10 Most Iconic Locations In The Last Of Us Games
The Last Of Us games take players on a cross-country journey through an apocalyptic United States. Though the series deservedly received the most praise for its storytelling, the use of location throughout both entries is just as impressive.
Memorable locations in gaming normally leave an impact by providing a setting for a gut-wrenching story beat or for containing a great segment of gameplay, and The Last of Us is no different. Being a Naughty Dog game, you can expect each setting to be rendered in stunning detail. From bombed out cities to quiet pre-apocalypse neighborhoods, here are some of the most iconic apocalyptic locales in The Last Of Us.
Warning: Some spoilers for the two games ahead.
10 Santa Barbara – The Last Of Us Part 2
The final act of The Last Of Part 2 pits both Abby and Ellie against the 'Rattlers,' a group of hunters with no qualms about using slave labor. The Rattlers have settled themselves inside of Santa Barbara, California, with their main headquarters being a seaside resort that's been converted into a fortress.
Santa Barbara is distinct from nearly every other location in the series thanks to its coastal setting. The infected you encounter are sunburnt and covered in sand, and the Rattlers themselves wear beach gear under their body armor.
9 Pittsburgh Suburbs – The Last Of Us
Much of The Last Of Us’s midgame is dedicated to Joel and Ellie’s escape from Pittsburgh after being ambushed by a group of marauders. Inside the city, the pair encounter Henry and Sam, two brothers who were caught in a similar ambush. Together the quartet of survivors are able to escape Pittsburgh, but making it to the suburbs isn’t the end of the fight.
Players will remember the Suburbs section for its final battle with a well-guarded sniper. It’s a nail-biting and wildly fun asymmetrical encounter that likely ended more than a few Grounded runs.
8 Bill’s Town – The Last Of Us
After escaping the military at the courthouse in Boston, Joel decides to cash in a favor with former acquaintance Bill. Humanity has declined to the point where anyone can simply consume control of an entire town, and that’s exactly what Bill does.
It’s only a few minutes after arrival that Joel and Ellie discover one of Bill’s traps, which litter the town. It’s not a completely unfounded call for Bill to be so well-defended, since even though it’s his town it is still infested with infected.
7 Ellie And Dina’s Farm – The Last Of Us Part 2
After narrowly escaping Seattle and seemingly giving up on their revenge quest, Ellie and Dina retreat to a tiny home near Jackson to raise Dina’s newborn, JJ. It’s an almost storybook ending for Ellie, who is finally able to enjoy some peace on the small farm.
But it’s not meant to be. Ellie is too fixated on revenge against Abby and decides to pursue her to California. When Ellie returns, Dina and JJ are gone, and the farm has lost all of its warmth.
6 SoundView Stadium – The Last Of Us Part 2
What form could society take after a fungus zombie apocalypse? A potential answer comes in the form of SoundView Stadium, which serves as the headquarters for the Washington Liberation Front.The stadium has been fully converted into a settlement for the group, with working farms, an armory and apartments.
The few short minutes we get to spend within the stronghold is a fantastic bit of world-building for The Last Of Us universe. It’s a shame we don’t get to see how it is affected by the events of The Last Of Us Part 2.
5 The University of Eastern Colorado – The Last Of Us
The warm autumn tones of the Colorado University that Joel and Ellie believe the fireflies occupy are deceptively welcoming. The pair believe that this is the end of their journey, as conveyed by their excited banter.
Players will quickly realize that not all is well with the University. Infected still roam freely around the campus just like any other of the abandoned places the pair have visited. It’s not too long before Joel and Ellie discover the remains of the Firefly’s university garrison.
4 Jackson – The Last Of Us Part 2
The early hours of The Last Of Us Part 2 are spent in Jackson, Wyoming, one of the last beacons of civilization in the country. While the outside World is still grim, Jackson has regained access to power, water, and many of the other trappings of civilization. Joel and Ellie live in moderate comfort within the community up until Part 2’s brutal events.
Like Joel’s house at the beginning of the first game, Jackson’s coziness serves to juxtapose the unforgiving locales the player would visit later in the game.
3 The Boston Mall – The Last Of Us: Left Behind
The Last Of Us’s Left Behind DLC gives us a glimpse at Ellie’s life before meeting Joel. The player is introduced to Riley, a friend that Ellie thought had run away until she reemerges one night to get Ellie to explore a local abandoned mall.
While we only get a slice of the locations seen in The Last Of Us, Left Behind’s Boston Mall is fully fleshed out, with Riley and Ellie getting the opportunity to enjoy its arcade, carousel, and readily available water guns.
2 Joel’s House – The Last Of Us
Though The Last Of Us is Joel and Ellie’s story, it began with Joel’s daughter Sarah. Before the Cordyceps invasion and the resulting apocalypse, Joel and Sarah lived a mostly quiet life in the suburbs of Texas. We get a small glimpse of that in the opening minutes of The Last Of Us, in which the game puts players in control of Sarah during the beginning of the apocalypse.
Joel and Sarah’s home sticks out because of how normal it is, from the haphazardly placed soccer trophies to the band posters and backyard fence. It’s a huge juxtaposition to what would come later in the games.
1 Saint Mary’s Hospital – The Last Of Us
Saint Mary’s hospital at first seems like a ray of hope after Joel and Ellie’s long cross-country journey. Those hopes are dashed shortly after meeting the Fireflies, who reveal that using Ellie’s immunity to create a vaccine would also kill her.
The ensuing battle between Joel and the Fireflies puts to rest any notion that the game might have a happy ending. Joel’s refusal to tell Ellie the truth about how they escaped from the hospital is the driving catalyst for the events of The Last of Us Part 2, which would explore multiple perspectives on the climactic scene.
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