The Last Of Us Part 1
When it comes to remasters or remakes of previous titles, Naughty Dog is one of the few developers who are no strangers to either treatment. Earlier this year we saw the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves collection which included remasters of Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy respectively. Kicking off the final third of the year, we now have The Last Of Us Part 1, but wait, you might be wondering, didn't we already see a remaster of The Last Of Us? Yes, which is why this game is a remake of the original and not simply a "next-gen port."
The Last Of Us was released in 2013 as sort of a "swan song" for the PlayStation 3, released five months before the launch of the PlayStation 4. Its attempt to be the last "hurrah" of one of Sony's best-selling consoles proved to be a success as it received ample amount of praise for its storytelling and atmosphere. The following year in 2014 saw a remaster for the PlayStation 4 which included the prequel, Left Behind, and some quality of life changes to match the upgraded hardware.
With the vision of "lightning striking twice," Naughty Dog released The Last Of Us Part 2 in 2020, again months before the official launch of the PlayStation 5. The adage proved true as its reception was arguably better than the original The Last Of Us. This could be chalked up to hype and anticipation for the continuation of Ellie's story. It could even attribute to the heavy marketing Sony provided. I remember first seeing the announcement trailer live at the E3 Showcase in 2018.
Now we're finally in the era of a remake, which is far more likely than it appears to be at first. The Last Of Us came out nine years ago two generations ago. Its remaster was but a fresh coat of paint released the following year. On all accounts, it was due for an overhaul considering how Part 2 fixed many of the issues the first game had. Naughty Dog asked, "What if we could use what we learned in Part 2 and apply it to the first game?" They answered their own question with The Last Of Us Part 1. Being that I have never played the first game save for watching Let's Plays of it from various YouTubers, this was my first foray into the game itself.
I'd like to say that the game is more than "$70 with add-on accessibility features," but everything has been updated to appeal to modern times. The animations are fluid as well as the framerate, providing a boost in smoothness for higher resolution thanks to the PS5's capabilities. The game feels like it was made for the next-generation much like I felt when I played Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed. Of course, players who are familiar with the original be it on the PS3 or PS4 would feel the difference. I'd be inclined to agree that it may not be worth spending the money depending on what you're looking for.
Add-ons like "permadeath" and other speedrun categories may simply not warrant the purchase when one can purchase the Remastered version for cheap. Like the Remastered version, the Ellie DLC prequel is included as well as many of its other features. The game looks beautiful including creepy claustrophobic buildings and lush green foilage when outdoors. The shading is the best it has ever been baked and the combat feels as intuitive as Part 2.
There's not much to really say of the gameplay itself, however. The Last Of Us Part 1 is for two types of players, the diehard fans of the series and those who hadn't played the game for the first time as of yet. I fit in the category of the latter as do many players, so this is definitely the definitive version of all three releases.
However, for everyone else, I can't warrant a reason to choose this over Remastered. Personally speaking, I liked the appearances of the characters in the original over the remake as the remake makes them look older, closer to their Part 2 counterparts. Part 2 takes place five years after the first game, which defeats the purpose of omitting their younger appearance. Regardless, I appreciate the effort Naughty Dog made in going the extra mile to give the "director's cut" of a game that is arguably one of their best yet.
The Last Of Us Part 1 is available on the PlayStation 5 with a PC release in the near future.