If you are a fan of gaming, which I assume you are by visiting this site, there is almost no way that you haven’t heard of The Last of Us. Featuring some of the best storytelling and dialogue ever in a game and bringing home basically every award imaginable in 2013, The Last of Us proved that gaming could be pushed even further and truly be art. A little over a year later, Naughty Dog has decided to give it another go by bringing the critically acclaimed classic to the next generation PlayStation 4 under the name The Last of Us Remastered.
With it being just the start of the next generation of consoles, some gamers have been critical of game remasters due to the inability of some games to look much better than the original. When rumors starting swirling about a remaster for The Last of Us, many thought it was a dumb idea because the game looked amazing on PlayStation 3 and could not look all that much better on the PlayStation 4. However, that sentiment was very wrong, as The Last of Us Remastered looks absolutely gorgeous in action on the PS4.
Before moving onto the remaster itself, I feel I should speak about the actual game before its improvements, as that is what we will be playing through after all. The Last of Us is a game I actually did not get a chance to play until a few months ago, but the wait was incredibly worth it. Playing some games again can be tough, but this captivating and gripping story crafted by Naughty Dog is one you can play many times. My heart fell even further this time during that first 15 minutes, which I still say is one of the best and most gut wrenching openings in video game history. Also featuring some of the best dialogue and voice acting in a long time, The Last of Us was and is a gaming masterpiece on its own and was definitely deserving of an upgrade.
As soon as you start up the game and get the opening cutscene, you can already witness the graphical upgrade that the game received. If one didn’t know it was a remaster of a last-gen game, The Last of Us Remastered could easily pass as truly ‘next-gen’ . That is just how superb Naughty Dog has made this game look, by working so in-depth to bring us more than a cheap port.
The higher resolution character models in-game are perhaps one of the most impressive visual additions to The Last of Us Remastered, as Joel and Ellie look as alive as ever. The mocap and lip sync looks even smoother and well-timed than the original, thanks to these even more realistic looking character models. Also, the improved lighting and shadows work in tandem with the higher-res characters models to make the game look better than ever before.
On top of these other visual changes, The Last of Us Remastered typically runs at 60fps and it really shows when playing the game. The gameplay and a combat is as smooth as it has ever been, and even if you cannot specifically pick out the difference between 60fps and 30fps, you can definitely tell the game just runs better than the original, especially in the fast paced action scenes. While playing, I personally did not notice any moments where the frame rate seemed to drop at all. However, if you don’t like the fluctuating frame rate, you can lock it at 30fps, which does actually allow the use of higher quality shadows in the game.
The Last of Us Remastered also brings a few new controller related features to the game, some of which are more useful than others. Many despise the light bar on the DualShock 4, but Naughty Dog found an excellent way to use it this time. The color of the light will reflect your health level in the game, ranging from green at full health to bright red when near death. When playing in the dark, this is especially prominent and useful to where you don’t have to keep your vision on your health bar all the time during intense combat against Clickers.
the gameplay and a combat is as smooth as it has ever been
The game also utilizes the speaker in the DualShock 4 by playing the sound of your flashlight when you turn it on or off. This feature really doesn’t help anything, but is a nice little touch, similar to what a lot of games did with the Wii Remote on the Wii in the past.
The Touch Pad opens and closes Joel’s backpack during the game, but otherwise is not used for anything else. The game does introduce a different control scheme for shooting than the original, choosing to move aim and shoot to the two triggers, L2 and R2, rather than the scheme seen in the original, L1 and R1. However, if you happen to prefer the original control scheme, you can always change it back in the options menu with ease.
The Last of Us Remastered doesn’t just come with the original game, but also the three major DLC packs that followed the PS3 release. The biggest of these of course is the story DLC known as Left Behind. Splitting time between the present and past, Left Behind is a must play, despite it being a little short. For those that enjoy the game’s multiplayer, we also get two different map packs as well, Abandoned Territories and Reclaimed Territories. Lastly, the game also includes the previous difficulty level DLC known as Grounded mode, which takes the game’s difficulty to an entirely new and almost impossible level.
Probably the most publicized new feature in the game is perfectly implemented with one of the PlayStation 4’s greatest features, Photo Mode. During any part of gameplay, you can activate Photo Mode with a simple click of the left analog stick. With this, you can move the camera to whatever position you wish, whether zoomed in, moved to a different level of depth, or choosing from a few other options. Also, in very Instagram-like fashion, you can choose filters to go over your pictures. These include some more basic options like black & white, vintage, or more wild options like infected, which turns the entire screen red. You even have the option to adjust the intensity of each filter that you are using as well, so it can be toned down immensely if you so choose. Combined with the PlayStation 4 share button, you can instantly upload these images to your Facebook or Twitter with ease, making the experience even more integrated.
One of the absolutely best additions to this game is something that I feel a lot of games should include now, commentary. Commentary has been a staple of movies and TV shows on DVD and blu-ray for years, but I cannot personally remember a video game doing it. To access the commentary, you just go to the main menu and choose to watch the cutscenes you’ve seen thus far, and you can choose to have the developers offer insight to the creation of the game. Naughty Dog doesn’t skimp on the commentary either, as we get Neil Druckmann, Troy Baker, and Ashley Johnson all involved.
In addition, we also get another awesome behind the scenes feature with the “Grounded: The Making of The Last of Us” documentary. This nearly hour and a half long documentary gives us a glimpse at the process that brought us The Last of Us. The only complaint about this is that you cannot fast forward at all. If you happen to accidentally hit X or O while watching the documentary, let’s say you are an hour into it, you will have to start all over and wait for it to get to that point again.
Earlier this year, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition was in a similar boat to The Last of Us, as it was releasing less than a year prior to its original launch. Luckily that staff did a fantastic job at rebuilding the game from the ground up to look great on these new consoles. However, one of the biggest knocks on that release was the launch price of $59.99, which seemed a little steep for an upgraded version of a previously released game. Luckily, Naughty Dog and Sony chose to go with a little more reasonable price point of $49.99. This price may seem a little too steep for some people still, as it is a remaster, but The Last of Us is an exceptional must-play experience at either a full or discounted price.
The Last of Us Remastered takes a modern day classic and makes it even better. Moving as smooth as ever with 60fps and brand new higher resolution character models, Joel and Ellie have never looked better than they do on the PlayStation 4. In addition, we also get the major DLC released over the last year, including the story DLC that dives further into Ellie’s past. With most ports of last-gen games, the verdict is to only buy it if you haven’t played the original. However, The Last of Us Remastered is so good as to be worth the price of admission whether you’ve been on this journey before, or not.
The Last of Us Remastered
- Available On: PlayStation 4
- Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Developed By: Naughty Dog
- Genre: Action-adventure
- US Release Date: July 29th, 2014
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Quote: "The Last of Us Remastered is as brilliant as ever and is a must-buy for any PS4 owner."