The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The last console generation was a tremendous success for
Naughty Dog. The gorgeous visuals and natural dialogue of the Uncharted series
proved the team was capable of much more than cartoonish character platformers.
The developer then escalated its storytelling to a dramatic new chapter
with the unprecedented, visceral journey of a broken man seeking redemption.
The Last of Us is the defining PlayStation 3 game, and Naughty Dog has refined
its visuals and packed in meaningful DLC content for the new generation.
The Last of Us treads familiar
ground for video games, with a post-apocalyptic world filled with infected
humans hungry for flesh. Naughty Dog uses this grim backdrop to tell a dramatic
tale about a man and the girl he must protect. Similar to the stories told in The Walking Dead and The Road, the narrative impact is found
less in the moment-to-moment action and more about what Joel and Ellie say or
don't say as they scrape by with one another. It's a powerful story of moral
grays and unlikely bonds that I won't risk spoiling for those who will be
experiencing it for the first time on PS4.
Also included in the Remastered
package is the single-player DLC, Left Behind, which fills in a gap in the main
story while offering insight into Ellie's life before meeting Joel. Ellie and a
close friend explore their complicated friendship with each other while
exploring a mall that packs an unexpected development. Naughty Dog does a
terrific job of shifting between the grim tone of Ellie's adventure with Joel
and a more lighthearted encounter with her friend. If you haven't played the
brief-but-powerful Left Behind yet, the Remastered edition is the perfect
Speaking of perfect
opportunities, Remastered is the definitive way to play The Last of Us. Plenty
of HD remakes have hit consoles in recent years, but Naughty Dog's PS4 update
is among the most striking I've seen. The PS3 version of The Last of Us was no
graphical slouch, but Remastered's improvements to the detailed character models,
lighting system, and framerate dramatically elevate it above the original.
Looking at the two versions side by side, it's remarkable how much smoother and
crisper this new version is. Scanning the environment for clues or lining up
crucial headshots feels silky smooth compared to the original (though you can
still lock in Remastered's framerate at 30 frames-per-second if you're a crazy
For all the visual enhancements,
the solid, visceral gameplay remains the same. Sneaking past or stealthily
taking out violent Clickers and marauders is still the order of the day. Ammo
is scarce, so eliminating enemies with spiked 2x4s and shivs is key. Ellie's
A.I. pathfinding still suffers from occasional immersion-breaking hiccups, but thankfully
she's invisible to foes. Merely surviving in The Last of Us can be a punishing
task, but with that challenge comes the satisfaction of living to see the next
turn in the unforgettable story.
The Last of Us made a profound
impact on how I view storytelling in games when I originally played it on the
PlayStation 3. I didn't review the game then, but my thoughts on its myriad
strengths line up well with what Matt Helgeson conveys in his original review. My
personal feelings on Naughty Dog's masterpiece place it a hair higher on our
review scale compared to Matt's original glowing review, PS4 bonuses aside.
All the graphical improvements
are wonderful, but you may be wondering if The Last of Us Remastered is for
you. Like the best visual updates, Remastered plays like you remember it. If
you played 2013's Game of the Year near release and have been dying to return
to the dark tale, then this is a great opportunity. If you never played The
Last of Us at all, this is absolutely the way to do it. But be careful - you'll
never want to go back to the PS3 original again after reveling in all the
Note: We were unable to test The Last of Us Remastered's multiplayer
prior to release, which includes all previously released DLC. These competitive
online modes were fun in the original, but weighed little on our overall
impression of the game. When the servers are live, we will spend time with
these modes in Remastered and update the review accordingly.