The new Last of Us 2 Grounded update includes permadeath, new modes and extra trophies to try for

Last of Us 2 Grounded
(Image credit: Sony)

The Last of Us Part 2 Grounded update is here, adding the fan favourite difficulty mode, a new permadeath option, and a range of gameplay and visual modifiers. It means that while the more challenging Grounded difficulty is the main selling point, you can also make the whole game easier with things like bullet time aiming and infinite ammo. The update is scheduled to go live this Thursday, August 13.

Grounded mode has always been the real test of a The Last of Us playthrough. Enemies are tougher, smarter and do more damage. Crafting supplies and ammo are almost nonexistent (and no longer flash in the distance), plus there’s no listening mode or HUD to help you out. It is tough. Testing the mode out with my completed save on the fairly safe early Capitol Hill level saw Ellie start with three bullets and little else. Combine that with the fact you can only take, at best, two hits at range if you’re lucky, and gaining even an inch of ground is a herculean task. 

And now there’s a permadeath mode as well, in case it didn’t sound like Grounded difficulty was enough of a challenge. As you’d expect, it means death is absolutely the end which, in a game that if you rush will take around 25 hours, is stressing me out just thinking about it. This is the official image Sony sent us, suggesting 59 minutes might be the best time anyone had to hand: 

(Image credit: Sony)

If you are going to try your luck with either Grounded or Permadeath then there are two new trophies for completing the game with either mode active. And, just in case you were worried, these new awards aren’t required for the platinum.  

But it’s not all about the crushing transience of mortality. There’s also fun! Namely via a range of The Last of Us 2 video and gameplay modifiers that can change how things look and play. There’s a full list of everything in the patch notes at the end of this article but I’m a big fan of bullet time aiming, one hit kills, and infinite ammo which basically means you’re playing The Last of Max Payne. (No details on how this affects getting trophies so I’ve asked Sony for more info there.) The visual modes add a range of filters and effects, including things like an 8-bit mode, a comic book look and more. Most are definitely ‘fun for five minutes but now my eyes hurt’ territory but if you want to play Tell Tale’s The Walking Dead you will remember that. 

(Image credit: Sony)

Rounding The Last of Us 2 Grounded update are a few more extra “options and Improvements” that add a few new controller and gameplay tweaks, as well as additional accessibility improvements including things like changes to aiming acceleration, rope gameplay, and more. The entire Ground Zero level has even had a new accessibility pass. 

As we mentioned up top, the update is due to go live on Thursday, August 13, although no time has been specified yet. Here’s the full patch notes if you want all the details. 

The Last of Us 2 Grounded Update details

Difficulty modes 

  • Grounded Difficulty
  • Permadeath Mode
  • Trophies 

New update introduces two new Trophies: one for completing the game with Permadeath enabled and another for beating it on Grounded difficulty. Neither of these will be required in order to earn the Platinum. 

New Graphics, Audio, and Gameplay Modifiers

  • Mirror World
  • Mirror on Death
  • Slow Motion
  • Bullet Speed Mode
  • Infinite Ammo
  • Infinite Crafting
  • Infinite Melee Durability
  • Infinite Listen Mode Durability
  • Infinite Listen Mode Range
  • One Shot
  • Touch of Death
  • 8-bit Audio
  • 4-bit Audio
  • Helium Audio
  • Xenon Audio

New Options and Improvements

  • Film Grain Adjustment Option
  • Disable Listen Mode Option
  • Motion Sensor Function Aiming Option
  • Arc Throw HUD Display Option
  • Aiming Acceleration Scale Option
  • Aiming Ramp Power Scale Option
  • Accessibility Improvements to Ground Zero encounter and rope gameplay
  • Additional accessibility improvements 

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Leon Hurley
Managing editor for guides

I'm GamesRadar's Managing Editor for guides, which means I run GamesRadar's guides and tips content. I also write reviews, previews and features, largely about horror, action adventure, FPS and open world games. I previously worked on Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website.