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The Complete Nintendo Switch FAQ – Updated

Last updated: February 8, 2017 – Every nugget of information we know about the the Nintendo Switch, its controllers and, most importantly, its games.

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Nintendo Switch - Tabletop Mode

So, now we know. The full reveal for the Nintendo Switch saw an onslaught of new information about the hardware, its controllers and most importantly, its games.

Last updated: February 8, 2017.

After four years of Nintendo Direct broadcasts it was refreshing to see the Japanese publisher put on a bit of a show once again. We have no idea if the Switch is going to connect with a large audience but you could sense a touch of renewed purpose and pride from Nintendo in the console’s full unveiling, something we never really saw with the Wii U.

All in all it was a decent, although not outstanding, reveal. The Switch cannot compete head-to-head with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in terms of raw power but it does offer a tangibly different experience. The $299.99 price point won’t help however – effectively removing the potential for it being an impulse purchase – and the announced software line-up also did little to demonstrate its difference.

That said, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild makes it for launch, which wasn’t a given, and with some first and third-party titles presumably held back for E3 things should look a lot better a few months after launch.

Third-party support looks reasonably promising, but then it always does when a Nintendo console launches. Hopefully the difference this time is that if that support does evaporate, the combined output of Nintendo’s first and second party studios – who now only have one console to develop for – will ensure that the Switch doesn’t suffer from the same software droughts that plagued the Wii U.

We’ll be adding more information to this page as it is available, so pop it in your bookmarks and check back to stay up to date.

Release date and price

The Nintendo Switch will be released on 3rd March 2017 in the following regions:

  • North America – $299,99
  • Japan – ¥29,980
  • Europe – Dependant on retailer. Currently £279.99 in the UK.

What’s in the box?

Nintendo Switch - Box-Contents

Option One

  • Nintendo Switch Console
  • Left and Right Joy-Con controllers (Grey)
  • Left and Right Joy-Con wrist straps (Grey)
  • Joy-Con grip
  • Dock
  • HDMI cable
  • AC adaptor

Option Two

  • Nintendo Switch Console
  • Left and Right Joy-Con controllers (Blue and Red Neon)
  • Left and Right Joy-Con wrist straps (Blue and Red Neon)
  • Joy-Con grip (non-chargeable)
  • Dock
  • HDMI cable
  • AC adaptor

First party accessories and peripherals

Nintendo have never been shy to supplement their consoles with peripherals and accessories and the Switch looks to be no exception. The official line-up of first party Nintendo Switch peripherals includes:

  • Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
  • Nintendo Switch Dock, Nintendo Switch AC adapter, HDMI cable.
  • Left Joy-Con controller
  • Right Joy-Con controller
  • Left and Right Joy-Con controller set
  • Joy-Con grip (Chargeable)
  • Joy-Con Wheels
  • Joy-Con Controller Strap (Grey)
  • Accessory Set (Case and Screen Protector)

Console specifications

There has been much debate around the processing and graphical power of the Nintendo Switch and for now most of those questions remain unanswered. Based on the game footage seen so far the Switch looks to be a moderate step up from the Wii U at the very least.

  • Size: 102mm x 239mm x 13.9mm (with Joy-Con attached)
  • Weight: Approx. 297g ( 398g with Joy-Con attached)
  • Screen: 6.2 inch LCD with capacitive touch capability
  • Console screen resolution: 1280×720 resolution
  • Maximum TV output resolution: 1920×1080, 60 fps
  • Audio output: Supports linear PCM 5.1ch
  • CPU/GPU: NVIDIA customised Tegra processor
  • Battery: Lithium ion battery with 4310mAh capacity
  • Charging time: 3 hours
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Communication: Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compliant) and Bluetooth 4.1
  • Region locking: None (Whoop!)

Storage

The Nintendo Switch console includes 32GB of internal storage of which a portion is reserved for system use. This can be expanded via microSDHC and microSDXC cards. Game cards have an upper limit of 32GB.

Battery life

One of the big questions around Nintendo’s new console was just how long the battery would last in portable mode. Now we have the answer. When undocked the console’s internal battery will last between 2.5 – 6.5 hours, depending on the game being played. The console can also be charged and played at the same time using a USB-C cable. It is estimated that Joy-Con controllers will hold a charge in the region of 20 hours.

How does it work?

The Nintendo Switch can be played in three configurations.

Nintendo Switch - Portable Mode

  • TV mode – playable on HD televisions and generating an image up to 1080p.
  • Tabletop mode – Propped up with kick-stand and played using detached Joy-Con or Pro Controller.
  • Handheld mode – With attached Joy-Con controllers for play on the go. (see above)

The controller

The controllers for the Nintendo Switch are called Joy-Con. Each is fully functional independent controller but when connected to the Switch console or the Joy-Con Grip performs in the same way as a standard game controller.

Left Joy-Con features

  • Clickable analogue stick
  • Accelerometer and gyro sensor
  • Four Directional buttons
  • L and ZL buttons
  • SL and SR buttons
  • Capture button
  • Wrist strap with enhanced SL and SR buttons
  • HD Rumble
  • Neon Blue variant

Right Joy-Con features

  • Clickable analogue stick
  • Accelerometer and gyro sensor
  • A, B, X, Y buttons
  • R and ZR buttons
  • SL and SR buttons
  • NFC reader/writer
  • Wrist strap with enhanced SL and SR buttons
  • HD Rumble
  • IR Motion Camera
  • Neon Red colour variant

Nintendo Switch -Joy-Con Controller

Dock

The packed dock includes the following connections:

  • 2 x USB 2.0 compatible ports (side and back)
  • System connector
  • AC adapter port
  • HDMI port

USB 3.0 support will be added in a future firmware update.

Home Screen and UI

It’s nice, elegant and simple.

Nintendo Switch - Home Screen

Online services

Nintendo will be joining Microsoft and Sony in offering a paid online service. At launch the service will be free, with subscriptions beginning in Fall 2017. In an interview with Nikkei, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said the service would cost in the region of 2,000-3,000 yen per year. This equates to $17.50-$26.50.

Subscriptions will include a free NES or SNES game to download and play for a period of one month. Some SNES titles will be adapted for online multiplayer play.

Nintendo will also be launching a Smartphone App which will let users invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and facilitate voice chat. It’s also reasonable to expect that the My Nintendo rewards service will also be integrated into this new eco-system.

Digital Games

The Nintendo eShop will be available on the Switch at launch but as yet no games are officially confirmed other than Snipperclips – Cut it out, together! and I am Setsuna. It is expected that more information will be revealed about the console’s digital service before to launch.

Streaming and sharing

The left Joy-Con controller features a Capture Button that can take screenshots and, pending a future update, record gameplay footage.

Local Multiplayer

The Nintendo Switch supports the connection of eight consoles over local WiFi.

Web browser

The Nintendo Switch does not have a web browser. At least at launch.

Confirmed games and release dates

Despite the Switch having 80 games in development its launch line-up is not as robust as we hoped, with many rumoured titles absent. The launch window will see the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildSplatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the latter of which adds new characters and tracks to an already superb Wii U game. We also saw the expected reveal of Skyrim from Bethesda, plus cautious support from Sega and Electronic Arts. Our hope is that E3 will see the announcement of more games to support the Switch into the 2017 holiday season.

  • 1-2-Switch – 3rd March, 2017
  • ARMS – 3rd March, 2017
  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild –  3rd March, 2017
  • Splatoon 2 – Summer 2017
  • Super Mario Odyssey – Holiday 2017
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – TBC
  • New Fire Emblem – 2018
  • Fire Emblem Warriors – TBC
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – 28th April, 2017
  • Snipperclips – Cut it out, together! – March, 2017

Confirmed third-party games

  • 1001 Spikes – TBC
  • Cave Story – TBC
  • Disgaea 5 – May, 2017
  • Dragon Quest 10 – TBC
  • Dragon Quest 11 – TBC
  • Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2 – TBC
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 – TBC
  • Fast RMC – TBC
  • Farming Simulator 2017 – TBC
  • FIFA – TBC
  • Has-Been Heroes – TBC
  • Human Resource Machine – 3rd March, 2017
  • I am Setsuna – 3rd March
  • Just Dance 2017 – 3rd March, 2017
  • Lego City Undercover – Spring
  • Little Inferno – 3rd March, 2017
  • Minecraft – TBC
  • Minecraft Story Mode – TBC
  • NBA 2K18 – TBC
  • New Shin Megame Tensei – TBC
  • New No More Heroes title – TBC
  • Project Octopath Traveller – TBC
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris – TBC
  • Rayman Legends Definitive Edition – TBC
  • Redout –  TBC
  • Rime – TBC
  • Sonic Mania – TBC
  • Steep – TBC
  • Super Bomberman R – March
  • Syberia 3 – TBC
  • The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ – TBC
  • The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – TBC
  • Shovel Knight Treasure Trove – Spring
  • Skylanders Imaginators – 3rd March, 2017
  • TumbleSeed – TBC
  • Ultra Street Fighter 2 – TBC
  • Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap – TBC
  • World of Goo – 3rd March, 2017

What do Nintendo Switch game boxes look like?

Like this…

Parental controls

Nintendo will also be releasing a smartphone app that allows parents to control the play time of their children. You can see how it works in this rather wonderful video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIhagVVGB9s

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Dragon Quest XI, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Transistor.

Guides

What are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Smartphone? Check. 3D-printed taser? Check. Massive, impractical drone? Check. But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

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Watch Dogs Legion system requirements
Ubisoft

Smartphone? Check. 3D-printed taser? Check. Massive, impractical drone? Check. But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Watch Dogs Legion launches on a bunch of systems over the next two months.

First, it’ll launch on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia (yeah, remember that?) on October 29, 2020. Then a fortnight later, it’s a launch title for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, on November 10. Then (if you’re in the right country) it’ll be a launch title on PlayStation 5 on November 12. Then, a week later, it’ll become available when the PS5 does, in the less fortunate countries.

That’s a lot of ways to play Watch Dogs Legion and, in practice, will mean a lot of different experiences between the generations. (Yeah, we’ve got a lot of that to look forward to over the next couple of years.)

The experience is not too dissimilar to PC gaming, where the performance any individual will receive is dependent on what hardware they have. Thankfully, Ubisoft has done a thoroughly comprehensive job of breaking down the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements based on target resolutions and settings. There’s even a section on Ray Tracing, a feature (currently) only available on Nvidia’s RTX series of cards.

But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements

1080p / Low Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 / AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R9 290X
  • VRAM: 4 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1080p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480
  • VRAM: 6 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1440p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K / AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060S or AMD Radeon RX 5700
  • VRAM: 8GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

4K / Ultra Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti or AMD Radeon VII
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB (+ 20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1080p / High Settings (with Ray Tracing)

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9600K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • VRAM: 8 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

4K / Ultra Settings (with Ray Tracing)

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45GB (+20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

Pre-order Watch Dogs Legion on Amazon, or shop for Nvidia RTX-series graphics cards if your system needs a boost.

We may receive a small commission on purchases made from online stores.

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Guides

Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2?

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is good. We have a review that says just that. Here’s a different review, if you need a second opinion. See? It’s good.

Additionally, you can find an in-depth feature on the impact the soundtrack had for the featured bands here. If you want to find every tape from the first game, click here. But if you’re looking for the tapes from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 read on.

Hangar

From the starting ramp, skate down into the section with the half-pipe and plane. Use the ramp on the far left to enter the area with the helicopter. Then, use the ramp to boost onto the helicopter and grind along its blades. This will cause the helicopter to take off, crashing through the wall and out of the hangar. Make the same exit, to find the Secret Tape suspended above the furthest ramp, which you can easily boost off to reach it.

School II

This one is a little more difficult. From the start, skate to the right and down the hallway to enter the courtyard. Skate forward to find a section with planters leading into ramps. Build up your special meter to gain speed, then boost off the leftmost ramp to get onto the awning. Wallride into a grind to access the rooftop, then make a hard stop. From here, you should see a ramp which you can ride off to reach a tape. But, be sure to line up your jump before you go or you may have to do this section all over again.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 school

New York

This one is pretty easy if you know what to do. (And a little tricky if your brightness settings are on the darker side.)

From the start, skate straight ahead until you see a pipe leaning against a fence. Grind up the pipe to reach New York’s second major area. Once you’re in, skate up the spiralling concrete ramp where you’ll see metal pipes leading most of the way to a floating Secret Tape. The trick here is to Ollie from the first pipe early and lean hard to the left to land on a second pipe which curves inward. Maintain your balance and you’ll easily get the tape.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 New York

Venice

This tape is deceptively easy to get. Skate forward from the start and look for the ramp above. Build up your special to gain some speed, then boost off the ramp, land, skate back toward the second table on the left. Ramp off it and you can pretty easily grab the tape.

Philadelphia

This one is straightforward. The Secret Tape is floating above the fountain on a wire. Follow the wire to its source, on an elevated planter nearby. Ollie up to the grass, then grind along the wire to grab the tape. If you keep going you can get the Vicarious Visions V, as well.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Philadelphia

Missed our guide on the secret tape locations from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1? We’ve got a guide for that, too.

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Guides

Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1?

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

The Tony Hawk games were always just really good 3D platformers — check out this video of Mario grinding all over Bo- Omb Battlefield if you don’t believe me. And, because they’re 3D platformers, each level has a ton of collectables hidden in hard-to-reach places. And in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, none is quite as elusive as the Secret Tape.

These glowing VHS tapes show up in every level, save the competitive stages like Burnside and Skate Park. If you’re anything like me, you’ll often see a tape and have no idea how to reach it. This guide is for you.

This article details how to find each tape in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. We’ll have a separate guide for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 later this week.

Warehouse

From the starting section, take the right ramp down into the more open area below. Here, you’ll see a half-pipe with a glassed-in room jutting out from the wall above. Build up speed until you can jump to the glassed-in room – this is easier if you’ve upgraded your skater’s speed stats – where you’ll find this level’s secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

School

From your start position on the green awning, drop down and to the right. From here, you’ll see a concrete ramp leading to the roof of the school. Skate up there, then turn around and skate back toward the other side of the roof. You’ll see a pipe leading diagonally from the roof to the other green awning. Grind down it, or transfer from the ramp, to reach the awning. Skate it until it ends, then jump to grab the secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Mall

After manoeuvring around the twisty ramps at the beginning of the level, emerge into the main mall. Skate straight ahead until you reach the ramp overlooking the two sets of pipes – one on the ground and one suspended from the ceiling. Grind along the top set of pipes until you reach the tape at the end.

Downtown

Skate out of the alley where the level begins, then turn right and head up toward the movie theatre. From here, you should see a semi-truck with a bed that’s suspiciously ramp-like. Roll up the ramp and through the glass then follow the hallway across the sky bridge to the rooftops. Here, you’ll find a wooden pool with gaps in the sides that provide a ramp across the street to other buildings. You want to use the one that’s on your left as you enter the pool.

But, before you make the jump, you’ll need to build up some speed. This will be easier if you’ve levelled up your skater’s speed, ollie and hangtime stats. Once you’ve built enough speed, make the jump to the rooftop across the street where you’ll find the secret tape.

Downhill Jam

This is one of the trickier secret tapes to get. That is, at least for me, who has fallen while attempting the gap dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

That said, here’s how you (theoretically) do it. From the start, skate until you reach the diagonal pipe immediately before the halfpipe. Grind up it, then skate down the incline on the right side of the halfpipe until you reach another pipe. Grind across, then jump the gap. From here, you should be able to see the secret tape in the centre of the toilet bowl. Circle around, then jump onto the platform where the tape rests.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Streets

From the start position, skate down the brick path to the pair of buildings that separate the street from the fountain. Use the ramp to boost up toward the roof, then grind along the roof when you reach the proper height. Immediately stop and turn around, then follow the ramp until you reach the top of the building. Here, you’ll find a large wooden ramp overlooking a squat building with a glass roof. Ramp off, and break through the glass to earn Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’s final secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Okay. Now that you’ve acquired every tape, check out Tom’s feature on the bands that defined the series’ iconic soundtracks. And for more on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 check back in later this week for our full review.

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Guides

What are the Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements?

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

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horizon zero dawn system requirements
Guerrilla Games

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

Rumours swirled for a long time before Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was officially announced. The fact that Death Stranding – which uses the Decima Engine developed for Horizon Zero Dawn – was announced (and subsequently released) for PC seemed to only add fuel to that fire.

Then, earlier this year, Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was confirmed by Sony.

The release window we were given at the time was “summer 2020” which was, after a time, narrowed down to August 7, 2020. That’s just two days away. But if you’re thinking of picking it up for PC, you’re going to need to know if your machine can handle it.

Minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or AMD FX [email protected]
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3 GB) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

Recommended Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or Ryzen 5 [email protected]
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

All told, those aren’t too onerous, but we don’t know what the target resolutions and frame rates are for the “minimum” and “recommended” specs.

And it is a sign of the times that even the minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements require at least 3 or 4GB of VRAM on your graphics card. That rules out a bunch of lower-end systems and cut-down, mobile graphics cards. The requirement for DirectX 12 will also automatically exclude some older, lower-end systems that might otherwise get close to the specs.

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Features

Every licensed song and cover on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack

Here’s every real-life song – original, licensed recording or cast-recorded cover – featured on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

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licensed songs covers the last of us part ii soundtrack
Naughty Dog

Here’s every real-life song – original, licensed recording or cast-recorded cover – featured on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

The Last of Us Part II must’ve been a licensing nightmare. There’s that official Taylor 314ce guitar, for one thing, before we even get to the tunes. And we’ve already seen how rights expiry can disappear games from sale, so when Naughty Dog told Sony’s licensing team they wanted Pearl Jam and a-ha (among others) on the soundtrack? That was probably not a popular decision.

But in addition to Gustavo Santaolalla’s original score, there are a whole bunch of licensed songs that made it onto the Last of Us Part II’s soundtrack. (We only wonder what didn’t make the cut, given some of the massive names that did. Let us know if you didn’t get any songs you pushed for, Neil.)

Some of the licensed songs on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack are the original versions, played as background or incidental music. Others are covers, played in part or in full by characters in the game. What’s really neat is that the voice actors behind Ellie and Joel, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker respectively, played guitar and sang the vocals in the motion capture studio. There’s no sneaky session musicians or dubbing going on here.

So, here’s the full list of every licensed song and cover on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

Spoiler warning: This article will contain general location, character and story spoilers for The Last of Us Part II.

Through the Valley – Shawn James (original recording)

It’s super quiet and difficult to make out, but Ellie listens to this on a Walkman in a flashback scene right before Joel gifts her the guitar.

Bonus: This is also the song that Ellie sings while playing the guitar on the trailer for the game from the PlayStation Experience event in 2016.

Future Days – Pearl Jam (covered by Joel, Ellie)

Here’s an interesting one. You first hear Joel playing Future Days for Ellie as he gifts her that beautiful Taylor guitar, then throughout the game, you’ll hear snippets of it, played by Ellie. It includes the lyrics “if I ever were to lose you, I’d surely lose myself” which is thematically appropriate for The Last of Us Part II. So far, so sensible.

But did you know that Future Days appears on Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt album, which was released on October 11, 2013? That’s interesting because “outbreak day” – when the Cordyceps brain infection struck – happens on September 27, 2013. So in the fictional universe of The Last of Us, Pearl Jam never actually got to release Lightning Bolt.

So how does Joel know a song that was never released? Game director Neil Druckmann has the answer:

I mean, sure, it sounds a little like a retcon, but it technically works.

Bonus: There’s a poster for Pearl Jam’s Lighting Bolt in the music store Ellie visits with Dina in Seattle.

Take on Me – a-ha (covered by Ellie)

In a game filled with violence (spoiler warning on that article) and the bleakest parts of the human character, there are a few small moments of light. They’re pretty few and far, and they decrease as the game goes on, but one of the nicest comes just after Ellie and Dina arrive in Seattle.

In the aforementioned guitar shop, Ellie finds an acoustic guitar that’s locked away inside a hard shell flight case. She pops open the case, tunes the guitar, and sings a song for Dina. That song? It’s a beautiful acoustic rendition of 80s pop anthem Take on Me, by Norwegian synth heroes a-ha.

For a game that’s split the discourse so heavily, it probably speaks volumes that this – a hands-off cut scene, of characters having a pleasant singalong – is my favourite bit of the game.

Hydrogen – M|O|O|N (Hotline Miami soundtrack)

When Ellie is looking for Nora at the hospital, she happens upon a member of the WLF who is playing on her PS Vita. Ellie interrogates the girl at knifepoint and, ultimately, kills her when she fights back. But the game she’s playing? It’s hyper-violent shooter Hotline Miami. (A game that asks, “do you like hurting other people?” which can’t be a coincidence, given The Last of Us Part II’s themes.)

But the song that’s playing is the thing, here, and that tune is Hydrogen by M|O|O|N.

It Was a Good Day – Ice Cube (original recording)

This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Ice Cube, but you can hear this classic tune playing in the WLF hospital as Ellie listens in on Nora being questioned by other WLF soldiers looking for Abby.

The Winding Sheet – Mark Lanegan (original recording)

The brilliant Mark Lanegan – vocalist for Screaming Trees and latterly with Queens of the Stone Age – released his first solo album, The Winding Sheet, in 1990. The title track from that album appears on the soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II. You’ll hear it on the boombox at Owen’s aquarium.

Christmas Wish – Roberts, Fletcher, Sturrock (original recording)

This modern Christmas tune is playing during one of Abby’s flashbacks at the aquarium with Owen.

Rock Around the Christmas Tree – Fiddy, Burdson (original recording)

Another Christmas tune from the aquarium flashback at Christmas.

Ecstasy – Crooked Still (covered by Ellie)

Ellie plays this one as part of one of the guitar minigames when she’s having trouble sleeping, at the farm with Dina and JJ.

Little Sadie – Crooked Still (original recording?)

This is the song that’s playing at the dance, during the flashback where Ellie and Dina kiss for the first time.

(We’ve put this down as “original recording?” with a big question mark because it’s not clear if the performance in the game is supposed to be just the original record, played over a PA system, or if it’s supposed to be a “live” band at the party.)

Ain’t No Grave – Crooked Still (original recording)

This is the song Ellie puts on with JJ when Dina requests some tunes to wash up to. Or, more specifically, this is the track on the B-side of the LP, where Ellie starts the needle. The album is Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound from 2006, and Ain’t No Grave is the seventh song on the record.

But what’s interesting is that a bunch of other Crooked Still tunes crop up in the game’s credits, but this appears to be the last time we hear them. So where are they, exactly? If you go and dance with Dina straight away, they’ll move to the backyard to hang out laundry and the music will end. But if you don’t interact with Dina immediately, you’ll also hear…

Ecstasy – Crooked Still (original recording)

The eighth track on Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound.

Mountain Jumper – Crooked Still (original recording)

Track number nine on Shaken By a Low Sound.

Railroad Bill – Crooked Still (original recording)

Track ten on Shaken By a Low Sound by Crooked Still.

Wind and Rain – Crooked Still (original recording)

The final track on Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound.

Young Men Dead – The Black Angels (original recording)

You’ll hear this one playing on a stereo as you battle the Rattlers in Santa Barbara.

Helplessly Hoping – Crosby, Stills & Nash (covered by Joel)

This is a tricky one because it’s not in the game’s credits. Presumably, the snippet of fingerpicking is so short and with Joel not singing any of the lyrics, licensing wasn’t a concern. But in the game’s final flashback between Joel and Ellie, Helplessly Hoping is the song you hear him playing on his front porch when Ellie disturbs him.

Unknown – Unknown (covered by Ellie)

The final song that Ellie plays – or, at least, attempts to play – in The Last of Us Part II is pretty unrecognisable. She lost two fingers on her left hand in the final fight with Abby and can no longer form those chords.

It’s a safe bet that it’s probably Future Days by Pearl Jam, given the chord progression Ellie’s trying to follow and the song’s significance to the story, but it’s hard to say for sure. (And that’s exactly the point, right?)

Wayfaring Stranger – Johnny Cash (covered by Ellie and Joel)

This is the song that plays for the final few minutes of the credits for The Last of Us Part II. But don’t give up that easy – there’s still a post-credits surprise (of sorts) after the end of the trailer.

Bonus: True Faith – New Order (covered by Ellie)

This is the song that Ellie plays on the TV spot for The Last of Us Part II.

It’s also something that Naughty Dog got into trouble over, because it’s very clearly inspired by (if not directly copied from) Lotte Kestner’s 2011 arrangement of the New Order classic.


Forgotten what happened in the original The Last of Us? You’ll want to read our comprehensive story recap. Found this guide useful? Please consider supporting Thumbsticks or buying us a coffee to say thanks.

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