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The Last of Us Part 1: best skill upgrades

As a remake, The Last of Us Part 1 remains incredibly faithful to how the original played and the mechanics you had at your disposal. While some speculated that features or mechanics from The Last of Us Part 2 might find their way being retroactively included, that turned out not to be the case. For those who loved the original just as it was, this is great news to learn that nothing mechanically is different from the game you loved, but plenty of people who played the sequel might have some trouble adjusting.

While skills did exist in The Last of Us Part 2, they were mostly different skills split into different trees. The Last of Us Part 1 remains a bit more straightforward with its upgrades, but that also makes each decision you make on which to take or upgrade more important. Whether it’s your first or fifth time joining Joel and Ellie on this journey across an infected America, you will want to make sure Joel is as well equipped as possible with the best skills you can get.

How skills work

Ellie looking concerned.

Skills work exactly like they did back in the original. During your journeys, make sure to explore areas as thoroughly as possible for supplements. These come in either pill or plant form, which give you either 5 or 10 points to spend on skills. You can upgrade your skills at any time in your menu, with six choices to spend them on. Each one has either two or three upgrade levels, each costing more supplement points to unlock.

Note that even if you scour the entire game, there are not enough supplements on a single run to upgrade all of Joel’s skills fully. That means, at least on your first run through the game, you will need to be selective on which skills you invest in.

Best skills

Ellie aiming a rifle.

Shiv Master

Shivs might be the most powerful tool in The Last of Us Part 1. At first, they’re your ticket to stealth-killing Clickers, but with some upgrades, become so much more. This is an expensive pair of upgrades, but both levels are worth it. The first level costs 75 points and will give you the chance to use a shiv if grabbed by a Clicker to save your life. The second upgrade, which costs 100, gives shivs two levels of durability. Considering how powerful they are, plus how valuable the crafting materials you need to make them are, doubling their usage is invaluable.

Listen Mode Distance

The Last of Us Part 1 is basically a stealth game. Unless you’re playing on a difficulty where it’s disabled, you’re going to be using Listen Mode as much as Detective Vision in a Batman game. It’s essentially a wall-hack, letting you see enemies through walls, but only at a set range. This skill has three levels, costing 20, 30, and 50 points respectively, that each push Joel’s ears to the limits. With this maxed out, you can essentially track every enemy in your area to plot your course.

Weapon Sway

Joel, for as experienced as he claims to be, isn’t that great of a shot. That, or he’s drunk. Either way, to tighten up your aim and avoid missing shots due to his inability to hold his arms straight, grab yourself at least a few levels of Weapon Sway. This has three levels as well, and each gives you a much tighter aim, though it never becomes rock-solid.

Maximum Health

Finally, there’s never a reason to not just give yourself some more HP. You’re inevitably going to take damage in this game, and this upgrade actually bumps your bar up quite a bit. There are only two levels, and they’re costly at 50 and 100 points each, but well worth it. As a bonus, if you wait until you’re near death and take this upgrade, it will full heal you for free.

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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