty one when a startled boar suddenly charges past her in a dark and foreboding part of the museum. Made particularly effective by all the supplies you can pick up before it happens despite no actual fight happening in the chapter.
  • Kick the Dog: Literally. Enemies (especially the WLF which Ellie fights)have guard dogs who can track your scent and whom you can kill them to make it easier to hide. There’s also a QTE hidden in a cutscene in which Ellie has to kill one of said dogs.
    • The dog that Ellie kills is Alice, Abby's personal guard dog. Ellie literally spends the entire game doing this, both literally and metaphorically, murdering Abby's dog and the WLF's cute innocent dogs. The enemies specifically all have names and they call out to each other to reflect this, and their dogs whimper at their corpses AND their owners will remark how their dog was killed.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Just like in the first game, opposing human characters will talk among each-other or yell at you if they're alerted to your presence, and you can invoke this.
  • Kill It with Fire: Molotovs and the flamethrower make a return, but now there's also incendiary shotgun shells for that extra bit of crispiness.
  • Lack of Empathy: One of the focal points of the story: namely, how hate helps dehumanize others.
    • Ellie is increasingly traumatized by her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, but it only makes her more bent on continuing it, until she begins to disregard other people. It culminates in her unapologetically leaving Dina to go after Abby, even telling her that it's on her if she doesn't wait for her.
    • Abby is taken over by hate to this point. She doesn't get why Ellie would go after her, even though their motivation is pretty much the same because she hates Joel this much; even Joel's kindness when she meets him doesn't make her hesitate for a second. She also has a hard time considering the Seraphites as people even when she's younger. She only lets go of both after she connects with Yara and Lev.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Elie's brutal quest to avenge Joel and his memory ends in her not only losing the people she cared about, but her last link to Joel (literally) severed - the ability to play the guitar.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Abby says what most people are thinking when she first encounters the Rat King in the hospital, “Holy fuck! Holy fucking fuck!”
  • Leave No Survivors: While enemies can and will surrender to you, the player is encouraged to kill them since they'll invariably pull a I Surrender, Suckers once you turn away.
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • You'll occasionally come across groups of mutually hostile enemy factions in the same area, and instead of taking them all on by yourself, you can try to lure them into contact with each other and then clean up what's left once they're done killing each other. Alternatively, you can attempt to sneak past them all while they're busy. You can also do this with the Infected, by luring them to a group of enemies and watch them lay waste to each other.
  • MacGyvering: Item crafting has been greatly expanded upon. Aside from medkits and improvised explosives, Ellie can learn to craft jury-rigged suppressors, stun bombs, explosive arrows and more. The only problem is that, due to the crafting resources being mostly the same, you'll find yourself facing Sadistic Choices even more often when it comes to decide what to use them for in any given situation - do you stuff that piece of cloth into a bottle to create a suppressor, or do you rather make a medkit out of it?
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Both Ellie and Abby's Love Interests care deeply for them, but find themselves unable to deal with the lengths that they go to for revenge. It's implied this was the reason why Owen and Abby are no longer together, and Dina (possibly) left Ellie for good after Ellie leaves to find Abby and end her once and all.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Abby and Owen's relationship is this dynamic; Abby is a buff, hardened solider who's great at killing and Owen, while a soldier as well, is more sensitive and not afraid to display his emotions. It's implied that it was him that started pulling away from Abby once she had her mind set on avenging her dad and working towards that goal, and while he didn't blame her, he was scared of level of sadism she showed by torturing Joel to death.
  • Man Bites Man:
    • Ellie bites Abby's forearm in their first fight.
    • Abby bites off Ellie’s ring finger and pinky in their final fight.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • A huge number of Abby's gameplay or flashback sequences echo earlier scenes with Joel:
      • Owen leads Abby through the Seattle Aquarium, just as Joel led Ellie through the Wyoming Natural History Museum
      • Abby and her father have a bonding moment with an escaped zebra from the Salt Lake City zoo, as Joel and Ellie did with giraffes from the first game.
      • Abby's exploration mechanics with Lev are extremely similar to Joel and Ellie, bringing back the 'toss the child up to a retracted ladder to kick it down' as well as other moves.
    • In the Seattle Aquarium restaurant, there is a note from the Seraphites to a teenager they are trying to recruit, warming him not to adopt his father's weaknesses. The corpse of that father is in the room clutching a letter explaining how the boy took his younger brother and fled to join the cult, using the same phrase.
  • Meaningful Name: The Seraphites' name comes from a group of angels in the Abrahamic religions. Seraphs have six wings and they’re a religious cult that wants to “clip people’s wings”. In the book of Isaiah , the seraphs help him see the error of his ways and free himself of sin, much like the cult believes the plague was wiping the world of sin. They also believe they're washing away their hanging victims' sins. The word also comes from the Hebrew word “saraph” which means “to burn”, as in burn with passion for God which they have in common.
    Isaiah 6:2-4: Seraph angels stood around him. Each angel had six wings. They used two wings to cover their faces, two wings to cover their bodies, and two wings to fly. The angels were calling to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord All-Powerful. His glory fills the whole earth.” The sound was so loud that it caused the frame around the door to shake, and the Temple was filled with smoke.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Averted; just like in the first game where you can be interrupted while accessing the inventory menu and crafting materials by enemies. There's one specific instance where there's a pre-scripted Jump Scare when you access a certain weapon upgrade workbench in a (supposedly) empty building and get grabbed from behind by a enemy from out of nowhere. The same is likely to happen if you're dumb enough to tweak your weapons while there are still enemies in the area, as not all workbenches are in safe territory.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The E3 trailer has Ellie kissing Dina transitioning to a shot of Ellie slowly and tortuously slashing a man's throat.
    • Most of the museum flashback section with Joel is heartwarming and bittersweet. However, the final section in the Natural History Center is ominous, featuring a dark building with disturbing confessions spray-painted on the walls, creepy dioramas, a skeletal corpse, and a Jump Scare.
    • The game's depressing ending is accompanied by its Evolving Title Screen changing from a gloomy, fog-shrouded lake to a bright and sunny Californian beach.
  • Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: This is what stops Ellie from killing Abby for the latter's murder of Joel in the end, as a vision of Joel himself appears in front of Ellie.
  • Morality Pet: Rescuing Lev not only leads Abby to her personal redemption journey, it's Lev who appeals to Abby to back off at the last moment rather than kill a pregnant Dina in revenge for Mel.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ellie has this reaction when she learns that Mel, who she killed less than a minute earlier, was pregnant.
  • Mythology Gag: A couple to ''Uncharted. Ellie and Dina can find a "Sic parvis Magna" ring in a bank (and you get a trophy for doing so) and there's a Nathan Drake Halloween costume in a party store.
  • Nerf: The hunting rifle, previously a One-Hit Kill weapon against most basic enemies, now needs at least two body shots to kill even early-game humans wearing nothing but shirts and jeans. You need to purchase its expensive damage upgrade to bring it somewhat in line with how it used to behave. It's probably compensation for having the rifle available from the very beginning.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The announcement trailer had Joel walk into a house to find Ellie surrounded by bodies, and she tells him she plans to kill all of a certain group of people. This scene never happens in the game — because Joel is dead by that point in the story, and Ellie is out to avenge him.
    • The State of Play trailer had Joel stopping Ellie to tell her that she can't go out by herself. In the final release, the scene instead has Jesse join her and deliver the line.
      • The same trailer implied that Ellie would be getting revenge for Dina, as a big deal is made about Ellie looking for her before the scene where she's forced to watch someone get shot. In the game Ellie and Dina are very briefly separated by a blizzard and the death Ellie watches is Joel's, who was killed by bludgeoning. Other trailer shots are from the horseback sections in Seattle showing Ellie riding alone but in the game Dina is with her and never goes on foot when Ellie's in the saddle.
    • Trailers had shown scenes of Ellie interacting with an older Joel. The actual game shows these as flashbacks with younger models for Ellie and Joel.
    • Like the State of Play trailer, the story trailer also removed Dina from multiple cutscene shots and gameplay footage she's actually in. As well, a brief shot in the same trailer is from Ellie and Abby's final fight, showing Ellie in her usual shirt and hairstyle and with her face covered in blood. In the actual scene, she has a different outfit and hair, while the amount of blood on her face is a dynamic element of that segment and will vary.
    • The final commercial lauding the game with reviewers' scores features a brief scene with Isaac and his troops cornering someone, implying it's Ellie. The shot used here removes Abby completely, who by then had already betrayed the Wolves.
  • New Game+: A native feature of the game this time around, starting an NG+ starts you off with all skills and weapon upgrades you acquired during your first run. Trophy hunters will have to do at least one such run to acquire the trophies for fully upgrading all skills and weapons, something that's impossible to accomplish in a single campaign.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Arguably the whole game comes about because Joel killed the doctor who was about to do the operation on Ellie, unaware he had a daughter. The man wasn't heavily armed (save for a scalpel) and did try to reason with Joel, but Joel was the one to fatally kill him rather than just incapacitate him. Had Joel not gone through with his decision to save Ellie at the cost of going against the Fireflies, the events of the game likely would've never happened.
    • Ellie reaches the area where Abby and her friends are. But after killing Owen and Mel, Ellie finds out too late the latter was pregnant and is on the verge of a breakdown before Tommy and Jesse get her out of there, with it likely that she was set to give up the quest altogether (Jesse earlier imploring they turn back, mostly for Dina's sake). However, she made the mistake of dropping the map of Seattle she was using (with it marked to boot) that Abby would later find and track them back to the theatre they were staying at. This results in Tommy getting shot in the head that will have him lose sight in one eye as well as wounded in the leg that would give him a limp from then on and Jesse being shot dead in the scuffle.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Joel and Tommy assist Abby and her group in fleeing from a horde of infected. They also offer to let the group recover and stock up with Joel's camp. This leads to them learning of Joel's identity and Abby killing him for revenge.
    • Abby and Owen decide to spare Ellie and Tommy's lives since their main target was Joel. However, all this results in is Ellie and Tommy chasing them all the way back to Seattle. All of Abby's friends, including Owen, are killed at Ellie and Tommy's hands.
  • Not So Different:
    • It's shown that the WLF and Jackson settlement are very similar, in that they are highly advanced, self-sufficient societies that have managed to survive in the post-outbreak world.
    • Owen points out that the way the WLF views the Seraphites as dangerous, insane cultists isn't all that much different from how the government viewed the Fireflies as dangerous, insane terrorists.
    • The WLF isn't all that different from the FEDRA forces they overthrew. They're still a highly militarized society that is attempting to deal with hit and run attacks from a separatist group competing for control of Seattle.
    • When it comes down to it, both the WLF and the Seraphites are just genocidal power-hungry groups seeking to gain total control over greater Seattle at any cost. Their different beliefs and lifestyles ultimately play no role in the larger scheme of things.
    • When Jerry is trying to convince Marlene to go through with the operation to sacrifice Ellie, Marlene challenges him by asking him if he would be willing to go through with the operation if it was his own daughter on the operating table. Jerry hesitates but successfully dodges answering the question, suggesting that he would have done the exact same thing as Joel and sacrificed a potential cure to save his own daughter. In the same scene, Abby says that she would want her father to go through with the surgery, mirroring Ellie's own words in a late-game flashback where she outright tells Joel she would've wanted to be sacrificed at the hospital so that her life would matter.
    • Abby spent the last 4 years hating Joel for killing her father, only to go through the same Character Development Joel did in The Last of Us: she becomes a less emotional person, drives away anyone close to her, commits some serious sins, only to have her tough, hardened exterior melted down by a child companion.
  • One-Hit Kill: The post-apocalypse knows many ways to end a life very abruptly.
    • A headshot from any weapon is instantly lethal to humans unless they wear a helmet, which no enemy does until the final chapter. Runners and dogs are also subject to this while more advanced types of infected avert it, requiring multiple headshots to take down unless you're using a particularly powerful gun.
    • Heavy melee weapons like fire axes and two-handed hammers need only one hit to kill, balancing out their low durability.
    • Few opponents can survive a point-blank shotgun blast; even less so once you upgrade the shotgun's damage.
    • High-level infected like Shamblers and Bloaters have an "Instant Death" Radius - fail to evade their melee attacks and you're treated to a gruesome death scene.
    • Only the most resilient Elite Mooks can survive being set on fire, making Molotov cocktails and the flamethrower very effective against anything short of Bloaters.
    • Similarly, explosive weapons like pipe bombs, proximity mines and explosive arrows turn anything that isn't a miniboss into Ludicrous Gibs no questions asked.
    • Bosses often have the ability to inflict this on the Player Character (like Ellie during her and Abby's first battle, or the Rat King) to set them apart from normal Elite Mooks.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: When Ellie finds out Abby has been captured by a sadistic bandit gang, she still insists on going to their hideout to personally kill her. And it's not just to make sure she dies either. Several times along this journey, Ellie says she hopes the bandits haven't killed Abby yet because she wants to be the one to do the deed.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • There's a reason you get a trophy for finding all weapons. Only half of the 12 available weapons are acquired automatically. If you want the heavy hitters, you'll have to search for them, and missing them means you'll have to get by with only your basic gear. This is particularly dangerous for Abby and her eventual encounter with the Rat King as having fewer weapons means fewer rounds to unload into the abomination, making the fight exponentially more difficult.
    • The additional holsters, previously craftable upgrades, are now also found in the world, and just as missable.
    • Both protagonists have only a single basic Skill Tree available by default and need to find well-hidden training manuals to unlock their more advanced skills. Missing them, especially the stealth-centric ones, makes the game a whole lot harder.
  • Perspective Flip: The story is primarily about Ellie's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the one who murdered Joel. Then, about halfway through the game, you're suddenly given control of said murderer to learn their motivation and witness the events up to that point from their perspective until the two paths meet again where they previously diverged, culminating in a vicious battle between the two Dueling Player Characters.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After Joel is killed, Owen is shown refusing to allow the others in Abby's group to pragmatically kill off Ellie and Tommy as loose ends, fully stating that if they do so that they would be just as bad as they think of Joel. This ends up becoming their undoing, as it enables Ellie, Tommy and their allies to hunt them down in revenge.
    • Abby's Redemption Quest. She spends the entire game, rescuing the hunted Yara and Lev from the Seraphites, being beyond nice to everyone around her, and literally petting (and playing fetch with) dogs. The WLF own dogs who act like loveable pets during this section after appearing like vicious enemy attack dogs during Ellie's section, their concern for their dead owners notwithstanding.
  • Plot Parallel: Ellie and Tommy. By the end of the game, their animalistic need for revenge has left them both physically and emotionally crippled, and their spouses have left them due to their destructive behaviour.
  • Pregnant Badass: Two of the characters are pregnant yet do their patrols like any other member of their community, fending off enemy humans and infected alike. The first of them is Mel, a member of the WLF whose pregnancy is quite advanced. The second is Dina, who's bearing her and Jesse's child.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Lev runs away from the Seraphites because they won't accept him because he's transgender. Although his sister Yara (another ex-Seraphite) is supportive.
  • Poor Communication Kills: On both sides of the conflict, barely anyone bothers to sit down and just talk things out rationally, not even a Motive Rant, often being too blinded by the need for vengeance to listen to reason. Abby never tells Joel why she's trying to kill him, she just shoots him on sight and beats him to death. Ellie isn't any better, killing three of Abby's friends before they can explain themselves (though admittedly because they try and attack her first when she has them at their mercy) and by the time she does realize why Abby did her actions, Abby's come to try and avenge her friends and the two are too caught up in trying to kill each other to see reason anymore. Even more so at the end where they're both too tired and wounded to be in any position to fight each other and by all rights, should just talk it out. But Ellie once more re-engages the conflict for one more fight.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure:
    • Though Ellie is lesbian and Dina is bi, neither of them understand the LGBT connotation of rainbows upon seeing a few of them in Seattle, including the pride flag itself inside a gay and lesbian bookstore.
    • Lev grew up in a medieval religious cult and thus has only the barest idea of the outside world. When Abby calls something he did "cool", he doesn't understand the term. She has a lot of explaining to do while they travel together.
  • Preserve Your Gays: Like the first game, Ellie survives, if not unscathed. Ellie's bisexual love interest Dina survives with her child but leaves due to Ellie's quest for vengeance. The transgender Lev survives as well with the help of his sibling Yara, who dies.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: You thought the first game averted this? Let's go over how this one averts it even harder...
    • Very, VERY detailed entry and exit wounds for every kind of bullet.
    • Being able to flat out blow people's jaws off with a well-placed shot.
    • Brain matter, blood, and bone fragments flying out of the wound and hitting the ground, even splattering on a nearby wall and sliding down, leaving a trail of blood.
  • Product Placement: There's a lot of surprisingly intact Sony PlayStation consoles to be found in abandoned homes. One of the Wolves, Whitney, is even seen playing a PlayStation Vita several times, with Abby even asking her about the game she is playing. At least she has the decency to mutter "stupid video games" while walking away.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Deconstructed thoroughly. Ellie goes off on a revenge-fueled rampage after Joel gets killed by Abby and the WLF and mows down through solider after solider to reach her goal. But the second act of the game has the perspective shift to Abby, who is understandably angry towards Joel as he killed her father as well as possibly doomed humanity by saving Ellie in the last game. The enemies Ellie killed were Abby's friends and compatriots in the WLF, so naturally, she's pissed when she confronts Ellie at the theater. Also throughout the story (most prominently in Abby's campaign), the story confronts the dangers of demonization of entire groups.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Abby gets revenge for her father's death and is allowed to leave with Lev so she can start a new life. However, because of Abby's actions; all of her friends are dead, her dog is dead, and her revenge didn't bring the closure she was expecting.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Delicate electronic devices like the PlayStation Vita handheld console are unlikely to still be fully functional 25 years into the post-apocalypse, but one minor WLF character is repeatedly shown playing with one in a particularly blatant case of Product Placement. That this is literally the only example of this trope in both games only makes it more jarring.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • It's implied that Ellie's quest of "killing every single one" of her targets is messing with her head and giving her uncontrollable shaking, a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ellie may have grown up in a post-apocalyptic world, but that doesn't mean she likes killing people in this way. Her brutally lethal interrogation of Nora leaves her particularly shaken.
    • Yara gets her arm shattered with a hammer and has to wait a night before she can get to a doctor. By the time she does, it’s already developed compartment syndrome and has to be amputated.
    • Abby loses a significant amount of weight during her captivity by the Rattlers, dropping her closer in size to Ellie. Her face, in particular, becomes so gaunt as to be almost unrecognizable.
    • A moment of reality ensuing comes as a result of what Joel does at the end of the first game. Joel's death ultimately shows that actions have consequences, even though he did it to save Ellie from being sacrificed to make a cure, he still murdered those people and chose to avoid those consequences by lying to Ellie. From Abby's perspective, Joel killed her father, a man who had every intention of saving humanity from further infection.
    • Even though the outbreak has forced people into small communities in order to survive and bring back social structure, people will still have their prejudices, especially towards the people within their own community. Ellie was on the verge of beating up a man who threw a homophobic slur at her and her girlfriend. In Lev's case, his reveal as being transgender wasn't welcomed and he was forced to kill his own mother to protect himself from her.
  • Religion of Evil: According to Yara, the Seraphites used to be a peaceful cult until their self-proclaimed prophet was killed, at which point the new leadership twisted her words into the hateful and downright genocidal perversion one gets to witness in the game.
  • Redemption Quest: Joel's arc, even after death, is eventually getting the forgiveness of Ellie for lying to her about the vaccine. And Abby, for killing Joel to redeem herself in the player's eyes. For this purpose, Abby spends the entire game petting the dog while Ellie spends it, conversely, making herself look awful in contrast.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Ellie, several times throughout the game, most prominently towards the ending where after settling with Dina and the baby, she can't let of what Abby did and pursues her — only not to kill her. She loses everything afterwards, outside of Tommy and her home of Jackson.
    • Abby, who has been tracking Joel for the last 4 years, and training for the moment to kill him. It's implied that she and Owen ended things because he was turned off by her obsession of getting revenge, and after she kills Joel, it's clear he was only there to make sure Abby didn't do anything else rash.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Almost halfway through the game, we're given a flashback that reveals that Ellie did find out the truth about what happened at the Firefly hospital, which resulted in her cutting her ties with Joel. This puts her revenge mission in a somewhat different light as before the reveal, the players might assume Ellie is going after Abby's group not knowing what would have caused Abby to kill Joel (although she never learns the exact reason). However, the real eye-opener comes at the very end when it's revealed that the day before Joel is killed, Ellie had just decided to try and forgive him, only to be rid of the chance thanks to Abby. This would lead to the confirmed interpretation that during her revenge journey, Ellie is just as mad at herself as she is with Abby. While Abby physically tortured Joel, Ellie emotionally tortured him for two years for not speaking to him, and then lost him forever thanks to her refusal to forgive him before it was too late. Ellie's whole journey, as well as its conclusion, can thus then be seen as her learning to forgive both Joel and herself more than it is to get revenge, concluded with her deciding to spare Abby after all and leaving the guitar she was gifted from Joel by the window of her and Dina's farmhouse, seemingly as a symbol for finally getting over his death and letting go of her hatred and guilt.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Since there is not an unbiased source around between the WLF and the Seraphites and the Jackson crew stumble into their war three days before it comes to a boiling point, there's not an answer given to who exactly broke the truce between the two of them.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: Like the last game, you come across ruins of neighbourhoods and cities. With the PS4's higher graphical power, there's a lot more detail to areas that were once teeming with life. A few still in somewhat pristine condition while others are covered in fungus growth and having chunks of the building missing. Making it both sadly beautiful and horrifying at the same time to explore.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Joel dies getting his head bashed in by a golf club. Golf being considered a fatherly hobby this does double duty as Abby does it because he took her father from her and it removes Ellie's Parental Substitute.
    • Ellie loses her left ring finger in her final fight with Abby. Symbolizing that she lost her chance at a happy life with Dina.
  • Scenery Porn: One thing that has earned unanimous praise is the art of the game. Some environments are truly gorgeous, with views of mountain-scapes near Jackson, overgrown buildings that take on a strangely serene atmosphere, lush forests, and lovingly rendered settlements, full of details about how its inhabitants work.
  • Secret Keeper: Joel, Tommy, and Maria are the only people in the world that know Ellie is immune. Joel chides her at one point for getting lazy about wearing her mask. She later tried to clean the bite up with acid but left a scar and had her soon-to-be first girlfriend Cat put a tattoo over it. Later, she tells Dina while they're in Seattle because she started freaking out when her mask broke as they were getting overrun by infected.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Downplayed. Ellie, after once trying (and failing) to avenge Joel by hunting down his killer, tosses away her family life with Dina and JJ for one more shot at revenge. She succeeds, but at the last second has a Heel Realization; Ellie lets go of Abby and the need for vengeance. Returning home, Dina and her son have left Ellie and it's not clear if they can be won back. Ellie is left alone and facing an uncertain future, but has forgiven Joel (and to a lesser extent, Abby) and her mental health seems to be on a path to healing.
  • Shmuck Bait: Weapon benches are normally safe to use after you clear out the area... except for one that spawns a squad of enemies behind you when you interact with it. The packing-up animation can't be interrupted, throwing you into Controllable Helplessness as you hear someone running up to you without being able to do anything about it until it's too late – unless you had the foreknowledge to know to put a trick mine behind you.
  • Shoot the Mage First: WLF guard dogs are a non-magic variant thanks to their beyond-human ability to track Ellie based on her scent. If you want to fight stealthily, getting rid of any dogs in the area will invariably be at the top of your priority list.
  • Shout-Out: Go Here.
  • Signature Style: The third ND project in a row to have the climactic fight be a good ol’ drag down, knock out slugfest with a Fisticuffs Boss (although one is technically a Sword Fight) rather than some elaborate set-piece.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: How the sniper is seen from the player's perspective for the majority of the Seattle Harbor battle. The shooter is revealed at the end of the fight in a surprisingly great twist.
  • Skill Tree: Unlike the original game's mostly independent skill selection for Joel, Ellie's skills are arranged in linear branches that must be progressed through one after the other to reach the more powerful ones. She also only has two branches unlocked by default and needs to pick up skill magazines to unlock more.
  • Slashed Throat: Probably the game's leading cause of death due to Ellie performing all her stealth kills this way. Justified of course by being the most efficient method to kill someone and prevent them from calling for help at the same time, at least for someone who lacks the raw physical strength to choke others dead or snap their neck as Joel did.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Far down the cynical side. While the first game could be very dark, it overall still had a message of hope and multiple moments of levity and humour. This game, while it does have lighter moments, also has a habit of taking any sense of optimism and hope the player may have and smashing it into pieces. In the end, Ellie loses almost everything important to her, even after deciding to end her own revenge.
  • Snow Means Death: The first chapter of the game takes place in a snow-covered forest and ends with Joel’s death.
  • Soft Glass:
    • If you're tired of breaking windows or other glass panes by throwing bricks at them, you can use melee attacks instead. The protagonists will use their melee weapon if they have one available, but if they don't, they'll use their elbow whether it's clothed or not, and they'll never suffer as much as a scratch for it. Crawling over glass shards left in window frames or on the floor also poses no health risk whatsoever.
    • One of Abby's chapters combines this with Soft Water when she falls off a very tall crane through a skylight into a swimming pool without the slightest injury.
  • Soft Water: Abby and Lev fall at least ten stories from a crane into a hotel’s pool and neither is injured.
  • So Happy Together: The story apparently ends with Abby alive but all her friends dead, and Ellie and Dina living a harmonious family life with Dina's and Jesse's baby son on a beautiful, peaceful farm. The game being what it is, it doesn't last as Ellie lets herself get talked into continuing the search for Abby despite Dina's pleas to stay with her. When she returns months later, Abby is still alive but Dina and the boy are gone, leaving Ellie with absolutely nothing but the ruins of the life she could've had.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Dina has Jesse's baby several months after he died.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path:
    • The bow returns as one of Ellie's weapons, now capable of launching very powerful explosive arrows in addition to the normal ones, but no longer showing you the arrow's exact trajectory, making it much more difficult to use. Also, recovering arrows is only possible after a headshot, and even then the chance is about 50:50 at best.
    • Abby gets a crossbow instead of a bow, a much better alternative overall because it holds the same amount of ammo while being easier to aim, and its sturdy quarrels mean they're recoverable more often.
      • Speaking of Abby, her sidekick Lev wields a bow as his main weapon while travelling with her.
    • Although most of the Seraphite soldiers wield firearms, they're also the only faction to field the occasional archer in battle. Getting hit with an arrow actually has a few unique gameplay elements like taking periodic damage while the arrow is lodged in the protagonist's body, thus forcing you to find cover long enough to pull the arrow out.
  • Straight Gay: During the Present part of the story, Ellie’s sexuality appears to be out in the open without much shock or gasp. We keep hearing references of Dina kissing Ellie, which is quite the surprise for the Town since Dina had been into guys, and more specifically her long-time boyfriend Jesse. People being surprised about Ellie being into Dina? Not so much. Ellie also had an ex-girlfriend Cat, further confirming her sexuality to be no secret.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Ellie has access to proximity mines, Molotov cocktails, stun/smoke bombs and explosive arrows. Abby makes do with pipe bombs instead.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Joel's death at the hands of Abby is what kickstarts the plot of Ellie trying to get revenge on everyone involved in his capture and unceremonious death.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Mostly played straight. See a bunch of materials lying around, and an upgrade bench with no enemies around? Yeah, you'll need them. There is one aversion: in the flashback involving Joel and Ellie at a museum, you can find ammo and crafting materials lying around despite there being nothing to fight.
  • Tap on the Head: Many scene transitions take place this way, with the player character being bonked on the head and the screen cutting to black, then waking up a little later no worse for wear.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: More often than not, doing anything plot-progressing will spawn a bunch of enemies nearby, including in areas you had already cleared out. Watch your back.
  • Time Skip: Part II opens shortly after Joel and Ellie returned to Jackson, and then skips four years ahead to the game's present-day events. Then there's another skip of roughly one year between the Seattle section and the final chapter.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One of the Wolves, Whitney, is an avid PS Vita gamer. So avid, in fact, that when posted on guard duty at a major WLF outpost, she sits down with her back to the entry she's supposed to watch and focuses on her game instead, headphones and all. Ellie doesn't even need to be subtle to get the jump on her. No points for guessing how that ends for Whitney.
  • Toplessness from the Back: When Dina is cleaning Ellie up after a fight in Seattle, she takes her shirt and bra off but all you can see is her back. Although it’s also averted later on because Abby is topless in a scene and you actually see her breasts.
  • Torture Always Works: Ellie learns the location of aquarium Abby is staying at by torturing Nora, which is odd because Nora didn't have any reason to tell her the truth. Nora could have given Ellie any random location in the entire city and she'd have no way of knowing it was false. But for some reason, Nora actually gives up the correct place.
  • True Companions: Over the course of three days, Abby bonds with Yara and Lev, which gives her life new meaning. After the former is killed by Abby's former WLF compatriots while they escape, we get this exchange:
    Lev: Those were your fucking people!
    Abby: No, you're my people!
  • Two Beings, One Body: The Rat King found in the hospital basement is several infected who have been together for so long that they've fused together into one huge mass. The individual entities are still somewhat independent and one of them is able to detach itself from the rest after enough damage is dealt.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Ellie's gameplay sections are much like Joel's from the first game, though she isn't quite as durable so it's not a great idea to go in guns blazing. There is a bigger emphasis on exploration and traversal, and the stealth sections are wide open with plenty of spots for Ellie to hide in. She gets several weapons and methods to kill enemies indirectly or quietly, and the skills she learns help boost her stealth skills. With Abby's section, the game suddenly becomes a lot more action-oriented. She doesn't "feel" as nimble as Ellie when jumping, and her stealth sections play more like a cover shooter, with less hiding spots thus confrontation is likely. She has skills and weapons meant for close-quarters combat, and she has the ability to create incendiary bullets to better take down enemies. It's also her that goes through the most Boss Battles, such as the Rat King, Tommy and Ellie herself.
  • Universal Ammunition: Although there's a wide variety of weapons to be found in the game, the only thing that matters is their class - pistol, revolver, hunting rifle, etc. Anything within the same class uses the same ammo for the sake of convenience.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: One of the core themes of the game.
    • Despite Abby killing the man who murdered her father, Abby ultimately doesn't feel any better after she kills him, and spends the rest of the game suffering the mental consequences of it. Doesn't help that Ellie hasn't learned this yet, as her Roaring Rampage of Revenge goes through Abby's friends.
    • Occurs right after the last boss fight. Ellie ultimately doesn't kill Abby. Even with Abby's life in her hands, Ellie can still see Joel's death as clear as the day it happened. Killing Abby won't bring Joel back, or assuage Ellie's guilt for not speaking to her surrogate father for the last two years of his life.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Taken even further in combat than the first game. Even if you try to keep your kills clean, enemies will not only be upset at you killing their friends, they cry out the name of your victim and curse you for it, and some of them might even shout that you just killed their husband or wife. Furthermore, some of the enemies will have dogs with them to track you down. If you kill a dog, the owner will stop in horror and get seriously pissed at you, while if you kill the owner, the dog (unless it charges straight for you) will be confused and sad that his owner suddenly fell.
    • Aside from the benefits of stealth and the need to conserve ammunition and weapons to progress through the game, there is nothing stopping you from being creatively brutal as you kill people. The game is filled with enough Developers' Foresight to allow for a good deal of experimentation with various weapons – from small calibre firearms to explosives, from Ellie's switchblade to the hammer of the Giant Mook Seraphites – and enemy AI responses. You can be so vicious that Dina expresses momentary surprise.
    • There is a part in the game where you can play fetch with a dog. However, instead of playing with the dog, you can throw the ball over a fence, causing the dog to stare in that direction and whimper sadly.
  • Villain Decay: The Clickers, which were The Dreaded enemies in the first game, have been completely outpaced by the player characters' skills and weapon loadouts. They still have their One-Hit Kill, and a new move where they can echolocate in front of them, but it's nothing compared to what Ellie and Abby have. Ellie no longer alerts Clickers with her stealth kills and has her switchblade, meaning she doesn't have to create shivs to take Clickers down. Abby does have to create shivs, but she learns the skill to defend against a Clicker grab immediately after learning the Create Shiv skill (as opposed to Joel who had to get enough supplements to learn it, which could take until the mid-to-late game. And with the improvements to the weapons in this game, having to take an alerted Clicker down is no problem.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Ellie at one point sneaks up on and interrogates a mook playing Hotline Miami on a Playstation Vita, whom she casually kills after the woman pulls a knife on her.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: Killing a person is actually awful and messy to do and/or watch someone doing: Ellie and other important characters ( Abby) will graphically stab, shoot, cut or hammer their enemies in often disturbing detail. While most action videogames make it fun and satisfying to kill your enemies or sometimes just NPCs for no reason, ND has stated that for Part II, you're meant to wince or feel uncomfortable every time Ellie/Abby kills someone for how realistically it's portrayed. Arms and legs are blown off by guns, and melee weapons realistically hack, cleave and smash with blunt force into enemies. The camera constantly moves and shakes with Ellie to realistically reflect the feeling of force, being hit and hitting enemies back.
  • The War Sequence: The "Escape" chapter is all about the WLF's full-scale assault on the Seraphites' island fortress. It doesn't take long before the whole island is burning and you're caught between two armies massacring each other any way they can. Unfortunately for you, you are fair game as well, to both sides. Fortunately, they tend to be too busy with each other to pay you much heed unless one side gains the upper hand.
  • Wham Line: After Joel and Tommy introduce themselves to Abby's people, we get this exchange that sets the tone for the rest of the game.
    Joel: Y'all act like you've heard of us or something.
    Abby: That's 'cause they have.
    (Abby shoots Joel in the knee.)
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Zigzagged. Part II gives players much more explorative freedom than its predecessor's strictly linear levels, with huge open areas containing numerous optional sub-sections that can be visited for supplies, conversations and similar atmospheric events, and the occasional equipment upgrade. However, the plot itself still progresses along fixed paths and set pieces with little in terms of variation.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • An inadvertent example, with Ellie being profoundly horrified once she realizes Mel was heavily pregnant after sticking her switchblade through her neck. In her vengeful rage over her and Owen's deaths, Abby seems ready to return the favour to Dina in the theatre, even after being told she too is pregnant. Fortunately, her Morality Pet Lev talks her down, and she tells Ellie's group to leave Seattle.
    • A very intentional example is provided by Isaac, leader of the WLF Seattle, when he's about to shoot Lev dead despite one of his best soldiers (Abby) vouching for the kid, and he doesn't have a Morality Pet with him to convince him otherwise. It takes a mortally wounded Yara shooting Isaac In the Back to save Lev's life.
    • The WLF and the Seraphites in general have standing orders to kill members of the opposing faction on sight regardless of age, showing that for all their cultural posturing they're Not So Different.
    • When Abby and Lev get ambushed by Rattlers in Santa Barbara during the final chapter, one of the ambushers doesn't hesitate to punch Lev so hard he gets knocked out instantly and thrown face-first against a half-open garage door. It's borderline miraculous the boy survived this sort of treatment without lasting injuries. Granted, Lev did shoot one of them with an arrow first, but the sheer viciousness and callousness of the retaliation is still disturbing to watch.
  • Worst Aid: The protagonists not only can but must pull arrows out of their body whenever they're struck lest they take periodic damage until they do. In reality, they'd very much risk bleeding to death every time they pulled one out as you're really supposed to leave a stabbing object in your body until you receive professional medical help.
  • You All Look Familiar: The game's photo-realistic face models can end up damaging the player's immersion once you notice that Seattle seems to be populated with countless clones of only about a dozen different people. Becomes particularly jarring while stealth-killing Seraphite squads because all their male fighters are bald and all the women have the same haircut, making it quite common to strangle two or three copies of the same enemy in the same encounter.
  • You Killed My Father: This is Abby's motivation for killing Joel, since her father was the lead surgeon he killed in the previous instalment. The rest of the game follows Ellie's journey avenging her (surrogate) father, ironically.

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