The Last Of Us Remastered Review
Sony PlayStation 4
Last year, Naughty Dog released what many consider to be one of the best games of the previous generation, The Last Of Us. Here at The Digital Fix, we very much agreed with this statement, giving both the game and the Left Behind DLC a 10/10 in our reviews. A year later, along comes The Last Of Us Remastered, an updated version of the original for the PlayStation 4 containing The Last Of Us, the single player Left Behind DLC and both multiplayer map packs, Abandoned Territories and Reclaimed Territories. Expectations for this remaster were understandably very high, following promises of 1080p graphics, sixty frames per second and a brand new difficulty mode called Grounded for the single player campaign. Within this review, we will focus on the updates and new features that are only included in The Last Of Us Remastered, as well as our thoughts on the game as a whole a year on from the release of The Last Of Us.
The Last Of Us was one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 3, so to see the extra power of the PlayStation 4 being used to make the game look even better is an absolute pleasure. One of the biggest new features in The Last Of Us Remastered is improved graphics, which now run at a beautiful 1080p. If you played the game before on the PS3, then you’ll notice the difference almost instantly, as the improved character models and lighting make those opening scenes seem even more life-like, as well as being a joy to watch. The most notable improvements to the character models can be seen within the faces of Joel and Ellie, and in a game that depends heavily on the emotions and feelings of these two characters, this improvement does wonders for the game. The Last Of Us was already an emotional experience last year, but this enhancement helps the player understand what is going through Joel and Ellie’s head at any given time, without them saying a word.
Another new feature included in The Last Of Us Remastered is that game now runs at sixty frames per second, double what the PlayStation 3 version ran at. This is definitely one of the biggest improvements in the remastered version because the game now runs very smoothly with only a few frame rate drops here and there. 60fps makes The Last Of Us Remastered more responsive to your inputs on the controller, as well as boosting the players perception of their field of view, for example you will spot an enemy moving through cover quicker in 60fps than you would in 30fps. This version does allow you to revert back to thirty frames per second if you wish, however upon experimenting between the two, we’re not entirely sure how we experienced The Last Of Us in thirty frames per second without any problems. Upon switching to thirty fps, the game turns into a juttery mess as the framerate drops dramatically and takes around a minute to smoothen out into a locked thirty frames per second. 60fps is a very smooth and enjoyable experience in The Last Of Us Remastered, and despite the fact it has been proven that shadows do indeed look better in thirty fps, we do not think this is enough to deter us from 60fps. The improved shadow effects in 30fps are achieved through the removal of aliasing from straight lines projected onto walls, and other shadow details become sharp and defined.
A little bonus that is new to The Last Of Us through the remastered version is photo mode, which is very similar to what we saw in InFAMOUS: Second Son. The player can pause the action at any moment in game with a click of the left thumb stick and enter photo mode, where they can create a variety of different pictures and then upload them via the Share button. You can even edit the photos you take by adding different filters and effects such as one that will make your picture look like a film poster, or another filter which lets Joel and Ellie take a selfie together! For a few examples of what you can create in photo mode, just take a look at the images in this review, they were all taken using photo mode.
We decided to tackle Grounded mode on our third play through of The Last Of Us Remastered and boy they weren’t kidding, this mode, is hard, very very hard. There is no HUD (Heads-up display), supplies for crafting are very scarce, fewer checkpoints and there is no way of telling how much health Joel has left, you must judge for yourself depending on how well he is walking and traversing the environment. Enemies hit much harder too, two shots from a pistol and you’re dead, and when this is combined with the fact you can only check how much ammo you have left by selecting the gun you’re holding in the weapon wheel, then the Grounded mode creates some very tense and nerve wracking fights. While this mode is very tough, it does create the ultimate portrayal of surviving in a world such as The Last Of Us, and we very much praise it for that. If this is very first experience of The Last Of Us Remastered then we seriously do not recommend you begin your first playthrough of the game on Grounded, this mode is for veteran players who know all the ins and outs of the game.
A year on, The Last Of Us is still an absolutely incredible game and the enhancements in this remastered version only help to prove that even further. Despite us already having played the original on the PlayStation 3, we were still sucked into the story and the world of The Last Of Us, and that’s a testament to how emotional and personal the game can really get, especially in the latter half of the game. And that ending? It still hits just as hard as it did the first time. The gameplay is still just as good a year later, from the assortment of ways you can tackle any encounter to the variety in weaponry and upgrades, it’s all excellent. The Last Of Us’ multiplayer also returns bringing its unique take on team play and transferring the need for supplies and upgrades from the single player into the multiplayer seamlessly. The Left Behind singleplayer DLC focuses on Ellie and her friend Riley and runs alongside the main story of The Last Of Us, detailing parts of the story that Ellie only hinted at or talked about in passing in the original game. Including this DLC in the remaster was a smart decision as it gives players full access to the entire story of The Last Of Us, as well as an opportunity to explore new areas and experience new combat mechanics only found in the Left Behind DLC.
The Last Of Us Remastered absolutely deserves a place in your PlayStation 4 collection, whether you’ve played it before or not. The improvements this remaster brings only help to show you how much of an incredible, beautiful, emotional and downright amazing game this is.