September 25, 2022

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The Last of Us Part One is a restored artwork |  reconsidering

The Last of Us Part One is a restored artwork | reconsidering

Modern classic is a little more modern

written by Lars Cornelis, previous reference

How would you rate a game that has already been reviewed twice? A game that is rightly called a modern classic, where everything has already been mentioned and written about? This question has been on my mind a lot in recent weeks while playing the first part of The Last of Us. A reproduction that may seem superfluous, but is worth having by being faithful to the original.

Make no mistake about it: The Last of Us Part 1 is truly a rework on an artistic level. A new engine, re-animated characters, much-improved sound, and infinitely more detail in the faces, clothing, and environments make it clear that we’re dealing with a real PlayStation 5 game, certainly not a polished PlayStation 3 title. . The above isn’t just technical nonsense that you can sum up as “The Last of Us Part 1 is nicer”.

The dynamic range of both picture and sound amplifies every moment. In Pittsburgh, if a jeep chases you with a .50 machine gun, you’ll hear and see the area devastated. Above and behind you you can hear how each bullet collides, while glass and concrete shatter with raw violence.

In the flabby ruin that was once an imposing skyscraper, silence reigns. Atmospheric rain taps on the windows and in the distance you hear the thunder, until the terrifying sound of the mare suddenly breaks the silence. Immediately dive into survival mode and try to dodge the zombie-like creatures. Finding the right escape route is not difficult, because the softer colors and natural lighting keep the details visible in the darkest of environments. More than nine years later, The Last of Us has once again set the standard for how games look and sound.

The Last of Us Part 1

At the same time, The Last of Us Part 1 does not deviate from the source material. Concretely, this means that you are going through the exact same story, with the same locations, dialogues, events, encounters, and music. Compare it to copying text, but on more luxurious paper, with a better pen and with finer handwriting.

With that said, Naughty Dog keeps the most important thing in The Last of Us: the emotion. After all, The Last of Us isn’t about action or puzzles, it’s about the emotional journey of two incredibly human opposites. The old Joel who lived saw with his own eyes how an entire community collapsed after an outbreak of a deadly virus. In the midst of all the misery, he finds a new cause for interest: Ellie. She is young, naive, and bold and knows no better than the world as it is. They have to live together.

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What follows is a beautiful game story that is still unparalleled in humanity. It’s a heavy story full of emotional lows, but it also manages to ease the tension with its innocent little moments. The growth the two characters go through, marked by all the events along the way, is a journey you will always remember as a player.

The Last of Us Part 1

After nine years and countless replay sessions, the first installment of The Last of Us still manages to touch and move. Even if you know what’s going to happen, there are still moments of you tracking in your stomach, while after a moment you can look at a piece of innocence with a lump in your throat. We’ve seen the parent-child relationship in more games, like God of War, Death Stranding, A Plague’s Tale, and even Halo Infinite, but no one does it like The Last of Us. This is a game to cherish.

So it is understandable that there is no objection to the setup. The Last of Us is particularly well-balanced and you don’t want to lose balance with new or modified scenes. But that doesn’t mean the original is perfect. At that time, frequent “puzzles” with planks, ladders and rafts were already passive. Ellie shouts “Oh, that thing again” again when you have to help her on a piece of water for the umpteenth time by moving a raft.

The Last of Us Part 1

The artificial levels and “battlefields” look a bit outdated. The alleys and stairs that you don’t have to explore are all fortified by chance with benches and bases. When you have to fight with people or zombies, you have a very suitable cover. These designs are so ostentatious that at some point you will quietly chat with another character and already know that you will have to fight in the same place. After all, there are unnaturally placed chests and carts everywhere to hide behind.

By the way, the fight itself has not changed. It’s noticeable that your computer-controlled allies in particular act more realistically and don’t pass through the firing line like a headless chicken, but that’s about it. You can’t hide in the grass, and while enemies’ bodies can be completely deformed by bullets and explosions, their friends don’t scream in horror like in The Last of Us Part II. Much better at sensible environments design and fun combat, but we don’t see any of that in this new version.

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However, Naughty Dog was not only limited to the most beautiful images and sounds. With minor changes that perfectly harmonize with the whole, the developer guarantees more continuity. Take the weapon mod method. In the original game, you can modify weapons in workbenches, but you actually click on a list on what you want to improve and place, your weapon is improved. Now you see – just as in Part 2 – how the weapon is tampered with and how the tool is returned to the backpack. This seems like a small thing, but it keeps you “in the game”. This is important in a game that depends a lot on the emotional bond you create with the characters. You don’t want to interrupt this range with a loading screen or menu.

The Last of Us Part 1

Thus, the scenes are now seamlessly connected to the game. This means not only that load times are completely absent, but that you also see Joel and Ellie as they currently look in the game. In the original game I saw a kind of “vanilla” versions of the characters, without weapons and equipment. Now there’s a baseball bat on Joel’s back, or a fat gun on his hip; Everything you carry at that time will be visible in the game. Joel and Ellie are also dirty, wet, or infected, depending on what you just went through. It makes the characters more believable and the emotion stronger.

Technically, Naughty Dog sets the standards very high as we are used to from the studio. As mentioned, the sound and graphics are at a high level, and the finishes are great too. Don’t expect any bugs or crashes here. Graphically speaking, you can choose between ‘Fidelity’ and ‘Performance’, with performance targeting 60 fps. However, Fidelity is not locked at 30fps, but at 40fps. This is a trick we see in more Sony games and 120Hz TVs benefit a lot. Contrary to what the number suggests, 40fps is exactly between 30 and 60fps, while the game continues to run at the highest resolution. You can even play at unlocked frame rates to always get the most out of your PlayStation 5. The drawback of this is that you get unstable black values ​​on some TVs at a variable refresh rate, while there are a lot of dark scenes in The Last of Us. But of course you can’t blame Naughty Dog for that.

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The Last of Us Part 1
the last of us

The Last of Us Part 1

All things considered, stamp remakes may give false expectations. After all, Part 1 doesn’t deviate from the source material anywhere, although the improvements go well beyond those made in The Last of Us Remastered in 2014. You can choose to have Naughty Dog use this new version to update combat and level designs as well, But the question is whether we have the same experience then. History teaches us that conditioning processes for precious sources do not always go well.

I see Part One of The Last of Us as a restoration of a work of art. This restoration is valuable to our medium because technology simply does not stand still. Thanks to this restoration, The Last of Us can still have the same impact on a new generation of gamers nearly a decade later. For example, players who were too young for an adult game like this at the time, but also players who will soon discover it on PC, thanks to the many accessibility options, can finally play this game as well, or anyone who enters it for the first time Once on an upcoming HBO series. She communicates with Joel and Ellie.

So if we evaluate this new version from the perspective of an old person living in the hand, the added value compared to the original or reworked from 2014 is zero. For those who view it this way, the nostalgic memory will be strong enough to see the old graphics of the original, causing this new version to lose its main raison d’être. If we look at the new version from the perspective of the younger, more open generation, this is their chance to enjoy this unpaid neoclassic.

The Last of Us Part 1 will be available on September 2 for PlayStation 5. The game will also be available on PC at a later date.