The first part of “The Last of Us” has received a polarizing critical reception since its announcement. Whether you’re thinking this is the second coming of Jesus, or you’re crashing this game on Twitter as a full-priced recharge tool, you’re both wrong.
This new edition is so much more than the sum of its parts and breathes new life into a historic game that has left an indelible mark on the gaming industry.
But there’s no way around that: asking for $70 for the third edition of the same game is an exorbitant asking price. So the obvious question is do the updates here make it worthwhile? As you can imagine from the result, the answer is a resounding yes, but let me elaborate.
you know: All screenshots captured in this review are either gameplay footage straight from the resolution mode or created using the game’s complex (and impressive) photo mode.
You can’t escape from your past
The first part of The Last of Us gives me a chance to clarify the lyrical story, because as you saw from the introduction, I don’t talk about it lightly. This is one of the most beautiful and wonderful stories told in video games.
Without getting into spoiler territory for those new to this game, you play as Joel and are tasked with taking a teen named Ellie across America to a rebel group called the Fireflies. basic.
The blow to your heart and soul comes as you watch this relationship develop between the two – from the cold distance of a ruthless getaway taking a product across country, to the spiritual bond between father and daughter they form in the face of horrific trauma. .
But when I entered this world for the fifth time (yes, I totally admire), I paid more attention to the spectacle, which is dripping with tradition telling many short stories in the form of notes that you can pick up and add heartbreaking detail to what you see around you. Nothing will prepare you for these moments. A special shout out to the game’s sanitation department, but I’ll leave that up to you to find out.
This simplicity gives all of these moments plenty of room to meditate in your mind, and yes, even I, the tough-story veteran, cried again in these sections. it’s a who – which strong.
As you can see, the second part faltered due to trying to do many things. Those narrative threads were emotional golden, but trying to tie them all together into one bloated story made some characters feel forgotten and took strength from the big moments. But the first part is simpler and, because of it, more honest in all its smaller details.
And while this fine detail has been quite groundbreaking since its original 2013 release, it’s much better understood now with the massive amount of work that Naughty Dog has done to rebuild this game.
Make every shot count
Speaking of rebuilding the game, the team turned to the The Last of Us Part II engine, which in every way improved the original game and provided incredibly high production values.
Let’s start with the pictures. Here you have two options:
- Resolution mode: Full 4K resolution with 40fps target
- Performance mode: 4K or 1440p dynamic resolution with 60fps target
You can also unlock the frame rate, which in the real world means I hit a smooth 120 frames per second on HDMI 2.1. ElectriQ eiQ-32M4K144FS Gaming Monitor. Of course, this leaves you open to greater variation in frame rates based on what’s happening on the screen, but lock the rate and you’ll get a very strong refresh rate without any distractions – a major advantage in game optimization.
This new engine brings everything on screen to life. The natural world has reclaimed urban sprawl in the 20 years since the day of the outbreak and the results on PS5 have made this fantastic clash more fascinating and vibrant than ever. Light travels through trees and dances across rooftops, buildings and the ground, all in ways that mimic reality.
The original release in 2013 was primitive in lighting and textures, making the game look very gray with much lighter contrast, but the redesigned first part offers a great deal of HDR depth and expression through interactive light sources.
This extends to the maps themselves as well. The 2013 classic was hampered by limited storage space and processing speeds, making it reliant on repeating rooms. However, in the new version, each room is completely unique. These improvements are most visible in the museum, where many public offices have been replaced by restoration and study rooms.
But the biggest change was in her character models. The detail and fidelity of each model has been greatly improved (and the ways they can die are even more gruesome), but the most significant update is the emotion they can show. There are plenty of subtle story rhythms that base models from 2013 couldn’t capture, but with a fresh coat of PS5 paint, you can connect with all the characters you meet in a whole new way.
Improvements in animation and increased detail in expressions mean you feel every little gesture in your soul and make great acting performances from the likes of Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson even more impactful.
Brilliant visuals must be paired with great sound, and apart from the stunning soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla that carries over from the original game, Tempest’s engine-driven spatial sound brings the world around you to life with immersive sound effects that can transform your emotions like the face of a coin.
Sudden fear builds up on the day of the outbreak as you hear gunfire far and wide all around you, screams of panic in the streets, and the scratches and wails of those infected near you. Anxiety builds up with the clicker’s iconic noise and body shuffling that seems to have forgotten how to move in a normal way.
Breaks at work feel almost so peaceful, the rustle of leaves in the trees and the faint sounds of wildlife adorn your ears with white noise that can easily help you fall asleep. This new edition turns an emotionally charged story into a profound and unforgettable experience.
A million ways we could die before tomorrow
Of course, its shape and sound is half the puzzle. We need to take a look at how to play it, and while Joel doesn’t get all the different movement options that Ellie had in Part Two (like the prone or dodge controls), the traversal and combat scenarios look great here.
It all starts with the DualSense Controller, which delivers new haptic immersion to simulate sensations and draw you more into the world you live in, like the tiny taps of raindrops or the harsher vibrations of stormy conditions. Adaptive triggers also behave differently with each weapon you use, such as increasing the bow string pull tension, or shooting from a rifle.
The shining jewel in the crown of this game is the AI engine for fighting situations. Enemies no longer follow a predetermined path, but rather have a more dynamic behavior around you – inquisitive and curious about their surroundings, working together and communicating more efficiently, switching plans on the fly to outsmart you.
No situation will ever happen in the same way, thanks to this development of enemy AI using the development tools from Part Two. In fact, Naughty Dog is so confident that it can be replayed, and once completed, you’ll have the opportunity to go back and play through specific scenarios, carry all your items to a new game + playthrough, or even try your luck in a permanent mode.
And the team is right to trust. You will find it very difficult to put your console aside once you start playing.
It can’t be for nothing
As you’ve seen and heard from all of the promotional material leading up to the release of Part One of The Last of Us, Accessibility has received an overhaul. In fact, it shares a lot of award-winning features like Part Two, with more added.
I won’t delve into the huge list of visual and motion accessibility options available to you, but to name a few, there are audio cues, cinematic descriptions, and color blindness modes; This last one helped me a lot. There is also a high contrast mode and the option to switch button sections with a simple button press.
There are two accessibility settings that I’ll highlight here that will greatly improve the experience for players – even those who don’t need any help with access.
First, you will need to turn on Auto Capture. This is something that makes it easy to pick up all the supplies you find across the levels and prevents your hand from cramping after relentlessly pressing the triangle button.
Second, a feature that triggers cinematic dialogue through the DualSense controller as haptic feedback, which varies to give a sense of how each line is delivered. This is a game changer in giving deaf people the opportunity to really feel the scene playing and get in touch with how much (or how little) focus the character provides in the dialogue. But also, for people who can hear, it’s a great little innovation that adds a new dimension to cinematic storytelling.
Simply put, Naughty Dog is by leaps and bounds ahead of its competition in terms of accessibility settings, which opens the first part to a whole new audience.
One of Joel’s most memorable lines from Part Two of The Last of Us came to mind: “If God had somehow given me a second chance at that moment, I would have done it all over again.”
In terms of playing the first iteration, this is actually the third chance, but you get the point. The obvious is true: This is the best way to play the first Last of Us. But what is not clear is also true: this new version revitalizes the amazing formula of this single adventure and helps you to appreciate this masterpiece even more.
That full price tag would be a pain, but for the incredible quality and attention to detail that brings this exciting adventure to life like never before, it’s easy to forgive.