Tips For Surviving “The Last of Us” Multiplayer
On the surface, Naughty Dog’s fantastic new game “The Last of Us” has a simple form of multiplayer. Either a survivor mode that is team elimination with no respawns, or a 4 vs 4 team deathmatch, with the first team to get 20 kills being the winner. The execution of the multiplayer is much more nuanced, however. Teams generally must employ a bit of cooperative play to succeed, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that the best groups run in a pack. The reason for this is, players use a number of support skills, such as healing, craft sharing, and spotting, in order to put wins together. I’m suggesting 10 tips in no particular order, for anyone wanted to navigate the mayhem.
1. Be sure to spend the “parts” you collect on upgrades. The parts are essentially XP. As you earn them by pretty much doing anything in-game, they accumulate in the same way money did in the Shadowrun game. You can use them to upgrade your guns and ammo, your armor, or on purchasable special weapons such as a shotgun or scoped magnum-style pistol. The beauty of this game is that nobody gets exclusive access to uber-weapons. Everyone can purchase them, if that’s how you choose to roll. The catch: it costs valuable “load out” points if you want to even have the option to purchase a powerful weapon. Right now I can spend 10 load out points setting myself up (same way Black Ops II does this). If I want to have the option to purchase a hand cannon, I have to use three of those points, leaving me only 7 for other things. And those uber weapons come with limited shells that don’t replenish, but can be found as drops.
2. Stay crouched. If you run and gun in this game, you may as well wear a neon sign that says SHOOT ME HERE. You’ll be a huge red blip on the map. Running is fine if you need to get to a downed mate, or catch up with your group, but as a rule stay crouched. It’s a third person perspective, so you can swivel the camera to look for enemies. If they don’t see you, then you may be able to stalk them and go for a silent shiv kill
3. Experiment with different perk load-outs. As I mentioned above, the system is a lot like the one in Black Ops. The more you unlock, the more customization you can have to your setup. If you’re more about supporting teammates, opt out of the weapon upgrades and just use a pistol. Or, you can spend two points to have a burst-style assault rifle (which starts with only 7 shells). Then again, you can also take the silenced AR at a steep cost of 4 points, if you are big on stealth. If you spend the points on weaponry, make sure you can be the person who uses them to make a difference. Otherwise, the points are better spent on things like crafting, reviving, healing, or spotting.
4. Crafting can be a huge difference maker. When the game starts, your minimap (which has basic direction only – no path markers) is lit with 5 supply caches. There is 1 at each spawn and 3 more that are in the middle, on contested ground. Smart teams will work their way to these as a group. As you level up, you can take high level load-out perks in crafting that allow you to craft quickly, but even better, at the highest level, give you a “gift” item for every 2 you make for yourself. You can’t use the bonus item yourself; it has to be given to a teammate. A good crafter can keep a team well stocked in health packs, molotovs, and bombs. Much like in the SP campaign, resources are scarce in the MP, so you’ll find no grenade spamming. People work for their weapons.
5. Use the “listen” mode to check corners. It has a cooldown, and limited range, but more people need to check this when they are making their way through buildings. It will tell you, most importantly, how many people are clustered in a group. If you’re traveling with just one teammate, the last thing you want to do is try to take on four enemies. Using the listen mode can help you coordinate with your other teammates to set up a two pronged attack.
6. Invest in Reviving perks. Taking high level perks in the revive skill can be extremely beneficial, especially when combined with armor. If you make the armor upgrade early in the round, you become a bullet sponge. High level reviving can be done in about 1/3 of the time of regular revivals, which means you can get people up fast. The natural companion to this perk is healing, which allows you to crouch and heal someone while they’re still firing back at enemies. When you get downed, crawl behind cover. If you don’t, someone will get a long range execution shot. Besides, revivals are easier when you aren’t getting shot at.
7. Set traps. If you’re the type of player who scrounges for all the stuff in supply caches, you’ll have plenty of materials to build bombs. These can be either thrown like grenades, or set on the ground as mine-style traps. Placed in brush, or just inside doors like claymores, bombs can take out stragglers who have nobody to revive them. My personal favorite is building a bomb and setting it inside the supply cache. Careful observers can spot them, but lots of people are in a rush and don’t look.
8. Be the guy (or girl) who gets the first shot. If you start taking damage, and turn to square off with your enemy, you’re probably already toast. If you are near cover, or a door, duck out of the line of fire rather than trying to trade bullets. If you’re carrying a molotov, I’d get it out and at the ready. If you can arc-toss it at the shooter, the AOE will roast him.
9. Learn to love melee. Crafters will quickly learn that one of the most powerful weapons in the game is an upgraded melee weapon. Essentially, you take a stick of lumber that is a random drop on supply caches, and attach a blade to it. Normally this lumber gives you 4 hits, then it breaks. The crafted upgrade gives you a one-shot kill for your first hit, then 4 regular hits. Better yet, if you carry the Brawler perk, an upgraded melee weapon gives you two insta-kill hits, and the regular 4. It’s a great perk. I have one build where I have Brawler and Crafter, but Brawler also goes well with the Reviver perk, since you can sometimes save a teammate by caving in the skull of the guy about to execute him, then go for the quick revive.
10. Stay with your team. Unless you’re going for a build that uses a lot of sneaking, spotting, and bomb setting, you’re better off with your team. Four in a group eliminates the chances of getting caught in an outnumbered ambush. Even if one guy is sporting an uber weapon, and you’re playing more of a support role, it doesn’t hurt to fire off pot shots with a pistol. The damage is all cumulative.
So there you have it. Survival in ten easy steps. Actually, it’s not that simple. The game has a bit of a learning curve to it, and the first few rounds can be frustrating. But stick with it, and play with people who understand the team concepts, and this can be some of the more rewarding MP you’ll find right now. The modes are limited, but Naughty Dog is supposed to be offering some more MP content for fans. I’m not sure I enjoy ANY multiplayer to invest money in more of it, but this comes close.