The Last of Us Remastered hits store shelves today, and many of you are probably wondering if this reworking of last year’s masterpiece for PlayStation 4 is going to be worth the cash, especially if you’ve already played it on the PlayStation 3. You may be wondering if a game that’s already good can really be made “better” to the point where it’s worth buying again.
I’ve played enough to get to the basement of the Pittsburg Hotel so far, and for me the answer is: absolutley, yes, it is absolutely worth the R550. Not only is it prettier, but it’s the whole package – you get all of the game’s downloadable content, which includes the excellent Left Behind missions and all of the extra multiplayer maps and skins. It’s a good deal.
Naughty Dog has also added a new feature with a patch that downloaded shortly after the disc was inserted: the ability to freeze the action any time a cutscene isn’t playing, and rotate the camera in creative ways to take pictures of whatever’s going on. It’s pretty versatile, complete with filters and the option to frame your pics, and of course upload them to Facebook/Twitter using the PS4’s Share button.
But what makes the game such a joy to play again is that it feels like watching a Blu-ray of a favourite movie that I’d only ever seen on video, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Since all of the game’s visual assets have been up-scaled to take advantage of the PlayStation 4’s processing power, its already-good graphics are even prettier than before. There are no jagged edges as it now runs at full 1080p, textures are sharper and the frame rate is much higher than the 30fps or so of the PS3 version.
As a result of these extra frames per second, motion is smoother and controlling Joel and Ellie feels just that smidgen more responsive, which goes a long way to making playing again feel fantastic.
Naughty Dog has also introduced a brand-new lighting system that illuminates darkened scenes in a far more realistic fashion, making certain scenes appear almost photo-realistic at times. They also kicked up texture detail quite a few notches, particularly on the main characters: clothes textures are superbly realistic, and the tears and blood that occasionally flow look that much more life-like.
An interesting side-effect of the graphical overhaul is that parts of the game that didn’t get the same level of attention now stick out like a sore thumb. Some outdoor scenes, for example, look a little bland thanks to dull texture surfaces and the lack of reflective glass, and the Boston Quarantine Zone looks slightly less lively than it did on the PS3 version. At least, that’s what my eyes told me.
But for the most part, the game looks incredible, and plays pretty much exactly the same as the original. This is, after all, a remaster and not a remake, so there’s nothing new to see here, content-wise.
To answer the question of whether you should or shouldn’t get it, let me put it this way: if you’ve played the game before and you loved it (and since bought a PS4, obviously) then definitely – it’s like buying the Collector’s Edition of your favourite movie on Blu-ray that comes with all the extras. If you played it when it first came out but didn’t finish it because you found it a bit meh, don’t bother with this because it’s the exact same game, just prettier.
And if you’ve not played it at all, this is the version to get.
The Last of Us Remastered is out today for an estimated retail price of R549.