The diverse difficulty levels for The Last of Us, its remastered edition and the DLC Left Behind change how hard it is to complete mission objectives and to progress through the game, requiring different tactics and changing the way one plays.
The difficulty also changes how many supplies are found. The higher the difficulty, the fewer healing items, ammunition, crafting supplies, and melee weapons will appear. Also, the enemies become tougher to kill, requiring more gunshots to both infected and non-infected hostiles. However, supplements, parts, and collectibles are unaffected by the change of difficulty and head shots remain a one-hit kill without armor.
There are five difficulty levels in The Last Of Us. To unlock the Survivor difficulty, one must beat the game once on any difficulty. Grounded must be bought as a DLC on PlayStation 3 but is already unlocked in The Last of Us Remastered on PlayStation 4.
- Easy: For beginners. Lot of ammunition, crafting supplies, melee weapons, and healing items are spawned in the world. Also, the enemies are quite easy to kill.
- Normal: For casual players. Supplies spawn at a normal rate. Enemies are moderately strong. Sharp melee weapons spawn late in the game.
- Hard: For experienced players. Supplies are rare to come by, and non-infected enemies are more aggressive and use cover often. Powerful melee weapons, such as the Machete and Hatchet, are almost never seen.
- Survivor: For players that want a considerable challenge. Supplies are extremely rare to find. Game hints, prompts, and Listen Mode are disabled. All enemies do double damage. Powerful melee weapons appear once. Plus, all pickup-able items no longer flash to indicate themselves to the player.
- Grounded: For the toughest of the hardcore. Supplies are next to non-existent. Listen Mode is disabled. All enemies do triple damage. The HUD is disabled. On the remastered edition, the controller's light-bar no longer changes color to indicate Joel's health. Enemy AI is extremely sharp; more so than survivor. Multiple mid-combat and mid-stealth checkpoints have been removed. Allies do not grant the player ammunition or health kits, except David. The revolver, however, does instantly kill non-infected enemies without armor, something which it does not do in easy. Pickup-able items do not flash to the player either.
New Game Plus
Once the game is completed on any difficulty, the player may start the story again by selecting the unlocked "Continue New Game Plus" option and have all upgrades, and skills they had acquired prior.
However, the player's backpack will be empty, and they will need to collect all of the collectibles (excluding the automatically given Military Pamphlet and Boston QZ Map and Training Manuals and upgrades for weapons) and their weapons again.
The difficulty selection is also limited to what they finished their New Game on and lower. The difficulty is also locked, and cannot be changed in the options menu during a New Game Plus play-through.
- To be able to select any difficulty for New Game Plus a glitch is needed to be utilized.