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The Last of Us Part 2 is a Christmas game, by popular logic

Kate Harrold

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The Last of Us Part 2 is a Christmas game, by popular logic

Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

I realise that what I’m about to say may sound like a heinous statement, and that’s because it probably is. But by popular logic, The Last of Us Part II is classed as a Christmas game. Stay with me on this. It’s a bumpy ride, but you’ll come around.

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Let’s shift to centering this discussion around films for just a moment. What makes a Christmas film a Christmas film? The answer should be ‘its message’. Christmas films should be themed around family, generosity, togetherness - all of the traits Christmas promotes. Films like The Grinch, The Polar Express, Elf, Arthur Christmas, and The Muppet Christmas Carol may all spring to mind. Yes, they’re all quite clearly set at Christmas - often in snow-covered picturesque landscapes - but their narratives are all centred around the so-called ‘meaning of Christmas’. I say so-called because the meaning is a tad different to everybody.

Take a look at our hands-on preview of The Last of Us Part II Remastered's No Return mode.

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In actuality though, I think that what now classifies as a ‘Christmas film’ has become far more surface level. Take Die Hard. It’s a debated example but there are plenty of people who would argue that Die Hard is a Christmas film. Is it about Christmas? No. It’s simply just set during the festive season.

I move on to my next example, the Harry Potter series. Given that each film spans a year of Harry’s life, Christmas pops up a number of times. We see Harry celebrating the occasion at the Weasley’s house. There’s the Yule Ball. In another instalment, the Great Hall is simply decked out in Christmas adornments. As such, and I asked a number of people before writing this article, many fans consider Harry Potter to be an apt Christmas watch.

I now direct your attention to The Lord of the Rings which GAMINGbible’s own Ewan Moore has expressed is a Christmas film. His logic? In Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and the Fellowship leave Rivendell on 25 December, the film celebrates the power of friendship, there’s snow a-plenty, AND there’s elves and a guy with a big beard. Okay, convincing.

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So with all that in mind, let’s hop back on over to The Last of Us Part II. It’s not a game I naturally consider to be a ‘Christmas game’ but by the modern metrics we’ve just discussed, does it now fall into that category? Let’s take a look at the evidence. First of all, it’s true that a portion of the game is set during Christmastime. In one scene, Abby visits Owen at the Aquarium which is adorned with festive decorations - including a tree, stockings, and lights - after Owen confesses that Mel is “into this Christmas thing”.

The Last of Us Part II / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
The Last of Us Part II / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

So that’s the ‘partially set at Christmas’ box ticked. Next up, snow. Well, the opening of the game has plenty of that. Playing as both Abby and Ellie, you’ll walk, ride, and fight your way through a number of snowy landscapes. That’s the snow box ticked.

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Here’s the most important one: the message. I said that Christmas films celebrate togetherness, giving, and the importance of kindness. If you’re sitting there thinking that The Last of Us Part II is a tale that explores the perils of revenge - the idea that vengeance promotes further violence, not closure - you’d be absolutely correct. By the end of the game though, have both Ellie and Abby not learnt to let go? Abby spares Ellie’s life and later on, Ellie spares Abby’s. It’s by no means total forgiveness, but it’s a step towards it. Let’s call it mercy.

Is mercy not what Scrooge finally bestows upon Bob Cratchit at the end of A Christmas Carol? Ellie and Abby eventually learn, after several missteps, that being the recipient of violence does not mean you should enact it upon another. Does The Grinch not learn that very same message with regards to being mean in How The Grinch Stole Christmas?

Honestly, I fully agree that saying The Last of Us Part II is a Christmas game is an incredibly cursed take but when you consider all of the above, it’s also kind of hard to deny.

Topics: The Last Of Us, The Last Of Us Part 2, Naughty Dog, PlayStation

Kate Harrold
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