How the Game Should Be Played
One of this year’s most anticipated titles is a game that came out last year. The Last of Us: Remastered is an HD remake of Naughty Dog’s fungal zombie opus, barely a year after the first came out. While it may be making records for shortest period between a game’s release and it’s remake, and it may be annoying some people who already purchased The Last of Us for PS3 being that it doesn’t have cross-buy functionality, The Last of Us: Remastered is pretty amazing and you should seriously consider purchasing it even if you already played the original.
First of all, it’s important to know that The Last of US: Remastered includes no new content. No new levels, no new enemies, not even new director’s commentary or whatever. You are buying the exact same game again, with no pretenses otherwise. It is worth noting that the game comes with the Left Behind DLC packaged right in. If you haven’t purchased Left Behind , it’s almost more worth it to just pick up The Last of Us: Remastered instead. Sure it is more expensive, but it will be a much more intense experience if only due to the new graphical upgrades.
The Last of Us was already one of the best looking games on the PS3, so Naughty Dog had a good framework going into the remaster. The Last of Us: Remastered runs at 60FPS at all times in crisp 1080p. Textures were given a once over, models were slightly tweaked, lighting effects have been redone, and animations run smoother. It’s hard to tell that the game wasn’t designed for the PS4. To be fair, this is partially because PS4 technology is still new and we haven’t learned how to optimize it yet. Most of our PS4 games are just prettier PS3 games at this point, but you won’t be thinking of that when you take Joel and Ellie on their journey.
Easily, the best part of this graphical upgrade is the boost up to 60FPS. The smoothness that this brings to the game is hard to describe. This is a higher frame rate than most TV and movies and, when done properly, brings an almost eerie realism to game, and eerie realism is all that The Last of Us is about.
The 60FPS frame rate also helps make the controls feel tighter as well. Commands are being processed in twice as many frames after all. You feel this most in combat. The targeting reticle stops on a dime, allowing you to aim more accurately and take down enemies more quickly. There is an option in the game to lock the framerate to 30FPS just to avoid any dips in framerate. However, I could not find any instances where the game would slow down. You can use this option to feel the difference between 30FPS controls and 60FPS controls yourself.
It seems like every time we upgrade to a new generation, we ask ourselves, “will graphics really get any better from here” and the answer is invariably always yes. The best way I can describe The Last of Us: Remastered is “less blurry.” The original game didn’t appear to be very blurry, when you first played it on the PS3, but when you play it on the PS4 you realize how much sharper the image can actually be.
You notice this the most in backgrounds. Pieces of the environment pop in sooner on the PS4 than they did on the PS3. Scenery that was kind of fuzzy or moving by in a motion blur on the PS3 is now completely visible on the PS4. You can see every tiny crisp detail on leaves falling from trees and rocks falling off a cliff, and the winter scenes where you are caught in a blizzard are simply marvelous to look at.
Characters have also benefitted from this upgrade, but their improvements are not as readily apparent as they are for environments. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is actually color. The PS3 version looked great but when you compare it to the PS4 version, there kind of a pale yellowy wash to everything you didn’t notice before. Everything in the PS4 version is crisp and clear though. Once again the effects are so well done you can see realistic sweat drip down the faces of our protagonists. For the life of me I’ll never understand why people are so obsessed with realistic sweat, but The Last of Us: Remastered has you covered.
Usually, I’m not one to say that improved graphics somehow changes the feel of a game, but that’s exactly the case here. The improved graphics make the game feel more real. When blood splatters out of a more high-def model, it feels a lot less like a digital enemy and a lot more like a person. The main characters feel more like people too. Looking at the injuries that the characters receive, the gashes on Joel’s head, the bites on Ellie’s arm, all of them look more realistic and thus have more gravity to them. The increased graphics make the game feel, well, more horrible. It makes you cringe every time someone gets pistol whipped or shot or… anything.
Man… The Last of Us is a depressing game. If there’s any flaw here it’s that The Last of Us just isn’t the same on a second play through. That really has nothing to do with the quality of the remaster, but rather the themes of the game itself. Those “holy crap” moments where people die and huge plot revelations are made just don’t hit you the same way. Moments where you were almost brought to tears or were kept up at night, hating yourself for the things you did, are now just observed passively, like a movie goer. It just doesn’t draw you in like it did when the game first released. So maybe what I’m saying is The Last of Us: Remastered isn’t depressing enough.
Simply put, The Last of Us: Remastered is just better than the PS3 version. If you are lucky enough to be experiencing The Last of Us for the first time, then you are in for an amazing treat. If you have already purchased the original game, then still consider picking this up. Heck, trade in your PS3 version if you can. This is by far the definitive version of the game, and if you can get the price reduced even a little bit it’s likely worth your money.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 5.0 Graphics
A fantastic new remake of one of the PS3’s best titles. 4.0 Control
The 60FPS frame rate makes all controls feel tighter. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music and voice acting hasn’t changed and is still great. 4.0 Play Value
It’s a little less emotionally impacting than the first time you play, but the graphics make the experience feel more real. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best