The Last of Us Part 1 Review

The Last of Us Part I

The Last of Us Part 1 introduces us to a post-apocalyptic world where a plague has wiped out modern civilisation, leaving many humans in a zombie-like state. Brimming with anger toward non-infected humans, these infected individuals will attack on sight where a single bite is fatal.

The story revolves around Ellie Williams, a fourteen-year-old girl who was bitten by an infected human but was found to have a natural immunity to the infection. If this immunity can be reverse engineered into a vaccine the world may finally see an end to the plague.

The story is absolutely incredible from start to finish. The horrific world these people are subject to is only amplified further by the massive boost in visual fidelity that has come with this remaster. The emotional rollercoaster is further amplified for those who have played this game before and subsequently, played Last of Us part 2.

Everything about the story just feels like it belongs in a Hollywood movie. The subtle ways in which you see Joel care for Ellie and all of the heart-racing moments that come throughout the adventure.

last of us part 1 review
Many of the scenes feel like they belong in a book of paintings. The art style is just stunning with so much attention to detail.

Although you are equipped with guns and various other weapons, stealth is king in this game. The mechanics are designed in such a way that you will never feel overconfident going into any encounter. A full inventory of ammo never guarantees success. Running away is almost always necessary, especially when some of the larger enemies like bloaters come into the mix.

Dying can almost feel satisfying at times due to how cinematic it can be. Having blasted several infected, a bloater came onto the scene. Having run away, a faster infected is in hot pursuit. I whip out a shotgun to blow its head off only to find the gun needs to be reloaded. Every single hair stood up as Joel tried to reload the gun as an infected was barreling toward me. Dying sucks but in this case, it was such an awesome experience. It all felt so real.

killing enemies
Stealth is optional for many encounters though. The level of gore is through the roof!

With this remaster being rebuilt from the ground up, we have seen a significant improvement in pretty much every aspect of the game. One of the more jarring issues however is vehicles. This is very noticeable at the start of the game when you spend time in one. The vehicle’s movements feel as though the car is gliding. Turning far faster than a car could turn without moving forward. It works with a tank but not an SUV. Vehicles in general just don’t move naturally when they turn.

Thankfully there is very little else in this game that doesn’t feel well polished. Shooting and combat are intense and stressful at times and stealth is even more stressful. When dealing with a combination of different enemy types, each with varying means to detect you, you constantly have to alter your approach to survive each encounter.

Staying hidden can be tricky at times. When crouched behind an obstacle, pressing triangle will trigger Joel to grab the enemy to choke them out, but he won’t pull the enemy behind cover to do it. You exit cover to choke the enemy out in the open, leaving you exposed.

When you do get the attention of nearby enemies, the only way to quickly run is to do this sort of awkward 180-degree pivot by tapping X before being able to sprint away. You can’t quickly dodge and roll to more seamlessly reorientate yourself in a new direction. You must pivot on the spot without moving away from the incoming danger before you can run. It is a frustrating mechanic that when combined with the inability to discreetly choke an enemy out results in some annoying deaths.

stealth takedowns
Hiding in a spot like this, you would expect to be able to pull the incoming enemy in behind cover and kill them. Unfortunately, you must stand up to choke them out, which exposes you to attack and alerts enemies.

The biggest gripe many people will have with this game is that it is a remaster but has the $70 price tag of a brand-new game. The game was rebuilt from the ground up but when it was only remastered 8 years ago on the PS4, is it worth shelling out $70 for this game again?

The Last of Us Part 1 remains an incredible game. If you have never played this game before, absolutely worth every cent. The polish and quality of this game are at the top of the AAA standard of video game development. Every scene is a treat on the eyes on top of having an exceptional story and mostly solid game mechanics.

If you have already played this game along with Part 2, you may not get quite as much out of this purchase. You know the story, you know the gameplay. Other than the graphical improvements, there is not much else to justify the high price tag for gamers who have played this game multiple times over the last few years. This is in no way a negative reflection of the game but when it is the exact same game that was remastered 8 years ago, fans of the franchise will want a little more new content to justify the high price tag.

THE VERDICT

8.5/10
Last of Us Part 1 delivers visual quality that is beyond what you would expect from a remaster. The graphical detail surpasses that of the second game making it one of the best-looking games on PS5. Unfortunately, some of the more clunky mechanics for evading or choking out enemies remain that are a little frustrating. Overall, combat is intense and exciting with the same heart-punding interactions with clickers. For newcomers, this remaster is a real gem and a must-have. Unfortunately, outside of the graphical improvements, there is little else to justify the full price tag for those who have already played the previous remaster. 
Pros
  • The graphical improvements are overwhelming at times. The game is stunning.
  • The story and relationship between Joel and Ellie is so good. Even better if you have played part 2.
  • So many heart-pounding interactions with clickers, bloaters and other enemies.
Cons
  • The pivot mechanic you use to run away from enemies is too clunky
  • Not being able to pull enemies behind cover to choke them out hurts the games push toward using stealth to deal with encounters.
  • Vehicles seem to glide around when they turn