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The Last of Us Part II Remastered arrives for the PlayStation 5 console on January 19, 2024. With it comes a slew of new behind-the-scenes content, technical enhancements to leverage the PS5 hardware, and new modes to ensure that whether you’re experiencing the award-winning sequel’s story for the first or fifth time, there’s something new to discover.

Preorders for digital version of the game are available starting today. . And to mark the occasion, we’re excited to highlight one of the most expansive new additions: No Return, a single-player roguelike survival mode. Before we jump in, check out our trailer for the mode below.

No Return is a new foray for the world of The Last of Us, built to spotlight Part II’s nuanced and engrossing gameplay in a unique way. Let’s dive a bit deeper into what you can expect from the mode.

What Is No Return?

No Return allows players to choose their own path and test their skills across runs of randomized encounters, throwing you into familiar spaces from The Last of Us Part II’s campaign, like Jackson, the Channel 13 News Station, and many more. These scenarios will be unfamiliar and even unexpected, though, with unique gameplay twists. But be warned: death is permanent in No Return, so if you fail a run midway, you’ll lose all weapons, items, and upgrades accumulated for that run and begin again with a fresh set of randomized scenarios. How you progress during any given run isn’t pre-defined – throughout a run, players will have to choose between different encounters, which will determine not only the type of gameplay mode you tackle, but also what rewards you may unlock, what potential modifiers you’ll encounter, and more. And in between each combat scenario, you’ll return to a Hideout, where you can prep and choose your next fight via a path laid out on a corkboard in these familiar locations.

Should you make it all the way to the end of a run, you’ll come up against one of six successively unlocked boss encounters (and after you’ve conquered them all, they will randomly cap off future runs) against some of Part II’s most memorable foes, but not necessarily in the ways you first fought them. Runs, whether they end in a victory or at the hands of a Clicker or Hunter midway through an encounter, culminate in a score and you’ll receive a rank based on your performance.

That next run will be unique from the one before it, offering a fresh set of encounters each time you play. No Return’s challenges fall into four different types – Assault, which pits you against waves of enemies; Capture, in which you have to break into a safe full of valuable supplies enemies are guarding; Holdout, during which you and an AI-controlled buddy defend against Infected swarming around you; and Hunted, in which you need to survive until the timer runs out against continuous enemy reinforcements. 

Each type can take place in a variety of locations, and to continue ensuring each run feels fresh and distinct from what’s come before, Mods will randomly be applied to encounters. Choosing to take on modded challenges affects the rewards you’ll receive. We don’t want to spoil the full list, but these will test your skills in some fun and surprising ways, including mods like enemies dropping pipe bombs upon death, a thick fog enveloping the encounter map, and more. We’re excited for fans to experience the full suite of Mods in-game, as they offer some truly exciting twists to any given encounter.

Gambits are optional dynamic challenges that can further spice up any given round. From needing to land a number of headshots to dodging melee attacks, Gambits can both help you solidify a plan going into a challenge or offer up an opportunity to expand your strategy while working toward additional resources for that run.

Speaking of resources, as players of The Last of Us Part II will already be familiar with, the campaign features a number of upgradeable weapons for Ellie and Abby’s arsenal, as well as skill upgrade trees. These ideas carry over to No Return, but upgrades reset after each run, so you’ll have to make difficult choices as you progress about which weapon upgrades to spend your acquired resources on or what skills you think might offer the best edge in upcoming encounters. Which weapons drop also varies from run to run, which will further impact which upgrade paths you may want to, or need to, take to ensure survival.

No Return’s Metagame

In addition to purely trying to survive a run, No Return offers a host of metagame objectives and unlockables that carry over from run to run, so that even if you can’t quite make it to a boss fight, you’re still working toward new characters, skins, and more.

No Return starts off with Ellie and Abby as playable characters, but one of the ways we wanted to offer player choice is with a wider suite of characters you can unlock, including some playable for the first time in the franchise. By progressing through various Challenges, you can unlock Ellie’s fellow Jacksonites Dina, Joel, Tommy, and Jesse, while Abby’s companions Lev, Yara, Mel, and Manny are all also unlockable.

Each character has unique traits that offer different playstyles. Dina, for example, comes equipped with trap and stun bomb recipes from the jump, and has an upgrade in her skill tree to craft double the amount of bombs, while Abby comes with a melee upgrade recipe and heals on melee hits. We hope the variety allows players to not only invest in the playstyles they love but also test out mechanics they may use less often.

Challenge tracks are associated with each playable character and the mode overall, and completing these objectives will unlock everything from new playable characters to new skins to gameplay twists like Gambits, Buddies, and more.

Though runs are randomized, you can separately take on custom runs that allow you to toggle on or off various factors that affect No Return’s gameplay. And if you’re feeling competitive, a new Daily Run will be available every day to prove your skills against the world.* Every player will have one shot at the same randomly generated run with the same character. See how you fair against other Part II Remastered players thanks to a leaderboard where you can track how your score and runtime stack up.

No Return will be playable as soon as you boot up The Last of Us Part II Remastered, though we encourage newcomers to play the campaign first to get a handle on gameplay. For both new and returning players, this mode is designed to challenge your skills, and while it does offer tutorial information, having a solid basis of the fundamentals of our combat system is recommended. Whatever your prior experience with The Last of Us, we hope No Return will offer something fresh and unexpected.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read our The Last of Us Part II Remastered announcement blog for a broader look at what the remaster includes. Players who already own The Last of Us Part II on PS4 will be able to upgrade for SGD 13 / MYR 40 / IDR 150,000 / THB 400 to the Remastered version**. 

But if you’ve never played before, Part II Remastered is available for preorder starting today on PS Store. . 

Whichever way you decide to play, we can’t wait for you all to experience for the first time or relive The Last of Us Part II Remastered when it arrives for PS5 on January 19, 2024.

*Daily Run requires internet connection.

** Check PS Store at launch on January 19, 2024 for local pricing

Upgrades for disc copies of the PS4 version of the Last of Us Part II are only available if you have a PlayStation 5 console with a disc drive. Owners of PS4 disc copies must insert them into the PS5 every time they want to download or play the PS5 digital version.

Evan 魚丸

Nmia Gaming – Editor Evan 魚丸