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 keep Ellie alive against both clickers, bandits, and all the other hazards of post apocalyptic Seattle. With crafting and combat advice, and more, to help you get up to speed fast without making the mistakes I made to learn the ropes. Surviving monsters and dealing with limited supplies gets easier the more you learn, and knowing in advance how best to approach situations can make all the difference. These The Last of Us 2 tips and tricks are all spoiler free too so you can go in forewarned and forearmed about everything but the story.

1. Avoid crafting stuff until you need it, to save supplies

The last of us 2 crafting

(Image credit: Sony)

You never know what’s around the corner in The Last of Us 2, so try to avoid crafting stuff until you know what you actually need. Resources are scarce and often shared between recipes, so you don't want to use up everything making petrol bombs and then need a health pack. You'll nearly always get plenty of warning about what's ahead, or have time to hide and assess the situation, so only make things when you know what you need.

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

The Last Of Us 2 open exploration

(Image credit: Sony)

There’s a lot of open space and corners to poke into here, so try not to rush ahead or move on until you’re sure you’ve searched everywhere. The scrap and supplements you need to upgrade both Ellie and her gear can be hidden anywhere, and the more you find, the more of a chance you stand. Even the workbenches you need to improve guns can be hidden away. So never just leave an area, or worse trigger a one-way moment, before you’re sure you’ve got everything you need.

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

the last of us 2 glass

(Image credit: Sony)

Don’t forget you can break almost any glass you see. That could 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, even a melee weapon or the handle of your knife. For all the puzzles and challenges you can find, sometimes the solution is just to break stuff - even if you don’t find anything it’s alway fun to do. 

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

The last of us 2 search

(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. So listen to what people are saying and they'll let you know if it’s time to move on because you’ve done all you can, both 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

The Last of Us 2 weapon upgrading tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Because you'll rarely have more than a handful of bullets to hand, and often need to take enemies like Clickers down fast, you want to spend any scrap you have on upgrading the damage output of 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, especially when fighting at range.   

6. Save your Supplements until you’ve unlocked some later upgrade paths

The Last of Us 2 upgrade paths

(Image credit: Sony)

You can enhance Ellies abilities through ‘spending’ supplements you find. Initially, you only have a single upgrade path - ‘Survival’ - which will let you do thing like move faster in Listening mode, craft health kits faster and increase your health. However, don’t use up all your supplements maxing that path out until you unlock other options by finding The Last of Us 2 training manuals you can find in the world. The Stealth Branch, for example, will let you craft silencers for your gun, while Precision will let you do things like increase aiming stability or improve Listening Mode range. Obviously, it’s up to you how you upgrade Ellie but be aware that there are some useful or essential skills available later on you might want to save your supplements for.

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

The Last of Us 2 aiming sides and quickturn

(Image credit: Sony)

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

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

The Last of Us 2 fighting on the floor

(Image credit: Sony)

Occasionally Ellie can be thrown to the floor when she gets shot. Don’t always rush to get up though, as the ground is usually a safer place to be in a gun fight - it nearly always breaks the line of sight from the person who shot you, for example. You'll still be free to fire back from the ground and, often, you’ll actually have a better position while you're lower to the floor and harder to hit. 

9. The noise cue when someone sees you lets you know how long you’ll stay hidden

The Last of Us 2 stealth noise

(Image credit: Sony)

An ominous whooshing noise building up means someone is noticing you but hasn't 'seen' you yet. The warning sound will 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 

The Last of Us 2 stealth rush

(Image credit: Sony)

Ellie can be quite slow while creeping in stealth but to counter that you can actually run surprisingly far without alerting anyone. Time it right and you can creep in close and then dash the last few feet to grab a target. Just make sure no one else sees you do it and you can reach your victim before they make a noise or get a shot off. Even if they start to say anything, you can usually cut it off if you reach them in time and still get away with it.  

11. Drop a trip mine if you get spotted  

The Last of Us 2 trip mine

(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, leaving the bad guys to investigate where you were last seen. If you leave a trap mine behind when you do, 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
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.