The Last of Us Remastered Review

The original version of The Last of Us burst onto the scene in June of 2013, delighting PlayStation 3 users everywhere with its unique take on survival horror and portrayal of an apocalyptic scenario.  Just how big was it?  Well, it sold extremely well, second only to the inimitable Grand Theft Auto V.  As such, Sony and developer Naughty Dog saw fit to create an updated version of the game for the PS4, with enhanced visuals and audio as well as the DLC (left behind) and of course, the two multiplayer map packs (abandoned territories and reclaimed territories).  Quite simply, this is the time to check this game out if you haven’t done so already.

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Needless to say, the true star of the show here is the game’s story.  Where many companies and franchises either try very hard and fail in the voice acting department, or just seemingly phone it from the start, The Last of Us stands tall as one of the few games out there which immediately asserts its dominance.   In other words, you really play the game for the tightly scripted experience, which in this case is damn near perfect.  It isn’t often that we see a title like this taking top honors, especially when you consider that it is indeed a rather linear game.  It thrusts you into a world gone mad right from the start, martial law in effect, as packs of feral infected humans lurk in the shadows, apparently mutated by some strain of the Cordyceps fungus.

Despite this fact, one cannot overlook the slickness of the presentation, nor the amazing way the story itself unfolds.  To put it bluntly, you play this game as if it were an interactive Hollywood blockbuster of sorts.  However, where movies can certainly suck you in, nothing comes close to the level of immersion one feels when navigating the overgrown landscapes of The Last of Us, especially with infected roaming around everywhere.  However it is the human drama which ultimately makes the game hit home with players, the bond between the two lead characters Joel and Ellie being what drives everything forward.

Visually, the game has a lot to offer as well, especially this version which looks almost true to life when viewed on a large enough television capable of 1080p.  The remastered version also brings 60 frames per second to the table, which delivers unparalleled crisp detail (although it can also be limited to 30 fps if you are so inclined).  Clearly, the decision to adapt it for the PS4 was a great one, with the console’s added abilities the action is all the more realistic and frantic.

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Gameplay wise, The Last of Us Remastered treats us to a range of stealth-based mechanics as well as crafting.   These two features alone, armed with the scavenging system, make for some really thrilling action that’s also satisfying in a video game sense.  All along the way, the built-in A.I. System (called “Balance of Power”) is there to try to circumvent your attempts at survival, with the enemies reacting in an organized fashion, sometimes in a seemingly unpredictable manner.

Once you’ve rounded out the campaign of course you’ll want to explore what the game’s multiplayer has to offer.   There are no less than 3 different types of modes present, allowing up to 8 players to engage in full on combat.  Survivors and Supply Raid are basically your token frag fests, with the former offering more of a “perma-death” mechanic.   The third, Interrogation, is a spin on classic FPS modes where you capture and question enemies to determine where their lockbox is.  It’s great fun and certainly adds to the replay value of the package.

As previously mentioned, the DLC, “Left Behind” is also included here.  It basically exists to place you in Ellie’s shoes as she scavenges for materials in an abandoned shopping mall.  While some might be quick to write this off as just another addition it actually delivers some truly interesting (and at times), horrifying action, especially considering that Joel is injured and there’s somewhat enhanced exploration.  Sparing any spoilers, let’s just say that it wraps up in a truly poetic fashion and sets up events taking place in the main game.

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If you haven’t played The Last of Us yet and own a PS4, don’t’ hesitate, run out and pick it up ASAP.  Even if you have conquered the game many times on the PS3, the various upgrades featured in this remastered version (along with the DLC) make it worth taking buying a second time.  Truly, this is currently one of the better games you can own for the PS4.

Rating – 9.7

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