The fungal apocalypse wears on in The Last of Us Part II, which picks up with Joel and Ellie some five years after the events of the original game. Life is tough in this broken world, where the PS Vita still passes for cutting-edge technology. Whether you're a sucker for undead punishment or just want to scoop up some collectibles you missed on your first playthrough, you're probably wondering if TLOU 2 has a New Game + mode like its predecessor. Here's what you should know if you're planning on a second jaunt through the Naughty Dog sequel.
Like the original Last of Us, TLOU 2 will include both a New Game + mode and a Chapter Select option. New Game + lets you experience the full story a second time while keeping the skills, weapons, and stat upgrades from your first playthrough. Some key story items will still need to be obtained the old-fashioned way, by progressing the story. Replaying the game is the only way to unlock all of Ellie's possible skill upgrades — there aren't enough resources in the game to allow you to do this in a single playthrough.
Many games have a New Game + mode now, but the feature has been around in some shape or form since the first Legend of Zelda on the NES. That said, the title which coined the term is the classic JRPG Chrono Trigger. The time-travel adventure boasted dozens of endings, and keeping your late-game stats during the early moments of the story was one of the primary ways to see them all. Playing a New Game + round of TLOU 2 won't unlock any new endings, but it will let you progress through the story more quickly, and potentially discover some new areas, dialogue or items you missed the first time through.
New, returned difficulty levels are a rather unique perk of New Game + in The Last of Us Part II. Rather than accessing more extreme difficulty levels, as is often the case with post-game unlocks, all the existing difficulty settings will have a "plus" option (i.e., Normal +). These modes will give you access to upgraded weapons from your first playthrough.
Chapter Select functions a bit strangely in TLOU 2. If you choose to replay a chapter earlier in the game, you won’t be able to revisit any of the ones after it – unless you load a different save. This makes hunting for any outstanding collectibles a bit annoying, so New Game + might be your best bet for a completionist run.
The Last of Us Part II is out now on PlayStation 4.