The Last of Us Part I game review on PS5

Never two without three ! After the basic version in 2013 and a remaster shortly after on PlayStation 4, the first adventure of Ellie and Joel is making a comeback on PS5 with The Last of Us Part 1. A remake taken from scratch by the team Naughty Dog which arouses as much excitement as questioning. So, in reality, what is it really worth? Here is our final opinion.

Find just above, in auto-play, our video version of the test of The Last of Us Part 1.

  • Test performed on PS5. The Last of Us Part 1 will be available on September 2, 2022 (later on PC).

The Last of Us is not a post-apo game with zombies like the others. Already because there are no zombies strictly speaking but monsters infected by a large mushroom – this is an important clarification – and above all because it has propelled the Naughty Dog studio even higher, among the companies essentials of modern video games. After having burst the current screen of the years 2010, with Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3, why not downright burst the ceiling and show that we excel in the writing of heroes? This is the tour de force that marks The Last of Us, unanimously praised by the press and players when it was released in 2013. The project that interests us today, The Last of Us Part 1, is a remake of this success, which also includes the Left Behind extension. On the other hand, no overhaul of “Factions”, multiplayer mode of the time.

Born in the USA

Before tackling the novelties and brand new visuals of this remake, The Last of Us Part 1 therefore remains above all the story of Ellie and Joël, shaken along the roads of the United States in search of the Fireflies. A story that has not moved an inch. The Naughty Dog team has carefully reproduced every dialogue and cutscene here with their new engine – and that’s clearly not a bad thing. Even after all this time the writing of The Last of Us has not aged a bit, always so true, touching, overwhelming. What an emotion to see Ellie’s relationship written again | Joël (especially with such believable faces) as and when scenes of rare authenticity. Of course, difficult not to have in mind The Last of Us Part 2, even more ambitious in terms of narration. But the magic of 2013 works, whether it’s the main adventure or the Left Behind DLC, which often hits right to the heart. The extension shows a piece of Ellie’s past, before she met Joel, then accompanied by her best friend Riley. With these two sides of the same coin, you will have your share of emotions and a total of approximately 18h to 20h of play.

The Last of Us Part 1 – Long Car Cutscene (Loyalty Mode)

Tomb of the Fireflies

So yes, it’s no surprise! The writing of The Last of Us Part 1 remains identical to the original project. What is more surprising, however, is that the structure and level design of the adventure scrupulously follow this same path – for a result that is less exciting. Naturally, the first The Last of Us relies on much more classic and linear bases than the second part, very often following the pattern “narration, exploration, combat, exploration, narration…” which moreover in narrow levels and not very conducive to exploration (compared to The Last of Us Part 2). Not to mention the old-fashioned puzzles based on wooden ladders and planks! Concretely, the whole lacks a lot of breath, of open areas. The Last of Us Part 1 thus seems stuck between two eras, with its structure on the one hand and its visuals on the other.

That being said, keep your feet on the ground. The course of The Last of Us Part 1 may be classic, but it works well despite everything! Already because the sets crossed are sufficiently varied – at least in terms of atmosphere – to rekindle the player’s interest. But mostly because in The Last of Us, history is a great engine for progression. Whether it’s between a touching scene with two characters, an action phase that comes out of nowhere or even a reversal of the situation that calls everything into question, Naughty Dog has no shortage of resources to get us back on track. What about the Left Behind DLC? It’s almost a candy you’ll want to gulp down, in 2-3 hours of gameplay. Even knowing the base title well, we’ve fallen in love with The Last of Us all over again. is really there for something.

Technical clicker?

Here we are ! “The Elephant in the Room” for The Last of Us Part 1: Graphics Overhaul. A redesign with a capital “R” in that the Naughty Dog team not only updated the textures but also overhauled the art direction. Let’s not go four ways. In this remake, the work on the visuals is quite exemplary. Here, the PlayStation studio once again shows the full extent of its technical know-how, with a project that sets the bar even higher than the second installment thanks to the resolution of the PS5. The Last of Us Part 1 thus offers two graphic modes. The first, “Fidelity,” offers native 4K and a target framerate of 40 frames per second (with regular drops for rich moments). The second, “Performance”, favors fluidity at 60 fps with dynamic 4K or – depending on your screen – 1440p. Note however, that in the second case, the new visual of The Last of Us is less brilliant and that the mode is especially useful for having more fluid fights. The Last of Us Part 1 allows switching from Loyalty to Performance on the fly, without returning to the title screen or reloading a game.

Obviously, even before the sets, it is the faces of the characters that benefit from this gain in power. Never has the pout of Ellie, Joël, Tess or Riley been so authentic and believable, undoubtedly increasing the emotional impact of many scenes. On this side, The Last of Us Part 1 does not have much to envy to the second part. Same observation for the sets, even more convincing and immersive than in the past (special mention to the sumptuous light effects). After yes, there are still two or three less flattering details, such as NPC animations that smack of 2013, allies running around in the action phases and display bugs. But nothing serious! Overall, we can say that the contract is 100% fulfilled, so much so that we would have liked to explore beyond the limits set by the basic title. Limits which, moreover, sometimes make us forget this solid remake work, when the technique becomes less flamboyant, especially during the indoor phases. An impression that can also be felt with the level design and the gameplay.

One on one!

All in all, if it is obvious to want to compare The Last of Us Part 1 to the second episode of the license, we must not forget to take this 2022 version for what it is. If the level design and the structure are more classic, they work rather well despite everything – and the same goes for the gameplay. The studio Naughty Dog thus offers a more modern gameplay than in the past by relying on all the ingredients of the original app. Melee combat is now more visceral, with a camera that sticks to the action and rawer animations. In the same logic, it is now easier to grab and then throw an object at an enemy (brick or bottle). You can also use the DualSense’s gyroscope to adjust your aim, a nice aid but it doesn’t work perfectly yet. Otherwise, The Last of Us Part 1 is an action-infiltration game that is certainly classic but quite successful in reflecting the urgency and violence of the blows. Not revolutionary, but solid!

The Last of Us Part 1 – High Voltage Stealth (Loyalty Mode)

In other words, with this remake, you will have no trouble feeling the soul of a post-apo survivor, especially in the highest difficulty mode (the challenge is also customizable from A to Z according to multiple settings, like in The Last of Us Part 2). The mix between craft, survival and firearms remains a safe bet. Not to mention the nice boost brought by the vibrations of the DualSense, which give a pleasant personality to each means of defense. As a reminder, in The Last of Us, ammunition is generally limited and you will have to use everything you have on hand to get by. But discretion is also a solution! As in the base game, you can also improve the skills of the hero and weapons. Nevertheless, here we would have liked to be able to lie flat on our stomachs and dodge, as in the second part. One last point that would have avoided frustration during the fights.

behind the mountain

On the other hand, The Last of Us Part 1 adds a lot of bonuses that will please fans. Starting with a permadeath option, a speedrun mode, images | never-before-seen 3D models to view in the Bonus menu, skins, and even in-game commentary from director Neil Druckmann and the original cast of Ellie and Joel. A new photo mode is also part of it as well as a whole system to customize the controls. As you will have understood, there are a lot of things to unlock. But the most substantial – and important – addition at this level are undoubtedly the accessibility options. The Last of Us Part 1 is certainly the most accessible blockbuster today, with a bunch of aids to activate, settings to avoid motion sickness and even a full audio description. An excellent thing to allow everyone to discover this masterpiece, now in its best light on PS5. Come on, it’s time to conclude.

Conclusion

Strong points

  • A solid graphic overhaul
  • Faces that make the difference
  • Still a poignant story
  • A magic that has remained unchanged
  • Classic but strong enough
  • More accessibility options
  • Lots of bonuses for fans

Weak points

  • Details remained in 2013
  • A remake too superficial

As you might expect, with The Last of Us Part 1, PlayStation and Naughty Dog have worked to faithfully recreate the basic adventure with all that that entails. On the one hand, the graphics are breathtakingly beautiful and realistic, while on the other, the levels and the gameplay are reminiscent of the 2010s. But in the end, all we remember is the wonderful epic with Ellie and Joël, even though we already know their story. Even after ten years, The Last of Us’s script and plot haven’t aged a bit. It’s still as strong, poignant, catchy. A steamroller such that we forget the anachronistic stylistic effects and the few flaws. More than ever, it’s time to (re)discover this post-apo masterpiece!

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The Last of Us Part I game review on PS5