With its original release in June 2013, The Last of Us was deemed one the best new IPs by gamers around the world for its incredible story and amazing character construction. A bit over a year has passed since, and Naughty Dog have refreshed and re-released their acclaimed title for the PlayStation 4.
The Last of Us Remastered is a third-person, action-survival shooter title which released in Australia on 30 July 2014. Developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, the game includes the original story along with all extra content provided in the season pass (Left Behind single player expansion, Abandoned Territories multiplayer map pack, and the Reclaimed Territories multiplayer map pack).
For those who are unfamiliar with the story behind The Last of Us, it starts with an infectious outbreak which causes humans to turn into zombie-like beings. 20 years after the outbreak, humanity is left in tatters with survivors staying in heavily quarantined zones set up by military forces or in clusters of groups fending for themselves. For most of the game you play as Joel, a survivor of the initial outbreak who is tasked to escort Ellie, a 14 year old girl who may hold the key to a vaccine to reverse the infection. The story takes the player on a journey across the United States, battling ravenous survivors and clusters of the infected on the way. The game takes place throughout a whole year, with the story divided across the seasons.
We’ve previously reviewed The Last of Us and awarded the title as our Game of the Year for 2013, but the main purpose behind why The Last of Us Remastered exists is to showcase how it uses the extra power within the PlayStation 4. With upgraded graphics and textures, the game utilises the console’s resources brilliantly as many scenes throughout the game are sharp, colourful and vibrant. Visuals in The Last of Us Remastered are set at 1080p with a stable 60 frames per second. This allows for standard gameplay to be at the same level of fidelity as cut scenes. Character models have been updated, allowing for a more immersive gameplay experience.
Naughty Dog have used a number of features in the DualShock 4 controller to their advantage. Aim and Shoot are now mapped to L2 and R2 respectively (in comparison to L1 and R1 on DualShock 3), the centre touchpad/button is used to bring up the backpack crafting options, and sounds from toggling the flashlight on/off as well as audio logs play through the controller’s built-in speaker.
The Last of Us Remastered also contains a new ‘Photo Mode’ feature, which allows players to freeze the action in the game, share photos with friends and ultimately take in the scenery within the game, whether it be in the wilderness or in among the ruins of an abandoned city. Along with Photo Mode, the game also introduces some advanced audio options and in-cinematic director commentary. These features cater very well for both experienced players and newcomers to the game.
While The Last of Us Remastered shines on the graphical front, it sadly inherits a small number of bugs which existed in its original predecessor. These bugs were mainly apparent when trying to climb a wall or grab a plank, as the option to grab these objects would not always appear (even if you were standing right in front of said object). To overcome this, you had to stand in a very particular spot for the option to appear (usually one step away from the object). While it’s not a game-breaking issue, it made a simple task quite cumbersome at times. Another point to mention is that while The Last of Us Remastered shines a modern light onto an already loved title, it is still the same game. If you’re not a huge fan of the original game, the graphical updates alone won’t motivate you to play the game again.
The Last of Us Remastered adds that extra bit of polish to a title already gleaming with brilliance. With updated graphics, textures and included season pass content, along with new extras such as Photo Mode and director commentary, it features everything a fan of the original game would look for in a re-release. For newcomers who are interested in checking the game out, playing it on PlayStation 4 will give you the best experience possible. As for those who have previously played The Last of Us and do not consider themselves huge fans of the PlayStation 3 original, you’re better off saving your money.