11 The Last of Us 2 tips to help you survive the end of the world

The Last of Us 2
(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

Our The Last of Us 2 tips and tricks will help you ensure Ellie can stay alive against both clickers and bandits, with crafting and combat advice for players to make use of. TLOU2's challenges are rarely complex - horrible people and monsters are trying to kill you, and you're trying not to be killed - but how you approach these situations and what you know in advance is what makes the difference between coming out alive and... well, the alternative. For that reason, we've provided a SPOILER-FREE series of The Last of Us 2 tips and tricks, to help keep you forewarned and forearmed.

1. Avoid crafting stuff until you need it 

(Image credit: Sony)

Because you never quite know what’s around the corner in The Last of Us 2, try to avoid crafting too much stuff straight away until you know what you need. Resources are scarce and easy to use up if you just go on a making spree. As a rule you’ll usually get plenty of warning, or time to hide and assess the situation before things kick off, so only make stuff when you know what you need. People, Clickers, and other situations all demand different approaches, and the last thing you want to do is blow everything on petrol bombs and end up in a tiny room where they’re as dangerous to you as anything else.

2. Always explore open areas thoroughly or you’ll miss something 

(Image credit: Sony)

There’s a lot of open space in Part 2 and it's a game full of corners to poke into. Try not to move on until you’re sure you’ve searched everywhere. Scrap and supplements are hidden everywhere and vital to upgrading both Ellie and her gear. And even the workbenches you need to improve your guns can be hidden away. Just don’t leave an area, or worse trigger a one-way moment before you’re sure you’ve got everything. Rattle all the doors, break all the windows and check around every corner.  

3. Don't forget you can smash glass. Even fridges have stuff inside

the last of us 2 glass

(Image credit: Sony)

Continuing on from the idea of making sure you search every corner, don’t forget you can break almost any glass you can see in the game. That might be a door into an otherwise locked shop, a fridge with supplies inside or even a high window that you can then climb through. Anything will do the job from bullets to bricks and even a melee weapon or the handle of your knife. Even if you don’t find anything it’s just fun to do. 

4. If someone doesn't say you cleared a place out there's still stuff to find

(Image credit: Sony)

Both Ellie and anyone she might be with are quite vocal about saying when you’ve cleared an area, both of supplies and enemies. Keep an ear on what people are saying and they'll let you know if it’s time to move on because you’ve done all you can in terms of objectives or resource collecting. They’ll also say when you’ve dealt with all the enemies around and it’s safe to stop hiding. 

5. Always take a damage upgrade to your weapon if you can, with stability a close second

(Image credit: Sony)

Ammo is scarce and you’ll rarely have more than a handful of rounds for any given gun. You’ll also often find yourself in a position where you might only have time to get a shot or two off - either because a Clickers rushing you down, or people fire back as soon as you stick your head up. Because of that it’s best to spend any scrap you have on upgrading the damage output of your weapons. Things like the Hunting Rifle can become a one shot kill on most enemies once upgraded, which can make a huge difference in a fight. Stability is a close second as it almost completely removed gun wobble which is a huge help for anything more than really close targets.   

6. Save your Supplements until you’ve unlocked some of the later upgrades for Ellie

(Image credit: Sony)

Just as in the last game you can enhance Ellies abilities through ‘spending’ supplements you found in the game. Initially only have a single path to pursue, ‘Survival’ which will let you do thing like move faster in Listening mode, craft health kits faster and increase your health. Don’t burn though all your supplements maxing that though until you unlock other paths by finding training manuals in the world. The later Stealth Branch for example will let you craft silencers for your gun for example. While Precision will let you do things like increase your aiming stability or improve your Listening Mode range. It’s up to you how you upgrade Ellie but just be aware that there are some very useful or essential skills available later down the line you might want to unlock ASAP.

7. You can switch aiming side with square and fast turn with X 

(Image credit: Sony)

There are a few instructions hidden in the menu that can be easy to miss. Like the ability to change which shoulder you’re looking over by pressing square while aiming. It's incredibly useful when you’re creeping around corners, letting you get a better peak at what's coming. You can also perform a quick turn by pulling back on the stick and tapping X to pivot 180 on the spot. That's handy when you’re fighting in tight spaces or realize there’s something behind you.  

8. If you get knocked down it’s sometimes safer to stay down

(Image credit: Sony)

Occasionally taking a hit from a bullet is enough to throw Ellie to the floor. Don’t rush to get up as it usually removes the immediate threat - the line of sight from the person who shot you - but leaves you free to fire back from the ground. Often you’ll actually have a better position as you’ll be much lower to the floor and harder to hit, while having a clear shot at anyone approaching. 

9. The music cue when someone can see you lets you know how long you’ll stay hidden

(Image credit: Sony)

Whenever you hear an ominous whooshing build it means someone is noticing you. It might be because someone is behind or above you and can see you in cover, or because you’re popped your head up to shoot someone. It’ll build the closer you are to finally being seen so listen to it carefully to get a sense of how much danger you’re in. The faster it rises and increases in volume the more exposed you are. As long as you can get back into cover before it peaks and someone shouts you should be okay.

10. You can rush people from a distance and still maintain stealth 

(Preview shot)

(Preview shot) (Image credit: Sony)

Ellie can be quite slow while creeping up on someone in stealth mode. To counter this you can actually run a far way without breaking stealth. If you time it right you can creep in close and then dash the last few feet to grab your target. You just have to make sure that no one else sees you do it and you can reach them before they react too loudly or get a shot off. Even if they start to say anything you can usually get away with it if you cut them off. 

11. Drop a trip mine if you get spotted  

(Image credit: Sony)

The enemy AI in The Last of Us 2 is pleasingly dumb-smart. If you get seen it’s a fairly easy task to scurry away and lose the attention. If you do, the bad guys will often be left with where you were last seen as a potential place to investigate. If you leave a trap mine behind you’ll likely take at least one problem out and still no one will have any idea where you are.      

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Leon Hurley
Senior Guides Co-ordinator

I'm GamesRadar's Senior Guides Co-ordinator, 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.