Before You Begin: Five Changes to Make in The Last of Us Part I
At this rate, we won’t see the end of The Last of Us. Before a high-profile HBO adaptation, Naughty Dog released The Last of Us Part I, a complete remake for PlayStation 5.
Make no mistake: The Last of Us Part I is fundamentally the same game as its predecessor from 2013. (and subsequent 2014 remaster, for PlayStation 4). Guides that already exist for the original apply here, according to my testing, right down to the combinations for safes and other locked doors. If you’re looking for hyper-specific advice, you should start with Kirk’s initial suggestions from [website crumbles into dust].
Part I is, without a doubt, the most mechanically superior version of the game, and with the improvements come some changes. Naughty Dog included an impressive array of settings and accessibility options, similar to its immediate predecessor, 2020’s The Last of Us Part II on PlayStation 4. There are well over 60 sliders and settings to play with. Most are personal preferences, which you’ll want to adjust as you play, but there are a few that are worth turning on right away.
Speech with Vibration
Speech to vibrations, accessible via the DualSense menu, is one of the few aspects of The Last of Us Part I that makes it feel like a genuine PS5 game (rather than an extremely pretty PS4 one). When a character speaks, the PS5 controller vibrates at the same cadence as their speech, according to the setting. It’s really cool! By default, it’s also a little intense. For me, the sweet spot for speech to vibrations intensity is 5—just enough to “hear” characters talk without being distracting.
The Final of Us Part I is playable on six different difficulty levels: very light, light, moderate, hard, survivor, and, once completed, grounded. But the challenge isn’t so straightforward. You can change the difficulty of the game in five different ways:
Player: Determines how much damage you take from attacks and how frequently or infrequently you clock checkpoints while fighting.
Enemies: This basically determines how savvy (or not) your opponents are.
Allies: Controls how frequently your allies assist you in combat.
Stealth: Controls a number of sneaking variables, including how long it takes enemies to alert their comrades after spotting you.
Resources: Controls how frequently resources such as food, ammo, and crafting supplies appear.
So, if you’re good at staying out of sight but struggle with the all-out action segments, you can adjust the difficulty accordingly. Masochists will appreciate this benefit as well. Though you can’t start a new game at the hardest possible difficulty level—even if you’ve played it a thousand times before—you can manually set all five of those to grounded for the de facto hardest-possible run.
Shortcut for Photo Mode
The Last of Us Part I is without a doubt one of the most visually appealing games available on console right now. In other words, you should take a lot of screenshots. Normally, entering photo mode requires opening the menu, which slows down the game’s pace—unless you enable photo mode shortcut in the controls menu. When enabled, you can enter photo mode by pressing both thumbsticks at the same time. Just make sure you time it correctly or you’ll turn on Joel’s flashlight and ruin your shot!
Hints, located at the very bottom of the HUD menu, are sometimes enabled by default. However, they are far more inconvenient than they are beneficial. For one thing, they only provide guidance on the critical path. Sometimes you know exactly what you need to do to advance in the story, but because it’s a Naughty Dog game (dense levels worth exploring), you want to poke around for a while to see if you can find any collectibles or key resources. That brings me to the most vexing aspect of Part I’s hints: once a tip appears, it remains until you complete the task it instructs you to do. This is where I remind you that all of the previously written guides for this game are still as useful today as they were a decade ago.
Bow Reticle Design
Yes, The Last of Us Part I is, for the most part, the same game as The Last of Us. One minor change is that the bow now has a new aiming system. And it’s kind of a bummer. It comes with a standard dot as a reticle by default, which is ineffective for judging distances when aiming with a bow. However, if you set the bow reticle style to classic in the HUD menu, you’ll be able to see the arrow’s path as intended: with a clear trajectory showing where it’ll land. Not only is this useful, but it also serves as a reminder that, yes, some things are better left alone.