Survivor difficulty is unlocked only after you've beaten the game on either Easy, Normal, or Hard. The difference with this mode is that you don't have Listening Mode anymore so you'll really have to rely on your vision and perform a lot of stealth for this. If you have played through on a New Game + run on one of the lower difficulties, you may remember where most things are such as enemy locations and where you'll have to be careful around.
Some tips on this mode as it will be quite the change from being able to use Listening Mode:
- Always keep at least one shiv handy. They are the handiest tool in the game as they can open the cache doors, keep Clickers at bay and are the only tool available for killing clickers silently.
- Scavenge like crazy. This would seem obvious but some people don't take the time to explore. You never know where you will find the parts/supplements/items that you would need that could help you down the line. Below is a link to a YouTube playlist (credit to PowerPyx) that will help you find the shiv doors which also helps with the next tip.
- Upgrade your weapons that involve what you're most comfortable with. Some say that you should upgrade your shotguns first and pistols second or vice versa. I prefer to stick with what you know and are comfortable with. But make sure you get at least your damage upgraded for most weapons so your bullets will be most effective if you run out of ammo on your primary weapon. Also invest in your bow, it took me a little time to get used to it but it takes down people similar to how Diablo works when you connect a shot. Plus you can grab the used arrows if you don't destroy them by hitting walls or cover.
- Some of the nastier stealth heavy spots will be in the library section in the quarantine zone, the large area where you have Ellie scout for you with the rifle, getting into the school with Bill, sneaking by David's bandits as Ellie, and the hospital. These will most likely take some trial and error to get through. But make sure you have a bottle or brick handy for distractions or damage when you need it. There are videos out there to sneak by all of them, but you'd possibly pass up some items that you may need later on so choose wisely.
- Bloaters are tricky to deal with, especially towards the end when you come up to two of them along with a mass of Clickers. My best advice is to use two of your nail bombs and a Molotov Cocktail or the other way around if you are on the opposing side of allotment. This should take care of 80 - 90% of the required damage it's needed to kill them.
- David can be tricky when you come up against him. On Normal I had a tough time until I looked up some tips on killing him. What I did on my NG+ run was hide in the kitchen by the stainless steel island and wait for him to come to me. After going around to behind him I stabbed him the first time and again hid around the island in the kitchen. After getting him the second time, he changes his tactics and really goes after you by crouching and being rather stealthy. I ran through the lower level of the restaurant and he usually waits by one area that's near there, leaves towards the kitchen and comes back. When he leaves to the kitchen, you can sneak up and crouch behind an area in his blind spot for when he comes back. Then you have your opening for the final blow.
- When you have no choice and need to use your guns, take your time to aim. If you have a human shield, you can use that to your advantage since they wont risk shooting their friend. If you have smoke bombs, USE THEM! They're handier in this difficulty since no one can see you and you can run out and get a quick kill or two if necessary.
If there's anything that I forgot or need to amend, feel free to leave a comment so I can improve.