The Last of Us's multiplayer DLC is a pay-to-win crazy train that's gone off the rails

All for the low low price of $9.99.99 USD

The Last of Us is a very special game to me. Not because it's an overall superb game, not because it's so fun to play, and not because of the addictive multiplayer component. It's special because it's so easy to play. I'm not talking about the difficulty of the game, as in it's an easy game to play, but rather it's just easy for me to pick up the controller and get back into.

I have played it so many times now I've lost count. It began on the PS3 and once I obtained the Platinum trophy and played many, many, many hours of the Factions online multiplayer mode. And once I got my hands on a PS4(Special shout out to my boy Liam) and I was able to find a copy of the game on the cheap, I was once more unto the breech.

What immediately struck me was the new wave of DLC that wasn't included with the original PS3 version's season pass. The first wave of weapons were incredibly balanced. They managed to fit right in with the original line up of weapons and skills while also allowing new opportunities and advantages. There were skills and weapons that worked so well together that it became very hard to play without them.

I got my usage out of it, absolutely. Me and my Enforcer handgun went everywhere. The weapon at max level could hold 8 shots, and it downs in 4. It has a slightly slower fire rate than the 9MM while also lacking the damage of the Revolver. Though it was more of a perfect meld between the two that resulted in the Enforcer. And that was just one weapon. One weapon managed to revitalize the entire multiplayer aspect by giving me a weapon I felt like I was longing for the entire time. It fit my aggressively yet stealthy play style perfectly and let me put rounds down range when I needed to.

That was just one part of the DLC, but it was easily my favorite and overshadowed the rest.

Somewhere after that I quit playing the game. I moved onto bigger and brighter(Also way newer) avenues of video games.

I had heard, much to my surprise, that they were continuing to work on DLC. I thought "Man, this game is kind of old now, how are they keeping this up?" and then I heard it wasn't going to be included in the season pass. Then they announced The Last of Us: Remastered for the PS4 and THEN informed us that not only will the new DLC not be implemented in the Remaster from the get go, NO multiplayer DLC would be implemented.

All out of jokes? Buy TLOU's DLC today!

That's right. No DLC would carry over. If you wanted to get it back, you'd have to buy it all over again. The DLC I had was on an account I no longer have access to so it could have, in theory, transferred over, but the account is lost and that's that. You'd figure that this Remastered Edition is basically a Game of the Year edition and would include the DLC but you'd be wrong. It only came with Grounded Mode, Left Behind and the free weapon update: The Auto Rifle.

The problem, then, isn't that the DLC wasn't included. The problem is just how powerful it all is.

Picking up the game again and going for that ever so elusive platinum trophy, the only progress left in my way are the Survive 12 Weeks trophies, one for the Hunter faction and the other for the Firefly faction. I figure, hey, no problemo! I played the SHIT out of this game on PS3, it's no big deal. And that's when the ever so familiar Last of Us MP revealed itself as something strange, distant, and new.

And overpowered as fuck.

His name is the Tactical Shotgun. A weapon that is toted as being a 2 hit down weapon with a 3rd round in the weapon with a 4th shot opening up at level 3, meaning that you can bring an enemy to a revival state after firing just 2 shots, and with 4 shots you can take down 2 enemies without hassle. It wouldn't be a big deal normally, the regular shotgun already in the game is a beast at close range, and the rifle can be massively exploited by skilled players to down in 2 hits if you know how to use it. So what's different here? Well, for one, you have to buy it. 2, it can be placed in your "long gun" slot, meaning that you can immediately begin using it, you don't have to save up points during a match to then "purchase" it for use during your game. And 3, again, it's so over powered.

The range. Is insane.

You may look at that video and think, but wait a minute, you're using the Tactical Shotgun on a custom class! You must have bought it instead of using it on the pre-set classes! You're a part of the problem, not the solution!

You'd be right. To put it bluntly, I was so put off from the DLC weapons being absolutely abused by some highly skilled players that I had to fight fire with fire. I promise you, if you have a squad of 4 players using this weapon and you have any, ANY semblance of communication and teamwork, you will never ever lose. It downs in TWO hits, from pretty good range. So that means that not only can you take down hoards of enemies, but you can also buddy up with a, well, buddy to one-shot enemies. As long as you both shoot the same enemy they will go down.

You may also be thinking, but yeah, that's totally common logic! In fact, people already used that coordination tactic with the Hunting Rifle and it worked just the same! And you'd also be right. But the hunting rifle has a learning curve to it. If you want to be in people's faces with that thing, you have to have some skill under your belt. To use the Tactical Shotgun to it's fullest effect, all you have to do is pay 99 ¢ and press R2 on an enemy's face.

And again, to parallel what I said before, this is just one weapon. There are a couple of other weapons included in the new wave of weapon DLC but this Tactical Shotgun overshadows them all by being the easiest to use/most powerful weapon in the game.

 Now, not to sound like a hypocrite with the whole "this one gun overshadows them all", but the fact remains that they are all incredibly powerful weapons.

For example, this clip here. 

The Variable Rifle, the scoped weapon I begin the video using is a very, very very fast rate of fire while also downing in 4 hits. For the record, I didn't buy this DLC. I just used the pre-set classes that everyone has access to. It also comes with the burst pistol.

I did most of the work with the molotov later on, but once the molotov does most of the work, I'm able to swoop in and take out the remaining guy with one shot from the pistol. 

Maybe it's a bad clip, I don't know. It's just an example of what happens, not exactly how it happens. These weapons are so strong and fast firing that combat ends as soon as it begins, sometimes even sooner(Seriously, with a 2 shot down shotgun, you can catch people with their pants down no matter what they are doing).

The Last of Us used to have this flow to it. A slow, methodical, melancholic flow. The atmosphere is dark and dreary and you're carrying this weight on your shoulders of trying to keep your team alive and trying to kill the enemy team. It does a lot so you can imagine some kind of narrative between this battle of Firefly and Hunter battle.

Joel's never been happier since he learned he could use his hard earned cash to purchase better weapons!

But the DLC has affected the gameplay. By adding guns with scopes to increase their already-pretty good effectiveness to be even better, while also letting people use 2 hit down weapons and crazy rapid fire pistols and rifles. It's sped it up. So much.

I've certainly tried to play with my original set up and forgo all DLC weapons at all. You know, the whole "be the change you want to see in the world" mentality, but it just doesn't work. Those new weapons are pound for pound better than what players who choose not to buy can use.

Ultimately, it's all down to skill, and who the hell even plays this game except for the die-hard elites that of course are going to buy the DLC? Maybe it's my own fault expecting differently, I mean Uncharted 3 had a fuckton of DLC but at least the game itself had super over-powered weapons, you didn't have to pay to win.

And just to be clear here, I'm not complaining because "Some jerkass killed me with a super OP shotgun", I'm writing up a critique on one of my favorite multiplayer experience and how a poorly designed weapon bundle has shifted the axis of which the game used to operate. It's a meta game of shotgun Vs. shotgun in ways that shouldn't be. A shotgun should not have the range of sniper and the fire rate of the semi auto rifle.

The Last of Us has changed, and not for the better. Diversity is always better, and the DLC did a lot to revitalize the game. But that ended up falling short and rewarding players with a higher tolerance towards paying to have a better experience rather than just playing what's in the game, or rather what should have been included in the game from the get go.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".


  1. It is a shame that the DLC has shifted the flow of the combat. It was really cool having that slow build up between encounters with the enemy, and then when the firefight breaks out it is hectic and dudes are falling down all over the place and there is fire in YOUR FACE and shiiiiiit. And it was hectic because the weapons were pretty balanced. That tactical shotgun seems like balls. I want to go back and play it, because the MP in TLOU is probably one of the most fun experiences I have had on a multiplayer portion of a console game, but damn, it just looks annoying now.

    1. Yeah everything was super balanced back in the day. But then they started shitting out these microtransactions and it's like, what. What are you guys even doing anymore. Sure, add some more weapons into the mix, but at least make sure they don't break the game. They did this with Uncharted 3 and they will do this with Uncharted 4. It's going to be hard to get invested into those multiplayer components because of this.

  2. You are truly trash, wah wah wah op shotgun. You even say the variable rifle is op, you use the enforcer, the variable rifle is just a scoped enforcer. Fuck out of here with your I went on to other games and I'm coming back to a strange world of op guns. I've been playing this game non stop on both consoles, these weapons are not op. Let me get you in a lobby with some of my friends that use bow and hunting rifle and you will never want to play again. Learning curve or not, there are 2 shot weapons in this game, deal with it. Let me hit you with the burst rifle one burst to the head and you'll never play again. Cause if you think tac shotgun is op, you clearly don't play this game enough. Go back to your other avenues of gaming, your little no mans sky etc. oh and dlc transfers between consoles so stop lying for attention.