The 5 Most Terrifying Things in The Last of Us (That Happen Off-Screen)
The first time you play through The Last of Us you spend every moment jumping at shadows and running terrified from crazed bandits and fungus-based murder mutants and did anyone else just realize this game is a gritty Super Mario Bros. remake! All joking aside, it's probably going to be the atmospherically horrifying high-water mark on Playstation until The Evil Within is released in October.
I'm on my third playthrough now, and once you're at that level you stop screaming and get down to the business of play with a bit more confidence. Rather than getting out of each stage as fast as you can, you learn how to eliminate threats and leave you more room to explore.
And when you do that you discover the game is actually even worse off-screen than on-screen. You just have to keep an eye out for...
The Hotel Suicide
For my money the game doesn't really pick up the horror ball and run with it until Pittsburgh. Before that it's scary, sure, but not anything you're not used to from a typical Resident Evil title. Once you're ambushed in Pittsburgh by bandits then dropped into a flooded hotel basement full of infected, though, that's when the heat gets turned up.
Up on the more habitable floors you'll find the typical debris and abandoned rooms you see in the game... except for one bathroom. This bathroom contains a couple that decided that they simply couldn't face the coming threat of the infection and committed double suicide, possibly by throwing a hairdryer in the tub with them. They've been dead so long that all their bodily fluids have congealed around them. There's a chance for an optional conversation here with Ellie where Joel will tell her that suicide may seem like the easy way out, but that it ain't easy.
Considering the depth of Joel's survivor's guilt, that one scene tells us Joel has come close to suicide many times, and maybe even hates himself for not going through with it to be with his dead daughter.
The Eastern Colorado University Memorial
After Ellie and Joel leave his brother Tommy and decide to find the Fireflies on their own they end up at the last know hideout still looking for a cure to the infection. All over the University is evidence of the Fireflies that eventually abandoned the area, but there are also artifacts left over from the students who came before them.
You'll find plenty of journal entries as the kids tried their best to hole up and await a rescue that never came, but the real kick in the stomach is on the wall of the hidden area that contains the sterilization manual. There, the pictures of fallen student defenders are hung with graduation tassels under graffiti that reads "In Loving Memory". When viewed in context with the manual, it's clear that this area served as an infirmary for people injured in attacks... and probably where they were euthanized. Bullets are also found here.
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