Ultimately yes, but I'm speaking from scene to scene. At the start of the game, the game VERY MUCH sets up a revenge arc for Ellie, with Abby as the villain. I'm kind of stunned why you are disagreeing on that fact. Thats literally what they do.
And the game then spends the next 25 hours of gameplay deconstructing that arc and showing you that's not what the game is about at all.
The thing is, even now, you're referring to Abby as 'the villain.' You continued to see the game as a revenge plot as you played the rest of the game.
I have a feeling you were let down by the ending, when
Ellie lets Abby go.
If that's the case, you not only missed the whole point of the game, but you're also the reason the game was written in the first place.
Abby is not a villain for the entirety of the game, but she is for the start of the game. The positive attributes of Abby that you refer to, are not revealed to the player until much later in the game.
Yes, but those positive attributes of Abby always existed. Which is the point the game was making.
In our rush to frame ourselves (as Ellie) as the 'hero' and the protagonist, and Abby as the 'villain' and the antagonist worthy of nothing but death, we dehumanised Abby.
Which of course, is false. In the game world, she's a living, breathing, thinking and feeling person, just like Ellie or anyone else.
In regards to Joel, he is a sacrifice by the writers to shock the players and rewrite Ellie's character in service of a plot
You think it was out of character for Ellie to come hunting after the people that killed Joel? Or out of character for her to 'break bad' and get all murder-ey?
Remember, this is a girl whose father figures are Joel and Tommy, hardened mass murderers, torturers, Hunters and worse. Both are depicted (and explained by Ellie) as teaching her how to torture people for information, to never trust anyone and kill people, and so forth.
She was effectively raised by two NE men. I dont see her as being prepared to do as they do to be an assassination of her character at all.