Gaming

The Last of Us Part 1 review: a remaster with expensive graphics

The Last of Us is an undisputed masterpiece, a well-designed game that deserves to be on the “Best Games of the Last Ten Years” list. But therein lies the problem: the original Last of Us on PS3 is less than a decade old, and has already been followed by a remaster for PS4, unsurprisingly called The Last of Us Remastered.

Since that name is already taken, Sony has released The Last of Us Part 1 for PS5, but make no mistake: it’s the same PS3 game you’ve played many times before, remastered and at a premium price.

Let me remind you that this is the story of Joel and Ellie, survivors and a child in a world devastated by an epidemic that destroyed civilization as we know it. As Joel, you will travel the United States in search of answers and a better life, doing everything you can to protect Ellie from a relentless world.

As part of the game, the cordyceps fungus – a parasite that targets insects and captures them to spread its spores – has mutated and adapted to humans, resulting in many horrific mutations that have turned the host into a mindless killer. It’s an interesting twist on the standard “zombie apocalypse” trope that gets even more terrifying if you’ve ever taken the time to read up on Cordyceps as they behave in real life.

Playing primarily as Joel, you’ll get comfortable with a third-person (over-the-shoulder) view of the post-apocalyptic USA, usually with an AI-controlled companion. In some segments, you’ll explore the environment, slowly putting together (as a player for the most part, although Ellie is a bit protected at 14) how the world came to be. You’ll have to fight other survivors, or worse, zombie-like creatures that have turned the world upside down. Joel is equipped with a whole arsenal of weapons, from pistols to 2x4s or bricks, and can craft items such as first aid kits and sharpeners, the latter of which are useful not only for stealth killing zombies, but also for accessing locked doors that contain always useful supplies.

Naughty Dog has worked hard to keep The Last of Us modern in terms of visuals. Ellie’s model looks straight out of The Last of Us Part 2 – and it probably is, thanks to flashback frames found in that game – while the lighting effects from Part 2 were also used. At first glance, The Last of Us Part 1 looks just as good, if not better, than any current PS5 game. Cutscenes are where this remaster shines, with extremely realistic models, animations, and facial expressions. The care and attention given to the facelift of the first part is commendable, although unfortunately, like a real facelift, it is ultimately superficial.

The real problem with this pack is that the gameplay didn’t get the same treatment. Despite promises to improve AI behavior, you’ll immediately notice that this isn’t exactly the case when your NPC companion walks out into the open right in front of human or zombie enemies… just like in 2013; thankfully it doesn’t matter for gameplay because it didn’t matter then either.

A bit of a commotion when the flashlight went out for the first time and a prompt appeared on the screen telling you to wave the controller to turn it back on. The then-standard unnecessary puzzles or stair segments in which you squeeze through narrow passages – i.e. fragments that hide the PlayStation loading the next area to explore – stand out now that we have ultra-fast SSDs.

The Last of Us Part 1

The only negative is that we know the history of the game from the beginning to the end and it spoils the fun a bit, let’s be honest. The Last of Us Part 1 is a bit like a movie we’ve already seen a few times, we love going back to it, but we never get the same feeling as when we first saw it. Therefore, this remaster is more aimed at the category of gamers who have no experience playing on PS3 and/or PS4 and who want to discover this very good universe with this game.

The Last of Us Part 1

All in all, The Last of Us Part 1 is like an old PC game that got an HD texture pack from a modder, except it’s officially happened on PS4 and is happening again now. And you pay, again, a little more for this result.

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