The diverse difficulty levels for The Last of Us 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. Plus, all pickup-able items are flashing/blinking on Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty, but not on Survivor and Grounded.
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.
- 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. 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.
New Game +Edit
Once the game is completed on any difficulty, the player may start the story again 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 artifacts (excluding Training Manuals and upgrades for weapons) and their weapons again.