The Last of Us: How Long Does It Take to Beat the Games?

Are you loving HBO's The Last of Us and thinking of playing through the games? Well, you should know that it will take you much longer to beat the games than watch the show.

The Last of Us Part 2
Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

HBO’s incredible The Last of Us series has clearly generated renewed interest in The Last of Us games. Sales of The Last of Us game are up, and many fans of the show are wondering if it’s worth playing through the games as they watch the series (or possibly after). Of course, that renewed interest has also led to more people wondering just how long it takes to beat The Last of Us games.

As always, the answer to that question does depend on a few factors. Most notably, those who may not have as much experience with more modern games (or those who try to play the games with higher difficulty settings enabled) will naturally spend more time with the games than some other players will. Ultimately, most people wondering how long it takes to play the games really want to know how much time they should expect to set aside for them. There’s no universal answer to that question, though we can offer some hopefully helpful estimates.

Generally speaking, it will take most players about 15 hours to beat The Last of Us (or the PS5 remake, The Last of Us Part 1). For comparison’s sake, there will be nine hour-long (roughly) episodes of The Last of Us HBO show. If you’re hoping to trim your Last of Us playthrough down to around that 10-hour mark, you’ll need to crank the game’s difficulty down to the lowest possible settings and consider utilizing an online walkthrough to help you clear any progression hurdles. That’s even easier to do with The Last of Us Part 1 PS5 remake, which offers a difficulty option intended for absolute beginners as well as additional difficulty modifier options.

The Last of Us Part 1 and The Last of Us Remastered also include The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC adventure. That DLC extends the base campaign’s runtime by about 3-4 hours. So while you could trim down your Last of Us playtime even further by tracking down the DLC-free PS3 version of the base game, that probably won’t be a realistic option for many people. Besides, Left Behind is truly exceptional as well as an important piece of The Last of Us mythology. Based on previews of the HBO series, it also certainly seems like we can expect to see the events of that DLC play out in the show.

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If you’re looking to skip ahead a bit and play The Last of Us Part 2 before the HBO show’s second season airs…well, you should know that you’re embarking upon a considerably more substantial adventure.

It will take the average player about 20-25 hours to beat The Last of Us Part 2. If anything, that estimate veers towards the shorter side. Part 2 is a significantly longer game than its predecessor and features generally more complicated gameplay sections. It could easily take you closer to 30 hours to beat the game. In fact, some criticized the sequel for perhaps being a bit too long.

If you’re looking to see everything the games have to offer (collectibles, etc.), you should expect to spend 25+ hours on The Last of Us and 40+ hours on The Last of Us Part 2. On the other end of the spectrum, you could always watch a fan “movie” compilation that basically compiles the cutscenes and non-interactive story sections from both games. It will take you about five hours to watch one dedicated to The Last of Us and about seven hours to watch one for The Last of Us Part 2. It’s not necessarily the ideal way to experience either game, but hey, they are there if you need something more substantial than a Wikipedia page and less of a commitment than the games themselves.