Released in 2013 on the PS3, Naughty Dog’s opus won virtually every game of the year award, so it’s unsurprising that it should see a re-release on the PS4 with polished graphics and improved frame rate. To try and tempt fans to double-dip and purchase the new edition, all of the DLC has been included within the game, including the fantastic Left Behind and the ridiculously challenging Grounded difficulty level.
The PS3 original looked beautiful, and pushed the ageing hardware to its absolute limits. With the additional fidelity 1080p offers, this version looks just as gorgeous - plus it runs much more smoothly. Unfortunately the limitations of the original game are put under more of a microscope with the improved definition, and some textures and items look a little blocky and unnatural. However, this is a minor niggle in a game that is still perhaps one of the best looking console games ever made.
When summarising the story it can sound like every other post-apocalyptic zombie adventure. But in TLOU the scenario the characters find themselves in is just a tiny part of the narrative; the real draw revolves around the two main characters and their interactions, Joel and Ellie. Joel is a hardened survivor, who, after losing his daughter has let virtually no one get close to him. Ellie is a feisty 14 year old who thinks she knows it all and can handle herself. Throughout the game the relationship between these two evolves and matures and becomes the most interesting aspect of the plot.
The developers spent a long time crafting the characters, and the way they are used to produce and manipulate emotions within the player are some of the key strengths in the game. The way I felt towards Ellie at the end was a mix of genuine compassion and affection; I cared about the characters as if they were real. This is something that no other medium, let alone a game, has ever been able to do for me.
Naughty Dog have done a good job in making the player feel uncomfortable with the level of violence. You often ask yourself, who is the real bad guy, me or my assailants? There is also a crafting system for which you will need to hunt for supplies in every nook and cranny, and a multiplayer that is far better than it should be when attached to a single player game of this quality. New to this version of the game is Photo Mode which allows you to pause the game and then manipulate the camera to capture the action. You can then add filters and edit the photo and share with friends, while not a reason alone to buy, it is a nice addition.
Combining the original game and all the DLC (and selling it all at a price lower than some PS3 games) makes this the most attractive and definitive version of the The Last of Us. It's unlikely to attract any but the hardcore fans to make another purchase, but is well worth the investment for those who haven’t played the original. It is a masterpiece, and one of the best games for a generation; I would urge anyone that hasn’t played it to give it a try.
The Last of Us Remastered is released for PS4 on August 1
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