When Naughty Dog released The Last Of Us in 2013, it set a benchmark for storytelling in video games. The game was met with critical-acclaim and is considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time. Now the developer has rebuilt the game from the ground up, with new character models, enhanced graphics, and gameplay enhancements – many of which we saw in Part II.
Bewarned, this review may have spoilers for The Last Of Us Part I, Left Behind, and The Last Of Us Part II.
It’s 2033, and the world is seemingly at its end thanks to the Cordyceps fungal infection – an infection that infiltrates the brain and turns humans into cannibalistic creatures. We once again join Joel, a smuggler who has the dangerous task of escorting 14-year old Ellie across a ravaged and dishevelled United States. On their journey they encounter many hardships, hunters and of course – the infected.
Endure and survive.
While the gameplay stays loyal to the original, it has borrowed some elements from 2020’s The Last Of Us Part II – a welcome addition. The combat and gun-handling feels a lot more fluid than the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game, which accompanies the DualSense’s haptic feedback flawlessly.
The updated AI is unparalleled. The enemies are a lot more aggressive than in the original release. They don’t just bob up and down behind cover any more, and you are a lot more susceptible to flanking (I died, alot!). In single-player games, it’s common for friendly AI to just get in the way all the time, but Ellie and other allies in your journey are always assisting with kills and yelling observations during an encounter.
One of the major new features in the game is the accessibility settings found within the game. Naughty Dog became pioneers of inclusion in the video game industry when they released The Last Of Us Part II, which had the largest accessibility options I’ve ever seen in a video game. While I don’t use these features, I know a lot of people do, and for them to be present in Part I is fantastic.
The Last Of Us Part I was built on the same engine as Part II, which makes the whole journey a lot more cohesive. A game set in a post-apocalyptic world is typically depicted with a very lackluster palette, but Part 1, just like the original, has such a beautiful palette even when half the game takes place in dreary subways and sewers. The environments crafted by Naughty Dog are so well thought out; every room has a story to tell, it’s not just a messy room, it’s a story of the survivors who came before Joel and Ellie.
There are two graphics options presented to you when you start playing: Fidelity and Performance. Fidelity favours resolution over frame rate and targets a minimum of 30 fps, whereas performance has a balanced resolution and framerate but targets 60 fps. As a personal preference, I chose to play the game on performance mode and I was very happy with how the game ran on it. I snuck a peak at Fidelity from time to time and while it is gorgeous, I did prefer the extra frames that the performance mode gives you.
Now to address the most controversial part of this game – the price tag. I would have liked a little more incentive placed into the game to purchase this $129 remake, but I definitely do not regret experiencing this enhanced journey of one of my favourite video games of all time. Just by playing this game you can understand that the Devs at Naughty Dog truly put their heart into this game and just want players to experience the original game in the best form possible. That said, if you have played the PS4 version recently, I would probably hold off on playing this for a while but if you’re like me who hasn’t played the game since The Last Of Us Part II came out, I would definitely recommend playing it now.
Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part I is a legendary remake of a legendary game. Any new or returning players will find this game to be an emotional and action-packed journey which will continue to stand the test of time.
The Last of Us Part I is out now and available exclusively on PlayStation 5
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