One of the more unique features in The Last of Us is the ability to craft different gear. Need to make a make-shift bomb, a med-kit, maybe a shiv, well all of that is possible within the crafting system. Not only is it possible, it’s completely necessary in order to survive. There are six different items you can create once you’ve learned all the recipes, a shiv, melee blade attachment, med kit, Molotov cocktail, nail bomb, and smoke grenade. Each has their purpose in the greater context of the game. Smoke bombs can hide you from enemy fire, which is extremely useful once you start having to take down human opponents. Molotov cocktails are great against large groups of infected, and so on.
In order to make it so players couldn’t just created an unlimited supply of goodies, Naughty Dog limits you to three of each kind. After that your backpack is full. Everything in this game is done in real time, so when you decide it’s time to craft, you have to make sure there are no enemies around you. The same is true for when you need to take a med kit. It’s not as simple as just hitting a button and seeing your health increase. No, you actually have to bandage yourself up, and that takes some time.
It’s also possible to upgrade your weapons. Doing so requires special gears you’ll find scattered in the debris everywhere. In order to upgrade your weapons though you have to find a work bench. There are only a handful in the entire game, and you can’t backtrack once you’ve gone too far ahead. This means you have to make smart choices on what you will upgrade. Is it going to be an increase to your clip size on your 9mm pistol, or lessen the recoil in your shotgun? Each decision you make will dramatically change the way you play, much like the rest of the game. Smart choices will keep you alive, dumb ones will cost you dearly.
As mentioned in a previous article, but just for completion’s sake, special pills can also be used to upgrade some of Joel’s core abilities like the distance of Listening Mode, crafting speed, and more. These abilities can be upgraded at any time, although they do require Joel to open his bag, which means you’ll only want to do this when you’re in a safe spot.
That’s it for today’s article. Only two more articles left before the review hits. You’ll just have to tune in tomorrow to see what it’ll be about, because as of writing this I honestly have no clue.