The Last Of Us Part 1 Review – The Masterpiece Reborn

A Comprehensive Review Of The New And Improved Last Of Us Part 1

There is a popular saying that life imitates art, which is the perfect and most profound way to describe the recent generation of video games. To better explain it, numerous games have gone above and beyond to exceed their technological limitations and showcase their creative prowess. And there is no one better to live up to that fact than Sony Interactive Entertainment and their massive hard-working developers. But among those that have had the greatest impact are Naughty Dog, and their esteemed remake of The Last Of Us Part 1, the game which I utterly loved revisiting again for my review.

The Original Last Of Us was released in 2013 for the PS3 and was then remastered for the PS4. Gamers around the world adored the game for the impact made by the storytelling and gameplay, but most importantly, by its two main characters, Joel and Ellie, who left an emotional scar on everyone that played it.

Now after all these years, Naughty Dog has once again showcased their technical excellence by rebuilding the game from the ground up, featuring enhanced visuals and more features on the powerful PS5. So without further delay, let’s discuss this review of The Last Of Us Part 1 to see if it’s worth the investment.

Story And Setting

The Last Of Us Remake story
The Story

As mentioned previously, TLOU is one of the gaming industry’s most cherished titles, one that is fondly remembered for its gritty yet rich storytelling elements. 

The start of the game is gut-punching to bear witness to, as you are introduced to Joel Miller and his daughter Sarah. Their lives are turned upside down as a fungus outbreak spreads throughout the country. But things take a turn for the worse as Sarah dies in the arms of her Father, after being shot by a soldier.

Nearly two decades later, Joel is not the same man he once was. Grief has swallowed his sincerity and purity, leaving him as a husk of his former self. He works as a smuggler in the post-apocalypse with his partner Tess, and they are both given a mission to transport a mysterious young girl to the fireflies. This is Ellie, one of our main characters.

The Last of Us Part 1 review
Tess, Joel, and Ellie

However as one might expect things do not go as planned and Tess soon leaves your company, replaced perpetually by Ellie. So thus the grueling adventure of this new duo truly begins, as they must rely on each other to endure and survive the perilous journey ahead. Along the way, they meet some new faces and some familiar ones. The story has a lot of twists and turns all the way to the end, as everything culminates into one of the most unforgettable climaxes in gaming history.

Fans can once again experience this entire illustrious experience with The Last Of Us Part 1, which has now been enhanced and redefined thanks to the powerful technology of the PS5, which absolutely blew me away as I got to revisit and review one of my all-time favorite franchises. Naughty Dog already solidified itself as the master of technical achievement with TLOU2 and its high-quality cinematics and storytelling beats. And with Part 1 it once again manages to retain every bit of the original story, only boosting that experience even further with life-like graphical fidelity.

The last of us part 1 review
The Protagonists and Henry

It was such an amazing feeling watching the story unfold with the newly imagined character models and revamped textures. Not to mention key details during the heavier scenes at the end of the journey managed to elevate the nostalgic feeling where I was invested deeply in these characters and their soul-stirring connection. 

Lastly, it is worth keeping in mind that the game also features the Left Behind DLC, which essentially covers the events of the game prior to Ellie joining the Fireflies. She meets a girl named Riley who both become best friends and share some extremely wholesome and charming moments that newer players will truly adore. All graphical upgrades present in the base game also extend to the DLC.

Gameplay

last of us part 1 gameplay
The Gameplay

The gameplay is largely the same as the original game, surprisingly for a remake. You are mostly tied to navigating linear sections of the world with combat encounters thrown in them every so often. Fights can play out in several different ways as players are able to access a variety of weapons at their disposal from Joel’s backpack. Over the course of the game, you will come across everything from Revolvers, Rifles, and even a flamethrower. 

The encounters themselves can feature either human enemies that make use of weapons themselves or various types of infected like the Runner and Clickers. These combat engagements are all purposefully paced throughout the campaign so that each one feels special and unique. Moreover, there are even some rare instances where you can avoid conflict altogether and sneak past all of these scenarios.

Last of us part 1 crafting
The crafting mechanic

In addition to the weapons that Joel can carry, he has the ability to craft different types of equipment and traps. These are all created through the discovery of various items found in the world such as using Alcohol and Tape to create Medkits, or creating Nail Bombs which are excellent for taking down crowds of enemies. Additionally, you can modify the durability of different melee weapons to use them for longer as well.

Aside from combat, you will consistently come across puzzle sections of the game which are now thankfully skippable thanks to some useful accessibility features which I will discuss later on in my review. 

TLOU gameplay
The Combat

But the question remains, how does all of this now get revamped with this new version of The Last Of Us Part 1 on the PS5? Well, the simplest answer to that question is that it doesn’t, at least not much in any major way. During the initial reveal of the game, Neil Drunkmann, director of the game, said that aside from their new improved AI Technology being implemented into the game, they weren’t planning to add the new combat features of the second title into this remake.

In layman’s terms, the new enemy placement by Naughty Dog allows for much more dynamic combat encounters than ever before. Humanoid enemies now have improved awareness, coordination as well as new methods to take down our protagonists, which felt extraordinary to witness after so many years.

What immediately caught my attention was how these new foes flanked me during combat, which really pushed me out of my comfort zone. They will adapt on the fly so much so, that each sequence will really feel much more intense and immersive than ever before, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Witnessing this firsthand myself had me stunned quite a few times as enemies would often creepily sneak up behind me and even repositioned themselves as necessary.

The Last Of Us Part 1 Stealth
Stealth

Additionally, you are now able to customize the duo with an increased number of skins, from cool-looking T-shirts to quirky goggles for Ellie. You can also not apply skins to your weapons, which is a feature not present in the original release or TLOU Part 2.

There are also the new Speedrun and Perma death modes too, both returning aspects that were greatly appreciated by fans from the 2nd game. Unfortunately, the only major downside is that you will need to complete the game once to be able to even access said features, even including the wonderful Director’s Commentary mode that I would’ve loved to play if it was available right from the beginning. But alas, there is a price for everything.

I also feel like it’s a big mistake not to add the prone and dodge mechanics that were introduced with TLOU2 into this remake. It surely felt like a missed opportunity, because according to ND, this was a faithful remake, yet the combat being the same with just a new paint job to make it unnoticeable was disappointing to say the very least.

Aside from that, the most ground-breaking features added with The Last Of Us Part on the PlayStation 5 were definitely the accessibility features, which left my jaw dropped when I discovered them during my review of the game. So let’s go over them in more detail to showcase them vividly.

Accessibility Features

The Accessibility
The Accessibility Features

To put everything into perspective more clearly, Naughty Dog became the trendsetter in the entire industry for providing the most ground-breaking accessibility features ever inside a Video Game with the Last Of Us Part 2. There were tons of these incredible modifiers that would help enhance the gameplay so that everyone could enjoy playing it, whether they were impaired with deafness or other forms of chronic disease or disability. These features are back with the Last of Us Part 1, and expanded more than ever which even helped me overcome some inconvenient barriers for the sake of the review.

First of all, the game has an incredible screen reader mode that provides key narration of the ongoing text or dialogue, excellent for players who have visual impairments. Furthermore, I cannot help but applaud Naughty Dog for the implementation of the Cinematic Descriptions, which will provide players with descriptive audio narration of what’s going on in each of the pivotal moments of the story. Lastly, the coolest feature that I found was the option to enable audio or vibration cues from the Dualsense Controller, which is really useful for players who are deaf.

From a technological standpoint, this is an innovation by both Sony and the team at Naughty Dog because these features are a blessing in disguise for people who have a tougher time enjoying video games. It further heightens the fact that the Dualsense is superior to almost every other controller in the market because the haptic feedback functionality is being used to its full potential in this game for a better cause.

TLOU Combat accessibility
The Combat Accessibility

The combat accessibility tab at first glance allows players the chance to fine-tune the action moments of the game to their own personal liking. These can be changed on any one of the difficulty options that the game offers, including the Grounded mode. It is just so incredible what you are able to modify here, from changing the pattern of enemy AI such as disabling their ability to flank you, to even the more intricate ones such as the option to toggle weapon sway and even adding in a dedicated slow motion mode too.

You can select the option to enable all of these settings right out of the gate at the main menu screen, and not to mention you are freely able to access which ones you want to have enabled or disabled completely for your playthrough. For most players, this will insanely benefit them if they want to remove some of the additional handicaps from the tougher levels, or if they’re planning to do a run on the highest difficulty such as survival or grounded.

The Hud TLOU
HUD Accessibility Options

We’re not done just yet, as going deeper through the accessibility list you will soon come across the options to alter the Heads-up display (HUD) settings to match your preference. These essentially allow players to modify the UI settings of the game in order for them to have fewer restrictions and more compatibility with you. To better explain it, you will have the option to customize your targeting reticle settings and even adjust the presence of the visual indications on-screen such as the damage dealt indicator and your health bar or stamina.

What I loved the most were the Navigation and Traversal options, which allow you to access some fantastic features one of which is the enhance listen mode. It will boost the normal listen mode of Joel which you use to track down enemies in a section to the point where you can detect them from a mile away and much more clearly. Also, you can modify the settings of the enhanced listen mode to your liking with parameters, letting you decide on the range and distance of it and the time that the enemies or items remained pinged on your screen.

The Navigation and Traversal assistance will provide you with visual indicators of where the main path of progression is and where exactly you have to go to trigger some sections of the game. Most players will be happy to know that the game now includes the ‘Skip Puzzle’ option from the second game as well. Just as the name implies, it essentially lets you completely skip any type of major puzzle in the game. 

TLOU Part 1 traversal option
The Navigation and Traversal Accessibility

Overall, these accessibility options deserve some recognition all by themselves, especially since they show that Video Games are more than capable of allowing anyone to enjoy them. Not to mention these features are slowly being added in other SIE titles too, like the recent Horizon Forbidden West which allows a plethora of accessibility options to facilitate players to enjoy it in any way possible.

Lastly, for Trophy Hunters on PSN, you will be pleased to know that the game is much more lenient when it comes to trophy completion requirements. You can easily toggle on some of the features to help you keep track of collectibles in each chapter too. Most importantly, the removal of the Difficulty-related trophies is a massive help.

Plus the absence of the Multiplayer mode cancels out its exhausting achievements too. While playing the game for my The Last Of Us Part 1 review, it roughly took me 2 playthroughs to achieve the Platinum Trophy since I missed some collectibles as well as some activity-based trophies in the DLC.

Visuals And Performance

The Last Of Us Part 1 visuals
The Visuals

The main selling point of the New Last Of Us Part 1 that completely differentiates it from the original is the breathtaking and jaw-dropping visuals. Naughty Dog has gone above and beyond their previous capabilities, which were largely held back by the limitations of the PS3 and PS4. It clearly shows that they didn’t want to leave anything behind in terms of giving this beloved title the makeover and polishing that it rightfully deserved for today’s generation of gamers.

Every area in the game is now filled with much higher quality textures and assets, and I constantly found myself gazing at the environments and levels in sheer awe of their unfettered beauty. 

The Last Of Us Part 1 Visuals
Naughty Dog’s Photorealistic Engine

The leap in visuals is so staggering at first glance because as soon as you watch the opening cutscene of the game, you can feel the differences in the character models on full display and clarity. The smallest details such as their expressions being more vivid, all the way to more intricate ones such as visible tears in Ellie’s eyes. It made me appreciate the game even more as I was left starstruck by the care and adoration put into this remake. The levels in almost every chapter of The Last Of Us Part 1 feature new designs. Those areas that originally felt bland and copypasted have now received a total makeover so that they could stand out more distinctively.

The University section during the mid-game chapters had me frequently looking up footage of the original game and then back at my screen in the remake version. The hallways, corridors, and rooms of the buildings had been carefully redesigned so that they each had a different element to them. The foliage and sheer diversity in lighting tones in the more ruined areas of the game were enough to make me put down the controller for a few seconds and admire the work done by the Art Team. It made the entire experience feel much more special and impactful, one that hardcore fans such as me will greatly appreciate.

TLOU Display
The Display Settings

The game also supports options to select between Fidelity or Performance mode on the PS5. The former runs the game in the highest possible resolution at 4K while limiting the framerate at 30FPS, meanwhile the latter runs the game at a steady 60FPS at all times with no dips in any sort of way. The clunkiness of the combat can easily be outweighed by the accessibility features, and being the masters of what they do, I wasn’t able to find any sort of issues that ruined my unadulterated immersion in Naughty Dog’s masterpiece.

Overall, the entire visual aspect of the game is outstanding. The facial animations of this game are an industry benchmark for next-gen titles to follow in the future, one that will surely rival other forms of media or entertainment. Everything from the enriched graphic fidelity to the life-like display of the environment and levels has set a foundation that shows just how far the industry has come to crossing the boundaries of reality in animation technology.

The Last Of Us Part 1 Verdict

TLOU Part 1 Verdict
The Verdict

The Last Of Us Part 1 is a stellar remake that stands proudly as the pinnacle of technological advancements when compared to its original version. The developers have spared no effort in rebuilding every single aspect of it so that it feels relatively like a next-gen game, specifically built to harness the PS5’s horsepower.

The astonishing list of accessibility features that are available makes this legendary game more feasible than ever for any type of gamer. The photorealistic cinematics and the environmental fidelity showcased in The Last Of Us Part 1 will entice anyone to pick it up as soon as possible.

However, the price tag for the game may make a difference, and as of now, has divided the community on whether it’s worth picking up or not. It also depends on who you are as a player. Are you a newcomer hoping to jump into the series for the first time, or a veteran hoping to experience this story again?

However, if it were up to me to decide the changes and additions made to it are exceptional, and there is nothing wrong with purchasing The Last Of Us Part 1 on sale in the future if you choose. With the passage of time, more people will surely want to play this game, especially since it is launching on PC too in the near future. 

 

We hope our review helped you in deciding whether The Last Of Us Part 1 is worth it for you or not. The game is available to purchase now on Disc and Digitally via the Playstation Store and will launch sometime next year on the PC platform.

More Reviews:

Was this article helpful?

Good job! Please give your positive feedback ⚡

How could we improve this post? Please Help us. ✍

The Last Of Us Part 1 Review
Overall
4
  • Story
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals

Verdict

The Last Of Us Part 1 is a stellar remake that stands proudly as the pinnacle of technological advancements when compared to its original version. The developers have spared no effort in rebuilding every single aspect of it so that it feels relatively like a next-gen game, specifically built to harness the PS5’s horsepower.

Pros

  • Gripping Storytelling.
  • Memorable Characters.
  • Jaw-dropping New Visuals.
  • Hyper-Realistic Cinematics.
  • Incredible Accessibility Features.

Cons

  • Unsubstantial Combat Improvements.
  • No Multiplayer Mode.
  • Outdated Level Design.
  • Unjustifiably Overpriced.

Usama Qaiser


He is eccentric about Action games like Yakuza as well as his favorite JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Persona. Nowadays you can find him focusing his mana on writing guides at eXputer.

Related Articles