The Last of Us Part 1 Remake – Game Review


The Last of Us Part 1 Remake

(available on PlayStation 5, PC version in development)

The Last of Us Part 1 is a remake that Naughty Dog has been working on to essentially bring a new version of the game to Sony’s newest console. It has had a very quick reveal trailer to release, when it was shown at the end of Summer Games Fest in June to now a release in September. The game’s announcement, however, has led to a very mixed reaction- and I don’t think that it was due to the mixed reaction that The Last of Us Part 2 got. Mainly because of the fact that we were being asked to pay £70 to get The Last of Us Part 1 again when it hadn’t been that long since the PlayStation 4 remaster- which is currently still available with the backwards compatibility, it’s also free as part of your subscription to PlayStation Plus. It also seemed like (with the exception of a graphics update) that there was nothing new in this version.

Your opinion on The Last of Us and Sony’s other games in general might impact how excited you were for this announcement. However, whilst Sony has changed how their games are developed and marketed in recent years, there are definitely a lot of fond feelings for the game still. This games’ development has been down for two reasons- it’s an extra piece of merchandise to be purchased to coincide with the HBO series, which has been delayed until next year, and to give Naughty Dog a chance to really learn the hardware of the PS5. If I’m to make a comparison to other games the one I would find the most similarities to in terms of a remake that came out around a similar time and also had a remaster, only had some new content and had features missing- I would talk about Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition on the Switch, which I really liked when it came out (and I still do!) So I’ve been comparing this to that game. What were my thoughts on buying this game again and at the same price- in this instance I did purchase The Last of Us Part 1 Remake but did not get the digital deluxe edition that gave me extra content- and I wanted to ask myself: considering I already have played the game on PS3 and owned the remaster of the PS4 version. Is this one worth spending £70 on if you own a PS5, and should PC owners go out of their way to play this when it releases?

Since this is a remake, I won’t be discussing this game as if it was a new release. Much like my review of Super Mario 3D: All Stars, I’ll be talking about what the new features are in this version. If you want my thoughts on Last of Us Part 1, I think the story’s pretty good, it’s a good-looking game, it’s not incredibly challenging because the AI doesn’t function as well as I would like, but as a cinematic experience game, I do think that it works very well to this day. The story of Joel and Ellie is still one that I enjoy and have fond memories of, so the core game is still very good. But I did actually wonder what it would be like after the major gameplay changes in Part 2 now that we’re moving back to Part 1’s core gameplay.

PROS

  • Graphical Updates

Despite the fact that a lot of people claimed that this was just a simple graphical polish and not really much of an update, I can confirm that they are entirely wrong. You can tell while viewing this game that this is a from-the-ground-up remake. There are brand new models for every single character, and as a result with the PS5 technology they’ve managed to deliver some excellent facial expressions and have really allowed the performances to be looked at in a new light with the improved cutscenes. Especially considering the fact that these cutscenes are now made with the in-game engine, and because of the PS5’s incredible loading times, the move from gameplay to cutscene is almost seamless.

This is also a really great looking game for the PS5. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best, but if you play this game in fidelity mode and have access to a 4K monitor, it looks fantastic. I would actually argue that you would play in performance mode for 60 FPS or Performance Plus which allows for 4K 40 FPS. I think having the extra performance works out a lot better this time. Plus, even when I was playing the game in performance mode I was still amazed at how good the game looked. It’s not a game you need 4K, but it definitely helps.

  • Accessibility features

The Last of Us Part 2 had some excellent accessibility features, and all of them are back for this game plus some more. As a result, a lot more disabled gamers will be able to enjoy this game! These features now include some brand new autism-friendly features which do a very interesting job in how they work- mainly using the PS5 controller’s excellent rumble to help convey a lot of what is going on in a scene. It’s an excellent option, and what’s more, even if you’re not disabled there’s a lot of features to help streamline and customise your experience. Once again, you can change the difficulty.

As a result, this is probably one of the most accessible PlayStation games out there right now, and is definitely the most accessible Naughty Dog game to date.

  • Haptic triggers

I must be honest- I haven’t been mentioning about haptic triggers in a lot of PlayStation exclusives recently because I’m getting kind of numb to the effect, because most of the studios don’t know how to use the effect to a good degree. Naughty Dog has definitely shown that they know what they’re doing with it, although they don’t reach the heights of games like Demon Souls, Returnal, the Spiderman games, or even Ratchet and Clank: Rifts apart, but this is some of the best usage of it in a while. I’ll definitely be making a lot of comparisons with this one and the upcoming God of War: Ragnarok.

I don’t think that they’re that amazing, for example, the famous giraffe petting scene that was highlighted in a lot of behind the scenes and featurettes did not really match up as well as the developers thought they were going to. They did an excellent job all things considered. You just won’t notice the difference between different guns or melee weapons as you would with some other PS5 exclusive games.

MIXED

  • Framerate

The frame rate is pretty good if you’re playing the game in performance or performance plus. Fidelity mode I noticed significant framerate drops with some of the scenes I was involved in, particularly an early one that involves you being in an environment with lots of spores around. It was to an extent that I barely played this game in fidelity mode, the frame rate drops were just so significant that I couldn’t last too long playing it that way. Give me a good framerate over that much fidelity any day of the week.

I’m not someone who hates 30 FPS, I think that it’s perfectly fine if the game is built around it, but it’s very clear that this game was built around 60 FPS, hence why I played this game almost entirely in performance mode.

  • Gameplay

More specifically, this section is about the fact that we’re essentially going backwards from Part 2 to The Last of Us Part 1. Part 2 really, in my opinion, made significant improvements to a lot of it’s gameplay features, the environments were quite open, and the enemies could be quite challenging, plus there was a good variety in missions. As a result, it really felt like The Last of Us Part 2 had innovated the gameplay of Part 1, especially considering that with the open environments there were more ways to explore and more ways to look for collectables.

Plus, there’s a few enemy varieties that you’re now losing, for example, there’s no guard dogs anymore so you don’t have to worry about them picking up your scent and leading another group to come and kill you.

The core gameplay of Part 1 is just fine, but it’s hard to go back to the more linear environments. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the problem I had in Part 2 where I sometimes had trouble finding out where I was meant to be going. But it definitely feels like the gameplay, while perfectly fine and enjoyable (in fact I enjoyed it so much I played it for about 2 hours every day while reviewing it), is starting to show its age a bit. Especially considering that if there is another game in the series, which I don’t suspect that there will be, it’s going to show its age even more. That being said though, there’s not that much inherently wrong with it- it just didn’t feel particularly innovative.

  • The new content

The new content is not too significant if I’m honest. For one thing, it doesn’t charge you extra to get the left behind DLC, which I’m very thankful for. Though, that isn’t new content and it’s also not a great increase on your game time, only another 2-3 hours.

The main new content this time includes things like ‘permadeath mode’ and ‘speedrunner mode’ which certainly add a little bit onto your time, but to be honest I really didn’t enjoy permadeath mode. It means that you have to play the game and not die once- which is certainly a challenge for a lot of die-hard fans, but it’s going to sting if you get very close to the end and you get ambushed by a bandit.

Speedrunner mode is very self-explanatory. It’s essentially a timed run. I’m not really into my speedrunning so this didn’t do much for me. In both cases I had already done a playthrough and didn’t feel like doing a new one. The Last of Us for me is a game that I do a playthrough when another one comes out and I don’t revisit it otherwise. I’m not really someone who wants to play it over and over again.

You can also change the costumes for the characters, but I wouldn’t call that a significant change in content. As a result, the new content is fine, but it doesn’t really add that much to it, and is pretty dependent on how you play games in general.

CONS

  • Quality of the AI

Despite the fact that Naughty Dog promised that the AI had been improved this time, I was still surprised how dumb they could be at times. In Part 2 the AI did a very good job actively challenging you, but in Part 1 it’s not a challenge and I didn’t struggle at all. I was playing on a lighter difficulty than I normally do for time purposes, but it was getting to the stage where the area was providing so little of a challenge that I upped the intensity of the AI, but it still didn’t make too much of a difference and they still made dumb decisions. I had moments where Ellie was walking right in front of them and they didn’t do anything at all. My experience could have been affected by the fact that I didn’t turn up every aspect of the difficulty, but I have seen other reviews that have commented on the AI’s deficiency.

  • Missing content and no significant new content

This is a real gripe for me. I’m not too bothered by missing multiplayer, but charging more and taking it out does feel pretty dumb and does sting because this game is significantly more expensive than any other version of the game. More importantly for me, though, there is no new core content. I would have liked it if maybe they added a new chapter to the game that tied Part 1 and Part 2 together, I wouldn’t even need it to be that long, just one or two hours.

It’s very clear that this game is completely the same as the original. There is nothing new here, there’s not many new surprises or new things to find. I did notice a new scenario where Jack and Daxter and Uncharted were on the wall of one of the university dorms, but maybe I missed that in my first playthrough and that had always been there. Other than that, I really didn’t notice much of a difference. This is pretty much the game that you played the first time around.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Is The Last of Us Part 1 Remake the best way to play this game? Yes, it is. The graphical updates and accessibility features do enough. I think that it’s a very good-looking game and while the gameplay may feel a bit regressive after the sequel, it’s not bad gameplay.

So if for some reason you’ve never played the last of us, this is the best way to get into it.

Do I think that it’s a significant update from the PS4 version? Not as much as Naughty Dog would like me to say it is. Though I do think on many levels it has been a major update to the game, particularly in the graphics department. When you look at some of those side-by-side comparisons of the PS4 vs. PS5 you will notice a big difference in how much better it looks and the fact that this was clearly made from the ground up that couldn’t have been done with previous technology.

Do I think that you should buy this if you already own the PS4 version? Let’s put it this way, I don’t think that you should rush out and get it. I don’t think that you’re getting much that you would have got outside of the PS4 version. If anything, I think that this version will suit people that have never played the game.

Did I enjoy my time with it? Yes. Did I really enjoy my time with it? No. It is still enjoyable in many regards, but while I think that this is the best version of the Last of Us, I feel like I’m numb to it in many ways. The fact that this is the third time I’ve played this game, I think I’m ready to call it a day with this game. I’m probably never going to play another remake of this game if they make it. Plus, the fact that there’s no new core content feels very off. When I heard a couple of years ago that there would be a remake,my mind went to a lot more interesting places than the final version that we received.. Especially considering that they could have tied the events of the two games together more or reworked the models or performances to suit the HBO series. But as it goes, there’s not much new here. It’s definitely a good game, and if you’ve never played it, this is the best way to play it.

The gameplay is still there and the story is still good.

FINAL SCORE: 8.2/10

Calvin
Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia6th March 2024
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

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