The Last Of Us Part I Review – Cry The Weekend Away
Developed by Naughty Dog
Published by PlayStation
Available on PlayStation 5
Back in 2013, when the original release of The Last Of Us came out for the PlayStation 3, it was a hard-hitting, depressing story of loss, love, and how far we will go for the people we love. When it was re-released as a remaster in 2014 for the PlayStation 4, it still hit home in a significant way while bringing the visuals up to the modern day.
So when it was announced at the Summer Games Fest 2022 that it would be released this year as a remake, completely updating the visuals and making slight tweaks to the gameplay while maintaining the story. Everyone was a little shocked, and some were turned off by it, especially when it would be released for 70$. For those of you that are in that camp, the story is the same, and yes, the game looks terrific, but that’s really the most significant change here, along with some fantastic additions to the accessibility of the game. So if you planned on skipping this unless there was a game-changing reason to pick it up, go ahead and skip this one.
If you like me, though, and love the story of The Last Of Us, have never played it before, or if you want to use the array of accessibility options to be able to enjoy The Last Of Us thoroughly, then pick this up. It not only has the breath of accessibility that The Last Of Us Part 2 did but adds in more options like the ability to feel what people are saying, which I left on for my playthrough, and it actually helped me feel the subtle emotions behind some of the scenes that I had completely missed before.
To give you a quick recap of the story, spoiler free. The Last Of Us follows Joel, a 40-ish-year-old dealing with past horrific trauma in the post-apocalyptic world when the head of the rebellious Fireflies tasks Joel with smuggling 13-year-old Ellie out of a quarantine zone to some other Fireflies. Some things go wrong, and Joel must travel across the United States to bring Ellie to the main camp of the Fireflies, and as they start off basically hating each other, they grow and bond throughout strife and hardship.
That’s about as spoiler free as I can get without ruining one of my favorite stories. Each time I play The Last Of Us, it seemingly affects me more. I have a daughter, and going through Joel, and Ellie’s story really gets to me and makes me bawl my eyes out each time I play it. So to say I’m a fan of the story is an understatement. While Ellie’s side of the story is more subdued here, it’s still one of the best character arcs I’ve seen in a long time. Weirdly enough, the main story isn’t the only powerful story here. For example, We have the relationship of Bill and his partner Frank, which in itself should be experienced.
The soundtrack of The Last Of Us nails it. Gustavo Santaolalla nails it with the central theme, and all the very undercurrent themes that pop up throughout the game are incredibly powerful. As with the original release, the performances here are perfection, with the standouts being Ashley Johnson as Ellie and Troy Baker as Joel. But even the actors and actresses with more minor roles like Merle Dandridge as Marlene carry natural weight and passion behind them.
The graphical changes here are the big jump here. The game looked terrific almost ten years ago. It looks absolutely stunning now, not only are the models more detailed, but the animations are more involved and complex now. When put side by side with the original or remastered, it’s clear to see here that there is a huge upgrade here. The pictures I have up with this review do not do it justice. The other giant change? The 3d spatial audio, being able to tell precisely where enemies are, and overall VFX sound much better. It’s been one of my favorite jumps we’ve gotten this generation, and I hope it stays this way.
All that being said, The Last Of Us Part I is something I would say. If you are not a fan of the original looking for an excuse to play or someone who hasn’t played it before, wait on this one. I had planned on buying it already because it’s a story I like re-living every once in a while, but it is hard to justify spending 70$ on it. It looks amazing, but the story is the same. The gameplay feels mostly the same, if not a little tighter, this time, which is good, and the 3d audio is great. The collectibles are all in the same spots, and codes are in the same environments, all set up the same. But the unchanged story still makes me weep uncontrollably.