Updated: Jan 31
Just a disclaimer, I have not played any of The Last of Us Games so this is more of an outside opinion. BUT even though I haven't played it, I have been very aware of stories and characters and know how everything ends. From what I've gathered through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, this is what the majority are actually mad about. Let me add that no, people do not hate it because Ellie is Bi and that there is a trans character. (SPOILERS AHEAD)
The Message is Hypocritical
The game puts out a very strong message of "Revenge is Bad" but doesn't balance out between Ellie and Abby. I say that because one already got their revenge. The way the story goes is Abby is wanting revenge for her father by killing Joel, and Ellie wants to kill Abby for killing Joel. The message is very quick to be hypocritical as Abby already gets her revenge in The beginning portion of the game. The only real consequence is that her friends are murdered along the way, but even that doesn't have much emotional weight. Meanwhile, Ellie is on a hard track for vengeance but never gets it. She just comes out more broken than when she started, and that's fine if Abby's situation followed that formula. But it didn't so the message just seems muddled.
Too Many Throw Away Characters
One thing I've noticed is that there are too many throwaway characters. Many complained that you got to know these characters for a few scenes before they are brutally killed and there's no emotional weight to be carried with them. It's a small complaint but a pretty important one.
There are a lot of flashbacks with Ellie and Joel and Abby and her father that are meant to help you have an emotional connection to the characters. The problem with this is that people were already attached to Ellie and Joel as that relationship is built with the player in the first game. Bringing Joel back after you watch him get brutally murdered in flashbacks just seems cheap, and doesn't have too much bearing on the story. Abby's flashbacks are for a different reason, however. Abby is seen as simply a villain in the first part of the game. The players have no idea who she is, and already hate her for killing Joel. In her flashbacks, she is seen to have a very loving relationship with her father and see that her father is actually loving and caring just like Joel. But this doesn't work for the audience because it just looks like they're trying to justify Abby's reasoning for Joel's death. If you were to play as Abby in the beginning, and including her flashbacks before you have her and a team hunting Joel down then maybe people would feel for her. But here it just doesn't work.
The man that you all played and fell in love with is not only killed, but he's killed in such a brutal way, beaten to death by a golf club. Many hated his death for very obvious reasons. Some thought that the death was necessary for the game, but didn't agree with how he died. My thoughts are that he really should not have been bludgeoned because it backfires with what they would be trying to go for later on with Abby's character. To a point, it's pretty insulting considering someone like Joel who is being hunted by an organization would just go off with these people and tell them his name. So not only were people mad with how he died but the fact that they had made him so trusting that it was just out of character.
Last but not least, Abby's character. A lot of people argued that Abby was not hated because she was trans. Many within the trans community thought her character gave them a bad name. A lot of the game wants you to side with Abby and sympathize with her. This is evident when you play through her flashbacks, see her interact with her friends and lovers, and heck, they even give her a discount Ellie to look after and take care of. But a big part of the problem is that Abby doesn't seem remorseful in what she's done. Her revenge was handed to her on a silver platter. If she truly wanted to get her revenge and be done with it, she wouldn't spend so much time beating Joel's brains out with a golf club. She even kept going as Ellie is screaming at her in pain to stop. She was even ready to kill Ellie's lover, Dina, AFTER Ellie tells her she is pregnant. Abby even responds with "Good" before she attempts to finish her off. And I'm supposed to root for her? On top of all of this, Ellie spends the entire game going on murdering spree to track Abby down...just so she will spare Abby in the end. Yeah, that seems.... pointless. The point is, they made Abby a sociopath in so many moments that no one wanted to play her or even have her survive.
These were the main issues with The Last of Us II. I wasn't even a fan of these decisions and I didn't even play the game. In short, if the critic reviews are putting this game in a positive light, but comments were not, it's pretty clear that the game was not well received for a good reason.