The Last Of Us: Remastered Review: Greatness Is Here

When The Last of Us hit the PS3 last summer, many fans were treated to arguably the best that Sony’s game system had to offer. The Last of Us was beautiful and brutal, and Gustavo Santaolalla’s fretwork on guitar for the soundtrack perfectly scored the story of a man named Joel (voiced by Troy Baker) and young girl named Ellie (voiced by Ashley Johnson) trekking across a ruined world. It would be the last great PS3 game, as the PS4 was only months away from exploding onto the scene.

Now, Naughty Dog and Sony have completely remastered the original game for the PS4 giving gamers a chance to see and play the game in true 1080p at 60 frames-per-second, and the results are nothing short of astounding.

The Last of Us: Remastered is the perfect “before and after” to highlight the power of the PS4. Starting from the main menu screen, which features an open window with a gentle breeze slightly blowing a soft white drape, the differences can be seen between the two systems. And this is just the menu screen. When the game gets going, the character models and scenery look splendid as the processing power creates much more detail in nearly every way. There is zero de-rezzing on the shadows, which is a tell-tale sign of higher resolutions, and everything is more crisp and the colors–yes, the ruined world of The Last of Us is incredibly colorful with the onslaught of nature re-taking the world as mankind has dwindled. the Green of the grass and trees is vivid and the lighting effects are as realistic as ever.

And it’s important to keep in mind that this is a remaster of the PS3 game, and not built from the ground up for the more powerful PS4. The polish that Naughty Dog has given these files are the framework as how all next-gen remasters should be done going forward.

The Last of Us: Remastered is packaged much like a “game of the year” edition. The side-story DLC, Left Behind is included, as are all of the multiplayer maps that were released as purchasable DLC in the year since the game first hit shelves. The Last of Us: Remastered also features upgraded audio options, and if 60 fps isn’t your thing, you can lock into a 30 fps mode. There are also additional features such as in-game camera/photo mode, and director-commentary for the game’s many cinema tics. Even the controller has been tweaked as the shooting/attack buttons are now mapped to the L2/R2 buttons, which makes combat feel less awkward and more fluid. It is a welcome modification that only solidifies what this remaster has done right.

The Last of Us Remastered PS4 Screenshot

click to enlarge

But no matter how the game looks and plays, what truly separates The Last of Us: Remastered from all of its “survival-horror” contemporaries is the story. A lot has been written about the brutality of the content, but The Last of Us: Remastered is should not be looked at as just a game. This is truly a novel in video game form. By the time the ending comes around, players are moved to emotions not seen in video gaming. We feel like we truly took the journey along with Joel and Ellie–and all of the supporting players, including Tess (voiced by Annie Wersching) Bill (voiced by W. Earl Brown), and Tommy (voiced by Jeffrey Pierce) among others–so that when the story ends, it truly ends. Much like a great novel. It’d be too easy to compare this to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but the similarities are there and that isn’t a bad thing at all. I wish more games were built around strong stories like this. It’s not everyday that a gamer gets to stop and reflect back on what they just played as the credits roll, and The Last of Us: Remastered does that to us. In spades.

Multiplayer has also been remastered, but I admit that I’m not a fan of the multiplayer content here. For what it is, it’s done very well and has a huge following, but the main story of The Last of Us: Remastered is so good that I personally feel the online multiplayer in unnecessary. This is only my opinion, and it does not reflect on the game in any ill light. It’s just a personal observation. I played it for this review, but I doubt I’ll ever play it again. I’d much rather re-play the main story on a higher difficulty or in any of the post-game “+” modes, and seek out the hidden firefly pendants, comic books, or documents that I missed, than play a tired game of post-apocalyptic team deathmatch with seven strangers. The multiplayer seems to ruin that intimacy that I felt with Joel and Ellie. Again, just my opinion.

The Last of Us: Remastered is the poster game for “greatness,” the Sony PlayStation 4 marketing slogan. It’s gorgeous to look at, thrilling, scary, and fun to play, and the story is desperately brutal at times. This package is bursting with DLC content and the entirety of the Left Behind prequel/side-story. Multiplayer has also been remastered, even if I think it is incredibly unneeded here, and the new features and audio upgrades make this feel like a whole new experience. Developers take note: this is how all remasters should be done.

The Last of Us: Remastered was reviewed on PS4 and furnished by Sony Computer Entertainment for the purposes of this review. It was released exclusively for PS4 on July 29, 2014 at a discounted price of $49.99.

The Last of Us Remastered Review PS4
out of 5

TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.