The Last of Us Part 1 has generated a great deal of conversation since its announcement, and whether or not it’s going to be a game worth buying at its price is something that has strongly divided people. Regardless of what side of the fence you fall on, however, Naughty Dog and Sony have revealed plenty of details about the remake in the lead-up to its imminent launch, talking about how it’s improving upon the original game- and how it isn’t. Here, we’re going to take a look at a few key things that you should know about The Last of Us Part 1.
Let’s start off with the most obvious and apparent upgrade The Last of Us Part 1 was making. Being a remake of a game that’s not even a decade old and still looks really good (especially if you’re talking about the PS4 remaster), there isn’t a huge gap between the visuals of the original and the remake- though there is still a significant one. Compared side-by-side, it’s abundantly clear that The Last of Us Part 1 is making impressive improvements to the original’s visuals, from character models and environments to lighting and much more.
This is another point that Naughty Dog has emphasized while speaking about the remake. The Last of Us Part 1 is making quite a few improvements with animations, especially where facial animations during cutscenes are concerned. More minute details in those animations that were missing in the original game are captured in the remake, which, according to the developers, lends much greater nuance and depth to the performances of the actors. On the gameplay front, meanwhile, the remake utilizes the motion matching technology Naughty Dog used for The Last of Us Part 2, which should hopefully mean much smoother and organic gameplay animations and, in turn, much more fluid gameplay and movement.
LEFT BEHIND INCLUDED, BUT NO FACTIONS
In terms of content, you can expect pretty much the entire single player side of The Last of Us to be included in the remake. That, of course, means that both the main game and the Left Behind DLC are part of the package in Part 1– though we still don’t know how exactly Left Behind will be integrated into the game, or if it’s going to be a separate experience. As for Factions, the original game’s multiplayer mode- that’s not going to be included, though at this point, that doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, Naughty Dog does have a full-blown AAA multiplayer The Last of Us game in the works right now, so they might not want to take focus away from.
Improved density of physics objects in environments is another one of the remake’s more iterative gameplay upgrades. Essentially, environments are going to be much more reactive and destructible. That means characters can bump into a much greater amount of objects, gunshots can chip through walls and things in your surroundings, glass shatters much more realistically- you get the idea. Combat sequences in particular should hopefully more intense as a result.
CUTSCENES AND PERFORMANCES
If you were hoping for The Last of Us Part 1 to make any story adjustments or alterations, you might be a little disappointed, because that’s not the kind of remake this is. Part 1 is going to be extremely faithful to the original, to the extent that Naughty Dog is using the same cutscenes, performances, and voices that were used in the original game. Of course, their visuals and animations have been completely redone from the ground-up (or close enough to ground-up, at the very least), which means they’re going to look significantly better- but they’re going to play out pretty much how you remember from the 2013 game.
Smaller, iterative improvements are the name of the game in The Last of Us Part 1, and another one of these brings improved workbenches. Weapon workbenches in The Last of Us Part 2 were a massive upgrade over the original game, complete with elaborate animations for crafting and customization and a ridiculous attention to detail in those animations and the models of all weapons. The Last of Us Part 1’s workbenches are going to be more aligned with that than with the 2013 game, so that’s one very specific area where you can expect a big leap.
If there’s one criticism that gets levied at the original The Last of Us more often than anything else, it’s that it’s going very inconsistent AI, especially in stealth sequences, and especially where companion characters are concerned. Form the looks of it, Naughty Dog is attempting to address all of those issues with the upcoming remake. Enemies are going to be more aggressive and will communicate with each other during stealth sequences much like they did in Part 2. Meanwhile, stealth sequences will also benefit from companion characters doing their best to remain hidden from enemies and even anticipating their movements in order to get to new hiding spots.
NO PRONE, CRAWLING, OR DODGING
While The Last of Us Part 1 is making a few finer gameplay improvements (including a couple more that we haven’t mentioned yet, like the UI being based on The Last of Us Part 2), some of the more significant ones many had hoped that it would are going to be missing. For instance, Part 2 introduced some major new gameplay mechanics like being able to go prone, crawl, and dodge melee attacks, which improved combat and stealth massively. Those mechanics aren’t included in the remake, so don’t expect encounters against enemies to be as dynamic or intense as they were in Part 2.
Credit where credit is due- The Last of Us Part 1 is doing great stuff on the accessibility front, predictably enough. Naughty Dog set the standard for many in the industry with what it did with The Last of Us Part 2’s accessibility options, so it’s great to see the studio continuing that work in the upcoming remake. In fact, with over 60 accessibility options (including a new audio descriptor mode), Part 1 even outdoes the developer’s previous efforts.
OTHER PS5 FEATURES
Naughty Dog has also confirmed support for other PS5 features in the remake, as you’d expect. It is launching as a PS5 exclusive, after all. In addition to the improvements it’s making on a visual and technical level, The Last of Us Part 1 will also feature support for the PS5’s 3D audio engine, and the DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Funnily enough, haptics are also confirmed for the famous giraffe scene.
MODEL VIEWER AND NEW COSTUMES
A couple of new ancillary features have also been confirmed for the remake. The first of these is the addition of being able to equip Joel and Ellie with new outfits, which is a first for the series. Players will get access to multiple cosmetics in the game. On top of that, The Last of Us Part 1 will also have a model viewer to let players view models for characters, enemies, and what have you in all their detail.
As has become standard for most games these days, The Last of Us Part 1 will feature two graphics modes, one favouring visual quality and the other favouring performance. Players will have the option to choose to play the game either at a native 4K and 30 frames per second, or at a dynamic 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.
PERMADEATH AND SPEEDRUN MODES
Naughty Dog added a permadeath in The Last of Us Part 2 shortly after it came out, and it proved to be very popular, to the extent that many have hoped that it’ll become something of a series mainstay. The Last of Us Part 1 is, thankfully, bringing that mode back, so those looking for high-stakes gameplay will have that to look forward to. Meanwhile, the remake is also going to feature a speedrun mode that, as its name suggests, is going to be targeted specifically at speedrunning the game.
For many, this is the biggest point of content with The Last of Us Part 1– that it’s going to cost $70. That is a price point that has been controversial for a number of games over the last couple of years, but many have argued that it feels particularly egregious for what seems like a rather conservative remake of a game that isn’t that old. Whether or not it ends up being the price of admission is going to be entirely subjective, of course, but it’s certainly stirred some controversy.
Sony has been expanding its presence in the PC space more and more these last couple of years, and while it has done that only with ports of prior releases until now, The Last of Us Part 1 is the first time that an upcoming PlayStation release has already been confirmed for PC as well. There’s no word on when exactly the game will launch for the platform, though supposedly it won’t be too long after the PS5 release. Whether or not the PC version will also cost $70 remains to be seen- though it seems likely that it will.
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