The Launcher is a multiplayer-only weapon in The Last of Us. It is included in the 'Grounded' DLC bundle, and costs three loadout points to equip.
A makeshift weapon like the flamethrower, the launcher is an area of effect weapon that deals splash damage. While powerful in its own right, downing targets in two shots, it has a very long reload time that leaves users vulnerable to attack unless hidden behind cover. It initially costs 375 to purchase along with 3 shots and much like all other purchasable weapons, purchasing three additional ammo for the launcher becomes increasingly expensive starting at 335 parts.
The launcher's damage varies highly depending on how close the target is from the point of impact. A direct-impact hit can deal as much as 90% damage, while at the edge of its blast radius, the launcher deals a near-negligible amount. Regardless of where it hits in relation to the target, a launcher can never down an uninjured enemy in just one hit.
The launcher's splash damage makes it a great tool for flushing targets out of cover for other teammates to finish them off, although its very slow reloading speed makes it a poor weapon for unsupported confrontations. The Launcher is also good for overwatch and a great anti-sniper weapon. It can be used to fire at enemies from a distance to support teammates in battle or to attack snipers without having to have a direct line of sight.
Aiming for this gun is slow so it fares poorly in situations where the user is caught off-guard. In addition to this, ammo becomes very expensive after a few purchases, due to the high base cost.
The launcher works well with the extra parts booster and the Collector skill, as its high costs are well-offset by more parts on hand. It benefits from Explosion Expert for the increased blast radius, as well as Damage Marker for its ability to hit people around corners and walls. Due to its splash damage, the launcher is an excellent follow up weapon. One good hit with a launcher followed by or preceding a shot from another weapon (particularly a high-damaging weapon) is usually enough to down people. Another effective tactic is to throw a nail bomb and immediately follow up with a launcher shot.