200 awards that say it was the best thing to come out all year, countless 10/10 scores, and a movie in production. If you ignore the title, you might think this review was about 50 Shades of Grey. While this is a actually a review for The Last of Us: Remastered for the PlayStation 4, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t different shades and layers to explore in this rich experience. With a game as deep and fulfilling as this one, the temptation to ask for more will always get the better of us, but has Naughty Dog stepped out in front to provide gamers with an all new palette with which to experience this title?
Reviewing a remaster is always a huge grey area. Do you score based on how well it represents the original experience, or do you try to look at it as it stands on its own two feet? There’s a very delicate approach to this sort of thing, and there really isn’t any right or wrong way to approach it. For the sake of clarity however, let’s assume that the base game will get the same score as the original, and go through both ways of thinking together.
First off, what makes The Last of Us a great game? Some will say that the story, which grips at your chest with every passing moment, could be the bright light that this game needed to be successful. Not many can argue that the writing for the original was simply amazing and kept you interested for the entire journey as you saw the characters grow a bond that you definitely didn’t expect in the beginning.
Others will say that the tight gameplay, which gives you a sense of realism in this dystopian future, might be the key. This isn’t a game where you have infinite ammo to unleash on hordes of the undead. As Joel says, you must “make every shot count.” When you miss your first shot, and see that clicker stumbling towards you, you realize how seriously you need to take those words.
Most times, you’ll be packed in an area with bandits and infected alike and must be strategic in your approach or else face the consequence of death; a very real consequence that you’ll have to meet eye to eye numerous times as the game progresses. When faced with the infected, every time you even hear their murmurs and clicks, you either want to get on the ground and find out what kind of danger you’re in or open your back and prepare for the worst.
These things all come together to form a thrilling and truly unique experience. The story gives you something to fight for. You aren’t just dropped into this world and told to survive, you’re always given a reason to keep pushing forward. The gameplay puts you through tough situations that test your resolve to keep going. The danger that you feel in nearly every altercation, even ones that you feel prepared for, just shows how immersed you get into this world while playing.
The Last of Us: Remastered version comes with something that many agree aides with immersion, a graphical upgrade. This re-release boasts an impressive 1080p resolution with a mostly stable 60 FPS frame rate. These improvements come alongside newly improved textures and shadows, as well as models and assets optimized for the new resolution. For those of you who don’t follow all of the technical mumbo jumbo, that means that this game looks simply incredible.
Many people feel as if there aren’t too many “next gen” looking games available for current gen consoles at this point, however Naughty Dog has made quite the effort to get this game onto the very small list of games that meet most people’s graphical expectation. And if graphics don’t justify a purchase for some, the inclusion of the single player and multiplayer DLCs (with one more on the way) only sweetens the pot.
With so much to offer, including the new photo mode that allows you capture and edit all of your favorite moments as well as a fun multiplayer experience that will keep you going back to get supplies for your camp, the many layers of this game fit together in an amazing way that we rarely see.
The Last of Us Remastered offers 50 Shades of Greatness and re-joins the library of games that every gamer should experience once, so if you haven’t yet you need to get your life together and get yourself a copy. Immediately.