Considering the hub-bub surrounding the original PS3 release last year, there was a surprisingly awkward marketing push for this remastered rendition of The Last of Us. It was announced almost by error in March earlier this year, more than two months before it was officially revealed by Sony at their press conference at E3. Even then, it was oddly absent from the PlayStation E3 showfloor for any hands-on opportunities.
Although many could argue that the re-release of a title that won over 200 awards, including multiple Game of the Year accolades doesn’t require much fanfare. The Last of Us was praised for its polished controls, beautiful graphics and above-all, an emotionally driven and intelligent storyline filled with memorable characters. However, with it being released towards the end of the PS3 console’s lifecycle, a lot of fans were left wondering - how much better could it have been on better hardware?
Now those questions have been answered. Developers Naughty Dog have just released The Last of Us Remastered for the PS4. It’s the same epic adventure, following survivors Joel and Ellie in a world overcome by an infectious, parasitic plant-based plague which turns humans into mindless killers.
It’s a harrowing survival story as Joel and Ellie trek across the United States of America avoiding death around every corner. Danger will come not only in the form of the infected, but also from fellow survivors who are so desperate they’ll do anything for food or supplies - including cold-blooded murder.
Along the way, it’s the characters in The Last of Us that draw you in so convincingly. You will form an emotional bond with Joel, Ellie and the rest of the cast and be taken on a roller-coaster that twists and turns to keep your white-knuckled hands firmly on the controller.
Except now, on the PS4, it’s rendered in stunning 1080p resolution.
The original PS3 version of the game looked incredible at just 720p resolution. The Last of Us Remastered presents us with nearly twice the number of pixels on screen, resulting in sharper background textures, more detailed facial features and more realistic hair and lighting effects.
The Remastered version also delivers all of this at a silky smooth 60 frames per second, although this framerate does tend to stutter in certain points in the game where there is a lot of action taking place on screen at once. The developers were aware of this though, and the game can be limited to 30 frames per second via the in-game settings, and doing so ensures a consistently smooth experience for those who aren’t complete videophiles.
One word of warning is that Sony have released a decent sized patch that players will be asked to download as soon as inserting the disc - but it addresses a lot of the visual issues and is worth the update before playing.
For those who have already experienced the greatness of The Last of Us on PS3, there isn’t a lot of need to rush out and buy this on your new PS4. Afterall the game’s strongest suit was the storyline, and despite how brilliant it is, it doesn’t offer much more on a second play-through.
However for those who missed the boat last year, you would be foolish to not see what all the fuss is about now. What should really sweeten the deal for PS4 owners is the Remastered version of The Last of Us also includes the follow-up downloadable content, such as Ellie’s prequel chapter titled Left Behind. Which easily adds another two or three hours to the length of gameplay and expands on the riveting character developments.
What was one of the best games for the PlayStation 3 is now one of the best games you can buy for the PlayStation 4. You owe it to yourself to experience this masterpiece first hand.