So, Grounded Mode is really difficult.
I have been playing The Last of Us Remastered on PS4 on Grounded Mode (the hardest setting). I have been stuck in Pittsburgh a LONG time. And nobody wants to be stuck in Pittsburgh.
Chapter 5 – Pittsburgh/The Hotel Lobby
There’s one level where you have to sneak around several bandits in a Pittsburgh hotel. Since I was trying to conserve my ammo, I resorted to primarily stealthy takedowns. I had a good system where I would smash a bottle on the side of the wall and stay crouched on the ledge outside the window and wait for them to come and check out the source of the noise. As they would jump over the windowsill onto the outside ledge, I would take a swing at them with a lead pipe. Problem was, I swear the enemy A.I. got SMARTER. They started going around and taking me out from BEHIND. I must have died 50 times trying to get past this level. Even when I’d successfully take out all the guys on the initial floor, I kept dying when I went up the next floor. Since they search for you all clumped together as a group, there was no way to draw one away and take him down stealthily and in isolation. There were even several times when I’d successfully take three of them down, only to have one sneak up behind me thru the staircase and take ME down stealthily. And then you have to start the whole level from the BEGINNING.
I only happened to finally beat this level because their movement pattern changed suddenly and I managed to sneak past them (taking down one guy stealthily) and go upstairs to pry open the elevator without alerting them to my presence.
The next section is difficult because of the introduction of Stalkers. They can see like Runners but also can hear you around a corner like Clickers. And they’re FAST. In this level you have to find a hotel keycard, turn on a generator to activate the key lock and get through before the Stalkers or Bloater get you. I found I could take down Stalkers if I hit them first with a brick or bottle and then melee. I kept dying a lot on this level until I figured I could run really fast and not even deal with the Bloater, as long as I took out enough Stalkers before turning on the generator (the noise will attract them!).
Chapter 5 Pittsburgh Continued/Financial District
The Financial District ended up being a BLAST. I actually enjoyed the challenge more on Grounded than Normal. This is the part of the game where you (as Joel) finally give a gun (a high powered rifle!) to Ellie and tells her to cover you while you make your way down a street and take down (had to have been at least a dozen if not more) bandits. John told me this trick where you can run really fast as the scene begins (they will not notice you or try to take you down because there’s some dialogue that needs to happen) down the right side of the street, up the fire escape toward the abandoned office building and take out a guy station on the 2nd floor ledge. Then you can hide out in the office and take them down 1 or 2 guys at a time. When they start sending more bandits my way, I jumped out the office window building and onto the roof of the truck below. There’s a corrugated metal shield to hide behind for cover, so they pretty much didn’t notice me on the roof of the truck. I began to take a few guys out with what arrows I had left. Also, I found that if I could draw them out into the open street below (using a brick or bottle as a distraction), Ellie would successfully take them down using the rifle. Between Ellie’s rifle, stealthy arrow shots and a few in melee, I didn’t have to fire a single shot to beat this round.
Chapter 5 Pittsburgh Continued/Checkpoint
The rest of this level is pretty easy as long as you keep the tradition of stealthy takedowns. The hardest part is probably getting through the checkpoint with Henry, Sam and Ellie. I watched John play this a bunch of times and saw him get killed a dozen times so I tried a different tactic… There’s a pair of guards which Henry and I take down pretty easily. There was a searchlight sweeping the area right in front of the checkpoint which made it tricky. First, I took down the solitary guard patrolling on the ground. Rather than turn off the generator as a distraction (which I think is what the game tries to lead you to do… you do not have to though!), I simply shot an arrow at the guy above controlling the search light and then made a beeline all the way back to the staircase that you’re at at the start of the scene. They kept sending one guy to check out the stairwell, so I simply took them down stealthily (no melee weapons or ammo needed!) one at a time. Plus, since the bodies keep piling up, anytime a new guy would come to search, they would stoop down over the body leaving me the perfect opportunity to stealthily take the new guy down.