The Last of Us Part 2 proves gaming doesn’t know how to deal with muscular women

Polygon: Abby, a new character introduced in The Last of Us Part 2, does not fit the mold. Her face is anchored by a square jaw, which gives her visage a wider look — at least, compared to the heart-shaped face that defines most women in games. Perhaps most notably, Abby is buff. Your eyes are drawn to her chest and muscular arms, which, according to The Last of Us Part 2, she worked very hard across multiple years to beef up.

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_SilverHawk_43d ago

"The Last of Us Part 2 proves gaming doesn’t know how to deal with women"

Kaze8842d ago

"The Last of Us Part 2 proves that subverting expectation and destroying old characters does not work in games either."

Lore42d ago

I see where Druckmann was going with it (he’s talented and good at what he does), this was just the absolute wrong title to go that route

Redemption-6442d ago

That is subjective at best. I personally found Part 2 far more enjoyable than the first, where by I was able to literally predict the ending of the game, after meeting Ellie. Also, there are many games where a main character is killed off or becomes the villain.

dnAWE42d ago

What expectations were subverted? And how were old characters destroyed?

dumahim42d ago

"What expectations were subverted? And how were old characters destroyed?"

- Joel lied to Ellie at the end of 1. Ellie finds out and it shatters her. Seems like a logical outcome to me.
- Joel kills a bunch of people in cold blood in the first game, including the doctor who could have created a cure for the entire world. Remnants of that group, including the daughter of that doctor, group up and kill Joel in revenge. Makes sense to me.
- Shattered and now an adult Ellie who now watched Joel get murdered after being tortured tries to round up to go kill them all in revenge. Makes sense again.

It seems people wanted more Joel and Ellie like the first game, but we knew they weren't going to just do the same thing over again. Other than playing another character for as much of the game as we did seems like the only thing that wasn't expected here.

Destroyed characters? Yeah, shit changes in 4-5 years. Especially when you've gone through the shit that Ellie did.

gigzamillion42d ago

Really cause according to critical acclaim and sales figures it looks like it worked out just fine despite your phony complaints.

Harryvok42d ago

Funny how we all see stories and characters differently to each other. While i absolutely hated what they did with Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, i thoroughly enjoyed TLOU2 and what they did with the characters.

_LarZen_41d ago

I don’t get this “love” for Joel and Ellie. We played them in one game and a short DLC. It’s not like we’ve played them in several games for years and years.

And the fact is that both of them deserved everything they got. Especially Joel.

Bathyj41d ago

"The Last of Us Part 2 proves children cry when you take their rattle"

bouzebbal41d ago

Tlou2 shows that having an arrogant idiot as a director can kill one of the best series of all time..

Kaze8841d ago

@dunahim and @dnAWE

"What expectations were subverted? And how were old characters destroyed?"

- Joel and Ellie relationship is shattered, that we agree on. Also add that on last flashback you can recall Ellie telling Joel, that they can try to fix their bonds.
- Joel has killed bunch of people and most of fireflies, he is also the most learned survivor of the apocalypse. He never trusted entirely anyone on the first game...still tells every random people his name...are you fking kidding me? That is just lazy writing.
- Abby is killing Dina and she goes "she is pregnant" and Abby goes "GOOD" but then stop since the child says once don't do it. Bamboozled she sounded so happy to kill her but doesn't and also after Ellie killing her friends does not even kill Ellie.
- Abby changes her 20 year commitment to fireflies etc. due to random people and then flip flops between whose side she is on.
- Shattered Ellie wants to kill everyone, yes. Even if she was the most against killing other people on the first one and she was ready to do that, so that she could give the world the cure (as you just described). Still I could see her being fueled with rage, but she goes killing basically EVERYONE and hundreds of people...all Abbys friends and then when she is finally found Abby (who killed Joel, destroyed Tommy, due to her Ellies family left her, got her fingers chewed) she still ends up not killing her because "I need to break the cycle"...then she should not even have left your family in the first place.

"doing the same thing over again" If you really think that the only way to continue would have been doing the same thing, then you have the same lack of imagination ass Druckmann himself. Also it is obvious that they tried really hard make people liking Abby by giving her more tools, better weapons, play fetch with dogs etc. it just backfired on them on so many levels. I never started to care for her, she was so inconsistent on so many levels. Only one who's commitment never changed or stayed believable was Joel's.

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Imalwaysright42d ago

Yeah let's pretend that over the years gaming didn't provide great female characters and that a fair amount of them didn't become industry icons.

RgR42d ago

I would go as far as to say the majority of them became industry icons.

thejigisup42d ago

Ivy valentine: Extend, be still, dance, strangle, dont move!

ginsunuva41d ago

As long as they were sexualized

rainslacker42d ago

Who'd have thought that a game finally does something polygon rails on all the time about, and they still find something wrong with it.

SyntheticForm42d ago

Well, I've come to the conclusion that Polygon's aim is to be contrarian, no matter what. You could actively try to appease Polygon and they'd still take issue with something. You could check all their boxes and it wouldn't matter.

rainslacker41d ago

I've been called a contrarian at times, and I think sometimes I am. But, I generally don't keep trying to find things to dislike if a company satisfies what I criticize them over.

But, I do agree that I think Polygon tends to take whatever stance will get them hits. It's probably the only way they know how to write articles anymore.

wwinterj41d ago

Abby was done well I feel. The problem is I just didn't care all that much for the character. I liked her better in the end then at the start but that's not saying much.

lelo2play41d ago

Muscular woman have been in games for ages (Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, etc)... the problem with Last of Us Part 2 is that the game story is crap.

BlackRaven85_141d ago

_Silverhawk_ *Points at Horizon: Zero Dawn, goes back to drinking coffee* 😒

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DrDeath43d ago


She was much to large. and it is physically unnattainable without steroids for a woman. Just was a little much. Its not doable

AspiringProGenji43d ago

Not really. She was ripped rather than having lots of muscle mass or volume. Not so exaggerated

DrDeath43d ago

Whe had huge muscle mass in most scenes lol. She said she can bench 185lbs. Thats elite bodybuilding status even at 190lb woman.

bloop42d ago

Whatever about her muscle mass (which seems very unrealistic for anyone to achieve in the middle of the apocalypse), it's her ability that irked me more. Joel was a bad mother f*cker, but we didn't see him nor anyone do anything on the same level as Abby. I actually started laughing when I first started using her hand to hand combat, practically ripping people's heads clean off their shoulders with her bare hands. As with everything these days, they decided to make a strong woman in the name of diversity but ridiculously over compensated to the point that it is actually ridiculous.

Lore42d ago

Speaking as somebody who has many acquaintances that are in the circle of the bodybuilding community (natural & steroid users), there is little chance that somebody living in an apocalypse without access to extensive calories and a strict food regimen per day would be able to sustain that size

Shikoku42d ago Show
borneFROMblood42d ago (Edited 42d ago )

@DrDeath i can be nitpicky about every single game.
How its impossible to climb flat surfaces in Breath of the Wild - 0/10
Mario has no motivation to stop cleaning toilets and save the princess - 0/10
Witchers were presented unrealistically in Witcher 3 and Gerald was a white male - 0/10
Bloodborne...okay ALMOST every game...
but what's the point to be mad over her muscular complexity if that does not ruin your enjoyment of the game, who cares if shes more buff than she should be, she wouldnt hit harder

Gameseeker_Frampt42d ago

@Lore (and everyone else trying to make this point)

"there is little chance that somebody living in an apocalypse without access to extensive calories and a strict food regimen." It's called agriculture. Look it up.

Seriously, The Last of Us took place 20 years after Outbreak Day and some idiots actually think people are just surviving on scavenged Twinkies.

gums00742d ago

Lol I'm sorry pal but you have no idea what you're talking about. I imagine most of people like you who are trying to defend this performance enhanced species has never worked out a day in their life.

Kornholic41d ago

Are you kidding? Her arms are like Chris Redfield's from Resident Evil 5, and those were very much ridiculed at the time for being unrealistic even for a man. The only difference is that Abby is not punching any boulders in this game.

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Baza42d ago (Edited 42d ago )

Modeled after a real world women whom is not on steroids. Abby’s physic is designed to compliant her physical intensity.

Ash01Live42d ago (Edited 42d ago )

It's true her body is modeled after a real woman, and it's likely that she is natural, however the game designers have actually inflated her physique from the original model(which was lean and shapely)you can see in comparisons from the original Abby reveal trailer. She definitely has an enhanced body not attainable in a world with restricted calories and/or hormone support

gums00742d ago

Is this real world womans name Arnold?

Shikoku42d ago

Yeah no she isn't even big doofus what Abby looks like in th game is completely attainable by woman without roids it's doable.

NVMGaiden42d ago


It is doable. My friends mom is that buff, she owns a gym she eats naturally and organically. It might not be obtainable for people who are financially struggling or have busy schedules, but if you obtain a certain level of opportunity it can be done. Maybe you feel it's unobtainable because for you as a man can't achieve it. By claiming women can't achieve that level of strength without drugs you are accusing the model they based her on of juicing. Borderline libel.

rainslacker42d ago

The start of abby's section of the game showed her walking through an area that was obviously not short on food. They raised their own livestock, grew their own fruits and vegetables, and they had sufficient training facilities, which it was established abby was serious about and religious about using.

Kornholic41d ago (Edited 41d ago )

Your friend's mom might be that buff but she's doing more than eating and lifting. Women simply do not have the testosterone to pull that off naturally. Your friend's mom, like Abby, is taking synthetic testosterone.

The actual woman Abby is based on isn't that big either. Look it up. Abby's physique was exaggerated for the game.

Flewid63842d ago (Edited 42d ago )

Very true. I live in the Fitness & Bodybuilding world. Adding steroids to her lore would've made sense given the kind of resources the WLF had.

A jacked woman on even a little bit of tren looks like a gymnast at best. But obviously anything beyond the Bikini category requires more roids. Had they insinuated this, it would've been more believable.

Christopher42d ago

This is so wrong, it's just sad.

"It’s 100%. Women gain the same percentage of muscle mass as men during strength training. In fact, women gain as much size and sometimes more strength than men [2]. The only difference is the starting point. Men start off with more muscle mass and more strength, but the relative increase in muscle size is the same between men and women.

Research on protein metabolism comes to the same conclusion. Women build just as much muscle protein after training and after meals as men. In fact, one study found that given the same level of muscle mass, women have a higher rate of muscle protein synthesis than men."

ziggurcat42d ago (Edited 42d ago )

"A jacked woman on even a little bit of tren looks like a gymnast at best."

Nope. I have a friend from High School who's a professional bodybuilder, and also in the military. She's larger than Abby. She ain't on 'roids, either.

41d ago
41d ago
Kornholic41d ago

@christopher you are talking about percentages, not actual mass. If you think women can get as big as men just by training and eating you are simply wrong. Biology doesn't work that way.

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smashman9842d ago

Ahh yes the old I just don't like her because her being buff in a post apocalyptic world full of infected zombie like mushroom creatures. Is just too unbelievable.

JackBNimble42d ago

I agree , and how easily available would steroids be to obtain in a post apocalyptic world.
It just makes the story less believable.

rainslacker42d ago (Edited 42d ago )

Apparently there left behind all over the place on people's bathrooms.

Seriously though, the WLF was well equipped, and could have easily produced their own steroids or enhancement drugs. It's not like chemistry is that hard, and there were plenty of medical staff that could have gotten it done.

Thinking it ruins the story is just nitpicking, because her body shape was more representative of her obsession than anything else. Doesnt matter how she obtained it, only that she was willing to obtain it. It's not like people are complaining she learned how to be a solider, and a skilled fighter, to achieve the same thing.

41d ago
rainslacker42d ago

I've been replaying it, and she was buff, but not so large as to need steroids to achieve that build. I know a couple women in real life who are as buff, or buffer, than abby, and if you accused them of using steroids they'd probably snap you in half, then bench press you

41d ago
Kornholic41d ago

So that proves they are using steroids, then?

rainslacker41d ago

No. Because they are pretty into healthy lifestyles. neither of them would hurt a fly really.

brrdatisback42d ago

gotta love nerds who don't lift that act like they know anything about building muscle.

Snakefist3041d ago

Even without steroids you need to eat a lot to attain that physique. In Last of Us universe where food is extremely limited it's impossible for Abby to attain that kind of physique.

VerminSC41d ago

You don’t think someone who is obsessed with turning their body into a weapon for 5 years, who lives literally right next to a gym, and who has a cafeteria with food access all the time couldn’t bulk like this?

I’ve personally known a couple women body builders and they get the size of Abby without steroids.

shammgod41d ago

You’re mad cause you’re a fat turd

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DEEBO43d ago

Fuck her body, it's what she done in the game is what really got people mad.

If it was a rescue mission to save them not ruin their lives, Abby would have been loved.

xer042d ago (Edited 42d ago )

I played the first game and i didn't feel particularly attached to Joel at all.
Abbys arc in the game was the most spectacular in my opinion.

The boss fights offered way more excitement.

ABizzel142d ago

I agree with you completely on Abby's section being the best part of the game for me. Escaping from the island was amazing, the journey to the bridge was amazing, the bridge was amazing, the hotel was amazing, the hospital was amazing, return to the Island was amazing, and even the theatre fight was amazing.

I liked Joel, but I definitely didn't agree with his decisions in the game, and in the end, he got was he deserved. He had over 20 years of death, torture, and misery he caused to people and in a world where there are no heroes, you do not earn a hero's ending. When it happened it bothered me, but I realized it was more so because of Ellie being there. And when I found out why while playing with Abby I completely understood.

If anything The Last of Us Part 2 didn't prove people have a problem with muscular women, it proved that gamers and most people for that matter cannot remove their bias and many gamers simply want a straightforward story/plot, because jumping around in the story is too much for them to deal with.

Which is why I'm glad this game exists and does what it does. In time, it will be remembered as a game that pushed the medium forward in storytelling and how it affects the player, and it will allow other developers to eventually take more chances a few years from now instead of being forced to have an ABC level story that can only be recognized by games as good if the scripting is told well.

rainslacker42d ago (Edited 42d ago )

I really liked how you ended up doing some of the things you only heard ellie talking about happening during her section. Made it kind of fun to see the different viewpoints on what was actually happening, and helped build the idea that justice is in the eye of the beholder. When you were going after the sniper, you were into the moment, not thinking about who you were going after.


I'm gonna disagree on the theater fight. Was never into the cat and mouse thing. And ellie was too quick or turned around at just the right time too often for my taste.

Luckily you only had to have two hard sections with the last being fairly easy of that before it was over. You could also abuse the restart checkpoint option to make things more in your favor....which was great when you missed that headshot with limited ammo on the rest of the game

ABizzel141d ago


I've seen people play the Theater scene and STRUGGLE, but I think I enjoyed it because I went through it without an issue, because I played the entire game very stealthy, so I was instinctively picking up bottles and bricks and tossing them at people in fights to begin with so when I played that section I was well prepared lol.

borneFROMblood42d ago

the fact that you are mad, means that ND's story worked exactly as they wanted.
Bold and creative move that should be taken more in our shallow copy-pasted industry.
Kojima did it as well, and those games are excellent.

Sunny_D42d ago

Yeah I enjoyed it too. If they went the safe route, people would have been mad.

smashman9842d ago

Joel was a villain he doomed the whole world. When you see why Abby does what she did and how great of a person she is to people in her community. She's super sweet and kind and loves anime and dogs. I freaking loved abby

rainslacker42d ago (Edited 42d ago )

She was no saint, but she wasnt completely evil, and had a conscious. People seem to disregard the fact that the whole path of her story was trying to redeem herself for what she did. She had a guilty concious. Doesnt absolve her of her actions, but she she isnt the heartless monster that most game antagonists were.

If abby's path weren't explored, the story the way it was just wouldnt work. Itd be another pedestrian feel good story where the protagonist is justified in their actions, and we end the game with a satisfying conclusion.

The first game didbt and with a warm fuzzy ending. It was layered in meaning and implication. While joel did find his humanity again, this game points out that he supposedly doomed the human race to do so. Something that even ellie seemed to feel by him taking away that choice from her...which admittedly the fireflies.never gave her. But she wanted to forgive joel, because she understood why he did it, and she cared about him that much.

I really liked abby in the context of this game. She was a deeper character than ellie. They presented her well, and made you feel her plight. Maybe not the original, but her trying to be good again. I dont think I would have liked her as much if it was a standalone game with her only, and she did what she did. I wouldnt be too eager to play a game where I hunt a beloved character to murder him. Usually stories like that end with the two parties working together, or becoming friends.

Hungryalpaca41d ago

Joel didn’t doom shit. It was already a low chance it would work and he stopped the murder of a 14 year old CHILD who had no autonomy in the situation.

smashman9841d ago

The only chance of a cure was through Ellie's sacrifice this is stated in the game and by druckman himself. Is it low, probably but this is never stated. As he eliminated any hope of developing a cure by definition he doomed the world.

To be clear I'm not even saying I don't like Joel, if I were Joel and somebody I love were to be sacrificed I might and probably would do the same thing. I understand why he did what he did and I don't even disagree with it.

I understand why Abby did what she did.

I understand why Ellie wants revenge.

Players should be able to empathize with all these characters.

41d ago
Kornholic41d ago (Edited 41d ago )

Joel was not the villain in that story. He was given two choices: 1. stop the lunatics from killing Ellie for no reason 2. to walk away. Joel did the right thing. You don't make vaccines by killing the person. The "cure" was a pipedream. It's very naive to think killing Ellie would have solved anything.

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averagejoe2642d ago (Edited 42d ago )

What? Abby is loved by myself and millions of others. Just the salty haters are mad crying rivers.

Hungryalpaca41d ago

Ah yes the classic I like it so I MUST be right!

41d ago
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jambola42d ago

no polyon
it proves that you feel a certain way about it

Sciurus_vulgaris42d ago

Her body in a post apocalyptic setting is unrealistic. It is very hard for women to bulk up and maintain lean muscle mass. Where is she getting all the protein and surplus calories? It's shown that food is rationed and under controlled distribution in the WLF headquarters. She is also unrealistically strong compared to the other characters in the game. The amount of muscle she carrying would decrease her cardio too.