The folks over at Naughty Dog weren't kidding when they said that The Last of Us: Part II is their biggest and most ambitious game to date. Having more complex mechanics and bigger areas to explore will also make it more challenging, so we've decided to share some of our tips and tricks after playing through the game three times across the three hardest difficulties (and getting the platinum in the process). These tips are spoiler-free of course, so please enjoy.
We've always considered this very obvious in games like this, but it's still worth reiterating. Your life will be a lot easier if you crouch down or use your new crawl to get past enemies unnoticed or get behind them to slit their throats silently. This isn't an action-focused game like the Uncharted series, so play it accordingly.
Tallgrass, containers, desks, cars and many other objects help keep you out of view, so most areas offer plenty of opportunities to navigate without being seen. Then just see if an enemy's patrol route takes it out of view from others or if you can find a nice isolated place to throw a brick or bottle to lure an adversary where you want them. Be careful with the latter, however, as it might also lead to team-ups.
Not that handling duos is too much of a problem, as you still have plenty of options. You can sneak up on the back-up, grab him or her when they're not talking and either kill your hostage quickly before moving on to their partner. Alternatively, you can use the silencer that you should always have crafted, using it to kill the other one before they warn the rest of the baddies if you get noticed. Don't worry, the shock will give you a second to send a well-placed shot to the head or throat.
It's worth mentioning that this shock applies to sneaking up on enemies as well. Worried that your target might turn around before you reach them? Don't worry, Naughty Dog has made the timing so satisfying that you can do the normal jog towards your target and have precisely enough time to grab them before a cry for help can exit their mouth. This applies to the game when played on all difficulties.
Being stealthy makes it a lot easier to keep your inventory fully stacked as well, but there's no need to fret if you miss a few shots, Molotov cocktails, or whatever it might be. Playing on Normal made us leave tons of resources behind because our inventory was already full most of the time, and Hard is surprisingly generous as well. Just make sure that you craft whatever you can if you find a resource that you've already reached the maximum capacity of. Why leave a bottle behind when you can use one of the ones in your inventory to make a silencer and then put the one on the table in your backpack? The same goes for health kits. It's very tempting to save every single one until your health is dangerously low, but there's no point in saving one of them if you're standing in front of the ingredients needed to make a new one.
One concern we've heard from many of you is the fear of leaving resources or collectibles behind because something stops you from returning to a previous area. Fortunately, The Last of Us: Part II has quite a few tells that warn you if you're about to do something that will make the area you're in inaccessible. Having to force open a door with a button prompt, slide down wet mud or jump down from a higher level usually means that you won't be able to return, so take an extra look around if you think there might be some other goodies lying around in the vicinity.
Some of the stuff you might miss the first time around will probably be behind glass, as we're not used to being able to break pretty much every window like we can in Part II. A piece of glass will often be the only thing standing between you and a resource or collectible inside a house, a car, a closet, a refrigerator, or whatever it might be, so it's worth breaking everything you see with your knife or a brick.
A locked door might initially frustrate, but there's usually a way for you to get inside some other way. Whether it's through a window elsewhere, a ventilation shaft, a crawl space, and the clever use of a rope-like object. 99% of the locked rooms can be entered by other means in Part II. Think logically, and chances are you'll find a way in to earn your well-deserved reward inside.
Save Those Pills
These rewards often include the pills you use to get new abilities or upgrade your old ones. There's no need to spend them if the next upgrade(s) in line in line doesn't sound interesting to you. Some of the best skills can be found in magazines you find later on in the game, and since you won't be able to max out the upgrades in one playthrough we recommend saving your pills for when something interesting becomes available.
The Last of Us: Part II is so brilliantly designed that it allows you to solve most situations even if you missed a hint or two. Where the original demanded that you found the right letter or note to open a safe, the sequel's environmental story-telling and design rewards common sense. We got a fantastic example of this in our first playthrough: a sneaky note with the combination managed to elude us, but we just looked around the apartment and asked ourselves: what combination would we come up with while living here? People love using important dates as passwords, so a quick glance at the calendar next to the bed gave us the answer. Just take a closer look at the environments and you'll see several similar examples even if most solutions can also be found written black on white in letters and notes strewn about the place.
Easy to Miss Collectibles
Some collectibles can still be easily missed even when taking into account the aforementioned advice, so let us wrap this up by sharing some general recommendations for those of you who want to find everything and get that platinum trophy:
The Last of Us: Part II is landing exclusively on PS4 on June 19, and if you want to know more about Naughty Dog's latest and greatest, check out our interview with game director Kurt Margenau and don't hesitate to ask if you need more help.