The Last of Us Part I releases on September 2nd!
🌿 Rebuilt, next-gen visuals & gameplay
📸 Evolved Photo Mode
🏃♂️ Speedrun Mode
💀 Permadeath Mode
Pre-order today for early unlocks & bonuses: https://t.co/pzKDNKQZVd
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) August 24, 2022
It’s been nearly 10 years since the original The Last of Us was released for PS3 in 2013 before the Remastered version was released in 2014 for PS4. When The Last of Us: Remastered was released about a year after its original incarnation, it was a remaster that made sense. After all, The Last of Us is widely considered to be one of the best video games of all time.
Releasing towards the end of the PS3 life-cycle, there were perhaps many gamers that never got to play the Naughty Dog masterpiece. Remastering The Last of Us on PS4 so little time after the original game launched made sense. The PS4 went on to be one of the best-selling consoles ever and no doubt The Last of Us: Remastered reached a much larger audience than its PS3 predecessor.
However, now that we’re into the third iteration, it can be easily argued that anyone wishing to play The Last of Us, would have played it on either PS3 or PS4 by now. Perhaps this remake has a more difficult case to argue in terms of its existence on PS5. So, with that in mind, does The Last of Us warrant a remake on PS5? Let’s find out.
By now, you’re probably already familiar with the story of The Last of Us. However, just in case you’ve never played this game or just want a recap, let’s talk about the story. The game begins in 2013 when a virus outbreak caused by a mutation of Cordyceps fungus ravaged the United States. I would say it ravaged the world, yet, there’s little to no reference to a worldwide outbreak. However, let’s just assume the outbreak has taken over the planet. Yay!
Joel and his brother Tommy attempt to flee their small hometown in Austin, Texas. Sadly, tragedy strikes and the timeline jumps 20 years. Civilisation is on its knees, the government has issued strict quarantine zones and harsh curfews that if not abided, will likely cost you your life. To make matters worse, the Cordyceps outbreak has turned much of humanity into zombie-like creatures, the deadliest of which are referred to as “Clickers.”
Making the best out of a bad situation, Joel and his partner in crime, Jess will smuggle whatever you want outside of the quarantine zones. For a price of course. However, when destiny deals with an unlikely hand, Joel is tasked with smuggling a 12-year-old girl named Ellie to a rebel militia known as the Fireflies. Additionally, The Last of Us: Part 1 also includes the fantastic Left Behind expansion, which tells a prequel story of Ellie and her best friend, Riley. I won’t talk about that expansion here, because I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. However, be sure to play the expansion after you’ve finished the main campaign.
What starts as an everyday smuggle, turns into an unwanted fatherly bond between a grizzled, grumpy man, and a witty, take no prisoners girl. This is a tale of hardships, coming of life, heartbreak and loving bonds. The Last of Us tells a tale that has been talked about for years and it looks to influence a new generation to Naughty Dog’s take on a cruel post-apocalyptic world.
As great as this game was, even in 2013, its gameplay wasn’t ground-breaking. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, because it most certainly was. That being said, it did no wrong either. It was and still is a polished third-person action game. When The Last of Us: Part 2 was released in 2020, it very much had the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it approach,” and that’s fine. However, it did make some quality-of-life tweaks. Such as a dodge manoeuvre to quickly escape enemies or being able to sneak in the long grass to avoid direct confrontation with the enemy.
Sadly, the remake, The Last of Us: Part 1 doesn’t make any notable improvements and unfortunately, it doesn’t carry over improvements such as sneaking in long-grass or the very handy dodge roll that was found in the sequel. This is a little disappointing, as I would have appreciated those two minor mechanics making the jump into the remake.
In essence, in terms of gameplay, The Last of Us: Part 1 is the exact same game from 2013/2014. However, subtle improvements have been made to AI, such as NPCs both friendly and enemy, reacting a little more naturally to the current predicament. Being on the PS5, this remake can also take advantage of the DualSense controllers’ haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Thanks to the DualSense features you can feel the weight of each gun, the pull of a bow & arrow and more. The remake makes use of these features well enough, but perhaps not to the same level as Marvel’s Spider-Man, Demon’s Souls or Astro’s Playroom, but it does its job well enough.
Much like the gameplay, the audio design, soundtrack as well as voice acting is exactly the same as the original game. Thankfully, however, this was and still is the strongest aspect of The Last of Us. Troy Baker as Joel and Ashley Johnson as Ellie deliver one of the best performances you’ll ever find in any form of entertainment. This was and still is voice acting at the highest of standards. I’ve honestly lost count of how many times I’ve finished The Last of Us on PS3 and PS4.
However, there are still certain scenes in this game that will never stop making me lynch every word that is being delivered. Nearly ten years on, and I still have to hold back the tears. Yet it’s not just Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson that steals the show, because each and every supporting character delivers to the same standard. Whether it’s Jeffrey Pierce as Tommy, W. Earl Brown as Bill or Annie Wersching as Tess. Every character in The Last of Us is a show stealer in their own right.
Ok, so the voice acting and soundtrack may be of the same high quality, but what about the audio design as a whole? I am glad to say that the audio in this PS5 remaster has also been delivered tenfold. Everything just sounds more clinical, more refined. This is surely down to the PS5s 3D Audio technology, and the skin-crawling echoes of the Clickers have never made my skin crawl more than what they have in The Last of Us: Part 1. Furthermore, if you have access to a decent headset, be prepared to be immersed even more.
The Last of Us: Part 1 also knocks it out of the park in terms of accessibility too. The Last of Us: Part 2 delivered a plethora of fantastic accessibility options to cater for a variety of gaming needs, and this remake is no exception. The Last of Us: Part 1 has over 160 accessibility options at the time of writing with no additions promised at a later date.
Games are for everybody! The Last of Us Part I features 60+ accessibility options to ensure you may play your way.
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) August 26, 2022
Whether it’s audio tweaks and cues, motion blur or camera shake adjustment, cut tinnitus triggering sounds, and more. This remake even has various visual adjustments for individual visibility levels as well as an amazing audio descriptive feature that almost sounds like an audiobook. Seriously, the accessibility features in The Last of Us: Part 1 is truly fantastic and to some, it might just be its strongest asset.
The remake also comes with additional features and modes, including an enhanced photo mode, as well as speedrun and permadeath modes to test even the most dedicated of Naughty Dog veterans. While we’re on the topic of modes, unlike the 2013 and 2014 games, The Last of Us: Part 1 does not feature the criminally underrated Factions multiplayer mode. Factions is still available in the Remaster, so hopefully, Naughty Dog won’t cut those servers to see. However, Naughty Dog is releasing a standalone multiplayer mode in 2023, so we’ll just have to wait to see how that turns out.
The visuals of The Last of Us: Part 1 are also where this remake shines the most, quite literally. Everything from environmental textures, dense foliage, particles and lighting effects. You can really tell that Naughty Dog has gone to town in this department. In my opinion, this remake also makes one of the best uses of ray-tracing technology. With so much of this post-apocalyptic world submerged in water, the real-time reflections are a real treat to your eyes.
Furthermore, cutscene and gameplay are on equal par, resulting in near seamless transitions. Likewise, the facial animation has also been taken up a level in the remake. Characters such as Joel and Tess look closer to their reported ages of the late 40s and early 40s respectively. Ellie is much closer to the older version in the sequel, as are other characters. The Last of Us is one of the best-told stories in gaming and the 2022 remake has excelled in that department.
In conclusion, despite being technically a current-gen game. The Last of Us: Part 1 also finds itself in the odd position of simultaneously being last-gen too. It’s fair to question the £70 RRP of this remake and I believe it would have been fair to offer a discount to at least those that owned the remastered version.
However, The Last of Us has certainly never looked or sounded better than what it does here. Though it is a shame that gameplay tweaks from the sequel never made the jump. That being said, simply put, this is the best version of the Naughty Dog classic. The Last of Us is still a powerful, hard-hitting story that still punches you in the gut to this very day. This remake isn’t just a classic of yesteryear, but it’s equally a modern-day classic of today.
- The Last of Us: Part 1 will release for PC at a later date.
- No notable gameplay improvements
- No Factions multiplayer mode