This is the best, most concise explanation for why I like admire game.
Do you think that if you played as Abby from the start - just the stuff in Seattle, with occasional flashbacks - you would have enjoyed her storyline? You play through her losing her dad to Joel, don't see her kill Joel, but instead cut to her working to protect her faction in a city, and feeling embittered and unfulfilled until she meets a kid in trouble?
Because I think that's a great story.
The fact that you say, 'we play as Abby for a painfully long time' makes me think you just weren't enjoying her story as its own story.
But the fact that he's irked at that, and then irked that he is being made to play as Abby, and that he's not enjoying Abby's story as much as Ellie's, that's showing that he still is angry at Abby. He complains about the game manipulating you to like Abby, with a dog and such. He says this like it's a bad thing, like in the first game you weren't just as manipulated to like Ellie and feel for Joel. The only reason he finds this manipulation a problem, is because he hates Abby, and doesn't want to like her.
I strongly feel that they deliberately assassinate Ellie's and Joel's character in order to make Abby look good.
I think Lev is perhaps one of the least sympathetic characters in the game, because many deaths in the later chapters of the game are directly his fault.
The reason you hate Abby so much is because the game made you. You hated her when she killed Joel (who you cared about, and were invested in from the first game) in such a senseless manner, so you couldnt empathise with her when you were forced to play her, even when it became apparent she was (unlike Ellie and Joel) largely a morally Good person.
All the deaths in the game are Joels fault actually. If Joel hadnt have murdered Abbys dad, she never would have come looking for him for revenge. Ellie never would have embarked on her killing spree, and the whole events of the game never would have happened.
I hated Abby, because the scene in which she kills Joel, deliberately portrays her as a villain.
Also, her friends were eager to kill Ellie,
After the game has shown the player that both Abby and her friends are villains, the game goes to great lengths to try and make them look sympathetic, but never quite succeeds.
This is not entirely true. There are several deaths in the game that are unrelated to Abby's revenge quest, but are the direct result of Lev's actions, such as him deciding to go off on his own, despite being warned not to do so.
No, you're the one casting her as the villain in that scene.
None of which would have happened if Joel hadnt have murdered Abbys dad, dooming Lev and the rest of humanity to the Zombie Apocalypse. The Wolves wouldnt even exist (they'd still be the Fireflies!) and Abby and her friends would never have joined them!
But in that scene, she absolutely is the villain.
So this is the core problem with the game's story: After deliberately making Abby into a villain (which is in my view without question), the game spends its entirely trying to redeem Abby, but never quite pulls it off.
This is is why you are seeing such strong negative reactions to the game's plot.
Even in part 1 it is not guaranteed that Ellie's operation will result in a cure.
No, there is no villain.
Or more correctly, everyone is the villain and everyone is the hero. And no-one is.
No, that's that what the game is trying to do at all. The game is not trying to set up a 'villain redemption' arc with Abby as she was never the villain at all.
In fact she was pretty consistently a morally good person, altruistic, kind, self sacrificing, charitable and loving (with the notable exception of murdering Joel).
If Abby is the villain, what the heck does that make Joel?
No, Im seeing such strong reactions to the games plot because people thought they were getting a 'murder hordes of mooks and a series of mini-bosses before killing the BBEG at the end' storyline, like you see in literally every action movie ever.
Abbys dad was very confident it would result in a cure, and he's a specialist and a doctor and all that, and in a the best position to know those kinds of things. He's basically portrayed as Lawful Good - he doesn't seem like the sort of man that would take the decision to murder a defenceless child on the operating table, and violate the Hippocratic oath, lightly.
That's the moral gravitas of the end scene of part 1; Joel is effectively dooming humanity (and committing mass murder) to save Ellie.