The Last of Us Remastered Visual Analysis: PS3 vs PS4

Glorious reminiscences.

Posted By | On 06th, Aug. 2014 Under Article, Graphics Analysis


The PS3 has had an aptly long list of games in its flourishing career. But it was its heyday that brought to us some of the most memorable and tantalising titles of all time. One belonging to this league was The Last of Us. Maybe the developers knew what sort of a legend they had put into making for the PS3, because the work had already begun for the Remastered version of the game almost as soon as the PS3 version was launched. And now, PS4 customers can avail of the brilliance of the game. New comers or the aficionados who want to experience the game all over again, The Last of Us Remastered was put to shelves not long back.

There are a lot of nifty tricks and upgrades that the game got and are plain to the eye,  but just what all went into making the game what it came out to be for the PS4? The game is the same, so you can expect the same amount of beholden crowd struck with awe and filled with exhilaration, but what of the ones who are looking at the new console for its hardware pinnacle and delivery. Well, disappointment awaits us, and not just a little.

the last of us ps4

" The game unquestionably looks amazing, but lacking on what the PS4 is capable of delivering or something to get bowled over by. It is evident that the game is meant to be for the PS4 users to enjoy the same game on the newer consoles."

Remastered titles usually receive just little touch ups instead of complete cosmetic makeovers. But these touch ups don’t quite cut the expectations touchstone by half, even though the amelioration of certain aspects may be visible as you move about the game, skirting different areas and chancing upon swathes of enemies. The Last of Us Remastered feels more like a crude PS4 port, but features vast improvements.

The game unquestionably looks amazing, but lacking on what the PS4 is capable of delivering or something to get bowled over by.  It is evident that the game is meant to be for the PS4 users to enjoy the same game on the newer consoles. There’s nothing ostentatiously brilliant or remarkably opulent about the remake, but it’s definitely an improvement. So to say.

As you revisit the blighted United States, you are bound to notice more than a number of things improved whilst a lot others that you may miss, which haven’t. The experience doesn’t seem vastly different from the earlier one if you happen to have been acquainted with the game before. You may yet even forget that you are playing the game on the PS4.

To really apprehend the not so limned differences between the Remastered version and the erstwhile PS3 release, you need to have both the systems running side by side. The majority of the game has been lifted from the PS3 version with a careful eye spared for a subtle few things.

the last of us ps4

" The vegetation of the game is as good as identical to the earlier version, with some minute improvements which barely match up to the calibre the console is capable of delivering. Shadows have improved but mostly due to the introduction of ambient occlusion and anti-aliasing. In hindsight, the improved texture filtering has reduced jagged ends immensely but not entirely."

The Remastered version foremost objective was to deliver a flawlessly smooth experience to the new console users; that, Naughty Dog has done really well. There are no reported issues of stuttering or input latency in the game due to the build of the same. The oft complained of 30fps experience of the PS3 has been dealt with in this version by providing a 1080p 60fps experience. The PS4 handles the game well although frame rate can drop to around 40 in demanding scenes but that is not bound to mar or blemish the experience of playing. The most noticeable difference in the game is that of textures.

Although the game textures are very much what we’re used when the game was first released, they now are much more defined and solid. Looking at the variegated walls and the ground throughout the game reveals the work developers have put in to make the textures work in full HD; patterns and designs are more solid well defined with none of that pasty look that the PS3 version of the game had delivered.

The vegetation of the game is as good as identical to the earlier version, with some minute improvements which barely match up to the calibre the console is capable of delivering. Shadows have improved but mostly due to the introduction of ambient occlusion and anti-aliasing. In hindsight, the improved texture filtering has reduced jagged ends immensely but not entirely. This makes the shadows that objects cast look much more slick with smooth edges.

Ambient occlusion steps in to further upon on this. Apart from noticing AO in tile edges, small recesses and other minutely shrouded spaces, it gets rid of the monotonous and blatant uniform lighting that illuminated the PS3 version of the game. What this means for us is that shadows aren’t simply dark or light, but variably so, depending on the light sources too.

the last of us ps4

" The game does offer the users of switching the game frame rate to a locked 30 frames per second. Switching to this mode provides marginally better shadow mapping with jagged ends almost absent. Apart from the supremely stable and consistent frame rate and the less staircase like shadows, the 30fps experience doesn't bring anything new or useful to the table."

The already present dynamic lighting system has been vastly improved especially with the help of bloom, which adds massively to the appeal of the game overall. The lighting system better emulates the behaviour of light, casting rays when an obstruction is there, slightly illuminating the dark areas where it fails to fall and carefully flitting through gaps and crevices.

Gunfires and explosions too look a lot better with bloom effect in place. The bloom effect aggrandises the game as a whole on the visual front and is a laudable addition. Anisotropic filtering is there but is not anything near a knockout; it’s just simply THERE. Reflections have been improved but the observable scenarios are as few as they are good. Character designs and models have remained very much the same with seemingly no addition except the improved textures.

Alpha processing seems to have been improved too alongside the minuscule improvement in the depth of field, but it can be easily mistaken for a mere improvement in textures. Otherwise, effects like motion blur, texture mapping, the skybox and interactive have remained the very same.

The game does offer the users of switching the game frame rate to a locked 30 frames per second. Switching to this mode provides marginally better shadow mapping with jagged ends almost absent. Apart from the supremely stable and consistent frame rate and the less staircase like shadows, the 30fps experience doesn’t bring anything new or useful to the table.

the last of us ps4

" If you look at it as a PS4 game only, then it’s a sore disappointment when it comes to graphics, but the gameplay is gritty as heck. You may kvetch and complain about not enough work being put into the Remastered version, but at least it runs without a hiccup. "

So is the game really worth trying a  hand at? It really depends on how you feel towards the game. Is it a good game? Absolutely. Is it a money grab scheme? For old players, maybe. Is it any good for new adopters of the PS4? You have to be uniquely thick skulled to refuse. So there’s not really a specific notion that you can arrive at.

If you look at it as a PS4 game only, then it’s a sore disappointment when it comes to graphics, but the gameplay is gritty as heck. You may kvetch and complain about not enough work being put into the Remastered version, but at least it runs without a hiccup. The developers’ primary concern was the same and during the course of development, making the game run smoothly was the priority in lieu of giving it a complete visual overhaul.

New Sony fans who have adopted the PS4 may do well to straight away go for this game; you will not fail to appreciate the brilliance of this game. For enthusiasts who are revisiting the experience, I’d suggest just a wait for a little drop in prices to add this to your collection. The 60fps gameplay presents a tempting prospect, but it’s not entirely worth the price tag.

The Last of Us is a kind of game that will still retain its coruscating and alluring brilliance of endearment when years later, you exhume it. A must have for a Sony console owner. The Remastered version is more of how you remember old games in your mind. TLoU Remastered lives up to that mental memory of how the game looked like in our mental eye. Nothing fancy, just enough.


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