With The Last of Us Part 2 arriving in 2020, the original The Last of Us feels quite recent despite a 2013 release date and if you’ll notice, I’m linking to B2G’s original PlayStation 3 review of the game. It has been nearly a decade since the game has come out and The Last of Us 2 served as a final hurrah for the Playstation 4 as a new generation of consoles burst onto the scene.
But the main thing I want to point out here is the fact that The Last of Us marked a historic moment for 2 eras for Sony’s PlayStation consoles and this is due to the fact that it is a very good game. Regardless of their genre of choice, the gaming media has been very positive about The Last of Us and its time for another generation of gamers to experience this masterpiece.
Announced earlier this year, The Last of Part I arrives on the PlayStation 5 on September 2nd and just like many of Sony’s exclusives, will also be receiving a PC release currently under development based on the PS5 remake.
The Last of Us Part I for the PS5 is a complete rework of the game, nut just a straight graphical facelift. Just like Crash Team Racing which required a faithful recreation of the original release, The Last of Us Part I sees a recreated game from the ground up by Naughty Dog. This can be seen not just from the newer assets, but cutscenes edited and framed slightly different than before. As a PlayStation 5 title, it also fully supports the new PS5 engine’s graphical capability allowing 4K30 or 1800p60 selection plus support for the PS5’s Dual Sense controller features and more.
Despite an almost 10-year existence, a new generation of gamers will now experience The Last of Us along with the upcoming PC gamers. That said, this review will be made spoiler-free.
All images below are captured in Fidelity mode via external capture card from a PlayStation 5 running 4K
Remastered vs. Remake
A comparison of the The Last of Us Remastered for Playstation 4 released in 2014 and the new remake for Playstation 5.
The intro cutscene should be a good indicator on what has changed visually since The Last of Us Remastered. As promised, they’re creating a faithful remake and not just a reskin. Some liberties were also taken when creating the scenes which, despite similar, have been framed differently to cinematographer or director of the game feels is the best to convey the moment.
Fidelity vs. Performance
Just like the original remastered which featured a variable resolutions and fidelity, The Last of Us Part I’s PS5 remake sees the game have the more common Fidelity or Resolution toggle. Horizon Forbidden West had a similar feature which saw the game switch to a slightly lower resolution to maintain a 60FPS framerate.
For those new to The Last of Us, the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people are forced to live in military-controlled zones to both restrict people from going out and becoming infected, or the Infected coming in to living areas. Its a harsh world, one made more harsh by the people living in it who fight for their survival, whatever their daily hustle is.
Our main protagonist, Joel, is thrust into this world when the outbreak started in 2013 and cost him his 12-year daughter. This is made exquisitely clear during the start of the game when Joel’s daughter, Sarah, is killed. Twenty years have since past and Joel is a smuggler and the player is immediately thrust into the turmoil of this world and crosses paths with Ellie, the young protagonist who’s current condition will be material to the how the game’s story plays out.
In this third-person, action-adventure title, players will mainly control Joel with segments featuring Ellie also present. The game distances itself from zombie horror despite similar connotations from the Infected by bolstering the playable characters with decent gun handling. The game’s control layout has changed since the original but the now modern layout combined with the PlayStation 5’s DualSense setup makes for a very fine experience.
Exploration also combines linear roaming with stealth segments in the game, both against hostile humans and the Infected alike. Players have the option of engaging in a fire fight, utilizing different melee objects or using random throwable items as distractions. Players can stealthily approach human enemies to take them out as well. The infected are a different story altogether, one that poses a tactical approach in navigating around them or engaging them in combat.
It is in these scenarios, that the game truly mixes up the experience as the game’s narrative paces these interconnected segments in a seamless yet still have a sense of continuity. Exploration levels will have their own challenges including puzzles and combat with both Joel and Ellie serving as a tandem to traverse and fight their way thru the story.
The primary strong point of this game is its very strong narrative and emotional plot, while heavy at times, has significant meaning. The world is dark but characters still have humor in them that isn’t forced. Easily one of the greatest writing and voice acting in a game.
PS5 Port Report
The original PS3 release of The Last of Us was a different era altogether, one that corrected and modernized some choices in the The Last of Us Remastered for PS4. The Last of Us Part I, almost 10 years later, repaints that same picture, now in a more modern resolution. The PS3 version suffered from lower resolution and framerate which got bumped by the PS4 remaster and later on a PS4 Pro update. This all comes full circle as all the updates and DLC’s now come bundled with the remake of The Last of Us Part I for the Playstation 5.
The marketing team is adamant on sticking to the fact that this game is a complete remake. Despite having a PS4 engine to stand on, The Last of Us Part I for the PS5 is meant to greet the future. With the game currently in-development for PC, the PS5 remake was the easier template to go with.
With an already solid gameplay and storyline, Naughty Dog only needed to polish what was already bright as a diamond. And that therein lies the potential pitfalls of a complete remake, which could introduce new bugs into the game but with a relaxed schedule, the Naughty Dog team reportedly had plenty of time to fully prepare the game.
If you’re already played the original The Last of Us during 2013-2014, this game will be a graphical love letter to your younger self. If you’ve recently only played The Last of Us with the PlayStation Hits for PS Plus subscriber, its not as mind-blowing a change coming from the original but other than the fresh and sharper visuals, there is very little incentive to replay the game anytime soon.
Naughty Dog does curb around this with the introduction of Speedrun mode and Grounded difficulty. For those that played this game to death but want a true measure, The Last of Us Part I introduces speedrun mode for speedrunners and retains the Grounded Permadeath mode for the most intense of challenges.
A mild novelty for sure but on top of the DLC story Left Behind, but ultimately The Last of Us Part I is a nice excursion for both first-timers and those who have played the game before and is worth checking out.