This is the third time I’ve played The Last of Us Part I…and honestly, it’s getting to be a bit too much. I played it when it came out on the Playstation 3, then again when it got remastered and enhanced for the Playstation 4 and now (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), I’m playing it again on the Playstation 5.
Why Sony? Why?
There are a ton of other games you’ve left languishing that could’ve used a revival (Ape Escape, Intelligent Qube, the Legend of Dragoon) but you used your resources to remake a Playstation 3 game when an already serviceable Playstation 4 version exists.
So…it begs the question.
Is it worth playing…again?
What is The Last of Us Part I?
The Last of Us Part I is the first game in The Last of Us duology (at the moment). As mentioned earlier, the game originally came out on the PS3 and then was rereleased as an enhanced PS4 title. It is a third person action game with elements of the survival genre mixed in.
Developed by Naughty Dog, the game is published by SIE and is a current Playstation 5 exclusive.
Our copy was provided by the kind people at SIE. A massive thank you guys and gals!
Unlike what you’d think, the game is actually a remake (surprisingly) and not just a beefed up port of the Playstation 4 remaster.
It’s built from the ground up using Naughty Dog’s new Playstation 5 engine, which I assume will be used to run The Last of Us Part III (or a remastered version of Part II) in the future. The Last of Us Part I includes the main game, as well as the DLC, The Last of Us: Left Behind, also done with the new engine.
Despite the remake moniker, the game is a carbon copy of The Last of Us (PS3) and The Last of Us Remastered (PS4) gameplay and plot-wise, with the major enhancements only coming from the visual side of things.
With no new story beats or exclusive content, there’s not much draw for hardcore fans of the series.
This is literally the same game that’s been released twice before. Honestly, I’m really disappointed in that. The least Naughty Dog could’ve done was add in new content but nope, they didn’t add a damn thing.
There’s also no way to upgrade from the PS4 version (as this is a remake and not just a Playstation 5 version of that release) so it might be a bit of a tough sell to rebuy the game again. Sure, the technical improvements are myriad; faster loads, 4K resolution, 3D audio, much nicer visuals and support for the adaptive triggers on the DualSense controller…but honestly, it’s not that much of a draw if you’ve played the game before.
For newbies though, this is the definitive edition of the game.
It’s a game you must have in your Playstation 5 library. As a console exclusive (with a PC version that is coming in the future), this is simply one of the reasons to own a Playstation 5.
The Last of Us Part I doesn’t really innovate or excel in any particular area but everything’s so remarkably polished that it doesn’t have to. Whether it’s sneaking around the infected for silent kills or scavenging materials to cobble together gear you can use, the gameplay mechanics all complement each other to create a very satisfying experience.
That’s because The Last of Us Part I (and Part II) is as much an interactive movie as it is a game.
There’s a mature, mostly logical plot behind the whole thing (it doesn’t depend on horror tropes like an escaped virus for one), with the two main characters being likeable and believable. The father-daughter dynamic between Joel and Ellie is one of the high points of the game, which the sequel uses so very effectively to drive the plot in Part II.
It’s even more immersive this time around, thanks to the new engine and the much improved facial animations. It’s not as great as NetherRealm Studios’ Injustice 2 faces, but its a massive step up from the original game’s.
The Last of Us Part I moving to a new engine certainly drives home its more cinematic effects. The visuals look incredible, even if you’re opting to run it on Performance mode (which aims for a smooth framerate instead of enhanced visual fidelity).
Performance mode is super stable too; I didn’t notice any framerate drop during my hours with the game, even during taxing sections like the ruin skyscraper areas.
It’s equal parts disappointing and weird though that Naughty Dog’s new engine doesn’t have Ray Tracing in any form especially since Sony (and Microsoft) hyped up the feature for the PS5 and Xbox Series X in the leadup to the console launches.
Insomniac’s Spider-Man (yet another PS4 stalwart brought over to the PS5) has multiple options for Ray Tracing, even going as far as offering a 60FPS Performance mode with Ray Tracing.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Ray Tracing tech will be integrated into the engine for future games so don’t take it as gospel that Naughty Dog’s new engine is a weakling compared to Insomniac’s.
The Bottom Line.
It’s strange having a remake be pretty much the same game as the original. Take a look at the original Resident Evil 2 and its remake. They’re worlds apart. Yet The Last of Us Part I is essentially the same game released on the Playstation 3.
The new engine is undoubtedly a great fit for the game. There’s no doubt that the game is simply stunning visually, no matter what mode you’re playing on. Characters and environments are obsessively detailed and there are ton of effects (such as there being dirt and grime on the camera lens in Photo Mode) that really sell the new visuals. The fast loads are great too, as are the DualSense features.
I’d be a liar if I said that was enough to sell me on the game though.
The fact that there’s nothing new (gameplay and content) added rankles.
It’s a huge disappointment, further driving the sentiment that this is a simple cash grab and nothing more.
Perhaps it is, perhaps its not.
One fact is undeniable though; if you’ve played the original game or the PS4 remaster, there’s really no point at all to return to this game unless you’re a trophy hunter or want to replay the game with the new visuals.
Great game for series newbies but nothing worth replaying for if you’re a veteran.
- Great visuals.
- Decent plot.
- Polished gameplay.
- PS5 exclusive features are great.
- Left Behind DLC included.
- No new content or gameplay improvements.
- It’s the same price as a brand new game.