The Last of Us: A re-review (Also a brief word on the remastered version)

(Picture taken by me via PS4 share. All rights of the game and the picture’s contents belong to Naughty Dog)

Well then. Shortly after its release I reviewed Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” and, although I thought of it as a good, enjoyable game I had some issues with it: I had a problem with the pacing of its story. I didn’t care about some of the NPCs and I felt the game had been incredibly over-hyped. I played the game a lot more and ended up putting it on my game of the year list, but now the PS4 “Remastered” version is out and I’ve finished the game five times overall (four on PS3, once on PS4) I feel compelled to share my updated thoughts on the game as a whole. Also I’ll be briefly commenting on the remastered version over the original.

Firstly, my original reviews of the main game and its story DLC “Left Behind” (Included in the remastered version) can be found respectively:

https://thereviewingfloor.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/the-last-of-us-review/

https://thereviewingfloor.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/dlc-review-the-last-of-us-left-behind/

Anyway, the remastered version. The main differences here are the inclusion of all the PS3 version’s DLC (including the most recent “Grounded” difficulty level) and its graphical improvements- the game now runs at sixty frames per second as opposed to thirty, and generally looks sharper and more detailed. Now, I’ll freely admit I don’t know anything about frame rates, and my bespectacled eyes
couldn’t point out the differences to someone. However, I genuinely can see a differences here. The whole game runs a lot smoother here- both gameplay and cutscenes, and it’s a big improvement. The game looked amazing on PS3, but does look sharper and more detailed here, almost surprisingly so. This combined with all the included DLC, and the quality of the game overall makes it worth a purchase, even for those who already own it on PS3- if you own a PS4, you need this in your collection.

Right, now onto the main game itself.

Upon its release a how lot of praise was thrown at “The Last of Us”. A lot of people gave it game of the year. Some called it the game of the last console generation, and best game on the PS3. That’s a whole lot of hype, and as I said earlier- I didn’t buy into it. Having finished the game five times now, I have to say- I agree with at least part of it. It IS the best game on the PS3, and it’s definitely one of the best games of the last console generation (I don’t think there is a best game of the last generation- that’s far too hard to narrow down), and here’s why:

Gameplay:

As close to perfect as the “Action adventure” genre gets: good stealth with options and enemy reactions that are realistic but fair. Melee combat that feels weighty, brutal and satisfying. Shootouts that take into account people firing guns with experience rather than training, bullets making your character stagger, and limited ammo meaning you have to constantly switch your tactics. Speaking of which, the game offers choices so naturally and fluidly- during a fight you can (and will) run and hide, shoot, melee, stealth kill and employ explosives- each choice feels legitimate and switching between them is never explicitly told to you by the game- you’re just left to figure it out. Every enemy encounter is fantastic- as you make your way through the game you’ll use your various skills and crafted weapons in a variety of ways to deal with each situation in a truly dynamic way. Whether it be shooting, stealth, melee, explosives or its crafting system, it does every equally well.

Story: (Spoilers)

Having experienced the story start to finish five times now, it’s definitely grown on me. The moments I considered stand-out the first time around (the opening, the conversation in the house during autumn, winter, the ending) are still masterful, but I’ve come to appreciate the story as a whole a lot more, as well as more individual moments. The whole set-up of Joel and Tess’ relationship, then the rest of the game showing how Joel operates alone, with no backup (at least until Ellie gets a gun, which isn’t for a while) and nothing left to live for besides his charge is a great character study. Ask yourself at some point before the Dam level: what does he have to go back to? Every new character adds something different to the story, whether it be Bill’s paranoid, pragmatic approach to his situation or Henry and Sam’s optimistic but dark reflection of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The shift between seasons feels smoother now. I notice the small things in each area and they all resonate in the grand scheme of things. That ending run to the elevator, Ellie in Joel’s arms, is still a troubling, stirring moment, and the ending is still makes me well up. Put simply, the story is amazing, both in terms of broad strokes and its fine details.

Even if it did take multiple runthroughs  for me to see it, I know now- it really is something special. The gameplay is a fantastic mixture of different styles and the story is an emotional, expertly crafted look at a post-apocalypse world. It’s the best game exclusive to PS3, one of the best games of the last generation, one of the best games I’ve ever played and one of my personal favorites.

By James Lambert
@jameslambert18

Oh, and though it may seem petty:
1) They’re not zombies. They’re living people infected with the cordyceps fungus
2) People who say that the game Is/Practically is/Might as well be a film: Shut the hell up. You’re going to say that in a world where David Cage exists? Piss off back to whatever cesspool you crawled out of.

Author: James Lambert

My name is James and I run this here Reviewing Floor. Game reviews, opinion pieces and episode by episode breakdown reviews of anime and live action TV are my stock in trade, so if you're into that sort of thing, stick around and have a read, why not?

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