The last of Us has proven to be one of the last generations crowning achievements since it launch in mid 2013. It had been a while since the team at Naughty Dog had departed from the much-loved Uncharted series and while it did borrow some elements from that series, it really pushed the limits of story telling in a market that has rapidly become a combination of cut-scene riddled corridor shooters and generic quest open world titles.
The game went on to sell over 7 million copies in its first year, which is hardly a surprise given that the game got a vast amount of 9/10 to 10/10 scores from the mainline gaming media and many independent review sources. Now the developers at Naughty Dog are back once again to re-release the game and likely hope that most of those 7 million customers are eager enough to buy the game all over again. Sounds silly, but I’ve been eager to replay this game for months and the promise of massively improved graphics, 60fps frame rates and a solid 1920 x 1080 resolution meant I chose to wait a little longer and spend a little extra to play this game again in all its glory, and I suspect I’m not the only one.
The game is still every bit the great game it was, none of the core elements have been changed. I could whittle on and review these aspects, but in all honestly this is ground already well trodden in literally countless reviews, including the one I wrote myself!
“The game is well crafted, the story is simply mind-blowing and it’s got a musical score and direction on par with a blockbuster movie. While some games fail to strike the balance of story and gameplay, The Last of Us delivers on both in one of the best executed gaming experiences I’ve had in years. I managed to get through the game in 20 hours on hard mode on my first play through, something that was no easy task, especially on the last section. You can go for a play through+ mode afterwards and progress your weapons further, but the impact of the story is lessened greatly the second time around, fortunately the thrilling gameplay loses nothing of its charm.” – Me, 1 year ago eTeknix
My opinions of the core gameplay after yet another play-through haven’t changed one bit, the game is still incredible to play through and the story is as griping as it ever was. Of course it’s not the same for those re-playing, but the impact of the story still carries a lot of weight for new comers, especially the opening sequence which I know left many a little choked up.
Aside from the core gameplay, the general experience of The Last of Us has been upgraded in a big way. The changes to the game engine are huge and even the numerous smaller details add up in a big way. On the PlayStation 3 the game used to drop below 30fps in the frantic scenes, LOD used to drop off details in the larger environments, antialiasing effects were basic, textures were colorful, but often a little on the blurry side and lighting effects were limited, these are no longer issues.
The framerate is now a smooth 60fps, I’ve noticed it drop a couple of times in the larger environments, but these moments appear to be in larger none action areas as the game streams lots of texture data and only lasts for a second or two. Interestingly the game can be locked at 30fps for those who love the “cinematic” effect this gives, but once you see a side by side and you’ve played at 60fps, you’ll realize why people kick up such a fuss about it and you’ll never look at the 30fps setting again, which is a juddery mess in comparison. LOD and antialiasing are massively improved, which is no surprise given that the game now runs at 1920 x 1080, not the 1280 x 720 it ran at on the PlayStation 3, also thanks to much faster hardware and a considerably increased memory pool for rendering. Textures are also a lot more detailed and it is safe to say that while the Last of Us was one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 3, it is now also one of the best looking on the PlayStation 4.
So there we have it, a lot of improvements big and small, but overall this really is an aesthetics thing. The game looks better than ever, the game sounds better than ever and little tweaks like using the speaker in the controller for playing back audio tapes and a few sound effects is a nice touch. Overall it’s the same game, but for fans of the original the changes here make it feel well worth playing through it all over again.
“As far as awards go, I’m sticking with my original judgement on this game, it won our editors choice award last time and that is something I stand by. For those who have yet to enjoy the game, this is the definitive edition (it even comes with the Single player and multiplayer DLC included) and well worthy of purchase for any PlayStation 4 gamer. For those who played the original, this is a superb overhaul that makes returning to the title a grand experience, but it couldn’t hurt to wait a little while longer for the price to drop before picking it up again.”
- Massively improved graphics
- Improved sound quality
- All current DLC included
- Use of the light bar and speaker on DS4 is cool
- Paying full retail for a second time just 12 months after buying the game on PlayStation 3 does feel a little strange
- Inclusion of a 30fps mode seems pointless but does add an interesting comparison for those confused by the FPS debate
Thank you Sony for providing us with this sample.