After receiving over 200 Game of the Year awards and having sold over 7 million units, it would be hard to argue that The Last of Us isn’t a success. An achievement in both storytelling and on the technical side, Naughty Dog’s game became an instant classic, but does it really need make up this soon? And is this a premium make up service?
When I look back, just one year ago, to the launch of the PS3 version, and now that I have played the remastered version on the PS4, I can’t help but feel that the later doesn’t add enough to the formula to be revisited. There are some minor differences here and there, and the gain in quality is mainly acquired through higher resolution, better frame rate, and sharper textures. It almost seems like the developers just made it hard on themselves to release the remastered version so close to the launch of the original, knowing it was a technical marvel on PS3 and so soon in the life cycle of a new generation of hardware.
Comparisons aside, this still remains as one of the most realistic experiences of survival in a post-apocalyptic scenario in recent years, and one that really make us care about the main characters, Joel and Ellie, and their journey across a violent, dramatically changed new world in which only the ones that adapt can survive. The attention to detail is outstanding, both in the diverse and beautifully illuminated environments, facial expressions and animation, and the over the top actor representations of the characters parts. The importance of sound to safely traverse the landscape is also a big win to create a realistic experience and the minimalist music creates the appropriate mood for every scene.
Gameplay wise there is much to look for. From collecting parts to combine and create weapons, to the upgrades that can be done to Joel’s abilities, it all gives us a sense of progression that even fits the storyline itself as time goes by. The limited amount of ammunition for weapons will force us to use a more defensive strategy and use the environment and the melee combat in more effective ways. Fortunately, the production of the game was not seduced by scripted events as a way to create tension. Instead, it uses a realistic struggle for survival, in which the slightest carelessness, like being detected by enemies, could put an end to the adventure. This version includes several changes to the original control scheme, taking advantage of the new features only available on the DualShock 4.
While this is the definitive version of the game, it doesn’t really change the experience in a way that will make you want to go back and do it all over again. There is, however, the addition of the photo mode, that you can use to take photos while playing with the available settings, such as filters, focus and camera positioning. Also added to the mix are all the previous DLC map packs for the multiplayer mode and the Left Behind single-player prequel to the storyline, previously only available through separate acquisitions on the PlayStation 3, that brings in extra value to the remastered edition. Still, The Last of Us is, as it was last year on PS3, a masterpiece, now enhanced by the power of a new generation machine. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of The Last of Us, do it now because you are in for the ride of your life.