The Last of Us: Part I seems like the way you keep in mind Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed 2013 survival horror, which is each a blessing and a little bit of a curse. In some ways, this PS5 re-release blurs the traces between remake and remaster, overhauling the unique in nearly all areas, with out tinkering with what made it so nice. It implies that not the entire enhancements might be instantly apparent to the informal observer, however in contrast side-by-side with the PS3 version and its PS4 remaster, that is undoubtedly the perfect model of a recent basic.
The Californian studio says the 15-hour marketing campaign and its heart-warming Left Behind enlargement have been rebuilt from the ground-up, nevertheless it’s necessary to contextualise what this implies. The stage design, save for just a few minor alterations, is an identical. Some interiors have been redesigned and collectibles repositioned so as to add extra logic to the world constructing, however by-and-large that is an indistinguishable journey – even all the way down to the location of enemies and the numbers of their ranks.
This doesn’t imply Naughty Dog is mendacity, nevertheless. The gameplay is vastly superior to the unique launch, with a lot of the motion-matching know-how launched in The Last of Us 2 built-in right here. It implies that there’s extra freedom total, as protagonist Joel will seamlessly transition between animations quite than stopping-and-starting like he did within the unique: throwing a bottle, sprinting ahead for a melee assault, after which popping off a shot seems to be flawless now.
Despite this, the fight doesn’t hit the identical heights as its successor. Rather than redesign gauntlets, the developer has determined to maintain fight encounters the identical, that means the dodge and inclined mechanics that made the skirmishes so pulsating within the sequel are lacking. Fights additionally really feel a lot “smaller” in scope, owing to the constraints enforced by the unique PS3 design, and due to this fact The Last of Us 2 continues to be very a lot the top of third-person shooters so far as we’re involved.
These identical constraints apply to the extent design, which feels restricted a decade later. While the sport actually has its moments of freedom, the sequel was a a lot bigger endeavour total, permitting you to discover off the overwhelmed path. The Last of Us: Part I’s diminished scope feels dated as compared, with piles of particles and conveniently positioned fences inexplicably locking you to a set path. It’s clear that is not how the sport can be designed right now.
But the unreal intelligence is way smarter no less than. You’ll now not brush towards immersion breaking eventualities, like Ellie working straight in entrance of the road of sight of enemies, as everyone seems to be a lot brighter total. Aggressors will collaborate and talk, calling out your place and dealing to seek out flanking positions – even on decrease difficulties. It makes the fight that rather more gratifying, and evaluating it to the unique is eye-opening to say the least.
The identical is true of the extraordinary artwork path overhauls. Naughty Dog has made the sport much less grim than its muddy and macabre predecessor, and a few areas like The Capitol Building are unrecognisable in a great way. The sheer quantity of element invested into each single body is phenomenal, comfortably placing the remake among the many best-looking PS5 titles up to now. All of the areas really feel lived in; there’s clear thought been put into how property are organised, that means the environments themselves have their very own tales to inform.
Special point out should even be attributed to the sound, which leverages the PS5’s nifty Tempest chip to create among the finest 3D audio up to now. Sony’s first-party releases are likely to have super mixing throughout the board, however The Last of Us 2 was a watershed second for the platform holder when it comes to sound design, and this remake matches up. With a top quality pair of cans, you possibly can pinpoint the place of enemies purely from their footsteps, and we truly discovered we didn’t must depend on the title’s detective vision-style Listen mode anyplace close to as a lot as in earlier variations.
And that’s with out even talking of the animations, which have been dramatically reworked. Cutscenes now run in realtime on the PS5, and are usually not pre-rendered like they had been initially. This implies that the transitions between gameplay and cinematics are much less abrupt, and extra importantly there’s a consistency to the character fashions all through. Many of an important scenes, just like the heart-breaking prologue, have an depth that merely didn’t exist within the unique.
Naughty Dog’s efforts with the DualSense mustn’t go unnoticed both. The developer has created distinctive textures for nearly each state of affairs within the recreation, that means you’ll really feel the rattle of shrapnel as you craft a Nail Bomb or the pitter-patter of rain as you’re employed your method by means of the drizzly outskirts of Boston. It’s among the finest use of the pad’s revolutionary options since Astro’s Playroom, and it provides to the general immersion of each sedate and high-intensity moments.
In reality, the developer’s additionally discovered methods to innovate on its award-winning accessibility with the pad’s distinctive options. One particular addition permits you to “feel” speech by means of haptic suggestions, which along with the subtitles will enable visually impaired gamers to bodily recognize the way in which traces are delivered. There’s additionally full audio commentary for each cinematic within the recreation, taking the outfit’s dedication to accessibility to an unprecedented stage.
And for returning gamers, there’s numerous bonus content material to unlock and discover. There are paintings galleries for each the unique launch and its remake, and a wealth of recent skins for Joel and Ellie have been added, a lot of that are impressed by well-liked PlayStation properties. For these on the lookout for some replay worth, there’s a brand new speedrun mode, which has been built-in into the PS5’s Activity Cards, and you’ll even kind by means of your information and finest occasions on a chapter-by-chapter foundation.
That mentioned, the unique’s unexpectedly well-liked multiplayer mode has been minimize, and this isn’t an inexpensive proposition total. Even with the entire enhancements outlined above, £69.99/$69.99 is a troublesome to tablet to swallow at launch, and whereas it’s clear a powerful quantity of labor has been invested into this remake, we’re but to be satisfied it justifies its eye-watering launch day value level. Make no mistake, although, the marketing campaign stands as much as fashionable scrutiny.
Without reference to the unique, it’s not at all times straightforward to understand The Last of Us: Part I’s spectacular enhancements. This is a a lot higher recreation than the unique, although, with stronger artwork path, smoother gameplay, and rather more emotional cinematics. Naughty Dog has completed justice to the unique by bettering on it in nearly each regard, nevertheless it stays the sport you keep in mind from 2013. At a extra aggressive value level, it’d be important – as it’s, it’s a dear improve on a bona fide basic.