The Last of Us: Five Quick Strategy Tips

From the opening title screen, you can tell that The Last of Us is going to be very much a story-driven video game. Created by the same company that made the Uncharted series, to call this game cinematic is an understatement.

A quick synopsis: the game takes place after the world has been taken over by a highly virulent disease, turning people into zombies. The sickness is actually based off the Cordyceps fungus (lots more info/links via Rhaomi’s post on MeFi). The main character is Joel and he is trying to provide Ellie, a teenage girl, safe passage while avoiding both zombies and humans alike.

As “The Walking Dead” have shown us, sometimes it’s difficult to tell which is more dangerous.

I bought my copy of The Last of Us near the end of June, and shortly thereafter… blew through the game over the extended July 4th weekend. The gameplay is fun, but the storyline kind of keeps pulling you on to the next and the next.

Similar to what happened when I played Uncharted, Liz (who is someone not normally into video games) got sucked in. She was mostly working in the other room, but every time she heard the cinematics/interstitials kick in… she’d run over and watch.

Funny thing – sometimes, if I haven’t played a FPS game in a while… I’ll find myself getting a little motion sick. It usually goes away after the first time, but sometimes a game will get my stomach in a roll due to the frantic pace.

With this game, I got motion sick mostly due to scavenging – which is a pretty funny thing to admit. Resources are scarce in the world, and so you find yourself conserving ammo as much as you can. But you’re also always on the lookout for things in drawers or cabinets. I was constantly checking for supplies because I kept running low after each encounter, which I guess keeps true to the apocalyptic landscape.

Usually in games, I tend to prefer shooting everything in my path. I’m less of a fan of stealth games, and carefully managing an inventory of things seems more like work than play to me. But for some reason, I didn’t mind it much here. There simply isn’t enough ammo lying around for you to shoot everyone that’s in your way – so there’s a lot of sneaking around, and a lot of stealth involved.

My tips for playing are:

Keep at Least One Shiv for Locked Doors
In a few buildings throughout the game, there are rooms with locked doors. The only way to get into these rooms is to use a shiv, but if you do so… you’ll break the shiv getting the door open.

That said, anytime you find one of these rooms – it’s absolutely worth it to go inside. Invariably, there will be ammo, health, gears for modifications. Out of all the rooms I went into, I always felt like the loss of the shiv was worth what I found inside.

To that end, try to always have as spare shiv around – just in case.

Low on Ammo? Try Molotov Cocktails
When fighting a large group of zombies, I found one of the easier ways to contend with them was to throw a molotov cocktail and let fire do my work for me. It didn’t always kill off an entire group, but made it much easier than if I had to tackle them head-on.

You technically also have the option to make a nail-bomb, which takes out a group of enemies within a smaller radius. But I found that with the molotov, the fire tended to spread to nearby enemies… and just seemed better, overall.

Upgrade Specific Weapons, Not All
Due to the limited resources available, don’t count on upgrading all of your weapons to 100%. I feel like I was pretty thorough in my searching for supplies, and I got maybe 75% of the way upgraded on all my various guns and things.

So my advice would be – try to stick to the few favorites that you have.

Use the Bow and Arrow More
I didn’t end up using the bow and arrow as much, until I started to run out of ammo towards the end of the game. One big bonus with this weapon is that it’s considered silent. So unlike a rifle, whose report will send zombies running your way… you can pick off enemies a decent distance away, without anyone being the wiser.

That is, if your aim is good.

You’ll probably figure this out on your own, but stealth is definitely the way to go. While the game does call for this specifically at times, you’ll end up voluntarily choosing to use stealthy take-downs just to conserve your own ammo.

Trust me though. When it’s time for a shootout, the game will make it very clear that this is what’s happening.

There’s a lot of really great videos out there of the game, with some showing the opening sequence and a few that compile all of the cinematics together into one large movie/story. Though I’m really tempted to post up the intro, I’ll leave it to you to determine if you want to see that for yourself, or if you want to see it for the first time in-game.

Instead, here’s a cinematic a bit further into the game. Joel and Ellie go to find a reclusive friend of Joel’s named Bill. On their way, they end up setting off a few of Bill’s traps and all three of them end up having to run for their lives back to Bill’s hideout:

Oh, and this is pretty cool. Here’s the live-action sequence that the actors did for the scene:

More and more, the line between games and movies are blurring. With such story-based games like Uncharted and The Last of Us, I’m fast becoming fan of Naughty Dog – and will definitely be checking out their future games.

Game Review: Uncharted 2, Among Thieves
Zombies and Zombie Dust
Dead Island: Haunting, Cinematic Video Game Trailer
Fallout 3

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