The Last of Us: Remastered
For many, the release of The Last of Us on PlayStation 3 was hailed as a pivotal moment in videogame history. Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic zombie filled epic really highlighted what can be achieved when so much care and attention is put into a game. The release was even likened to a latter day equivalent of the film industry’s Citizen Kane – a bar raising moment for storytelling in games.
Sony and Naughty Dog have now re-released this fantastic title on PlayStation 4 as The Last of Us: Remastered. For those of you who haven’t played it yet, we’ll make this really easy: Without a doubt you need to go and buy this game. For the rest of us who already have, the question is: Is it worth buying again?
Near immaculate though it was, on PS3 the original game was ever so slightly marred by a few technical niggles. In fact, it’s a miracle that the game even ran on the PS3, given how good it looked. This time around, you’ll be playing the game in full 1080p at 60 frames per second – which not only creates smoother gameplay and less graphical issues, it generally looks that little bit prettier. You’ll notice that characters, shadows and lighting all look better, you’ll see longer draw distances and definitely a lot more detail in the environment. In essence, you should think of this as the difference between watching a film you adore on DVD and then getting it again on Blu-Ray.
Control wise TLoU: Remastered makes use of the fantastic new PlayStation 4 controller with L2 and R2 now being used to aim and fire (although you can revert to the PS3 control scheme if you prefer). The touch pad opens up Joel’s backpack for crafting, upgrading your weapons and checking out collectibles. The speaker in your controller on the other hand means you can listen to the in-game audio logs without being sat in the menu screen anymore. For all you budding artists out there, you can also take in-game photos of the single player campaign using Photo Mode and it’s rather addictive. It’s little touches like these that makes TLoU: Remastered a better experience all around.
There’s a surprising amount of content that’s been added to this release. The Last of Us: Left Behind, which is a DLC episode that explores what happened to Ellie before she met up with Joel, a documentary called Grounded: The Making of The Last of Us (which is spectacular in its own right), a director’s commentary and Grounded difficulty mode, which Naughty Dog's Eric Monacelli describes as having AI that’s “relentless, smart, brutal, and survival will be near impossible.”
Last but not least, there are two map packs for the game's fantastic multiplayer offering. In ‘Factions’ your survivor community grows in size by earning parts which you collect by competing in online matches. The only problem is that the more survivors that join your faction, the more parts you need to sustain them. There are three types of match to choose from: Supply Raid which shares 20 re-spawns across a team per match, with the objective being to eliminate the enemy team as quickly as possible. Survivors is a best of seven affair with no respawns – once you die you’re out of the round and have to wait until the next. Finally there’s Interrogation which has you tracking down the opposing team’s lockbox. To do this you have to interrogate five enemy players before their box is revealed. It’s then a mad dash to reach and open it – all whilst the opposing team is trying to do the same to you of course.
All in all TLoU: Remastered is a compelling package; not only does it look and play better than the original, it’s full of extra content and currently has a healthy online, multi-player community. And you know what, it’s so good, if it came out on PlayStation 5 as The Last of Us: Remastered (The Director’s Cut) we’d probably buy it again.