WARNING: This post definitely, 100% contains spoilers for The Last of Us. Don’t ruin it for yourself! At least go watch a walkthrough on YouTube. Look, someone even turned it into a movie for you.
I think I’ve gained enough distance from The Last of Us that I finally have most of my thoughts in order, so I’m going to take a break from talking about Bioshock Infinite to get some of these thoughts on paper (or pixels) before they escape me.
With most games, I would sit here and tick off boxes on what amounts to a glorified checklist:
Does this game have non-white characters? Yes. Three black characters, to be exact.
Does this game have any age diversity? Yeah, it’s not too shabby. There’s an older protagonist (compares to most video game protagonists) and a fourteen-year-old girl.
Does this game have women characters? Yes. A whole bunch of central characters and plenty of NPCs and enemies as well.
Does this game have any gay characters? You bet.
Then I would keep going down the list and expand on the most interesting or important characters. I would talk about whether they’re believable or fleshed out or what unfortunate stereotypes they might fall under.
I don’t feel like I have to do this with The Last of Us. The game is so consistently well-written and the characterization is so consistently strong, that the question of whether or not a character is “good” becomes petty in context. Because they are good and complex and fully imagined — across the board — with the possible exception of a slightly flat villain in David.
So I would prefer to talk about something a little different with this post: violence.