A combatant pokes their head over a barricade. They died with one shot. They are dispatched as soon as their companions flee. A dozen former living beings lay strewn across a room. This scenario is played out in many video games. It is enjoyable in most of them.

Merit doesn't have to be fun to be an artist. There are a lot of movies, television shows, and novels that are not pleasant to watch, but are still great. Video games have the same principle, but they have a different nature. Video games need to keep the player engaged for a long time, even if the movie only lasts a short time. While shows and physical art can be boring, games require participation.

The idea of putting fun aside for a long time has been considered by video games. Spec Ops: The Line asks players to consider the cost of war in its version of Heart of Darkness, but it's not like the shooter games. Resident Evil and Outlast use the trappings of horror to startle players, but only in a superficial way. A lot of games try to make a player feel bad. No game series has done it better than The Last of Us.

Any narrative-driven piece of media needs to have writing that is unassailable. The Last of Us shines in that area. For nearly a decade now, Naughty Dog has received praise for the story they created, and the story of the two people who are doing some of the best work of their careers is hard to ignore. Both games start with a character being murdered. Both scenes set the tone for the games from the beginning. Throughout the story, many characters are tortured, killed, and maimed. The world of Last of Us is depressing but there are some small moments of humor.

The Last of Us sets itself apart in a way that makes its audience cringe. The original game was released on the PS3 and did an admirable job. The first time a Clicker ripped a throat out with their teeth, anyone who has played the game remembers it. It is one of the most gruesome deaths in gaming. It is what we do to other people that is the most important.

The Last of Us used the graphical fidelity granted by the PS3 and PS4 to show the brutality of the game's main character. Their lifeless eyes looked blankly as the exit wounds opened on their enemies. The game has a shotgun that can rip limbs off at close range. The human body is both beautiful and fragile, and so much carnage on it is frightening.

The Last of Us Part 2 makes players feel worse about their actions because it's only for the PS4. All of the same gory ethos is there, with Ellie displaying even more ruthlessness than she did in her hand-to-hand kills. Part 2, a meditation on revenge at any cost, is considerably darker than Part 1 on its own, and the level of violence shown matches it. The level of violence and depiction that Part 2 uses to confront the player is not the only consequence of it.