The Last of Us: Remastered – PS4
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer: Naughty Dogs
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: July 29th, 2014
Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10
Reviewed by Scott PM
I can remember reading an article a long time ago in a console generation far, far away about some new post apocalyptic zombie game known as The Last of Us. Out of all of the articles in that issue of Game Informer, that was the only one that interested me. How could the others even compare? They didn’t have anything The Last of Us had. No strong personal appeal, no hyped anticipation. It didn’t look like the rest of the post apocalyptic zombie games. It wasn’t all hues of grays and browns like Fallout 3 or desolate urban environments like Left 4 Dead. This was all greens; wonderful, beautiful greens overgrowing the ruins of society. Needless to say I was excited for it. Woe was me that I didn’t have my own PS3.
When it came out, though, I had access to a PS3, and I impulse bought it. I was not disappointed.
The game throws you right into the height of the outbreak of a fungal infection that is killing a large percentage of infected individuals. These infected have begun turning into raging beasts that beat and bite the uninfected, either killing or infecting them. You are Joel, single father of one young girl, and you and your brother, Tommy, are trying to get out of the area. Everything is chaos.
Flash forward twenty years. Yes, twenty years. I was surprised when I read that subtitle. I knew some time would pass, but twenty years was unexpected. Joel was already an older protagonist; shooting the game forward twenty years pushed him closer to fifty. Joel is living in Boston in a quarantine zone, and the city has been overgrown with vegetation and flooded with infected. He is a member of an underground black market organization and is tasked with smuggling something out of the city: a fourteen year old girl named Ellie, the game’s second protagonist. A fun-filled adventure across America ensues.
I wouldn’t dare give away vital plot elements for a game like this, so that’s all I’ll say on the story. Gameplay-wise, it handles fairly decently. You’re in the third person perspective over the shoulder and use the triggers for aiming and shooting, like any other shooter. In the early stages of the game before you upgrade anything it can be difficult to aim and shoot, which only makes everything more harrowing. As you progress you can upgrade your aiming and shooting abilities, so that isn’t really an issue. Handling Joel other than with a weapon can be wonky, but it adds a measure of realistic control to the game. I know, that sounds like a lame excuse for poor controls, but I have definitely seen worse controls, and I definitely wouldn’t call the controls bad.
Depending on the difficulty level you choose, supplies and ammo can be either plentiful or extremely scarce. The game is designed to be played with limited resources, so unless you’re really against high difficulties I’d go with a harder setting. The difficulty setting also affects your health, which translates to taking more damage from enemies (obviously). Honestly, though, some enemies kill you in one hit no matter what (Clickers) and if you’re in a situation where your health is compromised you probably won’t survive no matter the difficulty. The Last of Us isn’t a “guns blazing” type of game; it’s a stealth game. You have to utilize the shadows and constantly move to keep out of sight if you’re to survive, even on easier difficulties. Long story short: up the difficulty and get the trophy. It’s more fun that way.
I played both the PS3 and PS4 versions of The Last of Us, and while the PS3 version was stunning with its previous generation graphics, the upgrade to the PS4’s graphics is breathtaking. Seeing the game running in 1080p/60FPS makes the PS3’s graphics seem so dated. That’s not to undersell the PS3 version. It’s a great looking game on that system, too. It just looks better on the PS4.
The Last of Us being remastered less than a year after the original release was a hot button topic for awhile after it was announced and after its release. Many questioned why we needed a remastered version so soon (or even at all in some cases). I’m not going to try to defend the practice of remastering games in general, but humor me for a moment. If you own The Last of Us on the PS3, there’s really no reason for you to buy it again. I mean, it looks nice, but it doesn’t really add anything. If you don’t have it on the PS3, the PS4 version is a pretty good deal. You get the full game and the Left Behind DLC for fifty USD, which is ten dollars less than the retail version of The Last of Us without the DLC. Like I have explained to others: remastering last generation games isn’t a practice I want to see continued, but I don’t mind it for the time being.
The Last of Us is a great game. If you’ve been on the internet since its release, you know that. The story is gripping, the controls handle well, and the suspense keeps you on the edge (in a good way). The story is what really drives it home, though. Rarely have I managed to find a game that keeps me enthralled start to finish, one that makes me laugh in between bouts of crying and sweating in fear. If you own a PS4 and haven’t played The Last of Us yet, I would highly recommend this game, especially if you are a fan of story driven games. If stealth games aren’t your thing, I would still recommend you give it a shot. The stealth play is done nicely, unlike other some games with stealth. It doesn’t intrude and isn’t forced. But like I said, the story is where it’s at. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you may even want to scream, which I would avoid doing if you have roommates, and you’ll enjoy every second of it. Just be careful after playing: you may be frightened by the sound of clicking!
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