Over a year ago, The Last of Us forever changed storytelling in video games with its emotional tale about two individuals who are trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Not only did the game impact the players emotionally, but it also had a groundbreaking approach with its way of telling the story that put into question this very aspect in the medium in general. The Last of Us was a remarquable achievement last year and, now, we get to chance to to re-experience it in glorious 1080p and 60 frames per second on our Playstation 4 along with every piece of DLC that has been released for the game. Despite not being as impactful as the first time I experienced it, there is no doubt that the game is still a masterpiece.
If you haven’t played The Last of Us when it originally came out, it tells the story of Joel and Ellie surviving through a dystopian United States after a Cordyceps fungus outbreak ravages the country. However, the game’s highlight wasn’t the characters’ journey through this post-apocalyptic world. It was their relationships with one another, the changes in their personalities, the things they have to do to survive in this world and how all of those aspects affected the game’s storytelling. Not only was it a narrative marvel, but it was also a visually stunning third person stealth game. The world told a story for itself of how society evolves and how time affects everyone that is living within this “doing everything to survive” kind of world. Remastered still nails every single one of those elements and, now, thanks to the power of the Playstation 4, the small details really stand out and bring out a little bit more out of the characters and environments.
The visual subtleties make a big difference in The Last of Us : Remastered. The higher framerate, resolution and prettier visuals may not sound like much for a game that still looked stunning on Playstation 3, but all those elements add a whole other layer of polish to an already extremely polished game. The 60FPS frame rate makes the animations look smoother and more fluid than ever before. Especially during cutscenes. Although this took some getting used to because I was already familiar with the original look and feel of the game, you’ll quickly embrace the upgrade that leads to a stronger sense of immersion. Plus, if you’re used to the old setting, the game gives you the option to lock the frame rate at 30 as well. Though the higher resolution is appreciated, I thought that there was barely no difference between the PS4 and PS3 versions of the game. The big differences come out with the texture and lighting effects. This is another element that really stands out during the cutscenes because a lot of the emotions are told through the characters’ facial and body language. If this is your first time playing The Last of Us, you’ll be blown away by its visuals as it is, arguably, Playstation 4’s best-looking game right now. But, if you’ve already experienced it like I have, you’ll simply appreciate the upgrades because you already know what you’ll be getting into. However, it is worth noting that, because of the high amount of added detail, The Last of Us : Remastered becomes a much bigger game in terms of memory space as there is a 50GB installation required to play the game.
Another great addition with The Last of Us : Remastered is with all of the bonus features that come inside the disc. Left Behind, the story DLC that acts as a prequel to Ellie’s story in The Last of Us, is unlocked right from the get-go, so, if you’ve already played the game but did not have the chance to experience the DLC when it came out earlier this year, you can do so as soon as you start the game. This also comes along with all of the technical upgrades offered with the Playstation 4’s power. Plus, every single difficulty mode is unlocked as well with the addition of Grounded Mode which a more realistic setting that removes the entire HUD from the game. Another addition is with Photo Mode which lets you take pictures of your gameplay and edit them to your liking. I did not use it that much, but if photo-editing is your thing, you’ll enjoy this robust element. On the other hand, my favorite new features with Remastered are that it includes a behind-the-scenes commentary of the cutscenes with Creative Director Neil Druckmann, the voice of Joel in Troy Baker and the voice of Ellie in Ashley Johnson as well as the increadible Grounded making-of documentary. All of these added features bring a lot more value to the Remastered package instead of being just a simple port. The Last of Us : Remastered feels a lot more like a celebration of Naughty Dog’s game instead of being the same game with a different coat of paint on it.
Alongside the amazing single player exprience, The Last of Us’ unique and underappreciated multiplayer component Factions is back within Remastered. Though I did encounter certain issues with matchmaking at launch, you’ll be able to play the original modes of Supply Raid, Survivor or Interrogation as either the Fireflies or Hunters in 60 frames per second and 1080p. That’s right, even the multiplayer received a performance upgrade which makes the transition between multiplayer and single-player seamless. Furthermore, Remastered gives the players the Reclaimed & Abandonned Territories DLC packs which give them 8 additional maps to play in. And, once again, to bring even more value to the Remastered package.
Although it may seem sudden to remaster The Last of Us only a year after it was originally released, it is much more than just a simple upgraded port. Sure, better graphics are always appreciated, but the extra content is really where your money will be going towards with The Last of Us : Remastered. Whether it’s your first or second time experiencing Naughty Dog’s incredible masterpiece, you cannot go wrong by buying one of the best games of the last console generation and, arguably, the best one currently available on Playstation 4. If you have a PS3 or PS4 you must owe it to yourself to play any version of The Last of Us. If you don’t have one of those consoles, go buy one along with a copy of the game. You’ll thank me later.