The Last of Us: Remastered emerged last Friday, bringing one of the finest games of last year to the PS4, and inviting a whole bunch of people who'd never played the award-winning game before to enjoy it in super-sparkly fashion, with the game having been given a fairly impressive graphical overhaul.
You can see the difference to a certain extent in the comparison video we sent live last week (embedded below), but really videos don't do this game justice. It was one of the best-looking games on the PS3 (if not the best-looking game on the PS3), and it really looks the business of PS4.
If you've never played The Last of Us before, here are five reasons why picking up the Remastered version is something you really ought to do.
1. The award-winning original remains intact
Naughty Dog don't make bad games, at least they haven't even come close yet. I gave The Last of Us 8/10 and an Editor's Choice badge last year, praising it for its script, its cinematography, and the standout performances from Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson. Here's what I said in my review:
The Last of Us tells a cracking story, but it does so in such a heavy-handed way that it's difficult to feel totally engaged come the conclusion. Well paced, superbly written, and boasting some of the best visual and audio work of this generation, Naughty Dog have once again produced a fine game. This is linear blockbuster gaming at its best, and it dazzles the senses. even if the form disappoints the mind a little given the genre.
The criticisms I brought up in my review are still valid, but that doesn't make The Last of Us: Remastered any less of an attractive proposition. It's a must-play game if only for the story itself, and you owe it to yourselves to see What Naughty Dog Did After Uncharted.
2. Only it's better than ever now
There's no going back once you've had a taste of the PS4 version. The PS3 version of the game feels noticeably choppier now. Performance between the two versions is as different as night and day, with the framerate nearly always clocking a solid 60 fps. I noticed a little dip during one of the Bloater battles, but there's barely been a moment thus far where the Remastered version has dipped. It feels more responsive, more fluid, and more of a joy to play. I'll be honest, I've never been the biggest fan of how Naughty Dog's games handle, but this is really rather impressive indeed.
3. It's as complete a package as can be
TLOU Remastered comes with all of the DLC released thus far for the game, including the singleplayer expansion -- Left Behind -- and the multiplayer Abandoned Territories and Reclaimed Territories map packs. The fourth and final piece of DLC -- Factions -- arrives on both PS3 and PS4 later this year
4. There are bonuses to be had if you've played the game before
I've been against the idea of The Last of Us: Remastered in principle ever since it was announced, but that's because I played the original. I still have my PS3 and I still have that copy. Not that I've really turned my PS3 on since the arrival of its successor. But as someone who bought all of the Lord of the Rings films and then bought the Extended Editions all over again, I see the attraction of bonus features, and the optional commentary from the developers and principal actors is a great bonus addition for fans. So too is Grounded mode, which is brutally hardcore, nixing the HUD and really upping the enemy AI to cruel levels.
5. It'll make your eyes weep with joy
The original game ran at 720p, but the crisp visual tones of 1080p are here for all the world to see. The Last of Us is finally available in full high-definition. Put simply, this is how it should have looked all along. If you're playing this for the first time, make sure you're playing the definitive version. Veterans will likely notice the improvements made to the game's lighting -- a crucial consideration for any horror title -- and incredibly fine detail exhibited by the game world really stands out now.
So, should you buy it?
This is a no-brainer. It was an essential purchase before, and The Last of Us remains so on the PS4 thanks to its discounted price, full DLC inclusion, and extra bells and whistles. I'd even go so far as to say that it's well worth picking up if you have played it before, though obviously that depends on your opinion of the game itself. But if you were planning on giving it another playthrough, do yourself a favour and play this version. It's a smoother experience, with the visual upgrades and improved framerate going a long way to making the handling a more enjoyable affair. The commentary is a great bonus, and Grounded mode will test even the hardiest of survival horror aficionados. But perhaps best of all, the greater degree of detail really makes the world of The Last of Us pop, and shows off the combination of Naughty Dog's affinity for crafting envionments and characters, and the superlative performances by their principal actors.