In the pipe: Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II has been out just under two months, so some have had time to complete it. As if to say, "But wait. There's more," Naughty Dog has some enhancements for the gritty title ready to roll. If you are ready for more intensity, you're in luck.
Even though Naughty Dog said it had no DLC planned for The Last of Us Part II, that doesn't mean it wasn't intending to make enhancements to the game.
On Tuesday, the developer announced it is ready to roll out an update that adds the infamous "Grounded" mode from the first game. If you played the first TLoU, you already know that Grounded makes the enemies much deadlier. They have better AI and deal much more damage than the vanilla foes. However, rather than making it an impossible run, Naughty Dog ups the player dealt damage as well, but only for headshots or hits to other vital areas.
Resources like ammo, upgrades, and crafting supplies are severely limited. Additionally, players will not have ammo or health indicators on their HUD. With the supplies in high demand, much more attention is needed for knowing when to use that last bandage or whether to attempt a stealth kill rather than a risky headhot. Listen mode, which allows you to visually see enemies by the sounds they make is also disabled, making the experience terrifyingly real.
If even that is not enough to satisfy the masochists among us, Naughty Dog is also adding a Permadeath mode to the game. Permadeath can be enabled on any difficulty setting, including Grounded, and as its name implies, you only have one chance to survive. If you die, be prepared to start from the beginning.
Fortunately, for the pansies out there, including me, the developers included some granularity in Permadeath. One setting allows checkpoints for each "act." Players will reset to the start of the act on death instead of the beginning of the game. For the bigger chickens, there is a "per chapter" mode. Each act consists of about six chapters, so this setting is much more forgiving.
The more challenging modes also bring two new trophies with them—one for beating the game on any Permadeath setting and one for completing on Grounded. Obviously, you can kill two birds with one stone by finishing Grounded in Permadeath mode. Fortunately, if you are a platinum trophy collector, you can still get Platinum status without earning these two very hard-to-get trophies.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Naughty Dog is adding some settings to make the game easier as well. After the update, players can enable unlimited ammo and unlimited crafting resources. Although these somewhat remove the thrill factor, they are welcome additions for those just interested in the story.
Several new features like slow motion, bullet speed mode (like bullet time), and various other settings to fine-tune the gameplay are packed into the update. There are also 30 new graphical rendering modes, including "8-bit" if you're into a retro, jaggy look (above). Combine that with 8- or 4-bit audio for the ultimate time machine experience.
The free patch rolls out this Thursday, August 13. You can check out a full list of features and enhancements in Naughty Dog's blog.