Yesterday, we had our first opportunity to go hands-on with Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us update for PlayStation 4. Sony wisely put it side-by-side with the original edition (our review) for comparison purposes, driving home just how much the Remastered version has improved.

The first thing you’re likely to notice is the visual upgrade from 720p and 30 frames per second to 1080p and 60 frames per second (though you can lock things down at 30 FPS should you choose). Naughty Dog tells us that character textures have been increased by a factor of four, shadows have been doubled (along with a new lighting process), and draw distance is noticeably better.

Motion blur when turning the camera (used to hide slower loading textures) has been significantly reduced, but not eliminated. The game’s gritty, destroyed environments look crisper, which was even more pronounced in the side-by-side comparison. It looks spectacular.

Audio has gotten a significant improvement, with more options to customize your setup. For audiophiles playing with high-end stereo headsets, you’ll be able to change the azimuth (to tune alignment and timing for better synchronicity across the channels). You can also decide whether your center channel plays dialog, dialog and sound effects, or nothing at all.

For those that want to play with some additional insight, you'll be able to turn on commentary. Creative director Neil Druckmann and Troy Baker go behind the scenes as you're playing. 

Performance has also improved, with instant load times thanks to streaming from the hard drive instead of the disc. The controls have been revamped to take advantage of the Dual Shock 4. The lightbar will signal health, with healthy blue scaling to orange when injured and red when critical. 

The touchpad button is used to open Joel’s backpack now, but the biggest change is the speaker. The controller will now play the click of the flashlight and audio recordings you find around the world. No longer will you have to stay in the menu to listen to them. They’ll continue playing from your controller while you continue with the game.

Saves won’t carry over to the Remastered version, and this includes your progress in Factions mode. However, if you played the PS3 version of the multiplayer at all, you’ll get a supply point bonus to help get you started.

The Remastered version includes the Abandoned Territories and Reclaimed Territories map packs, as well as the Left Behind story DLC. If you purchased any of the DLC that’s not included in the Remastered version, that will carry over. You’ll just need to download it to your PS4. The season pass is no longer available, so if you want to purchase everything now, expect to spend over $70 (if you want every weapon, additional skill, and cosmetic hat). The weapons and skills will cost you $13.47 and most of the cosmetics can be purchased a la carte for $.99 or $1.99.

Sony told us that its considering more multiplayer DLC for The Last of Us, as there is an expectation there will be renewed interest with the PS4 release. There are no commitments yet, but the fact that it was even floated as a possibility (without solicitation) gives us the feeling we should expect to see it.

The Remastered edition will have its own trophy set, so if you are angling to add to your Platinum collection, you can double up on The Last of Us. The trophies are identical to the PS3 original.

The Last of Us Remastered Edition will arrive on July 29 for $49.99.