The Last of Us Part 2 has been out for almost two months now and is still generating fan discussion and controversy. While the gameplay seems to be universally acclaimed, the reasons why most people play this franchise are for the three dimensional characters and thoughtful narratives, both of which have divided audiences and ignited volatile debates.
The game has a few characters from the original game, but balances their perspectives with a new side of life after the apocalypse, with several of the additions redefining our perceptions of The Last of Us franchise. While the script and structure have subverted what most fans expected from a sequel, it's an extremely powerful work of art and the characters are the lifeblood of its success.
This list isn't an indication of character preference necessarily, although there are elements of that here, but out of necessity and impact in the narrative. Regardless of your views on the game overall, it should be commended that Naughty Dog took such a bold storytelling risk with this title, and altered our ideas of what to expect from any future Last of Us entry.
Warning: massive spoilers throughout every entry on this list.
Nora is barely given any time at all but is on this list because of the importance she has to Ellie's arc. The pain that Ellie inflicts on Nora in the hospital is the major sign that the girl we thought we knew has succumbed to intense cruelty. It's the first explicit parallel between her and Abby, and that deserves credit since the similarities and differences between the two lead to the game's finest moments.
In her couple of scenes, Nora is interesting enough and well performed by actress Chelsea Tavares. She has a natural repertoire with Abby as they walk through the hospital, it immediately comes across that these are two people with years of history together. However Nora functions as the script’s least valuable player, created explicitly to die in the most brutal way possible, coughing her lungs out from spores while getting tortured by Ellie.
While most of the critiques regarding The Last of Us 2’s apathy towards human existence are unfounded in the text, Nora’s purpose being to reverse the player’s perceptions of Ellie and Abby before dying painfully is the most valid argument for that line of thinking. Still, her death scene is undeniably effective and leaves a mark on players long after it's over.