The Last of Us Part I Review thumbnail

The Last of Us Part I Review

A beautiful remake

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS5 on

The Last of Us Part I is rated Mature by the ESRB

Joel and Ellie have been on a wild ride since their 2013 debut so let's revisit their origins with the remake that is The Last of Us Part I.

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The Last of Us Part I screenshot 1
Hey, they should have made this arcade game playable...

Graphics

The Last of Us Part I is a complete graphical overhaul of the original game and it looks absolutely fantastic. Of course, you'd expect a game made for PlayStation 5 to look awesome but how much better could it possibly be than The Last of Us Remastered that released for PlayStation 4? The answer is simple; you'd be pleasantly surprised. From expressive and subtle facial animations where you can even see characters spit when they raise their voices to gorgeous scenery where nature is starting to take over everything that mankind built up over the centuries; it's a stunning game to take in. I especially enjoy the smooth transitions from cutscenes to gameplay. v1d30chumz 3-235-173-74

The audio is phenomenal, too, with its satisfying gunfire, gruesome infected sounds, top-notch voice acting, and understated score. However, there are some odd audio bugs such as how certain enemies sound like they're right beside you sometimes when they're actually far away. It's like they forgot to add a filter or something. I'm sure this will be patched soon but I figured I'd mention it.

The Last of Us Part I screenshot 2
Joel will meet many friendly folks along his travels with Ellie

Gameplay

The Last of Us Part I is essentially the same game as the original and to be frank, I didn't notice anything exceptionally different gameplay-wise. In fact, you'd have to discriminately play both the original and this simultaneously in order to spot the minor differences that exist. With that in mind, the core gameplay of exploring, solving basic puzzles, and fighting a mix of humans and infected still holds up for the most part. However, one glaring issue that I noticed is how repetitive many of the puzzles and confrontations are. Back in 2013, gamers would have been more forgiving due to the at-the-time unique experience but nowadays, I'm actually surprised by how many scenarios are repeated albeit with minor differences. Thankfully, the high degree of challenge makes many of the confrontations exhilarating.

Another aspect of The Last of Us Part I that I enjoy is how rewarding exploration is, especially when you come across stashes of supplements and upgrade materials then proceed to make your favourite firearms even more potent as well as unlock permanent character upgrades. Letting your listening skill reach further and reducing weapon sway will make you feel like an unstoppable infected-slaying machine. Plus, all of the collectibles are satisfying to unlock and many of them actually flesh out the game world and story.

The Last of Us Part I screenshot 3
I'd hate to brick it to you

Vs. The Last of Us Part II

Even though it's still a great game, as I played through The Last of Us Part I, I was constantly reminded of how much better of a game The Last of Us Part II is. Most notably, the confrontations in The Last of Us Part II are mind-blowing when you consider how diverse and tense they are. Remember the part where you have to sneak past cult members as they whistle at each other in code? Holy hot darn, that was thrilling! How about the fact that enemies call each other by name which makes each kill feel all the more devastating? And don't let me forget to mention the super-frightening rat king. There's nothing like any of these examples in The Last of Us Part I.

Now, don't get me wrong; I don't expect a remake such as The Last of Us Part I to outdo its sequel in these regards but it definitely makes it feel dated when you compare the 2 games. Could they have added more content and mechanics to make the gameplay as exciting as the sequel? Probably. I would have also liked to see additional scenes that hint at events in the sequel. That would have helped make the story side of the equation even more fulfilling, especially for long-time players of the series such as myself.

The Last of Us Part II Review

Extras

Finally, on top of its gripping character-driven story campaign where you also get to enjoy the prequel DLC The Last of Us: Left Behind, The Last of Us Part I contains a massive amount of extras. I'm not sure if everything was also featured in The Last of Us Remastered but there's a lot. Some highlights include an almost 2 hour behind the scenes documentary, photo mode with a ton of options, character and weapon skins, screen and audio filters, cheats, mirror mode, director's commentary, copious amounts of accessibility options, speedrun mode with comprehensive stats, and a gallery with concept art, character models, podcasts, and more. Oh, and how could I forget DualSense implementation which makes using firearms and the bow much more immersive? But, alas, no online Factions mode. 🥺

The Last of Us Part I screenshot 4
Yes, you can pet the dog

Playing The Last of Us Part I made me acquire a newfound appreciation for its sequel because even though it's a great game with incredible characters, it actually feels overwhelmingly dated compared to Part II. You have to love those graphics, though; holy heck!

  • + Absolutely amazing visual overhaul yet everything stays true to the original
  • + Impeccable character-driven story
  • + Oodles of extras to sink your teeth into
  • - Gameplay certainly hasn't held up as well as I hoped it would
  • - No online multiplayer Factions mode
  • - I wish more content and scenes were added
8.3 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play The Last of Us Part I
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