The Way Abby Uses A Hammer In The Last Of Us Part 2 Still Upsets Me
The Last of Us Part 2 is an uncomfortable game at the best of times. Whether you’re murdering dogs, bashing heads in with lead pipes, or just watching your friends die, there’s not much escape from the misery. Replaying it, I knew I was going to have to go through all that again. But there’s one detail I had forgotten: why was Abby so unnecessarily violent with her sledgehammer?
I am not a squeamish person when it comes to video games. In fact, what I thought Abby did with the hammer – what I wanted her to do – was cave in her enemy’s skull with the blunt end, sending bone shards flying. After all, when the infected attack, she sometimes throws them to the floor and stomps on their face until it shatters. I’m not asking for Abby to put the hammer down and talk through her problems, but I am asking “why the hell does she gouge out hearts with the claw end?”
There are some smaller hammers in the game, the regular DIY hammers, which both Ellie and Abby can use, but I’m not talking about those. In both cases, our leading ladies swing these back and forth like a tennis racket, hitting their foes with the blunt side, then the claw. It’s grisly, especially when teeth start shooting across the screen, but it at least fits with the wild adrenaline of the situations. They aren’t deliberately using the claw end, they’re flailing desperately at anyone who comes near.
What I’m talking about here though are the large, two-handed hammers carried by the toughest Seraphites. When the Scars swing these hammers at Abby, they’re polite enough to attack with the blunt end, but Abby isn’t willing to repay the favour.
Ellie only encounters Scars rarely, usually dealing with Wolves or the infected instead. On the odd occasion when she does get the opportunity to use the big hammer, she too attacks with the claw end, but I don’t mind it as much with Ellie. The first section of the game is fuelled by rage and vengeance, with Ellie not prepared to let anything stand in her way. With Abby, not only are the attacks more frequent, I’m not sure how well they even fit with her character.
I know she kills Joel with a golf club at the start of the game, but that’s a very specific act of revenge, one she allows both Tommy and Ellie to walk away from. Part of what makes The Last of Us Part 2 work is that Abby is initially positioned as the brutal, heartless villain, but Ellie turns out to be far more violent, and far more reckless and destructive in her own path for revenge.
Aside from Joel and Jesse, whom Abby kills just after she finds everyone she loves dead by Ellie’s hand, all of Abby’s kills are in self-defence. While you can make the argument that many of Ellie’s are too, Ellie is deliberately going to Seattle with the intention of killing Abby. All of her kills, self-defence or not, come from this singular, violent goal. Abby instead is motivated by saving Owen, saving Yara and Lev, or fetching medicine. She’s there because she has to be, and that’s why her hammer attacks feel so out of place.
I preferred the Abby portion of the game the first time around, and that still holds up on a replay. But seriously, Abby. Let’s chill out with the hammer.
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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. In real life, she normally stays home. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey
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