A revision of the remake won’t be found here, and I’m ok with that. Actually, it’s my preference in a game like this. The Last of Us is primarily about the narrative. While it did change the standard for gameplay in third person action games, it will eventually become dated. So a refinement of the stellar gameplay while keeping everything as it was is just how I want to see titles like this preserved in the future.
From my perspective as a lover of film, we’ve been through all this before. There has been the famous George Lucas edits that have him replace characters with CGI some twenty years later, to directors cuts which can completely change the narrative (Donnie Darko) and don’t always make for a better film. There was a considerable amount of films being transferred to high definition with the noise and grain removed, thus making them seem oddly flat. It takes time and care to bring movies that were pre high def to high def. Games age out much faster than films, mainly by their gameplay mechanics, as we’ve finally hit a plateau for graphics. Every remake needs to be catered for separately. For something like Mega Man it is entirely possible to make additions, say further content. It just needs to be modernised, and that’s not to say 3D. For games like this it’s nice how they are collected with multiple games in the series. Usually you can swap between the original, which is always nice to have.
The story begins with one of the best openings in gaming history. We start off playing as Sarah, daughter of later protagonist Joel, as she is awaken in her suburban home to explosions. Sarah searches the house for her father Joel, when she finally sees him abruptly run into the house locking the door in a panic. A neighbour runs through the glass, resembling a human only by shape, and Joel shoots him dead as he lunges. They leave the house immediately with Joel’s brother Tommy and see that this is happening all over. You see terror everywhere; people running, houses on fire, and ZOMBIES. What follows is shocking and I won’t spoil it, but we then pick up years later to a much older and rugged Joel. The world has not recovered. People are living in shambles on day to day rations. Outside of any safe perimeter are Clickers, look they are zombies that are aesthetically cooler than any zombies we’ve seen in the medium. No cure has been found. There are factions that fight each other. So Joel in a trade for weapons is tasked with transporting a girl, Elle. A weird task, until they learn that she had been bit and didn’t turn. Elle is potentially a study for a cure to those who are turned after being bitten. The plot as told is fantastic, similarly like Children of Men, without zombies. For myself and most people it’s the relationship of Joel and Elle that we enjoy watching. All the little things add up and it’s the most rewarding relationship I’ve ever seen in a video game as journey through good and bad times with her by your side.
The Last of Us: Part 1 continues to show what a perfect game is and has the potential to be. Unless you have shot for shot comparisons in front of you, you won’t notice the difference, nor should you. This is a perfect way for newcomers to experience this masterpiece, and will be the preferred way to play it once people experience HBO’s live action The Last of Us tv show. To the point of the show it is starting to feel like the IP is getting oversaturated. Surprising for an IP with only two games to date. HBO’s series is looking like a winner, and the question of where it’s success will go once the first season is out remains to be seen. A season or two taking place between Part 1 and Part 2 has a lot of potential. However, Part 2 is a dramatic change in direction so for my curiosity I want to see where the show runners run with it.
This remake is controversial for being remade already as it came out originally back in 2013 and was remastered in 2014. Sure, the point can be made that it is unnecessary at this time, but I’m glad we have it for the PlayStation 5. The price point is expensive, so perhaps wait for a sale if you’ve already played it. Eventually it will end up in the PlayStation Plus Catalogue of games which is where it will remain, so the choice is yours to wait or buy.
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