Abby is a psychopath, no amount of having her play with dogs and saving zebras will ever work cause she relishes and enjoys killing and torturing ppl the game almost goes out of its way to display that and she never show remorse for anyone or anything, she uses ppl and is pretty much a loaded gun pointing on different directions the whole way trough. Ellie is the victim here (the only real one, cause Joel has a lot of blood on his hands) and in the end she turns into a complete wreck of a person with no life and severe emotional scars and Abby acctualy gets saved by the fact she carried out her revenge in the beginning of the game. If Abby hadn't killed Joel in the most sadistic way possible Ellie would never save her in the end, this alone undermines the whole point of the game, violence is, effectively, Abby's savation and not at all bad for her.
Also Ellie goes from "I wanted to sacrifice my life to save humanity" to murdering scores of ppl in 1 day, no person goes into a killing spree cause of grief, that is not how grief works. Only an extremely violence prone person would ever do that and Ellie is very clearly, trough what was built of her character to that point, not that person. Ellies character is completely deconstructed in this game. Some ppl try to justify her actions with "she was just defending herself", well she wasn't she is clearly the aggressor on all those interactions, the other ppl were trying to defend themselves from this single minded revenge driven insane person threatening their lives.
Joel's death when it happens and the way it does is 100% done for shock value, it is a futile death to try and surprise players and a very tropy plot element for revenge stories (they put Joel in the fridge basically, I know its normaly women that get fridged but sometimes it can be men). I asume everyone kinda expected Joel to die at some point in this game, as I said before the dude had a lot of blood on his hands, ppl like this rarely ever die a peacefull death, but the way it was handed was just played for shock. By the way the game has toms of moments played for shock value or to force empathy (like Abby playing with her dog, the one Ellie murders - message the game wants to convey here is "Abby good, she likes dogs, Ellie bad she kills dogs"), its a very shallow and weak attempt at emotion manipulation, sometimes I felt like I could see Druckman pulling the strings in the back of my TV, that is not good writing. And since we are talking about not good writing having 200 flashbacks is also not good writing and having a flashback inside a flashback would get you failed on your writting class.
The ending makes no sense when you stop to think 1 second about it, the fact that Ellie let go of her revenge, spared Abby and whatnot is great for Ellie, she moved on and all, but both those women were sitting on a mountain of bodies by that point, they were both monsters and no amount of forgiving each other will ever fix that. Ellie letting Abby go does not end any cycle of anything like ppl keep saying because they killed so many ppl and destroyed so many lives in their path that there's at least some 100 other people wanting revenge against both of them, or at least there should be. I dunno how exactly 1 humane act by Ellie eliminates the atrocities she committed throughout the game and I also don't know what exactly did Abby ever do to deserve being forgiven by anyone, player Ellie or whoever it is, again the woman is a psychopath, has 0 empathy and likes killing and inflicting pain (she goes the extra mile with Dina for instance, where she feels even better when she learns the girl was pregnant). Nice that Ellie whose above he primal urges but someone else is gonna try finish the job later, and ellie herself is probably gona have to watch ehr back constatly, that is if she does not hang herself cause she is such an emotional wreck by the end I can't honestly understand how that is not the end of this game, with no mental health institute no life left, no fingers, no purpose, no sense of belonging and severe PTSD its uncomprehensible how she managed to not end it all right then and there (as dark as this may sound, if the game wants to be realistic then it should be so to the very end, in real life that's how a person in Ellie's situation end up without any professional help).
The game introduces some 15 completely forgettable characters, some like Many and Jessie get shot in the head in a minute and the next minute no one even remembers they existed, the players playing the game and the characters in the game themselves just never even think about those guys again.
There are so many plot conveniences its not even funny, the game starts with Joel pretty much stumbling into Abby and ends with Ellie miraculously getting to Abby at the exact right time when she was between life and death. Those are just two quick examples but there are several more including a map pointing to the exact location of Ellie's werabouts just laying there.
Tommy is immortal, dude should've died at least on two separate occasions and goes trough three entire cycles of "let’s get revenge" and "no revenge bad, let's go home" that I remember, it might've been more.
The actual best parts about this game are Joel and Ellies flashback (whod've thought) and Dina and Ellie's interactions, however both of these are too few and far between.
Abby's flashbacks are mostly a separate story, Druckman was trying so hard to make ppl like her he basically combined two games into one. Its not a bad storyline in on itself btw, Lev seens like a likeable character for instance even tough we don't have much time with him. In fact had this been two games, one you play with Abby, gets to like her (It'd probably be better if they made her feel some remorse and not enjoy killing and hurting ppl to) and learns in the end she wants Joel dead and then a third game where she does kill Joel and you then play as Ellie seeking revenge, it'd still be somewhat problematic cause you still need to accept Ellie simply went batshit insane and is now a mass murderer, but it'd work much better. Also the game stops on a very climatic momment and then starts the whole Abby journey that just drags on for ages while you the player just want to know how the Ellie story will resolve. I is Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 7 all over again.
In the end this is too long of a game that deconstruct characters, introduce a lot of forgettable ones, fails miserably to show Abby as a relatable whiel trying the hardest to manipulate player emotion and has so much violence that by the 3rd hour you are so desensitized you don't even care anymore if someone is screaming while being butchered by one of the two protagonists. The story wants to be super deep and intellectual but it has plot holes aplenty, is very basic in its premises and contradicts itself.