Updated: Dec 6, 2020
The 'hero' of The Last of Us. Broken, imperfect, but still.....
For anyone that has played TLOU, you know exactly what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, I suggest you play The Last Of Us and find out for yourself. You shan't regret it.
Joel is a complex character. Dealing with the death of his daughter at the hands of government/ police officials crushes him and hardens him to the new world of the apocalyptic viral epidemic.
He becomes a cold and emotionally reclusive survivor who acts cold to anyone attempting to form a relationship with him. He attempts to block himself from any attachments, as so to avoid any possible heartache, should anything befall them. The horror of his daughters death from which he evolved, in no way excuses some of the things he goes on to do. It only sets in motion the wheels that will chauffeur him down a path of inexplicable decisions.
Survival becomes his justification for his evil doings and aids to ease his guilt.The only true guilt he can't avoid is that for the loss of his daughter, who he feels as a father, he should have protected.
This paves the way for his attachment to Ellie, who he, through associates and a few cases of bad timing, ends up having to chaperone halfway across the country. Ellie soon turns from the brain of his life, to his chance of redemption, through his eyes. Their relationship exposes his soft side, even if only for brief moments, and she soon becomes the one thing he can fight for. This is a sign of Joels paternal instincts returning and he soon realises he is willing to do anything and everything necessary to keep her alive.
This leads him down dark paths and when you think about his decisions, it's often difficult to defend what he does. But on the other side of the scales, you feel for him and understand why he does what he does.
I challenge you to play this game and not feel every gut wrenching decision he makes.
Whether you like him or not, he is an amazing and complex character. He is so well designed, acted and animated that it would be rude to not get involved with this game.
Despite some minor annoying control issues in The Last of Us, and the slightly linear layout of it, the story, character development, voice acting and presentation of it are second to none from its generation. If you haven't yet played it, put it on your to do list. It's definitely one of the greats in my eyes. I just wish it wasn't so darn scary.