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The Last Of Us: Survivor Difficulty Tips

Last of us survivor

There’s no denying that The Last Of Us is a great game, the gripping tension that the single player game has in spades is perhaps taken up a notch when played on Survivor difficulty.

If you’re going for the platinum you’ll need to complete the game on both Survivor and Survivor+ difficulty. The former will of course be your toughest to achieve as you’ll be taking on the toughest infected and human’s from scratch with no previous upgrades to aid you.

For those wanting to know just why Survivor is the toughest difficulty, here’s the differences it has from Normal:

  • No Listen Mode
  • Vastly reduced items
  • Less Ammo
  • Melee button prompts are gone
  • You’ll take more damage



I can’t stress this point enough. Compared to normal, there is hardly a scrap going on Survivor difficulty. You’ll need to scavenge the perimeter of every area you come across, working along the walls and combing every nook and cranny to find anything. You’ll be extremely lucky to have two or three crafted items at once, so when you do end up using an item make it count. Don’t waste a Molotov or bomb on one enemy, lure in a few at least. Once you use them, it might be another hour or so until you’re able to craft one again.

Don’t Use Health Packs

This suggestion might seem insane at first but let me explain. During this mode you’ll be extremely limited on supplies, meaning that you can only craft so much at a time. Molotov’s and Health Packs require the exact same items, so when your low on bullets, having a spare Molotov Cocktail in Joel’s back pocket could save you from certain death.

Try to go through each section with just one health bar. In fact you’ll often find that many times Ellie will hand over a health-pack without the need for you wasting necessary supplies. There’s a plethora of small health upgrades scattered through the world of The Last Of Us as well that Joel will automatically add to his health bar.


After the end of a section always make sure you prepare yourself appropriately. Reload your weapons, check how many hits of your melee weapon you have left, is it worth crafting at this moment in time? Consider your options and always remember that during an encounter with either the infected or humans, you won’t have any time to re-group should you run into trouble.

Upgrade Joel efficiently

When upgrading Joel on Survivor it’s vital to go with fully upgrading your health bar first (which will cost 150 in total) before looking at other sections. After you’re done taking health to maximum – which if you scavenge efficiently should be around the 8/9 hour mark – reducing your weapon sway would probably be the correct way to go.

Making sure your health is upgraded is vital as the beginning of the game is more close range combat. The latter sections have their fair share of long-range battles, so the combination of max health and reduced weapon sway works well when compared to some of the other upgrades available.

Reload your game when things aren’t perfect

Many times you’ll be able to scrape through sections with barley any life and after using a bunch of parts, but don’t. If you feel you can redo a section in a more efficient way it will make your life easier down the road, especially when you approach some of the more troublesome spots. We’re fortunate enough that The Last Of Us’ save system is generous and usually will only see you backtracking for up to a minute so take advantage of it.

12 Responses

  1. Lostlast

    In regards to – Don’t Use Health Packs – You will only receive health packs from your current ‘side kick’ if you DO NOT have the gear to craft one yourself. So instead craft Molotov’s with your rags and alcohol. And even if you have the maximum of 3 and still somehow have more rags and alcohol, use a Molotov. Then make another. This way you will ALWAYS get given a free health kit, when your health is low.

  2. Nate

    Also, a huge tip that helped me on Survivor was the part where you are in the university and there is like 5 clickers and a bloater. You can effectively make it through that spot killing only one clicker and not even having to worry about the bloater. I highly recommend that you avoid the bloater here and go straight to the door and tap square like crazy and you will shut the door in the bloaters face. It saves you a lot of ammo/supplies doing this.

    1. Jules R.

      You can avoid bloater #2 in the Pittsburgh hotel as well. Grab all items and the key card before you turn on the generator. The game will dispatch the first set of runners after a while but will not send the bloater until the generator is on.

      1. Dave P

        You can avoid all enemies in the Pitt Hotel. After getting the key card, then firing up the generator, find a place to hide for about 15-30 seconds and then sprint out towards the key card door. The Clickers and Bloaters will initially go to the generator. I got caught a lot because a runner would catch me, creating noise and attracting the Clickers and Bloaters

  3. Matt

    I never see these tips with the BIGGEST most useful one: USE HEADPHONES. Set the game’s options to headphones for audio, put on a decent set, preferably over-the-ear (covering), and be prepared to actually use “listen” mode in real life, by actually listening to hear where things are.

    1. Dan

      Honestly on Survivor difficulty I wouldn’t bother. Given how scarce resources are and the fact that it breaks an entire shiv (not just 1 durability), I’d rather use a shiv to stealth kill 3 clickers or open a shiv door. Sure you could fully upgrade it but that is way too many pills unless you are playing new game+

      1. Dave P

        Agreed. In survivor mode, my first instinct is stealth. If I can get though an area by just sneaking around…I take that option. I save Shivs for the locked doors. Every supply in their is extremely valuable. I’ve been playing for about 10 hours and I think I’ve managed to craft 2 Shivs..

        1. guy that knows things

          An even better tip… check youtube for infinite shiv glitch. any time you pick up a modded melee weapon from the ground (except perhaps for the very first time) you get one free binding and scissor. Now, this will only work for the first slot. So if you’re running low and you have 1 of each and no modded weapons and no shivs, save it to upgrade a melee weapon when there is more than one available on the ground. Craft one, swap it with another, then swap them again. As you pick back up the modded melee weapon, you’ll be gifted with a free scissor and binding.

  4. Elsellie

    Another suggestion: when in doubt, shoot it out. When you run low on ammo the game literally gives you ammo. Some cases if you use your last bullet on an enemy the enemy will drop ammo for that weapon. Most of the time though when you run low the game will probably literally just give it to you (Through Tess or Ellie or whoever.) Don’t be stingy with your bullets. The only real hard part in Survivor is stealthing. Other than that I think it is easier on Hard mode.

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