Review: The Last of Us Part I is a worthy revisit of a classic

The last of us is back, even though, in all honesty, it feels like he never left. In fact, now that I’ve had the chance to play The Last of Us Part I, looks like this nine-year-old story just happened. Naughty Dog’s 2013 post-apocalyptic saga comes to the PS5 as if it was originally developed for that console instead of the one released two generations ago. It is because it was, indeed. Naughty Dog trumpets that the game is being “rebuilt” for the PS5 (and possibly PC), and after playing the thing, I believe them.

That leaves a question: is it worth it?

The most beautiful of us

Personally, I think so. On looks alone, The Last of Us Part I is an incredibly beautiful game. In many ways it looks exactly like what I remember the original looking back in 2013 on the PS3. Where my memory and imagination filled in the gaps in texture resolution or water effects or fancy lighting, Naughty Dog used modern hardware to make it “real”. The result of nearly a decade of new know-how and lessons learned developing every game that has happened between The last of us and expresses itself now in this reincarnation. The game includes “Fidelity” and “Performance” graphics presets. I preferred the Performance mode as I don’t have the fanciest TV and liked the added smoothness of a 60fps frame rate lock, but even then, First part looked quite grand. Even small touches, like the way the algae on the surface of the water warp around a character as they swim or the dense spores that choke the air from infested areas, add to the sense of atmosphere.

The same attention to detail has been given to character performances. While the bells and whistles and fancy effects can get you lost in the middle of the gameplay, the cutscenes look top-notch (and indirectly put even more pressure on the upcoming live-action series to excel and stand out). ). Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson are more powerful than ever as Joel and Ellie. As far as I know, Naughty Dog hasn’t actually picked up their performance for this remake. Instead, they remade the scenes using the same motion capture data, updating the character models, and tweaking the end result to make it an “upgraded” version of the original scene. Lighting, angles and effects have been tweaked, to better achieve that cinematic “prestige TV” look they’ve always wanted to go for.

Even a few character designs have been changed, but honestly, I didn’t notice the differences until I did a side-by-side comparison with the original game video. But whether or not Ellie looks more or less like a certain real-life Hollywood actor or not, the voices and performance capture were what sold the many moments of The last of us nine years ago. Now characters move more visibly, tears flow when agitated, skin flushes when angry. The Last of Us Part I also renders cutscenes in real time. This means you can even play with them in the game’s extended photo mode, adding filters and effects, and even adjusting the lighting to achieve a different mood.

The “pretty” also extends to some of the heavier elements of the game, especially when it comes to violence. The Last of Us Part I could have some of the most jarring gory effects I’ve seen since 2002 soldier of fortune 2. Lots of games have blood and guts, but Naughty Dog’s devotion (fixation?) to cinematic realism lends a downright unsettling quality to its battles, made all the more unnerving by modern graphical bells and whistles. Bullets dismember enemies, while headshots actually warp characters’ skull models, leaving wet bits and blackening bloodstains everywhere after a firefight. It’s a small touch, but it was morbidly fascinating to notice a corpse’s blood pooling and flowing following the contours of the tiled floor. Luckily, trickier players can easily disable this trick.

The story is the same as it always has been, about an evil man who bonds with a young girl under the most trying circumstances imaginable. There are powerful moments in this ultimately melancholy tale, and while the novelty of it has worn off after nine years of dull talk, riffs upon riffs (not to mention that the game itself is a riff on fiction as The road et al), and the expanded context of its sequel, the heart of it still beats.

The Last of Us Remake

The price-performance ratio of us

The Last of Us Part I is unquestionably the definitive version of this story when it comes to visual and ‘immersive’ effects, but when it comes to whether it’s worth the purchase, the answer is a bit more complicated. From the point of view of pure consumption value, The Last of Us Part I is honestly a harder sell than it looks. After all, if you own a PS5 and have a PS Plus subscription, you’re already entitled to The Last of Us Remastered, free as part of the PS Plus collection. that and First part – and by extension, the PS3-era original – are in terms of core content, the exact same game. Same characters, same story, same heartbreaking twists. If you played the original (or Remastered) and don’t feel the need to go back to it, a much prettier version of the same story won’t tip the needle in that regard either.

The Naughty Dog team reworked the game’s combat and orientation AI to behave more realistically, incorporating features and behaviors developed for the sequel. But combat is more than just AI behaviors, and with the map layout and general encounter design being largely the same as the original, the behavioral differences between enemies and allies come across as largely cosmetic. For example, allies will now behave more realistically and be more successful at hiding from enemies, but you’ll still see them standing still in view of multiple enemies and not suffering any consequences. After all, no matter how smart their AI is, the game is designed not to penalize you for not escorting Ellie or Sam or any other companion. After all, it would suck if you failed because an enemy managed to flank an NPC you had no control over. In that sense, innovations in AI and combat design from 2020 and beyond end up being limited by the level and encounter design of 2013. So even if they were much better looking and more atmospheric than before, my least favorite sections of The last of us were the same in 2022 as in 2013.

There are also additional modes that could help alter the value proposition of The Last of Us Part I, especially for the type of fan who will revisit the game over and over again. Optional cosmetics allow players to dress up as Joel and Ellie. A character model viewer, art gallery, and even developer commentary for better understanding when re-reading sections. Speedrun mode is also available, unlocking game timers and record keeping. For PS5-specific features, activity cards and in-game help are fully supported. Activity cards are especially useful for players trying to earn the Platinum trophy, as they track and reveal the locations of collectibles, without having to seek that information from an outside source.

The Last of Us Henry

The most definitive of us

However, all of my grumbling about value goes out the window if you have a disability and find yourself wanting to play the game. The Last of Us Part I is easily one of the most accessible games I’ve ever played. Naughty Dog has taken the accessibility features already developed for Part II and built upon them to incorporate into First part. Screen reader support, navigation and game assistance, awareness indicators, and dozens of other options make a potential disabled gamer’s “quality of life” much smoother. You can customize the HUD, adjust effects for motion sickness and color blindness, and more. These accessibility options even extend to gameplay, letting you disable things like losing your breath underwater, adjusting enemy accuracy, and even making stealth more forgiving. You can even set and customize audio cues for combat to make it easier to spot what’s going on if you’re visually impaired.

This also goes for the difficulty options. Independent of the accessibility menu, players can adjust the difficulty to their liking, setting presets for individual combat qualities. Do you love the lethality of combat on the higher difficulties, but hate how resource-starved these modes are? Ask no more, as you can adjust these settings in the menu. For the masochists, the “Grounded Mode” preset also makes a return, disabling most in-game aids like the HUD, “listen mode,” and other seemingly essential survival tools. In Grounded, you can even be stealthily detected by enemies who hear you trying to reload your weapon. In short, if you like to have a more customizable gaming experience or need additional options to play smoothly, The Last of Us Part I is the essential version.

Photomode The Last of Us Part I

Whether it’s really or not Needs exist, the fact remains: The Last of Us Part I exists, and it happens to be the best version of an already pretty good game. The additional accessibility options alone justify it for this section of gamers. Meanwhile, those who want to experience its story at its finest, whether as a newbie or a veteran revisiting an old favorite, should seriously consider playing it. For everyone else, the other versions are available for less.

The Last of Us Part I will launch on PS5 on September 2, 2022. A PC version is also in development but does not have a release window at this time.

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Review: The Last of Us Part I is a worthy revisit of a classic

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