The Last of Us’ remake is launching in less than two months, and though the initial response for the game’s reveal has been somewhat mixed, there’s still a lot that we don’t know about it yet. The whole point of the experience here is supposed to be remaking the first title with all the gameplay improvements from its sequel, and that, if properly implemented, can be worth keeping an eye on. In the absence of Naughty Dog having officially confirmed which improvements The Last of Us Part 1 will and will not have, here, we’re going to talk about a few of the biggest ones that we hope to see in the game.
More and more with each new game over the last few years, Naughty Dog has been experimenting with larger levels and more open-ended level design in its games, and the same was true for The Last of Us Part 2 as well. The original The Last of Us was very much in the hyper-linear category of games though, and there’s no shortage of people out there who’d love to see that change in the remake. Having parts of the game adjusted to make its levels larger, more expansive, and have more gameplay options available would go a long way towards making the experience feel fresh.
This obviously ties in with our previous point. Exploration wasn’t too much of a focus in the original The Last of Us, and while Part 2 was still ultimately a linear game, thanks to its much larger and more nuanced levels, exploration became much more important. Striking a similar balance would be the ideal way to go for the upcoming remake. There’s a lot of merit to a game that maintains its pacing and forward momentum by remaining linear, but also allows just enough room and freedom for exploration to make players feel like they have the option to go off the beaten path every now and then and actually be rewarded for it. Hopefully the remake will agree with that notion.
One of the most crucial elements of The Last of Us Part 2 that make it such a better playing game than its predecessor is its movement. Simply put, Ellie is just way better to control and play as than Joel was. She’s nimbler, faster, and way more mobile. She can jump, she can go prone, she can crawl, she can squeeze through walls and gaps, she can swing on ropes- all of that stuff needs to be brought over into The Last of Us Part 1 as well, to bring Joel’s movement up to scratch with Ellie’s. That will, of course, have to go hand-in-hand with the level design being adjusted to account for the new movement options, but put together, these improvements would be a big upgrade for the game.
This is one that we’re very, very likely to see. Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann have made it a point to emphasize that the remake will be applying the AI improvements that we saw in The Last of Us Part 2, and that, honestly, is quite exciting in and of itself. The incredibly realistic way that enemies communicated with each other and reacted to you, your presence, and your actions made both stealth and combat and incredibly thrilling affair in The Last of Us Part 2, so having similar AI features in the upcoming remake is going to be a huge boost for the game.
In addition to the big gameplay improvements with AI, level design, movement, and more, The Last of Us Part 2 also improved on its predecessor’s gameplay in a number of smaller ways. These smaller quality-of-life improvements will hopefully be brought back for the remake as well. For instance, maybe give Joel a permanent knife instead of shivs that break and have to be replaced (though there was, of course, a story reason for why Ellie had a permanent knife and Joel didn’t). Similarly, bring Part 2’s ability to make your own silencers into Part 1, especially if the game expands on its stealth gameplay the way we’re hoping it will.
LEFT BEHIND INTEGRATION
Naughty Dog has confirmed that The Last of Us Part 1 is also going to include the original game’s Left Behind DLC, which is obviously great news- Left Behind is an excellent chunk of content in terms of both story and gameplay. But how exactly is it going to be part of the remake experience? Will it be a separate episode of sorts that’s accessible on its own, or will it be organically integrated into the game itself and made a seamless part of the base experience? We’re hoping it’s the latter, because not only would it make for a longer and meatier experience, it would also help greatly enrich the story.
The Last of Us Part 2 made incredible strides with its accessibility options, and Naughty Dog has already said that those will be brought forward into the upcoming remake as well. Our hope is that that will include the greatly flexible difficulty tuning options as well. Rather than just having a set number of difficulty options (though those were available as well), like Part 2, Part 1 should let players select the difficulty scaling of elements like stealth, enemy behaviour, resource availability, and more individually, allowing for a much more flexible experience. Let us play how we want to play.
Which, of course, goes both ways. Speaking of which…
The Last of Us Part 2 really did have a wide array of options available on the difficulty front- that’s the whole point of flexibility, after all. For those who wanted a real challenge, its post-launch additions of Grounded difficulty and Permadeath were unmissable. Grounded mode will likely be included in the remake from the get go, seeing as it’s become something of a tradition for the series, but we’re hoping that the Permadeath toggle will also be featured. By its very nature, it’s not the kind of experience that everyone would enjoy, of course, but there are a hell of a lot of people who’re all about that sort of intensity, so hopefully Permadeath won’t be missing from Part 1.
We’re honestly not too sure if this is going to happen. We know at this point that cutscenes haven’t been re-recorded for The Last of Us Part 1, and that it’s just reusing the work that was done for the original game and tweaking it to make it better. Does that mean that, in terms of story, it’s going to be a word-for-word replica of the original game? We certainly hope not. This is the perfect chance to make some adjustments to the first game’s story to make it connect to Part 2 a little better – maybe change the final Firefly hospital sequence and throw a young Abby in there for a second or two – and not doing stuff along those lines would be a huge missed opportunity.
This, on the other hand, is very likely to happen. The whole point of The Last of Us Part 1 seems to be making technical and visual upgrades. That should include better performance options. Having multiple graphics modes has become something of a standard in most Sony first party games, so hopefully, the remake won’t deviate from that norm, and will offer at least one mode that prioritizes performance and offers higher frame rates.
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