The Last of Us Part II Remastered: No Return

Learn more about the new roguelike survival mode built to spotlight The Last of Us Part II's nuanced and engrossing gameplay in a unique way.

What is No Return?

A roguelike survival mode, No Return allows players to choose their own path and test their skills across runs of randomized encounters. Let's dive into how runs work, and what players can expect as they jump into the mode.

Death is permanent in No Return

No Return's randomized combat encounters will bring players to familiar locations from The Last of Us Part II’s campaign, like Jackson, the Channel 13 News Station, and many more. These scenarios will be unfamiliar thanks to unique gameplay differences, like a roster of playable characters with different playstyle traits, unexpected gameplay modifiers, unique objects and more.

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 choose between different encounters, which will determine not only the type of gameplay mode, but also what rewards are unlocked, what potential modifiers will be encountered, and more.

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.

The different challenge types of No Return

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.
  • Hunted - in which you need to survive until the timer runs out against continuous enemy reinforcements.

Should you make it all the way to the end of a run, you’ll fight one of six successively unlocked boss encounters (and after you’ve conquered them all, they will randomly cap off future runs) against some of The Last of Us Part II’s most memorable foes, but not necessarily in the ways you first fought them.

Runs, whether they end in a victory or in defeat at the hands of a Clicker or Hunter, culminate in a score and rank based on your performance. And the next run will be unique from the one before it, offering a fresh set of encounters each time you play.

Mods, gambits and upgrades

Randomized mods

Mods will randomly be applied to encounters, and choosing to take on modded challenges affects the rewards you’ll receive. These will test your skills in some fun and surprising ways, including modifiers like enemies dropping pipe bombs upon death, a thick fog enveloping the encounter map, and more.

Dynamic challenges

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.

Upgradeable weapons

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

No Return allows players to choose their own path and test their skills across runs of randomized encounters, which throw you into familiar spaces with unexpected combat twists.

Choose your hero

No Return starts off with Ellie and Abby as playable characters, but beyond them is a wider suite of playable 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. The variety allows players to not only invest in and excel with the playstyles they love but also test out mechanics they may use less often.

Start a run

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 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 The Last of Us Part II Remastered players thanks to a leaderboard where you can track how your score and runtime stack up.

Fresh and unexpected

No Return will be playable as soon as you boot up The Last of Us Part II Remastered, though newcomers are encouraged 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, No Return is designed to offer something fresh and unexpected.

*Daily Run requires internet connection.