Bloaters are the fourth stage of the Cordyceps infection, it takes an infected human 10-15 years to reach this stage which is why they are quite rare, their body is deformed and they have thick fungus plates covering them which acts as armor. Due to these plates, they can withstand multiple hits from strong weapons such as the shotgun, hunting rifle and the El Diablo, making them the hardest enemies to kill in the game. Bloaters are extremely aggressive and violent but are more predictable than the other infected. Just like the Clickers, Bloaters have a deformed face, which is why they can’t see. They also use echolocation like the Clickers but theirs is much less redefined.
The Bloaters have remarkable strength, which is why, once grabbed by one, the player is immediately killed, resulting in a ‘game over’. But they are much slower compared to other infected types. Once provoked, they will either try to attack using the Mycotoxin bombs or directly charge towards the player depending upon the distance between the player and itself. Shamblers, which are the fifth stage of the infection, introduced in Part II of the series, are expected to be quite similar to these Bloaters.
When dealing with previous infected types the player can throw bottles or bricks at the infected, stunning them and making them easier to kill with melee attacks, however, this tactic is ineffective against the Bloaters because of the armor provided by the fungus plates. Bloaters do not have a specific weakness but the flamethrower and Molotov cocktails are the most damaging weapons as they can deal damage through its armor.
In the earlier stages of the game you should use the hunting rifle and fight it from afar until you find the flamethrower. Armor piercing rounds (obtained by upgrading your weapons) are also quite effective against them and usually kill them with 3-4 hits. Melee attacks are ineffective against them.
Bloaters are only faced 5 times in the game, once when playing as Ellie and 4 times as Joel, in the following locations:
- 1 in the gym of Lincoln High School. (Can’t be avoided)
- 1 in the basement of the Grand Hotel in Pittsburgh, it is not present there when playing on easy mode. (Avoidable)
- 1 inside the dorms of the University of Colorado. (Avoidable, drops a Firefly pendant if killed)
- 1 during winter in the Lakeside Resort when playing as Ellie. (Can’t be avoided)
- 3 in the tunnel in Salt Lake City (Can be avoided)
When playing as Ellie the death scenes that occur when killed by a Bloater are much less gruesome as compared to when playing as Joel, as she dies by a single punch due to the Bloaters sheer strength.
Bloaters are the only stage of infected that don’t appear throughout the Left behind DLC.
In a world fraught with the infected, there will be humans who take advantage of the situation, or try to find a solution to it. Joel believes the Fireflies aren’t the good guys after all. Here’s a guide to this resistance group. Plus, we also looked into how long one takes to beat the entire game.