The Last of Us Part 2 Grounded difficulty mode settings explained

Want to know what Grounded difficulty changes in The Last of Us Part 2? Here are the details.

Between taking care of roaming Infected, you may have heard word of a new difficulty mode coming to The Last of Us Part 2 this week: Grounded. Those who gave the original game their all will be all-too familiar with that name, but for anyone who joined the story in Part 2 or played the original on normal difficulties, we’ve put together a quick explainer as to what Grounded mode is in The Last of Us Part 2.

What is Grounded difficulty mode in The Last of Us Part 2?

The Last of Us Part 2 grounded difficulty - what is it?
© Naughty Dog

Grounded is a new, hardest difficulty mode being added to The Last of Us Part 2. It was in the original game, and a couple of months after the release of the sequel, we’re getting the challenge here too. Aside from making enemies tougher, Grounded mode adds several extra factors to deal with, which we’ll break down below. 

One key point isn’t that Grounded mode isn’t Permadeath. You can choose to play Permadeath on any of The Last of Us Part 2’s difficulties, including Grounded if you’re a particular masochist. Here’s everything Grounded difficulty mode brings to The Last of Us Part 2:

  • Listen Mode is disabled.
  • HUD elements are drastically reduced (no tutorials and fewer button prompts/warnings to enemy alertness levels).
  • Enemy damage is increased.
  • Ammo is drastically reduced.
  • Crafting and upgrade resources are drastically reduced.

Fewer resources and tougher enemies are one thing, but the biggest challenge with Grounded Mode in The Last of Us Part 2 is the removal of Listen mode. You’ll no longer be able to track enemies through walls, and combined with reduced HUD elements, will need to listen and watch carefully to avoid detection. Naughty Dog describes it as the “ultimate test of skill,” and as a reward for completing the game in Grounded, you’ll be able to unlock a new Trophy titled Dig Two Graves.

That’s all you need to know about Grounded difficulty in The Last of Us Part 2. If you’re looking for a challenge, you’ve got it. Also included in the Grounded update are a range of cheats you can enable after beating the game, including Helium voices that are sure to lighten even the most serious moments in the game.

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video games stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at, or catch him on Twitter.


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