The Last of Us Part 2 imagines a brutal world filled with zombie-like infected monsters, along with some just-as-deadly and just-as-monstrous surviving humans. It's a world where staying alive often means someone else has to die, and the resources you need to keep yourself alive and take down your enemies are always at a premium.
But if you really want to make The Last of Us 2 feel truly frightening, you should mess with its many elaborate difficulty settings. Developer Naughty Dog has included a lot of granular controls that let you create exactly the post-apocalyptic survival experience you want. And if you want a particularly intense, difficult experience, you can create one--so we set about trying to create the most authentic and harrowing version of The Last of Us Part 2 that we could. Check out the video above to see how we created the most difficult and realistic version of The Last of Us 2 we could manage.
The easiest way to increase the toughness of your playthrough of The Last of Us 2 is to ratchet it up to Survivor difficulty, but it's possible to make a lot of smaller, more specific changes as well--like turning off ammo indicators, reticles, and other HUD elements, or adjusting enemy intelligence. There are a variety of options that can make the game harder (or easier, or more comfortable), and it's totally worth messing with all of them to find your perfect playthrough.
We've got lots more coverage of The Last of Us Part 2, from our spoiler-free review (and spoiler review) to an explainer about the ending and tons of guides for finding everything the game has to offer.