So you’ve made the decision to play The Last of Us Part II. Congratulations; you’re going to have an incredible time. But we have some tips to make it even better.
The Last of Us Part II is a huge game. It’s twice as big as its predecessor, both in length and in scope. It’s much more open; this time, you’re free to explore huge areas of cities.
It’s so big, in fact, that it’s easy to be overwhelmed. But don’t: these tips should help you make the most of your time with The Last of Us Part II.
Play The Last of Us first
This one goes without saying. If you’re yet to play 2013’s excellent The Last of Us, do that first. Don’t even consider jumping in to Part II without seeing the first game through to its end first. Much of The Last of Us Part II‘s story relies on the player’s understanding of the first. So much will be lost if you try and jump in without having played it.
Take time to explore
As we’ve mentioned, The Last of Us Part II is a huge game. Sure there are some sections where you’re following a fairly linear path, but there are many points in the game where you’re free to wander. Make sure you do. Simply running from point to point will dilute much of the experience. There’s so much to be learned and gained from exploring.
Not only will you find more ammo and items to make your journey easier, but you’ll also find notes and documents left behind by people. Reading these adds a lot of depth to the game’s world, and gives a deeper understanding of the story.
Don’t be afraid to adjust the difficulty
The Last of Us Part II isn’t an easy game. Even playing on standard difficulty, it’s very tough at some points. Don’t be afraid to lower it. In fact, you can tailor the difficulty to your liking. Don’t feel like you need to be challenged; it’s a game where the story is first and foremost. If you’re struggling, lower it and simply enjoy the narrative unfold. You can increase the difficulty on a second playthrough, if you want.
Always be careful
It’s a dangerous world out there, and you’re usually not far from danger. Whether it’s an Infected or a human adversary, someone wants to hurt you. And they’ll often strike when you least expect it. Stealth is your friend; use grass to stay in cover, and move slowly behind walls and cars to avoid being seen. But even when you can’t see any enemies, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. When entering new buildings or moving into new areas, always stay alert. You’re bound to be caught off-guard at some point, so be prepared.
Manage your inventory well
As you explore the world of The Last of Us Part II, you’ll gather numerous supplies. Things like rags and bottles can be used to craft more useful supplies, like molotov cocktails or bandages. But you can only carry so many of each item at any one time. Check your inventory regularly, and ensure you craft new items when you can. If you come across an item you can’t pick up, be sure to check that you can’t use your existing items to craft something, thereby freeing up space. It’s always good to have a surplus of items and equipment, after all.
Upgrade your weapons and abilities regularly
You’ll be able to upgrade your weapons as well as your own skills in The Last of Us Part II. Both have their own systems: to upgrade weapons you’ll need to find scrap, and you’ll need to be at a workbench. You’ll find scrap all over the place, so it’s another reason why it pays to explore. You’ll likely not afford every weapon upgrade, so prioritise the weapons you use most first.
As for your own upgrades, you’ll start out with just one skill tree. You’ll need to find pills in order to unlock new skills – again, you’ll find these out in the world. You’ll also find books, which you’ll read and then unlock new skill trees. Each tree focuses on a particular area, such as stealth or firearms. Again, concentrate on the areas you’re going to find most useful – a longer-range Listen Mode, for example – as you’ll not be able to afford every upgrade.
Don’t rely on guns
Guns are great at killing enemies, but they’re not perfect. They’re loud, for instance, and they require ammo. And (depending what difficulty you’re playing on) ammo is scarce in The Last of Us Part II. As such, it’s best not to rely on your guns too much. Where possible, sneak up on enemies to take them out, unaware. You can also use throwables or your bow and arrow. Essentially, use your full arsenal; don’t just fall back on firing a gun.
Stealth is best, where possible
Stealth isn’t everyone’s style of gameplay, and it doesn’t have to be your go-to style in The Last of Us Part II either, but it does help. A lot of fights can be avoided altogether if you can be a master of stealth. Ellie’s made for it; she can go prone in long grass, she has quiet weapons to use, and a pocket knife to stealthily take out enemies from behind. But how successful she’ll be is ultimately down to you. The world around you is designed with plenty of cover in mind, so just take your time. Don’t charge around like a bull in a china shop; move cautiously and purposefully from one area to another.
Take a peek into Ellie’s journal
Sometimes she can be moments away from danger, but she’ll pull out her journal to doodle something, or jot something down. Ellie’s become quite the artist – and when she’s away from home in Jackson she uses her journal to release her creativity. You can access it from the menu, and it’s well worth peeking at from time to time. Not only will you get to see some beautiful artwork, but it’ll also give you a priceless glimpse inside Ellie’s head, with poems and ponderances that might not be directly addressed as you play through.
Enjoy Photo Mode from time to time
Okay, so not entirely game-related, but The Last of Us Part II has a fantastic photo mode built in. You can access it from the menu. It’s worth jumping into it from time to time, simply to admire the world around you. Seattle and the areas you’ll visit in The Last of Us Part II are simply sublime. While sneaking around, avoiding the Infected or taking part in tense battles, you don’t always get the chance to admire your scenery. Switching into Photo Mode allows you to take a breather and make the most of the world around you. You can also create some fantastic images to show off, too.