How To Play The Last Of Us Like A Professional

by Jeff Marchiafava on Jun 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Want to play The Last of Us the way a professional would? Then take a gander at these invaluable tips that are in no way meant to be funny.

Look, I get it. Not everyone is born with the exceptional talents of a professional gamer, and even fewer players have time to hone their modest skills to a respectable level. Difficult games like The Last of Us underscore the difference between those of us who make a career out of being great at video games, and those who merely play them as a hobby. Lucky for you, I'm here to help.

I've put together invaluable gaming guides in the past to help players through Skyrim, Far Cry 3, and Tomb Raider. Today I'm back with a list of spoiler-free tips for surviving in the deadly post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us. For each entry, I describe how an amateur gamer might handle the situation. If these sound familiar, don't fret; there's no shame in being terrible. Instead of beating yourself up, just study the professional entries – they describe how I personally handled each situation, so follow them closely to be more like me.

Situation: You enter a new area with an obvious object of interest.
How an amateur handles it: Walk up to the object and investigate it.
How a pro handles it: Head in the opposite direction out of an underlying fear that looking at the object will trigger a cutscene preventing you from exploring the rest of the area. Scour every darkened corner and blocked stairway for collectibles. Ignore the game's prompting to push L3 for a hint while wondering how stupid the game must think you are. Accidentally stumble into the next area, triggering the cutscene you were afraid of. Select the Restart Encounter option to see what the object you missed was, only to realize the game just autosaved. Begrudgingly restart the entire chapter and work your way back to the object of interest, knowing full well it won't be worth the effort. Listen to Ellie mutter a few lines of dialogue about the object, then erase the entire experience from your mind and keep playing. 

Situation: While traveling with Tess through an area of the city controlled by hunters, you sneak up on an unsuspecting enemy.
How an amateur handles it: Follow the onscreen button prompt to silently choke him.
How a pro handles it: Accidentally press the melee button and punch him in the back of the head. Stand in a stupor as he responds by repeatedly beating you with a two-by-four until Tess shoots him for you. Feel embarrassed that you just got showed up by an NPC.

Situation: After learning how to properly use the choke button, you and Tess enter an area full of patrolling enemies.
How an amateur handles it: Pick off enemies one by one, grabbing each foe and walking them to an out-of-sight area before choking them out.
How a pro handles it: Sneak through the entire area undetected without killing anyone, because bad karma is the last thing you need right now. Spot one final enemy lying in wait by the exit. Hide behind a shipping container and throw a brick behind him to district him, before realizing that the noise also tipped off every other enemy in the area. Try to choke the final guard in vain while all the other enemies spot you. Curse as you realize you just killed your human shield. Get shot repeatedly, then hide behind the container and wait for Tess to shoot everyone.

Situation: While trying to stealth your way through the next area, you get spotted by enemies (again), who begin ambushing your location.
How an amateur handles it: Fall back to the previous area and hide. Go back on offense when the guards return to their positions.
How a pro handles it: Stand your ground like a man! Wait for the first guard to run up and draw your gun, only to realize you're still holding a brick. Try to throw the brick at him, but get punched in the face. Duck back down and switch to your gun while Tess shoots him. Draw your weapon and aim at the second guy as he runs right past you and out of sight before you can fire a shot. Line up your reticle at the third guy and unload an entire magazine at him, missing wildly all around him save for a single shot to his leg. Watch as Tess shoots him down, but console yourself with the thought that he probably would have eventually bled out from his leg wound, or at least had a really bad limp for the rest of his life. Get shot from behind by the guy who ran through earlier, who you totally forgot about. Where were you on that one, Tess?

Situation: You enter a darkened area crawling with infected runners.
How an amateur handles it: Listen to the story bits that explain how the infected are partially blind and thus won't respond to your flashlight.
How a pro handles it: Turn off your light whenever enemies get close because, yeah, the game says they're blind, but how can you really know for sure? Stumble around in the dark, nervously pick a route, then change your mind and double back. Jump every time you turn around and run into Ellie, and make a ruckus kicking over every bottle and empty water-cooler container you come across on the floor. When the infected start attacking, blindly shoot at every moving silhouette, regardless of whether it's an ally or not.

Situation: While low on ammo, you come across a deadly clicker standing in a hallway, blocking your path.
How an amateur handles it: Throw a brick at its face, then run past the enemy while it's still stunned.
How a pro handles it: Play the entire game without realizing that Joel will automatically target an enemy's head when you equip a brick or bottle. Manually aim the brick instead, but hit the doorway you're hiding behind, tipping the clicker off to your exact location instead. Dance around behind a cabinet in a vain attempt to stay unseen, then back into the clicker after losing him in the darkness, having once again turned off your flashlight out of superstition.

Situation: While making your way through a flooded subway station, Ellie tells you she can't swim.
How an amateur handles it: Make your way through the swimming segment while Ellie walks farther down the tunnel to an open walkway, then push a floating pallet in place for her to walk across.
How a pro handles it: Follow Ellie down the tunnel in hopes that it will allow you to skip the swimming segment, due to your longstanding and well-documented phobia of swimming underwater in video games. Realize the tunnel is blocked by an invisible barrier, then jump in the water and swim through as fast as possible without looking at anything too closely. Curse Ellie for her ability to warp past the barrier that prevented your from progressing, then jump out next to her because there really is nothing worse than swimming segments in video games. Realize you haven't solved the puzzle yet, and that doing so requires swimming through a submerged tunnel full of dead bodies. Swim through the corpse-ridden passageway while realizing what a remarkable job Naughty Dog has done in subjecting you to your worst nightmare. Complete the segment, then decide you've suffered enough trauma for one night and go to bed.

Situation: You run into an area full of stalkers for the first time.
How an amateur handles it: Observe the behavior of these new enemies, then slowly make your way through the area, staying undetected and silently taking down enemies from behind.
How a pro handles it: Mistake the stalkers for common runners, because they all make creepy noises and it's hard to tell enemies apart in the dark! Catch an enemy ducking behind a pillar out of the corner of your eye. Aim your shotgun at the pillar and stubbornly wait for it to move again. Get flanked by another stalker. Hit it with your pipe then shoot it for good measure, as you get ambushed by the stalker you were originally waiting for. Spot another stalker ducking behind a corner. Aim at the wall and make a wide circle, getting flanked again by another unseen enemy. Mutter "clever girl" in your best Muldoon voice as you realize stalkers are smarter than you are.

Have any humorous tips for your fellow readers? Share your experiences in the comments below!