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- Kill It with Fire: Molotovs and a flamethrower are available and are quite efficient at killing anything you can come across, be it humans or infected. Burning enemies are unable to attack and rapidly lose health until they die, and only the game's hardiest enemy, the bloater, can barely survive a molotov. A burning enemy can also set others on fire while running around screaming, so a single molotov can potentially take out a whole hunter squad if you're lucky. note
- Kill the Cutie: Sarah, right at the beginning.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: To get the necessary materials to survive, you need to grab any useful junk that isn't nailed down (heck, even the nails are useful). Not that anyone actually owns most of the stuff you find.
- Lame Pun Reaction: You'll probably have this when you hear Ellie's puns. "It doesn't matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationary."
- The Last Title: The name of the game.
- Limited Loadout:
- Played With. Joel maintains a Hyperspace Arsenal of weapons in his pack (including a bow, multiple handguns, two rifles, and up to nine bombs), and he is limited to a handful of active weapons, but he can also carry breakable weapons (which can be seen attached to Joel's pack when not in use).
- You start out with one long gun holster and one pistol holster, forcing you to keep other weapons in your backpack. An additional holster for each type of weapon can be crafted to reduce instances of having to rummage through your backpack for your other weapons.
- Little Miss Badass: Ellie.
- The Load: Joel's initial reaction to Ellie is to treat her as this, which is very pronounced after Tess' death. Gradually, his attitude turns around, and by the Pittsburgh chapters, he accepts her as more or less an equal partner who has his back.
- Lost in Translation: One of the most poignant moments of the game is when Joel finally calls Ellie "baby girl" while comforting her like he did with Sarah, having grown to see the former as a surrogate daughter. In certain dubs and subtitles however, the phrase "baby girl" does not have a good equivalent and is translated to more non-familial phrases such as "poor thing" or "little one", removing some of the impact of said scene.
- Machete Mayhem: Machetes are available as potential melee weapons, being the first tier of One-Hit Kill melee weapons. While their blades are old and break quickly, three guaranteed kills is better than other weapons that take at least three hits to kill, even if they have more uses total.
- Made of Plasticine: The cordyceps infection appears to soften the carrier's bones quite a bit. When Joel stomps on a human's head, the victim dies but remains mostly intact. When he does the same to an infected, its entire head bursts like a melon. They still take the same number of hits to put down before the Finishing Stomp can be applied, but that can be chalked up to the infection possibly overriding their sense of pain.
- Magical Antibiotics: After Joel is impaled by rubble in a fight at the Science Lab in Colorado, Ellie asks David for some medicine to treat the wounds. David sends his accomplice back to their camp to gather some penicillin which, when administered to Joel, seems to work overnight, despite Ellie not knowing what kind of infection might be going on in the wound. note
- Marathon Level: Pittsburgh is really long compared to other chapters in the game, on higher difficulties it can take upwards of at least a couple of hours to get through it.
- The Many Deaths of You:
- A lot of nasty ways to get killed in this game. You can be shot, beaten to death, eaten alive or have your jaw torn apart, and that's just a few examples among others.
- Gets especially crazy in multiplayer, where most of your lives will end with a lovely animation of you being hurled to the ground and subsequently having the shit kicked/stomped/punched/blown out of you.
- Meaningful Background Event:
- In the toy store, if you keep an eye on Ellie, you'll see her approach the robot that she later gives to Sam in a cutscene. Look away for a second, and when you look back, the robot has vanished and she's walking away innocently.
- A sound-based one. When you play as Ellie in the winter chapter and is fighting your way through the last cabin and reach the exit (before Ellie's caught), listen closely and you'll hear some bottles being knocked over in the far background. That's David sneaking up on her. (Of course, if you turn around to check out the place, he's nowhere to be seen.)
- Meaningful Echo: During the intro credits, Marlene can be heard in a news soundbite saying "Remember: when you're lost in the darkness, look for the light." The final controllable sequence ends when Joel, carrying Ellie to safety, has to charge through a dark hospital (without power) towards a distant elevator lit by maintenance lights.
- Meaningful Name:
- Let's just say there's a very good reason the bandit group is called the Hunters.
- Joel has this—with a little prophetic bonus—seeing as he's named after a (rather bleak) Biblical apocalyptic prophet.
- Ellie means "noble" or "shining light" which works as great fridge brilliance; the Fireflies' motto is "When you're lost in the darkness, look for the light." She works as both the Fireflies' "light" in that she's the supposed cure they want, while she's also the "light" that pulls Joel out of his dark world by becoming someone he cares about and is willing to fight for.
- David is the leader of his group. He also implicitly desires a woman—or, rather, teenage girl—who is with another man. Unlike Bathsheba, Ellie turns him down. Repeatedly.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender:
- Zig-Zagged. You will fight female Infected, but any non-Infected enemy you encounter will be exclusively male (the exception being a single female who the player can kill in contrast to the dozens of men). However, the Boston Militia is co-ed, and Tommy's group has plenty of armed female members. Whether it's a case of time constraints, In-Universe misogyny, or simply a desire to save money by not hiring female voice actors for the mook dialogue, is hard to say, considering that while there are most definitely women in the group of enemies you face during Winter, they seem to have more domestic responsibilities. Also subverted in relation to the main characters: Joel is horrifically wounded and neutralized during the ending of Fall and most of Winter, and since the Laconic for the trope describes itself as "Male suffering is less meaningful than female suffering"
- Shortly after arriving in Pittsburgh, you can hear two men talking about a woman that tried to fight them off. They considered recruiting her, but they realized that recruiting a woman who already killed some of their own probably wouldn't be a smart idea.
- In multiplayer, teams will usually consist of three men and one woman, as you can customize what items your character wears, but their model is randomly assigned each game. It is possible, though rarer, to get a team with two women and two men or even three women and one man.
- Mercy Kill:
- In a world where you can turn into a zombie in a matter of days, you can expect some people to do this to their friends and loved ones.
- In the Summer chapter, Joel has this option for a man whose mask broke in an infected area.
- Missing Mom: No mention is given to the whereabouts of Sarah's mother, who doesn't even appear in family photos in Joel's house. The only thing that Joel says about her is that they didn't stay together for long.Ellie: What happened?
Ellie: Too much?
Joel: Too much.
- Molotov Cocktail: Can be crafted so you can Kill It with Fire.
- Mook Horror Show: Joel and Ellie being a highly mobile version of this is the main reason the cannibals want them dead. Not to mention the escalating terror of the enemies in Pittsburgh as you destroy patrol after patrol.
- Moral Myopia: The Hunters led by David are intent on getting revenge on Joel and Ellie for killing so many of them. The fact that they were all gunning for the duo from the very beginning never seems to register.
- Mortal Wound Reveal: Several. The most prominent examples: Sarah (gunshot), Tess and Sam (infected bites). Subverted in the case of Ellie.
- Mundane Object Amazement: Since Ellie was born six years after the outbreak, numerous artifacts of the past confuse or amaze her.Ellie: An ice-cream truck?
Sam: Yeah, Henry told me about these. They'd sell ice-cream out of the truck.
Ellie: What? No way. Joel?
Joel: It's true. This thing would drive around and play real loud creepy music and kids would come running out to buy ice-cream.
Ellie: You're totally fucking with me. Man, you lived in a strange time.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Played with for David and James. They're obviously biblical names, and they're the only people Joel and Ellie run into who have a personal vendetta against them.
- Neutral Female: Averted with Ellie. She starts out the game without a gun, and even then is very helpful in battle, utilizing both her switch blade and throwable objects like bricks and bottles to distract enemies and allow Joel to take advantage of the situation. Halfway through the second chapter, she finally arms herself and becomes even more helpful, allowing the player to set themselves up with Ellie at one end of the room and Joel at the other, gunning down the enemies caught in the crossfire.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Averted given the presence of shivs as weapons and the possibility of stealth gameplay when low on ammo against overwhelming opposing numbers and weaponry/threats. Played straight in certain encounters, but especially at the end between the surgeon with his scalpel and Joel with everything but.
- Never Trust a Trailer: One trailer for the game showed Joel grabbing a shotgun out of the hands of an enemy and using it against him. Another trailer showed an enemy grabbing Joel from behind and trying to hold him in place so other mooks could shoot him. Neither one of those things is possible in the actual game.
- New Eden: Twenty years after the outbreak, the earth is slowly but surely replenishing itself.
- New Game+:
- Starting a new playthrough allows you to carry over Joel's stats from a previous playthrough. Previous weapon upgrades will also be in effect, once you reach the point in the game where you acquire the weapon (although it would be awesome to go through the entire game with a flamethrower).
- If the "Survival Pack" DLC (from the special edition versions of the game) is installed, new skins for Joel and Ellie are unlocked after completing the game and starting a new one.
- Next Sunday A.D.: The game released in June of 2013, and the prologue occurs in October of the same year. Even the rest of the game, which takes place 20 years later, falls into this trope due to human development and culture having halted (and even regressed) since 2013.
- No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted for the bow. Helpfully, the aiming reticule changes to show the arc.
- No Ending: Joel and Ellie make it back to Tommy's group, cue credits. It leaves the relationship between Joel and Ellie a bit ambiguous, with Ellie asking Joel to swear that he is not lying to her about the Fireflies not needing her anymore (since she was drugged to undergo surgery at the Firefly base, so she wasn't awake during the events there). Joel swears that he is not lying to her. The last shot is of her saying "Okay" even though you can see doubt in her expression.
- No FEMA Response: Averted. There was a response, even going so extreme as to shoot a potential threat and his young daughter on sight. Twenty years later, there's martial law in place all over the world, with no civilian government unless one is built up from scratch, in a remote area. However, the quarantine zones appear to be crumbling almost without exception, suggesting the military is not even remotely as good at governing things as they are at shooting them.
- No-Gear Level: There are two separate occasions. First is when Joel is critically injured and the perspective switches to Ellie, who is only armed with a bow initially. The second time is when Ellie is captured by David and his group, forcing her to escape her cell with nothing but her trusty switchblade.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
- A Firefly scientist can't bring himself to kill a batch of test monkeys injected with the Cordyceps fungus, so he decides to set them free instead. Unfortunately, he gets bitten by one, getting infected in the process, and he ends up killing himself. Fortunately for Joel and Ellie, his audio suicide note happens to mention where the rest of the Fireflies relocated to.
- At the end, Marlene gives Joel the chance to leave the Firefly base alive, instead of immediately putting a bullet in his head once he makes it perfectly clear that he's completely opposed to their plan to kill Ellie for the potential cure and absolutely willing to kill them all without hesitation. (A journal left behind by her reveals that the other Fireflies wanted to kill him, but she overruled them.) This, of course, gets them all killed.
- Non Standard Game Over: When Joel & Tess are chasing Robert, it actually is possible for him to escape if you wait for long enough.Robert got away
- No OSHA Compliance: Joel's gas mask should not be worn over his beard; OSHA regulations specify that the rubber seal must be against bare skin to work properly. Joel is really pushing his luck.
- Noodle Incident:
- You never find out exactly what favors Bill owes to Joel and Tess, but they must be pretty damn important if he's willing to trek across a heavily infected part of town to help Joel get something he needs.Bill: Whatever favors you think I owe ya, it ain't worth that much.Joel: Actually, Bill, they are.
- The "early years", when Joel and Tommy survived the start of the infection together in Boston.
- You never find out exactly what favors Bill owes to Joel and Tess, but they must be pretty damn important if he's willing to trek across a heavily infected part of town to help Joel get something he needs.
- Notice This: There are several versions of this.
- Things you can interact with will flash.
- Nearby items that you can pick up turn white, and a circle with a symbol of what it is will appear to help distinguish it from the general clutter.
- Conversation opportunities are highlighted by an icon.
- Ellie will point out various important things, including enemies and places you need to go in order to proceed. Even Joel at times will mention certain tasks only his companions can accomplish so the player will not have to pointlessly attempt them.
- The game itself will point out important things as they're happening. It will also give you a hint (utilized with L3) if you have trouble finding the next point in a level or solving a puzzle.
- Another subtle hint the game gives you is that there's often an object or ledge in the direction you need to go that's coloured yellow.
- At the end of a prolonged firefight, Joel or Ellie will usually announce something to the tune of, "That's all of them," once all enemies have been cleared.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: They were once human but are now mindless, bloodthirsty monsters. They're formed via infection. Their spread caused an apocalypse. Most of them have a clumsy, staggering gait. They resemble corpses. A single bite from them will cause you to turn. But they're most definitely not zombies; they're infected. Even the developers insist this.