Back in 2013 Naughty Dog, creators of acclaimed franchisees like Uncharted and Crash Bandicoot, brought us The Last Of Us, a game that broke new grounds on interactive storytelling and won hundreds of Game Of The Year awards. It was an unmitigated masterpiece that some boldly considered as the best game of all time and now it’s set to redefine the latest generation of gaming all over again with its latest Remastered edition. Although this recent PlayStation 4 port brings no new content to the party, the Remastered edition still holds the same exceptional feel that changed the face of gaming and made developers everywhere take note of just what Neil Druckmann and his team accomplished back in June of 2013. Although the disparity between the two versions is not mind blowing by any stretch of the imagination, the fact that The Last of Us Remastered does run at a constant 60 frames per second is an impressive technical showcase of the PS4 console and a remarkable demonstration of Naughty Dog’s potential to achieve unprecedented results in anything they do when they put their minds to it. The Last Of Us Remastered promises a much more polished and smoother ride this time around with upgraded graphics realistically portraying a stunning fictional post-pandemic United States of America.
The Last of Us pushes the PlayStation 3 to its limits but the feat that it accomplishes so far on the PlayStation 4 is just the tip of the iceberg (although a very impressive feat nonetheless). The biggest enhancement from the original is that the game now runs at 60 frames per second, a vast improvement that helps make The Last of Us Remastered feels truly like a next generation video game. Although the framerate does take some getting used to, I quickly became accustomed to it after the smoothness and the polish of the port became apparent. I recommend using the menu options to switch back and forth from 30 to 60 frames per second to compare just what a difference the higher frame-rate makes. In comparison, the PlayStation 3’s version stutters and feels clunky at times.
Another enhancement which goes a long way to making this remaster feel truly next generation is the noticeably higher resolution at 1080p. This vast improvement in resolution makes everything in the world pop just a little bit more and textures are four times as detailed thus creating a world that is much more immersive this time around. Characters like Ellie look and feel more lifelike and have much more expressive facial movements this time. This really helps convey the characters’ emotions more appropriately in scenes that are more dramatic. This in turn improves the plot and character development in the story because now that you understand the characters better (such as how they feel at certain events in the game as it progresses), you really can’t help but care more about them. This is the ultimate way to experience The Last of Us.
Although the improved textures, lighting and resolution are nice additions to an already beautiful game, the new frame-rate doesn’t just improve the experience graphically, it also does so gameplay-wise too. The silky smooth frame-rate matched with the DualShock 4 makes gameplay feel clean and responsive, allowing you to move around the world while picking off enemies with ease. Again you may feel inclined early on to switch back to the original 30 frames per second as you may find it jarring at first, but I suggest sticking with the 60fps as gunplay is a much smoother experience overall.
Naughty Dog clearly acknowledged the DualShock 3’s shortcomings when it came to its terrible triggers and have this time opted to praise the updated DualShock 4 controller by mapping shooting to the now concave L2 and R2. Their praise of the excellent DualShock 4 doesn’t just end there though – it also extends to the new touch pad and speaker. I love how sound effects ringing out from the speaker can totally immerse me in the world just that little bit more and how the click effect from the turning on and off of my flash light can give me sweatier palms and trepidations when I’m surrounded by those cannibalistic clickers. Furthermore, the touch pad has been used to full effect and is now revitalised to bring up the in-game backpack. These features have mostly been underdeveloped in games to date, so it’s nice to see a developer taking advantage of the untapped potential of these built-in features provided by the new console.
A wealth of other new features have found their way over to the Remastered port and one of which is a new Photo mode used by developer Naughty Dog to showcase just what a visual masterpiece The Last of Us truly is. It’s common to miss out on the stunning sights of the well depicted nature sceneries while wading through the post-pandemic United States, but now with the new photo mode, beautiful graphics can be captured on demand and shared with friends with just a quick click of the share button. Another feature included on the disk is developer commentary. As you make your way across country with Joel and Ellie, commentated cutscenes will unlock automatically. It is rather interesting to hear the thought process behind some of the key scenes of the game using this feature.
The biggest excuse I can give for you to run out of your house now and go pick up a copy of The Last of Us Remastered is that it’s a one complete package for everything great about The Last of Us. Everything that made the game a masterpiece is here, plus tons of added extras which make this port to the PlayStation 4 feel worthy of your hard earned money. From the moment you boot this massive 50 GB installation of a game, all the DLC multiplayer maps are ready and available for you. For all the minor upgrades which have taken place and the little tweaks that enhance the experience, nothing compares to having the incredible Left Behind DLC included on the disk and unlocked from the get go. This is a one stop shop for everything The Last of Us and it’s here to be enjoyed by newcomers and old time fanatics alike.
When The Last of Us came out in 2013 it changed how people perceived of gaming. The video game genre went from being stereotypically murder simulators to a medium where impactful narrative driven stories could be told. The same impact holds true with the recent release of The Last of Us Remastered, a game which is a culmination of everything great about the original with additions of a few noticeable bells and whistles that refine the experience greatly. Furthermore, having the constant 60 frames per second certainly helps smooth out the gunplay and those more action-filled scenes. If you want to play the best looking game on your PS4 while indulging in a slew of new DLC multiplayer maps, I have no reason for you to not pick up The Last of Us Remastered. It definitely belongs in your PS4 library if you have never played the PS3 version before.