Review: The Last of Us: Remastered

I can't give this anything less, I mean Joel's life is already hard enough.

August 07 2014

By Matthew Whitesides

5/5

From the get go you know that you're in for something special.

The Last of Us is a crazy game that easily secures it's spot among the most epic of storytelling in games. Games like Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted 2, and Mass Effect 2 all come to mind when thinking of games from the last generation that truly defined the future of game storytelling. The Last of Us has what is some of the most grounded and heartbreaking tales of any game (or movie for that matter) of the past few years.

Ah Nathan Drake is sooo dreamy...

But what does the game have beyond the cut scenes? The answer is an awesome blend of modern stealth gameplay and visceral shooting. You won't confuse this game with the next Halo or Gears of Way when it comes to the gameplay but that is exactly the opposite of it's not going for. The game favors heavily towards contextual scenarios and "realism" over precision shooting. Playing through the game is about gathering resources and not in the sense so much of leveling up (there is a bit of that) but in just the fact that you use what you find. There is never an expectation that going into a fight you will always be fully prepared, it's how conservative and resourceful you where in the past that determines your load in the future. This leads to a great tension throughout the entire experience, as each bullet you fire is a heavy cost and every shiv you stab into an infected is one less to save you from another. 

"This is a story that takes advantage of being a 12 hour experience that you just wouldn't get from a 2 hour movie."

While the gameplay could stand alone to make this game a fun play, what will really stick with you are the characters. There is a fungal outbreak and zombies have ruined most of the world. This is a easy setup but as any good story that is not the story itself but merely the backdrop for character development. The main player character Joel is a tough as nails but very broken man who like many others has lost a lot but he continues to truck on if not just to go out on his own terms. Joel has carved out a living in the post apocalypse as a smuggler of illegal goods, and soon enough is tasked with delivering a young girl who seemingly has "the cure" inside her. For good reason that might be spoilers Joel is reluctant to take in this girl and knows there is a good chance they both will not make it. The character development between Joel and Ellie is great and by the end of it like a good TV show you really get a good sense of just how much they have been through together. This is a story that takes advantage of being a 12 hour experience that you just wouldn't get from a 2 hour movie. 

Almost unarguably The Last of Us was the previous console generations best looking game. Just the sheer amount of detail in every environment (and there are many) is staggering. Every can, poster, table, and chair are all individually modeled with what seems like almost no repeats. This becomes clear when you see the credits and count how many companies and people worked on the art of the game. This makes the game an artistic achievement that really shines with the remaster on the PS4. Originally the game ran at sub 30fps at 720p and the bump to 1080p/60 is a significant upgrade. That being said you probably won't mistake this game for Uncharted 4, it looks like a game that was made for the PS3 (it was) and some things like the geometry detail, texture resolution and polycount are the only things that are keeping this game from being the best looking game across two generations. 

If you have already played The Last of Us on PS3 just know that this game is exactly that with bumped up visuals being the only new factor. But if not then you need to run out now and do so, you are in for an awesome treat.

Not saying Crysis copied of this but...