By now, you’ve probably heard the heated discourse around The Last of Us – Part I, so let’s clear the air first. Yes, this is the same game you played in 2013, and it doesn’t even have the multiplayer that was initially bundled with the original game. Oh and Sony is asking for nearly five grand for a game you played nearly a decade ago. We know how crazy this sounds, and before we played the game, we were right there at the front lines questioning developer Naughty Dog’s motives. But after spending the last few days experiencing this remake first-hand, we can’t help but appreciate all the hard work and effort that has gone into what is a stellar gaming experience.
Since this is a decade year old game, it doesn’t make sense diving into the plot since that remains unchanged. What has improved however is facial animation – and graphical fidelity across the board. Characters don’t look as clunky as they did in 2013, and the cutting edge visuals really sell the game’s emotional moments. Gameplay in this remake is similar to The Last of Us 2’s gameplay – which means Joel is more fluid and precise in combat. While you still aren’t as nimble as Ellie – or can’t go prone (as that would break certain sections in the game), gameplay in this remake feels just as polished and visceral as it did in the sequel. And since TLOU2 is largely considered by many as one of the best third-person action games made, trust us, the combat absolutely bangs. Gore hounds will also rejoice as this remake uses the dismemberment and violence from TLOU2 so be prepared to see a lot of brain matter being splattered or limbs being blown off.
As far as level design goes, it’s the same as the original but combat still feels fresh and different because of two main reasons – improved enemy AI and updated visuals. While TLOU was a looker when it released on the PS3 in 2013, it won’t hold a candle to today’s standards, and Naughty Dog has gone above and beyond in literally remaking every level from scratch. Not only does this game look and feel like a current gen experience, but it out shines many games from this generation as well. Enemy AI has also been improved across the board, so enemies are more aggressive and will corner you or try and flush you out. This makes combat scenarios super intense as you have to constantly think on your feet and keep moving. You can’t just bunker in behind cover and shoot enemies as they run at you in a single line.
We get the price complaints and the fact that it is the same game, but trust it, this remake also feels very different thanks to a massive graphical and technical overhaul – and the fact that nearly every mechanic has been remade from the ground up. Wait for a price cut if you must, but definitely do not miss out on this gem of a game.