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You've Been Playing The Last Of Us Part 2 All Wrong

The Last of Us Part 2 can be as challenging or easy as you want. You can turn its difficulty all the way up and transform the game into a survivalist's nightmare, or you can use the built-in "invisible while prone" cheat to remove virtually all game difficulty. However, no matter what difficulty mode you use, the game still features several challenges and puzzles that aren't affected by difficulty sliders.

If you don't abuse certain features in The Last of Us Part 2, some portions of the game will prove harder than necessary, especially if you're the kind of player who doesn't quit until you turn over every rock and uncover every secret. Some of these strategies might employ in-game features in ways the devs didn't intend, while others are just examples of how realism can make gamers think outside the regular gaming box.

Not using the accessibility options to find collectibles

Like any title designed to keep gamers occupied for hours, The Last of Us Part 2 features a wealth of collectibles, most of which are easy to miss since you have to search high and low for them. Given the number of collectibles scattered throughout the game and the depths you have to go to find them, you may wish there was an easier way to achieve the highly coveted 100%. Good news: there is.

The Last of Us Part 2 includes a wealth of accessibility options, the most important of which is High Contrast Display. This option makes the game world look less like a realistic post-apocalyptic land overgrown with plants and zombie fungus and more like a proof of concept gameplay sample that doesn't feature character textures. However, high contrast is crucial for people with limited vision since everything glows a distinctive color, including collectibles and pickups. And, it is easy to find collectibles in this mode.

But, if High Contrast Display still isn't enough, you can also activate Enhanced Listen Mode to give the protagonist echolocation that pings objects. If for any reason you think you've missed a collectible, give Enhanced Listen Mode a go and see what you overlooked and where to find it. In fact, just use Enhanced Listen Mode religiously, and you will be on your way to completionist godhood.

Opening safes without listening for telltale tumbler clicks

If you've ever seen a heist movie, you probably encountered a scene where someone dons a stethoscope, listens closely to a safe's tumblers as they turn the knob, and opens the safe on their first try. This trick is known as safe-cracking, and you too can be a master safe-cracker in The Last of Us Part 2.

If you listen carefully — and turn the game/TV's volume past recommended safety levels — you can hear two different tumbler clicks. The first click indicates when you just move the knob, but when you turn it to the correct number, the in-game safe emits a slightly louder click. You might need a few tries to tell the difference between the two sounds, and to find the right volume level, but eventually you will get the hang of it.

With this trick, you won't need to spend precious time searching for safe codes.

Not breaking every piece of glass you find

The world of The Last of Us Part 2 is in a horrendous state of disrepair. Plants strangle most of the buildings. Stores are looted of almost everything worthwhile, and glass litters the ground. Some glass windows and containers are intact, and many hide secret items and collectibles. In any other game, you'd have to find a key or other way around the glass since it usually serves as an impenetrable barrier, but in The Last of Us Part 2, you can shatter glass like, well, glass. Also, you should do so at every opportunity.

Turns out you can break glass to access a variety of goodies, from hints to find resource caches to healing and crafting items. While the sound of glass breaking tends to attract hostile enemies, there's nothing stopping you from channeling your inner bull-in-a-china-shop when an area is secure. Since many items you can collect from behind glass don't show up as collectible until after you've already shattered the barrier, it's easy to forget that glass can hide valuable items.

Trying to kill every enemy in the area

In a world full of mushroom zombies and angry militants, you can't be too cautious. Killing every enemy you encounter might seem like a good idea on paper, but since there are more of them than there are of you, sometimes you should swallow your pride and retreat without leaving so much as a muddy footprint.

The Last of Us Part 2 is, for the most part, a combat sandbox. You can sneak up on enemies and give them a good shanking, lay traps for them, or fill them full of bullets and arrows (assuming you have the ammo). But, you might get so caught up in combat that you forget running away is a valid option.

Some areas of The Last of Us Part 2 are designed so you can sneak through without entering combat, while others spawn endless waves of enemies that make holding the line as futile. If you're running low on resources and staring down a tidal wave of fungal flesh, or just want to get from point A to point B without spilling blood, there is no shame in living and letting live.

Not saving ammo by tossing a bottle or brick

Resource management is the name of the game in The Last of Us Part 2. People wasted so many bullets during the initial cordyceps zombie outbreak, you are left with little to use. However, the world also experienced an influx of litterbugs in the ensuing post-apocalypse, so plenty of empty bottles and loose bricks are lying around and can be quite useful.

Normally, you toss bottles and bricks to distract enemies, but if someone spots you, throwing a bottle or brick several feet to their left won't work. But, lobbing one at their face will stun them. It doesn't matter if they're a normal human or an Infected — everyone is equally vulnerable to a good beaning. Plus, while they reel from the impact, you can bum rush and kill them. It certainly beats wasting a bullet or two shooting at them since there's no guarantee you will find spare ammo. However, odds are good that three replacement bottles wait five feet away.

Restarting from the checkpoint instead of the encounter

In the real world, you have to live with your mistakes. These include making bad investments, breaking your grandma's vase, or accidentally creating an army of evil cyborg monkeys. However, The Last of Us Part 2 isn't real. It is a video game, complete with checkpoints you can revisit to erase your mistakes. These checkpoints come in handy if you are accidentally wasteful during combat.

If you open up The Last of Us Part 2's pause menu, you will see options to reload from a checkpoint and restart from the beginning of an encounter. These choices are not necessary and might seem heretical to gamers who want a more realistic experience. But, if you think you were hit one too many times and wasted resources, reloading might seem preferable to trudging on.

You could retry from a checkpoint, but a restarted encounter lets you begin fresh with all of your precious health and ammo. You can learn from your mistakes and metagame your way through the fight. An encounter restart can make you come out on top with fewer scratches, more bullets, and even more confidence.

Not luring out Stalkers with a distraction

Even though you can wield shotguns, pistols, bows, and even flamethrowers in The Last of Us Part 2, stealth and Listen Mode are your two greatest weapons. With these assets by your side, you can locate enemies, sneak up on them, and take them out without firing a shot. But, all is fair and love and war, and The Last of Us Part 2's Stalkers use your own tricks against you. 

Stalkers are almost impossible to sneak up on and often don't show up in Listen Mode, especially when they hibernate in their fungal cocoons. However, they are still dumb mushroom zombies that investigate every noise they hear, so use that to your advantage.

If you suspect a Stalker is nearby, toss out a glass bottle or brick. The noise will send them running, and then you can decide what to do next. Do you run away and escape before the Stalkers corner you, or do you unload your shotgun on them and wipe them out? No matter what you choose, remember it's easy to out-stalk the Stalkers if you keep a cool head and an extra bottle in your pocket.

Upgrading melee weapons immediately

Say you come across a baseball bat in The Last of Us Part 2. It's a sturdy weapon that should last several hits, but you may also have enough resources to upgrade the bat. Why swing around a wooden weapon that will last a few hits when you can make it last two extra swings? Because you can more than double the weapon's life if you are patient.

If you just skimmed through the crafting menu, you won't find the option to repair weapons, but that's only because upgrading melee weapons serves two purposes. The first purpose is, quite obviously, to convert them into one-hit wonders that puncture skulls. But, upgrading melee weapons also has the secondary benefit of repairing them. If you wait until your weapon is almost a useless pile of scrap, you can patch it up and give it a second wind.

Granted, not all combat scenarios let you save your melee weapon. Sometimes, you need to use your baseball bat, pipe, or other melee instrument until it shatters, but immediately upgrading one whenever you get your hands on it is wasteful. Why spend precious materials on a healthy weapon when you can spend them on arrows and shivs? Think about your long-term survival, not short-term gains.

Not distracting enemies and then throwing a Molotov

Since you are hopelessly outnumbered in The Last of Us Part 2, enemies will gladly gang up on you. In fact, they are so confident in their superior numbers that enemies will investigate random noises in large groups. Use that arrogance against them.

If you played the original The Last of Us, you will be pleased to hear that the Molotov tactic still works. If The Last of Us Part 2 is your first foray into the franchise, here's how the tactic works. Essentially, start by tossing a bottle or brick for a distraction. Standard stuff, but here's where things get juicy. When enemies are gathered around the shattered remains of your projectile, light 'em up with a Molotov and let the flaming alcohol do its job. You can take out a ton of enemies with this trick without spending precious bullets.

Alternatively, if you don't have Molotovs, toss out a bomb instead. It's more noisy, but bombs have the same effect. Just use whatever is on hand, and you should make it out in one piece.

Not using slo-mo to make aiming easier

Waiting to fire until you see the whites of someone's eyes is easier said than done in The Last of Us Part 2, and not just because half of your opponents had their eyes dissolved by mutant cordyceps. If enemies don't charge you at speeds that make blind firing your only option, they will duck in and out of cover. It's difficult to conserve ammo when the game throws every trick in the book to make you waste ammo, so why not use a built-in cheat to level the playing field?

The Last of Us Part 2 features a host of accessibility features, including the option to make the game crawl in slow motion. It's not bullet time slow motion, but it lets you appreciate the game's impeccably motion-captured animations. More importantly, turning on slow motion while aiming gives you a few extra seconds to line up your weapon.

If you can't finish fights without spending all your saved ammo, slow motion combat can help you create the perfect headshot every time, which makes it almost impossible to lose a fight. Ok, not really, but slow motion makes The Last of Us Part 2 feel a tad more forgiving in the combat department.