The Last of Us Part II: catch up on the story so far

story of the last of us plot story recap joel and ellie

It’s been seven whole years since we got our hearts broken playing the original The Last of Us, and now that The Last of Us Part II is almost here, we figured it would be a good idea to swot up on the story so we’re all fresh in time for the sequel’s arrival on 19 June.

So before we get started, check out every edition of the sequel that’s available at GAME, and don’t forget to cast your eye across the gorgeous limited edition The Last of Us Part II PS4 Pro and its matching accessories, all featuring Ellie’s beautiful fern tattoo.

story of the last of us plot story recap part ii 2 game logo

It’s been seven whole years since we got our hearts broken playing the original The Last of Us, and now that The Last of Us Part II is almost here, we figured it would be a good idea to swot up on the story so we’re all fresh in time for the sequel’s arrival on 19 June.

So before we get started, check out every edition of the sequel that’s available at GAME, and don’t forget to cast your eye across the gorgeous limited edition The Last of Us Part II PS4 Pro and its matching accessories, all featuring Ellie’s beautiful fern tattoo.

A sombre beginning

story of the last of us plot story recap sarah

The game begins as it means to go on: with an emotional punch to the gut that leaves you reeling before even the first thirty minutes are up. We’re introduced to Sarah, the 12-year-old daughter of main character Joel. She’s an absolute sweetheart, and she’s far braver than most 12-year-olds would be when she wakes up one night to discover that the world as she knows it has begun to collapse. All around the house there’s chaos as residents of Austin, Texas begin to succumb to infection by a mutated version of the cordyceps fungus, which transforms them into monstrous, shambling Infected. When Joel’s brother Tommy arrives to help them escape, the three decide to flee together.

Their car is involved in a collision, however, and they’re forced to escape on foot instead. With Sarah injured following the crash, Joel has to carry her to safety. When they approach an armed soldier for help, he’s ordered to open fire, mortally wounding Sarah and leaving her to die in Joel’s arms.

20 years later

story of the last of us plot story recap tess and joel

Twenty years have passed, and humanity now lives in settlements and quarantine zones, but the rest of America is overrun. Joel is now working as a smuggler alongside his ally Tess in Boston.

Tess and Joel go to visit an arms dealer by the name of Robert, who admits (after shooting at them) that he’s sold their weapons to an organisation called the Fireflies, who are essentially a rebel militia group working against the authorities. The leader of the Fireflies, Marlene (remember her for later), offers Tess and Joel a reward if they’ll do something for her: namely, escort a teenager named Ellie to Marlene’s Firefly allies nearby. Tess agrees, though Joel is decidedly grumpy about it, but eventually the three set off together. Along the way, they’re caught by the authorities, who are about to check them for signs of infection when Ellie panics. Joel and Tess manage to take out the soldiers and realise that Ellie has been bitten by an Infected.

Joel is all for abandoning the job then and there, until Ellie explains that the wound is three weeks old – meaning she has some kind of natural immunity to the infection and may well be humanity’s only hope for a cure. Though initially sceptical, Tess agrees to continue and Joel follows reluctantly along behind.

It’s not that simple

story of the last of us plot story recap ellie and joel

Naturally, things go wrong. The Fireflies they’d planned to meet are already dead, and with Tess revealing that she’s been bitten on the journey there, she remains behind to hold off more soldiers so that Joel can escape with Ellie.

Joel decides to call in a favour from an old friend named Bill. While it’s not entirely plain sailing because Bill is, shall we say, somewhat paranoid, they eventually manage to get away with a pickup truck, which they use to escape westwards in search of Joel’s brother Tommy, who used to be a Firefly himself.

Reaching Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they lose their truck in a bandit attack and get briefly separated in a derelict hotel. Ellie manages to save Joel’s life, and he finally trusts her with a gun in return.

New friends

story of the last of us plot story recap henry and sam

The next people Joel and Ellie run into are actually friendly, which makes a nice change. They team up with brothers Henry and Sam in order to escape together, but get separated. By the time they reunite at an old radio tower, Ellie realises that Sam’s been bitten. By the next morning, Sam has succumbed to the effects of the cordyceps fungus and attacks Ellie. Henry manages to shoot him before he can hurt her, but then shoots himself.

Autumn leaves

story of the last of us plot story recap joel and tommy

A few months later, Joel and Ellie have made it to Jackson County, Wyoming, where Tommy is living as the leader of a settlement of survivors. Joel asks Tommy to take over as Ellie’s protector, as he knows how to get her to the Fireflies and she’ll be safer in his settlement than out in the wilderness with Joel. Tommy agrees, but unsurprisingly Ellie is a little bit miffed. Joel tracks her down after she storms away, and ultimately decides that he should continue to protect Ellie as they travel to find the Fireflies. Tommy kits them out for the journey and they set off in search of the University of Eastern Colorado, where the Fireflies have been making use of the old science laboratories to study the infection.

It turns out that once again the Fireflies have evaded them, however, and they realise that the group have now relocated to Utah. Another fight breaks out, and Ellie manages to save Joel’s bacon again. As they escape together, Ellie realises that Joel is seriously wounded.

Winter arrives

story of the last of us plot story recap ellie winter

At this point, we start playing as Ellie, who’s single-handedly keeping both herself and a wounded Joel alive by hunting in the snowy forest. She manages to take down a deer, but is approached by two strangers, who offer her medicine in return for the deer. Ellie agrees to wait with David, but quickly realises that he isn’t quite as friendly as he appeared. Although he allows Ellie to escape with the medicine, he secretly tracks her back to her hideout. Ellie tries to escape on horseback in order to draw him away from Joel, but gets captured.

Ellie then discovers that David is an even worse human being than she’d first thought, because he soon admits that he and his allies have turned to cannibalism. He offers her a place with his allies, but she breaks his finger by way of response.

Some distance away, Joel wakes up to find Ellie gone. Despite still being wounded, he heads out to search for her and encounters some of David’s allies. They reveal that they have Ellie as a captive, and Joel kills them.

Ellie, meanwhile, manages to frighten David away by showing him her bitten arm and claiming to be infected. She manages to escape, but David sets fire to the room and they fight until Ellie manages to kill him. Joel rescues her and they leave together.

This is the bit with the giraffes

story of the last of us plot story recap giraffe

At last, Joel and Ellie make it to Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Fireflies are now based. They encounter giraffes in the ruins of an old zoo, much to Ellie’s delight, and Joel tells Ellie that if she wants to, they can return to Tommy’s settlement together and forget all about the Fireflies. Ellie is reluctant for all their efforts to be for nothing, however, so they continue on their way.

Reaching the hospital, they both end up falling into water from an unstable platform. Joel saves Ellie and is in the process of trying to revive her when the Fireflies appear and attack Joel on sight.

This part may hurt

story of the last of us plot story recap ellie hospital rescue

Some time later, Joel wakes up elsewhere in the hospital, where the leader of the Fireflies, Marlene (remember her?) is waiting. This is followed by one of the biggest twists and emotional gut-wrenches in the game: in order to make any use of Ellie’s natural immunity to the cordyceps fungus, the Fireflies will have to kill her. Joel is furious, and fights his way through the Fireflies in an attempt to save Ellie. He shoots one of the medics in the operating theatre, but the others allow him to take Ellie and leave. As he flees, Marlene gets in the way and begs him to reconsider for the good of humanity. Joel kills her.

Later, Ellie wakes up in the back of a car driven by Joel. When she asks what happened, Joel lies and tells her that the Fireflies didn’t need her after all, having already failed to create a cure after studying others like Ellie. When Ellie asks him to promise he’s telling the truth, Joel simply says “I swear”.

The story continues

story of the last of us plot story recap ellie part 2 part ii

From what we’ve been shown so far of The Last of Us Part II, it seems that Joel and Ellie have been living in Tommy’s settlement for a few years ever since. While things seemed relatively peaceful there in the glimpses we’ve had in the trailers, and Ellie’s made a few friends along the way, this is the world of The Last of Us, so there’s no way things could stay that nice forever. Ellie’s setting out on a quest for vengeance, and while we can be sure it won’t be plain sailing, at least she seems to have good old Joel going along with her.

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