REVIEW – The post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us Remastered is unbelievably beautiful and depressing at the same time. Naughty Dog knows its business when it comes to great graphics, moody stories, and it’s no wonder, that the survivor horror action-adventure game The Last of Us was such an outstanding success last year. We are aren’t surprised either that Sony released this summer the 1080p remake on the PS4, with higher resolution textures, 60 fps frame-rate and all the DLC which was released so far, even Left Behind included.
The Last of Us Remastered is basically the same game which was released last year on the PlayStation 3. Crisper graphics, higher resolution textures and some more graphical enhancements were of course made. What remained the same is, of course, is an excellent story, which makes you feel like you are actually playing a movie.
The USA became a ghost place, with more and more abandoned, lost big cities, which nature is slowly invading. The population is getting decimated by a strange disease, which is caused by spores, which is changing people into brainless, bloodthirsty zombies, who are called the infected.
These creatures are not zombies but are behaving like them: they try to feed on human flesh and blood and they are infecting others this way. One bite is enough to change somebody into an infected zombie in an hour. The American army took such harsh measures that they don’t take chances with the civil population: if there is a slight chance that one is infected he is instantly killed by the army.
Of course, people are not letting themselves getting killed easily: some fought back in an organized way, like the fireflies, others are mainly just gathered into stealing and killing bands, and their only goal is to survive – some are not even stranger to cannibalism.
And of course, there are the infected, who attacks everyone without fear and they try to either kill or infect the survivors. Every faction is wary of the other and there is no place for any peaceful solution in this savage world.
Hit the road, Joel!
Joel, a burned-out, tough and cynical smuggler in his early fifties and Tess, his smart and street-wise female companion in his thirties is asked to bring a young girl from one base of the fireflies to the other. The reason behind this task is unknown for them, and we don’t want to spoil it either since many people are just playing the game for the first time. Still, Joel and Ellie are the two most important characters of the game, their relationship and character development are actually the best values of this exciting, excellent story. They meet many other characters as well, who either help them to survive while they are betrayed by others who are trying to kill them.
PlayStation 4 power switched on
The enhanced 1080p graphics of the PlayStation 4’s version are shoving a bleak future, which may very well happen in our own lifetime. The big American cities which are totally destroyed in the game may not be science-fiction at all, if the war conflicts will aggravate in the near future. But just the sight of the vegetation taking back which the civilization stole from him is a very strong one.
If you actually play to game and don’t just look at Youtube comparison videos you can notice that there’s actually a big deal of difference between the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 graphics. Textures are a lot crisper and refined and there’s a noticeable difference on the water surface as well, reflections look a lot nicer.
The addition of 60 fps makes a big deal as well for the gameplay to be a lot smoother and it comes especially handy for the hard as nails multiplayer. Still, there are some who don’t like 60 FPS, because the experience seems to be less movie-like for them. I didn’t see anything which lessened my cinematic experience, so I was entirely happy with the 60 fps frame rate.
Jack of All Trades
Of course gameplay matters still more, than visuals and The Last of Us Remastered excels on that as well. Joel is pretty good at fire weapons and close combat as well and he is using everything he gets from his fallen enemies. We can upgrade those at the tool tables which can be found at specific points in the game.
Ammo is of course pretty scarce since this game is more of survival horror than an action game. Sneaking is an essential part of the game, especially on higher levels, where ammo, medical packages and upgrades are very hard to come by. When we grab our enemies from behind we can choose to either strangle them, cut their throats with a knife, or use them as a human shield of more of their buddies are around.
Close combat weapons are deteriorating pretty fast: the self-made knives will break up after just one stab in the neck of our enemies. Luckily we can find constantly a surplus of weapon ingredients and various things which we can use to upgrade Joel and his weapon expertise.
Clickers clicks on us
Combat is not only brutal and dynamic but also requires tactical thinking to survive. There are many kinds of the infected: runners are still at an early stage and they are very fast and brutal and they can also see us. Still they are less lethal, than “clickers”, who are totally blind and who are using a specific sound to find us, but if they get close to us, we are finished.
It may be worthy to upgrade Joel to “shiv master” since in this case, he can stab back to the clickers. There’s also a behemoth kind of the infected who throws spores at us. They are especially hard to kill so if there’s a possibility to avoid them, then try to do so.
Human enemies are smarter (or at least they are behaving as humans do) and Naughty Dog’s usual care to artificial intelligence is once again perfect. Our enemies are aggressive, but they also take care of themselves and they can get scared and run away and hide from our weapons.
Soldiers, who are trained for combat also tries to corner us if they have the means to do so. We can also switch our arsenal, depending on how much ammo we have for which kind of weapon. On harder levels, it’s better to sneak like a ninja, and try to kill everybody silently, and only use guns when we are spotted. It’s especially true for higher difficulty levels.
The war of the survivors
The multiplayer part of the The Last of Us Remastered has all the DLCs in the PS4 version, and thanks to the 60 fps it’s a lot more dynamic and fast.
Of course, it’s still the same. We can upgrade our character in regards to his weapon use and sneaking skills. As our character gets more and more experience gains levels, we get cool new weapons and clothes. The gameplay is basically the same but sneaking is especially important in multiplayer. The cool feature of making our own weapons is present in the multiplayer as well, we just have to do it in a secure place, because we can be attacked anytime.
If someone gets seriously wounded from the team, others can try to heal him, if they are not killed themselves. When we receive a serious but not fatal wound, we can try to get away to the others.
The clan building is also linked to Facebook: as we progress in the multiplayer, our friends from Facebook are joining our clan. Don’t worry, it’s not the bothersome kind of Facebook application which sends messages to your friends.
A bestseller on the PS4 as well
On the UK top sales chart, The Last of Us Remastered finally dethroned Watch Dogs, which is an extremely big feat since it’s not multiplatform and it’s a remake from last year. Of course, we have quite a few AAA games so far for the PS4, and summer is pretty stale gaming-wise as well.
If you already finished The Last of Us PS3, I would still recommend it, since it’s beautiful on the PlayStation 4. Of course, it’s still the same game, so you will have to consider if you like The Last of Us so much. I do.
+ Excellent story with strong characters
+ Upgraded visuals on the PlayStation 4 looks gorgeous
+ Combat and tactical gameplay is well done
– If you played through the game 2-3 times on the PS3, scripted events can be boring
– The game is totally the same, a new level wouldn’t have hurt
– The grounded difficulty is nearly impossible
Developer: Naughty Dog
Genres: survivor horror, action-adventure, tactical, third person shooter
Publication: 2014 July 30