The Last of Us 2 New Game Plus and how to unlock it

Last of Us 2 boat
(Image credit: Sony)

The Last of Us 2 new game plus mode allows you to carry over unlocked weapons and abilities into a new campaign with harder challenges and rules, as well as new options to play with like permadeath, for those who think TLOU2 was too kind and forgiving the first time around. Of course, you'll have to unlock it first before you can overhaul the experience, so we'll explain how to unlock New Game+ in The Last of Us Part 2 below, as well as what the feature does and what carries over.

What's in The Last of Us Part 2 New Game Plus Mode?

The Last of Us 2 New Game Plus Mode

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

Unlocked once you've completed the campaign on any difficulty setting, a notification will pop up to tell you that The Last of Us 2 New Game Plus Mode can now be accessed, and will appear as the first option on the main menu. It includes the following modifications:

  • What carries over?
    • All upgrades and skill tree progress
    • All weapons and modifications (though are inaccessible until Seattle)
    • All crafting recipes
    • All collectibles
  • What changes in the story?
    • Slight increase in difficulty (though can be changed)
    • Option to choose "Grounded Mode" for a more challenging experience

To go into further detail, New Game Plus will let you play through the game again with all of the previous upgrades you have unlocked in the first runthrough, including your skill tree progress, crafting recipes, weapons and modifications, and collectibles. The only caveat is that while skill tree upgrades and crafting recipes will be available from The Last of Us Part 2 New Game Plus Mode's beginning, your existing weapon arsenal will only unlock once Ellie has arrived in Seattle.

New Game Plus Mode in The Last of Us 2, among other things, is a great way to soften the edge of replaying the campaign on Grounded Mode, which disables Listen Mode, greatly reduces the number of scavengable resources in the game world, and even presents the option to enable permadeath, among other tweaks. It's a gauntlet, to say the least, but the option to begin that trial with all of your upgrades, weapons, and resources intact will certainly make the journey a little more achievable. 

You'll still be able to scavenge resources in The Last of Us Part 2 New Game Plus Mode, thus giving players the opportunity to max out Ellie's skill trees and weapon upgrades, letting you find out just how powerful this one-woman army can be when she's operating at full capacity.  

Finally, The Last of Us Part 2 New Game Plus Mode is ideal for completionists, allowing you to pick up any missing collectables (artefacts, trading cards, and coins) you might have overlooked the first time, without having to pick up all the others that you own in a previous save. 

For more, check out the biggest new games of 2020 on the way, or watch our video review of The Last of Us Part 2 below. 

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Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet!