[Originally published on 5/15/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]
Chapters 5 – 7: Pittsburgh through The Suburbs
Warning: This post has spoilers for the PlayStation game The Last of Us. Proceed at your own risk!
As Joel drives down the interstate, slowly getting closer to the bridge that leads out of Pittsburgh, he notices how jammed up the highway is with old, broken down cars. He decides to cut through downtown, and while driving on one of the streets a man pops out from behind a car looking like he needs help. Ellie tells Joel that they should stop to help the man, but before she can finish her thought, Joel mashes the gas pedal down and heads right at the bystander. As the truck crashes into him, others begin to shoot at the truck which causes Joel to swerve into a convenience store. As the cutscene ends and you take control of Joel again, a stranger comes from nowhere and grabs Ellie. As Joel is fighting to pull her away from the man, another stranger comes up from behind him and smashes Joel’s face into the center console. He then pulls you out of the car, throws you into a freezer cooler, and attempts to slam your neck down on a piece of shattered glass from that shattered cooler. You shake him off and do a sick spin move which in turn leaves the Hunter with that same piece of glass wedged into his jugular. Joel runs back to the truck to get his gear when a swarm of men come out from across the street and start firing at you. This was a fun little battle, lots of places to hide and get sneaky shots off from inside the store while they tried to get in.
Once you take care of the thugs though, the two of you head outside and begin to search for an exit route to the bridge. Ellie eventually finds a garage door that’s unlocked, and you shuffle your way underneath. Once inside you see a huge pile of dead bodies, which sparks a conversation with Ellie. After this brief discussion, the two of you gather up the room’s supplies and start your journey to the bridge again. Almost immediately after leaving the garage, Ellie asks Joel how he knew the man did not actually need help. “I’ve been on both sides of situations like that” is what he responds with, giving a little more info on himself through the last twenty years of apocalyptic madness. You eventually come across a crashed bus that you need to get by, but as you get closer three men hop over it. This was fairly easy, as they just walk right by you if you stay hidden, and once they were gone it was over the bus and into a large hideout full of Hunters.
This outpost requires you to sneak past (or kill) about 20 men. This area was very challenging to complete solely by sneaking, so I found myself hiding for about two minutes before I pulled my bow and started (dome-ing?) everyone I came across. After cleaning out the hideout of Hunters and supplies, you head out back to a street where you see two guards moving a piece of plywood that crosses over a river, thus marking your new destination. There was more swimming here for Joel and another pallet to grab for Ellie before finally reaching the crossing. It was an extremely short walk from there to the hotel, which you now must go through to get to the bridge. Once in you traverse two floors of enemies, which again was basically impossible to sneak through, before climbing up to a third floor where you find a broken-down elevator in its shaft. This had sketchy written all over it, but Joel pushes forward anyways. He and Ellie crawl through and jump on top of the barely hanging elevator, and as he hoists her up into the next floor the elevator gives out. Joel falls four or five stories, lands on the elevator, and then bounces off into the water below. He finds himself in probably one of the creepiest areas of the game, and this part was definitely the scariest part of the entire game in my opinion.
As I made my way around the dimly lit lower levels of the hotel, the eeriest sounds are emanating in the background. At one point a light fixture breaks off the ceiling and debris falls into the water in front of Joel and I jumped assuming I was being attacked by runners. After some maneuvering and swimming, Joel finds himself in a massive area with a bunch of destroyed rooms. All of the power is off in this area of the hotel as well, which added that extra layer of fear when moving through each room. My first two stabs at this I had zero clue what I was supposed to be doing in here and I died miserably. I stumble across a generator and attempt to start it, but as I do I am jumped by four runners who nearly killed me due to the sheer unexpectedness of the attack. I heal myself and give the generator another go. This time I got the power on but then realized six more runners have now found their way into this area. And guess what? They brought some clickers and a bloater along with them too. My first instinct was to hide so I could sneak around and kill them one by one before tackling the big guy. Yet I made it maybe four feet before I ran right into a clicker who ate the flesh right off my very face/neck. The second attempt I got the generator going and ran straight up the stairs, shotgun blasting my way through all but one clicker and the bloater. I then found the door I was supposed to exit out of, but it required a key card that I had not found in all this chaos. I was low on ammo and decided to just let the bloater put me out of my misery this time. The third time I nailed it. I had gone and found the key card before I started the generator, which was upstairs on a desk hidden in a room that you could only get if you crossed through two other rooms. Once the generator was on this time, I made a mad dash for the key pad but made a pit stop in a side room to throw a bottle. This pulled the clicker and the bloater away long enough for me to sneak by and get through that damned door.
Once through and up the stairs within, Joel takes out a few more Hunters in a kitchen before seeing a ladder he could use to climb back up to the floor Ellie was on. As Joel reaches the top a man kicks him square in the jaw, and he falls all the way back down to the kitchen level. Joel is really taking a beating this chapter, and this man is actually about to kill him before Ellie shows up to save the day. From here the two of you climb back up the ladder and head outside, where you find a rifle and a few more Hunters waiting. Joel leaves Ellie up top with the rifle as he heads down to try and take the men out. There was probably supposed to be an element of surprise here on Joel’s part, but I just rushed in and got the job done. From here the two main characters slowly begin making their way back towards the bridge. You come across a few more enemies who’ve set up some booby traps, but they’re in plain sight and it’s cake to get through this area. You pass through another abandoned building and come up to some windows. Joel hears screeching and tells Ellie to get down just in time to see a Humvee run up on two innocent people and just light them up with a mounted machine gun. This was brutal, not to mention I now am assuming that at some point Joel will have to take this thing out haha. Luckily the next area can all be snuck through and then when the Humvee notices you (which happens no matter how stealthy you are apparently) it’s easy to not get hit by its bullets as you sprint between back alleys. Once Joel and Ellie have escaped, they climb up a fire escape and shimmy across a ledge for one more almost scare by the Humvee before slipping into an open window where some new characters are introduced.
Henry and Sam get off on the wrong foot with our characters after they jump Joel and point a gun at he and Ellie. Henry quickly turns it around when he notices Joel has Ellie and states “He’s good. The bad guys don’t keep children with them.” All four of you head down to the ground level of the housing complex and into a… toy store? Why in the world is there a toy store here haha. Anyways there’s a little scene with Sam trying to take a toy that Henry says no to, and if you pay attention you’ll see Ellie go back over and grab it. Henry then leads you all to the architect firm to show Joel that across the street is their way out of the city, and they’re making their escape tonight. This part was pretty cool in my eyes. As you make it down to the bottom level of the building, Henry and Joel duo sneak attack two Hunters. You then get to sneak up to the guard tower while they’re focused on sniping clickers, which is kind of entertaining to just sit and watch. But the generator needs to be turned off, and in doing so you draw the men down to you. One well-placed Molotov did the trick for me, and I was on my way. As the four of you are pushing open the gate, THE HUMVEE SHOWS UP AGAIN!! Henry slams the gate and you all run over to a ladder attached to a truck. Henry goes first to scout, then max, then Ellie. But as Ellie gets pulled up the ladder breaks, leaving Joel down by himself. Henry apologizes and then dips so fast, what a guy huh? Ellie’s dumbass jumps back down and says that she must stick with Joel no matter what. How touching right? Anyways after this you run into a garage and then out a door where the Humvee comes crashing through right next door. It’s all sprinting after that until you get to the bridge, and as Joel and Ellie are crossing they realize it’s been destroyed in the middle and is impossible to cross. Ellie’s full of great ideas suddenly, and she decides to jump off the bridge into the rapid waters below. And it’s as she’s jumping that I remember, wait she can’t swim?! Joel dives in after her, grabs her, and then slams his head against a rock to end the chapter (FYI: this was probably the longest chapter of the game. It took me just as much time for this chapter as it did for the first five combined!). Joel wakes up on a beach with Ellie, Henry, and Sam. Apparently to Henry, “you’re a survivor. I knew you’d survive”, which is just him covering his ass right? The four of them start heading down the beach trying to find a way up. You get down to a beached boat that has a comic for Ellie in it (Also, I loved that fact that she stole a comic from Bill and after that you get to start collecting them for her! Such a dope concept to throw into the fourth/fifth chapter of the game) before you hear Max call to Ellie saying they found something. It’s an entrance to the sewer and all four of you crawl into it. If this were me I’d have been finding the way around rather than going through. This area ended up being pretty cool though, and it had tons of super interesting artifacts and collectibles. After the four of you have done some exploring, a security door falls between Joel/Sam and Ellie/Henry and a group of five or six clickers come out on the other side of the door. This results in Ellie and Henry running while Joel and Sam are left to deal with the runners on this side of the wall. This room could have been tricky if you weren’t stocked up on ammo, but thankfully I was. After taking out the zombies you climb a ladder just to jump back down into another sewer alley way of sorts, which is when Ellie and Henry come back into the picture. They are currently sprinting away from a mob of clickers and runners so apparently, they just ran the entire time you were killing haha. The four of you narrowly escape and climb up the stairs surrounding a broken elevator shaft. You finally get to a room up top with a door leading back outside and out of the sewers, but whatya know it’s jammed shut from the outside. Joel and Henry fight off the attacking wave of undead as Ellie and Sam climb out of a window to open the door. This fight was simple in all honesty. There were only two doors in for the zombies, so when a squad of them got close I just launched a Molotov or a nail grenade over and took them all out. Once outside you all turn around to see a massive warning spray painted on the wall next to the door, if only you would’ve come through this way and not through the back end of the sewer!
The four of you begin heading down a hill and end up in what seems to be an abandoned suburb. After upgrading your gear and taking every single thing from the block, you jump down into another suburb. As you’re all jumping down someone starts shooting at you, and it seems as if he has a sniper. This area requires you to sneak through the suburb and avoid the sniper, who can land some ridiculous shots apparently. I was hit a few times through windows that I passed by on the opposite side of a building that he had been shooting at. Basically, if you’re anywhere near an opening he can hit you, and it does quite a bit of damage. Once you get past his men you sneak into the house and kill him just in time for Ellie, Henry, and Sam to all get attacked. Luckily for Joel, he knows how to use this rifle and starts picking off the bad guys one by one. There’s also a cool part when the Humvee shows back up and you shoot the guy who is about to throw the Molotov at your companions, and he then drops it into the Humvee killing himself and the driver. After this some runners start chasing your friends. You hold them off long enough to get to the house Joel is in and then the four of you meet up downstairs and trigger a cutscene. As you all leave the house and finally make it to the radio tower, it jumps ahead to later that night/day. Basically, everyone but Sam is enjoying dinner and Ellie goes to talk to him. He is basically brooding and hiding in another room, which is when Ellie pulls out that toy he wanted from back in Pittsburgh! Yet it seems like he was hiding for a good reason… he was bit when the zombies attacked in the suburbs!! Yet his dumbass tells no one, so when the next scene starts with Ellie going to grab Sam for breakfast, he is full on zombie and grabs her instead. They struggle for a few seconds on the floor before Henry comes in and shoots Sam. This was when I realized how dark this game truly was, because at that moment it clicked that Sam was Henry’s younger brother. Henry is immediately distraught and points the gun at Ellie and Joel. Then, overcome with grief from ending his own brothers’ life, he puts the gun up to his own head and pulls the trigger before the screen cuts to black.
Well, I hope you enjoyed Part II of my recap! As I continue completing my playthrough, I’ll be uploading other reviews of the game. I’m thinking there will be two more, but who knows. This one ended up being quite long, so I may end up needing three or four more. Keep an eye out for Part III, the review of Tommy’s Dam through Lakeside Resort!