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Last of Us Part II may face ban in some Middle East countries. But why?

As the world prepares for the launch of The Last of Us Part II on June 19, people living in at least two Middle East countries may be out of luck.

The Last of Us Part II is unavailable in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite being available for pre-order in the U.S. and dozens of other countries. Reddit users first discovered the conspicuous omission earlier this month, which Digital Trends has since confirmed. As of this writing, Sony still hasn’t updated its store with pre-order options for those nations.

It’s unclear why the game isn’t available in those two countries, and Sony did not respond to a Digital Trends request for comment on the omission. Although both countries generally have more conservative views on entertainment than other regions where pre-orders are available, even graphic content doesn’t appear to be a disqualifying factor.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) recently gave The Last of Us Part II an M for Mature rating, saying that it features nudity and sexual content, along with gore and drug use. Other games with the same ratings and type of content are authorized for sale in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The Last of Us Part II tells the story of protagonists Ellie and Joel five years after they made their way across a postapocalyptic U.S. to settle in Jackson, Wyoming. The game will focus on Ellie and her pursuit for justice in an increasingly violent world.

Is the story to blame?

IGN speculated that depicting Ellie, an openly gay character, engaging in a romantic relationship with another woman named Dina could be the reason for the exclusion. Gameplay footage released in 2018 showed Ellie passionately kissing another female character, and other leaks point to Ellie’s personal life playing a factor in the storyline.

In 2016, researchers at Franklin and Marshall College published the Global Barometer of Gay Rights (GBGR), a multiyear analysis of how countries around the world treat gay people. Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia scored an F, a grade given to countries that persecute gay people.

While it’s certainly possible that local feelings towards homosexuality impacted The Last of Us Part IIthere’s also reason to believe they may not have played a role.

Players can still buy a variety of avatars from the game in PlayStation Stores in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and DLC from the first edition of The Last of Us featured Ellie kissing another woman. That was made available in both countries without any controversy.

For now, we don’t know what the game’s fate may be in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. And with Sony so far unwilling to discuss its status, it’s unclear whether it’ll skip over the Middle East or will make an appearance on launch day.

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Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology, video game, and entertainment journalist. He has been writing about the world of…
The Last of Us Part 1: best weapon upgrades
Ellie aiming a rifle.

Everything is scarce in The Last of Us Part 1. You will constantly be running low on supplies, ammo, health, and maybe even hope. This game functions a lot like survival horror games, in which managing your inventory is just as important as being able to land that critical headshot. Your arsenal, in terms of firearms, is not terribly large, but you do have the ability to upgrade each weapon in a number of ways to help you make the most of every precious bullet you find.

Weapon upgrades, just like skill upgrades, are not free -- they both cost a limited resource. However, weapon upgrades also have an extra layer of restriction in that you can't simply stop and upgrade a weapon whenever you feel like it. When you are able to upgrade, you also have to consider which gun you want to invest in, how you want to invest in it, or if you want to save up for a future weapon or a more expensive upgrade later. It's a delicate balance, but we've picked the best weapon upgrades to help you survive your journey in The Last of Us Part 1.
How to upgrade weapons

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The Last of Us Part 1: All Training Manual locations
ps now vs xbox game pass the last of us remastered

Joel has managed to survive for over 25 years in the Clicker invested world, but even he can learn a few new tricks. He's already adept with any gun you can get your hands on and can slap together basic materials to make some useful tools, but just about everything you have access to can be made better with the right training. Unfortunately, it's a little late for Joel and Ellie to enroll in a survival course, so reading up is the next best option.

The Last of Us Part 1 has 12 hidden Training Manuals you can collect that all improve one of your tools in a meaningful way. Some of these are so powerful that you'll wonder how you managed without them, and yet some are so well hidden that you can go through the game multiple times without finding them all. If you want to become an expert Boy Scout, turn on your Listen Mode and pay close attention to our guide on finding all the Training Manuals in The Last of Us Part 1.
Training Manual 1 -- Shiv: Sharpening
Your first Training Manual to grab is in Bill's Town. You will have a hard time missing it, but after you escape from Bill's leg snare trap and follow him into the bar, one of the many objects to pick up is the training manual right on the bar itself.

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The Last of Us Part 1: All toolbox locations
Joel places a rifle on a table in The Last of Us Part I.

Survival in The Last of Us Part 1 will come down to equal parts stealth, skill, and resource management. As Joel and Ellie go farther and farther west, the challenges they face will only become more daunting, asking more from the player in terms of all of these attributes. Aside from upgrading Joel himself with a few skills, the main way you will keep up with the harsher conditions of the game is through upgrading your weapons. However, you will realize very early on that many upgrades are locked.

The only way to fully upgrade your arsenal is by finding five toolboxes. These simple tools all unlock a new level of upgrades for your weapons, but just like anything else in The Last of Us Part 1, they're very easy to overlook as you're sneaking through an area or just admiring the amazing environments. Since there's no backtracking in this game, missing one means you won't be able to max out any upgrades on your first playthrough, so make a note of all the toolbox locations in The Last of Us Part 1 listed here.
First tool location
The first toolbox won't come until you make it to Chapter 4 of the game, called Bill's Town. After navigating his traps (or at least most of them), you will meet up with Bill and eventually make your way to his home base of sorts in an abandoned church. Here, he will show you how to make the very useful Nail Bomb item, but don't leave the area to test it out just yet. Before you leave the basement, check the back corner for a shelf with the red toolbox sitting on it.
Second tool location
Very early in Chapter 5, Pittsburgh, you will be attacked by a group of survivors. After taking them out, you will need to lift up a garage door to progress. Once inside, look to the shelves immediately to your left for the toolbox.
Third tool location
Moving on to Chapter 6 now, follow the main path through the sewers until you get to the point where Ellie repairs a generator and Henry pulls you out of the water. Follow the tunnel forward, but watch for a side path on your left side. Take the path to a small room with the toolbox lying on the ground.
Fourth tool location
Back in school during Chapter 8, The University, go all the way into the science building but don't go up to the second floor quite yet. At the end of the hall, just past a vending machine, is a locked door you will need a shiv to pry open. Use one, get inside, and the toolbox will be sitting front and center on one of the lab tables.
Fifth tool location
Our final toolbox is waiting in Chapter 10. After an awkward start, eventually, you will come to the infamous giraffe scene and then trigger a cutscene. After it ends, you will be in the abandoned FEMA camp. Look for the open tent nearest the bus station and go inside. Directly to the right of the entrance is a table with the final toolbox sitting on top.

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