There's no question about it - The Last of Us is one of the greatest video games of all time. While the gameplay is obviously terrific, everyone always talks about the story and writing, and for good reason - they're terrific.
Unlike many (most) video games, The Last of Us actually has a smart script, fantastic dialogue, and a team of highly talented voice actors to convey the necessary emotion. And even now, six years after the game originally came out, we're still quoting it like it came out last week. That's just how great the script is.
These are some of our favorites lines.
10 "Don't Tell Me That I Would Be Safer With Someone Else, Because The Truth Is I Would Just Be More Scared."
The confrontation between Joel and Ellie is one of the most emotional moments in the game, as Ellie finally learns the truth behind Joel's selfish intentions. He plans to pawn her off on Tommy because he can't handle the potential pain of losing another "daughter," and Ellie feels betrayed. It's also one of the first times that Ellie drops the comedic facade and becomes 100% real with Joel, telling him that she will feel scared without his guidance and fatherly influence. It's a brilliant, and brilliantly acted scene, and it makes us tear up every single time.
9 "You Have No Idea What Loss Is."
OK, maybe we're cheating a bit by using a quote from the same scene, but it's a great scene! This line comes after Ellie tells Joel that she has lost people as well, which comes at a bit of a bad time, considering she just talked about Joel's dead daughter. Rather than considering Ellie's point of view and story, Joel instead shuts her down and tells her that she has no idea what loss is. We understand where Joel is coming from, because Ellie has never lost a child, which is perhaps the greatest loss of all. It's a great, humanizing moment for Joel, as we realize just how much Sara's loss is still affecting him.
8 "Ellie, Get Off Your Horse. Give It Back To Tommy."
Immediately following their massive fight, Joel and Ellie ride back to Tommy's settlement in complete silence. We're led to believe that Joel will be leaving Ellie and Tommy behind (although obviously not, since this is a video game), but Joel changes his mind and tells Ellie to get off her horse.
It's a wonderfully touching moment, as it signals that Joel will be sticking with Ellie after all, and the look of sheer joy on Ellie's face is one of the most humane and touching moments in the entire game. In a game full of tragedy and depravity, it's nice to bathe in a cute scene.
7 "As Bad As Those Things Are, At Least They're Predictable. It's The Normal People That Scare Me."
OK, maybe the idea behind this quote is as old as zombie fiction itself, as it is the main theme of The Walking Dead and has been represented as far back as Dawn of the Dead, AKA your granddad's favorite zombie movie. But it still rings true - especially in this game, when the people are far more violent, depraved, inhumane, immoral, and dangerous than the "zombies" ever could. This is especially impactful coming from Bill, the seasoned survivalist who is seemingly unafraid of anything. It speaks volumes to just how far the game's world has fallen.
6 "And Get This. He's A Crazy Man Traveling...With A Little Girl."
Of all the quotes in this game, this one made our hearts drop the most. While Joel is fatally injured, Ellie meets David, and while we initially feel apprehension, we kind of grow to accept him. That is, until he reveals the truth - he's the leader of a violent group of people, and he seems to want revenge. Nolan North acts the heck out of this scene, as he milks the tension and brutal reveal for all its worth, and the truth serves as a major gut punch. David is arguably the story's most malicious villain, and hearing him slowly but confidently reveal the truth to Ellie is absolutely bone chilling.
5 "Oh, Baby Girl."
While the David side plot is absolutely gut wrenching, it DOES provide us with one of the greatest Joel and Ellie quotes, so...silver lining, we guess? After hiding from, hunting, and finally dispatching of David in a brutal manner, Joel comforts a distraught Ellie and calls her his baby girl. It's a beautiful moment of father-daughter bonding, and it finally proves that Joel considers Ellie to be a daughter figure. It also proves that Joel loves Ellie, as he calls her "baby girl," not "Ellie" or a more loving-but-still-friendly term like "honey" or "sweetie." "Baby girl" is so sweet, tender, and loving, and it makes our hearts melt.
4 "Yeah...Me Neither."
This quote comes from one of the story's minor, but still incredibly important characters - Sam. Ellie and Sam have a conversation about the humanity of the infected and the idea of an afterlife. Of course, Ellie doesn't know that Sam is infected, and she bluntly tells him that she doesn't believe in the afterlife or that the infected are "with their families."
This quote becomes even more tragic when you consider Sam's fate. He was infected, he knew he was dying, and all he wanted to hear in his last moments was that he would be OK, even if he doesn't believe it. Ellie unintentionally denies him that hope and comfort, and he dies a sad, scared, and bitter young child.
3 "It's Got Its Up And Downs. But You Can't Deny The View."
As you know, the story of The Last of Us isn't exactly a happy one. It's filled with tragedy and death. But it's also peppered with some moments of beauty. And that seems to be one of the game's primary messages - even in times of need and hopelessness, we still need to find time to consider the beauty around us. This theme is encapsulated in this quote. Ellie knows that her journey has had its ups (bonding with Joel and Sam) and downs (David, Sam's death), but even in the midst of it all, she can still appreciate a beautiful view. Just think about that the next time a view takes your breath away.
2 "Find Someone Else."
When Joel learns that Ellie must be sacrificed for the good and future of humanity, he tells the Fireflies to "find someone else," knowing full well that there IS no one else. You can also hear this quote earlier in the game, when Maria tells Tommy to tell Joel that he should "find somebody else" to take Ellie. On one level, it speaks to the devotion and love that humans share, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. But on a deeper, perhaps more pessimistic level, it speaks to humanity's selfishness, as both Maria and Joel refuse to make sacrifices for the good of humanity (even though she eventually relents). They'd rather "someone else" do it, even if there is never a "someone else."
It's amazing how one simple word can conjure so many meanings and interpretations. The Last of Us ends with this one simple line, and it begs a myriad of questions. Does Ellie believe Joel's lie? Does she know he's full of it? Does she know he's full of it but decides to accept it anyway? What does she mean by "okay"!? Even now, six years after the game's release, fans are still debating the ending. It speaks to the literary value of The Last of Us, and proves that video games CAN be just as meaningful, artful, and academic as other, more "serious" forms of entertainment.