Pages Navigation Menu

The Last of Us: How many of Us used the “listen mode”?

Shhhh…you  hear that?  Are you listening close enough? I can hear people already dubbing The Last of Us “Game of The Year” even Game of The  Generation! It’s safe to assume most of Us are enjoying The Last of Us.

Anyhow let me give you some background on the type of gamer I am that led to the articles question at hand.

Before I do that let me just preference this by saying I remember when Naughty Dog first introduced listening mode it was met with mixed reaction maybe even leaning more to a negative reaction. Some gamers felt it gave them a crutch and ultimately detached them from a world that got everything else right, in terms of selling this world as believable — a post apocalyptic world  where survival skills were critical. Some even saying it came off as if Joel — the main character had superpowers!

If you’re not familiar with the mode ND implemented this feature where if you press a button you can see through walls or through the darkness and know exactly where your foe or foes are via a cloud-like silhouette around the targeted figures, think chalk outline in 3D as pictured below.

What “listen mode” looks like  [hahaha, “what listen mode looks like”, such a kidder]

This mode just felt out of place in a game that was built like this. But ND eased our fears a bit when they explained the mode was not a cheap “let me hold your hand” trick but rather a mode to simulate human hearing so you were not actually seeing through walls when you were actually seeing through walls, no, you were simulating that if you “listened”close enough you could hear where the noise is coming from. True, good sell ND but I still was uneasy about using it because even though you can hear to a degree where noise is coming from, human hearing — atleast from what I know; while you can get a general sense of where a noise or disturbance is coming from you won’t know exactly where the person or thing is and definitely not enough to approach the situation with confidence. But in this mode as I said you know exactly where the person or thing is so it left me skeptical.

Now about me as  a gamer

You see I’m a huge, huge fan of immersion and realism and thus the conflict sets in. I think I’m so obsessed with it at this point lmboo that I can’t even take it when things you pick up within the world magically just disappears  into your backpack, where is the realistic securing the item animation? Now I don’t blame Naughty for this I blame memory — system memory that is, but I said it to paint a picture of how real it is for me.

The Verdict

So when it came time to decide whether or not I would use this mode I went straight to the options menu and looked for the option to turn it off immediately but something stop me. One reason I believe was the fact that this was my first playthrough, what if  Naughty really made some sense of the mode; then I would miss out on a fantastic mode that brought a little something different to this generation, “I could always turn it off right?” I thought to myself. Maybe it wouldn’t be as much of a crutch or immersion breaker as I initially thought.

The other was what if the mode is necessary within some points in the game. Lo and behold without spoiling it,  in a certain part of the game when you  reach it using the mode is critical. Those who have played through TLoU probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

However I decided early on, before I even pressed start to begin my journey that I would leave the option on and use the mode only if I had to but had it in my mind that the mode is a cheap way out and I was not going to use it. I have to confess though I panicked a few times and used the “option” two maybe  three times before I even reached the aforementioned part.

Overall I might have used the mode a total of four times, but I didn’t want to lmboo.

I’m curious though, How many of Us used the “listen mode”? If you didn’t use it was it for the same reasons? If you did use it why?

CCU wants to hear from you.

468 ad


  1. The only time that I really used this mode (other than the first encounter with infected) was the sequence with Ellie and David. It didn’t distract me, certainly not like Arkham Asylum where you basically play the whole game with it on. Having said that, it is a gimmick and one I’m frankly a little tired of (Arkham series, Hitman, The Last of Us, just to name a few). If there is a good reason for it i.e. “detective mode” then by all means… but NO human can see through walls. Just my two cents

    • It’s an option turn it off and quit your bellyaching. 🙂

  2. For my part I turned listen-mode off in the menu options and selected “hard” for my first playthrough. As a survival game I wanted to be sure that it was genuinely difficult.

    I have since finished the game on hard, then survivor and am now playing through on survivor plus (I can honestly say that this is the first single-player story-based game I have ever replayed in its entirety; the connection felt when playing this game is a singular experience in my gaming life); I can honestly say I am very glad that I never turned it on.

    Having watched several “lets-play” videos with people actively using it (not to mention playing the game on normal) I think it is mildly detrimental to the experience. People using it seem to become far too dependant on it and entirely fail to pay proper attention to their surroundings. For my money it mildly dilutes the experience of the game; I suppose some may need it and I dont object to it as such; I am just glad that the option was there to deactivate it completely.

  3. I started using all the time, to ensure nothing came around the corner to surprise me! It didn’t feel out of place at all, I thought it was a brilliant addition as you can’t use your actual hearing like you would in real life – so this was perfect. Anyone complaining about this feature is just dumb, as you don’t ever have to use it (don’t hold R2), or just turn it off!! OR, don’t be a pussy and smash the game on Survival like a boss – you can’t use the feature in that mode.

  4. I used the listening mode all the time but at first, I thought it was weird. I was like, “How can regular human hearing give u the same abilities as Sam Fisher with his goggles in Splinter Cell?” But I reasoned that over the course of 20 years on the run and through sheer force of will, he had honed his listening skills to that of a blind person, having to fight in the dark often. Once I worked that out in my head, it was enough for me to accept.

    • Nice illustration! Yeah as I explained I battled with the mode. For me to feel good about using it I had to justify how a human can have what seemingly feels like “superpowers” — your explanation, thats a good justification I’d say. Only thing is I don’t want to manufacture the justification I want it to be “real”.

      What could’ve help this is a explanation in the story on what surviving 20 years did for them and he shouldn’t be the only one that could do this (not saying he is).

      • True indeed. Ellie was able to do it though, so I guess it was suppose to be a skill they all had? I say that because when fighting humans (especially at the end), they knew exactly when to quiet down and the ability didn’t work. Anyway, TLOU is the best game I’ve ever played. Naughty Dog, hats off to u.

Leave a Comment