The Last of Us Part I (Remake) game review
Search the internet for the greatest video games ever made and chances are high that most lists would have the Last of Us franchise on them. Naughty Dog studios, which is also known for Uncharted - the other successful franchise on PlayStation - has now remade The Last of Us (Part 1) for the next generation consoles.
'Remade' is the key word here, because unlike The Last of Us remastered which debuted on the PS4 in 2014 or the PS5 versions of the Uncharted franchise, The Last of Us remake isn't the old game with high-resolution textures. Naughty Dog has used 10 years of technical advancements to remake the game for next-gen consoles - which means apart from richer textures, it also features better animation quality, new AI and improved gameplay that also takes advantage of the new DualSense controller.
The textures, lighting and world have been remodelled to take advantage of new generation graphics - so while returning TLoU fans will look at a familiar-looking universe, they will also spot tons of new elements, artefacts and such details which make the world look more in-depth than before. Newcomers will spot a lot of similarities between the overall elements and foliage of Uncharted and The Last of Us, but the world looks far more detailed, fit for a game releasing in 2022.
Naughty Dog has completely remodelled each character in the game too - so while their faces may look familiar to the original, they pack a lot more, eh, character, thanks to more detailed modelling and far superior animation - like the detailed wrinkles in the skin, the tear glands swelling up, the movement of the facial muscles etc. adding more life into the character animation.
Sony's intelligent 3D audio algorithm on the PS5 also enables an added layer of realism, but Naughty Dog has taken advantage of the tools by varying the intensity of the sounds to match the scene. For example, subtle sounds of the leaves, wind, water etc. enhance the background score throughout the game, while more detailed sounds like character dialogues, the scratching sounds of the infected, explosions, screeches, mechanical noises of the weapons and vehicles etc. give the player a more detailed spacial awareness.
The DualSense controller chimes in with its inbuilt speaker and vibrations which vary in intensity to match the gravity of the dialogue. There are other such Dual Sense enhancements too e.g. tapping the controller for fixing a flickering torchlight, using the tilt sensors for interfacing with certain elements etc.
The enhancements aren't skin-deep. The remake also has improvements to the overall game engine and AI. The controls feel more intuitive than the original (and even Uncharted for that matter) and the enemy AI is as intelligent and diverse as you would expect in 2022. Approach the same scene multiple times and you will notice the enemy taking different paths and approaches every time. This is a big plus for repeat players too. There is also a new Speedrun mode, which features an in-game timer that helps the player track their current and fastest playthrough length.
What is missed is the Multiplayer mode but the Left Behind prequel DLC is a part of the package. The package itself demands top dollar like any new game on the PS5 and that may be a bit of a dampener for this game. Apart from the gameplay, the biggest asset of The Last of Us is the story and the storytelling - both of which do not change with the remake. It's simply a better looking, better playing version of the original and therefore should have had a better price tag too. From that perspective, you could simply buy PS4's The Last of Us remastered for the story and save a few.
But buy the full-fat remake if you want to relive the story in the PS5 era and if you are a newcomer to the franchise, certainly get the remake to experience this iconic game in its best form yet. In fact, its story is so popular now that HBO would have released a big-budget series based on this storyline by the time you read this review. And if you are intrigued about this game after watching the series, the shiny 2022 remake is what you want to get instead of scouting for the old-gen version.
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