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Game Review: ‘The Last Of Us: Remastered’ Breathes New Life Into Old Game

But Is It Worth The Price?

Above: "The Last of Us: Remastered" offers improved graphics and commentary track for the top selling video game of 2013.

Gaming has become big business, generating upwards of $20 billion in 2013, and deserves as much media attention as the rest of the entertainment industry.

Last year, "Grand Theft Auto" did worldwide sales of $800 million in its first 24 hours alone, more than any Hollywood blockbuster opening. So naturally the gaming industry is trying to find ways to make even more money on popular games. One way is to sell new-and-improved versions of games like 2013's wildly popular and critically acclaimed “The Last of Us: Remastered” from Sony and Naughty Dog.

The original PlayStation 3 game was among the top 10 sellers in 2013 with almost 4 million units sold worldwide. The remastered PlayStation 4 version is approaching the 10 million-unit mark.

What’s New

The most noticeable of the new features is that it now runs in 1080p and you can lock the frame rate at 30fps — two features that help the game run smoother and look better. Additionally you get the "Left Behind" single-player downloadable content and eight DLC multiplayer maps from the original PS3 version.

The only brand new addition is the ability to watch all of the cinematics — the non-gameplay scenes that tell the game's story for you newbies — with commentary by the game's two main voice actors and the creative director.

Now we come to the big question: “Is it worth it?” The answer is more complicated then just yes or no.

The Pros

Let’s start with the good stuff. First of all, you get "The Last Of Us" which was one of the best games to come out on the PS3, and due to the lack of games available currently for PS4, it is the best game you can play on the next-gen console right now.

What makes "The Last Of Us" so good is the combination of three things: story, gameplay and Naughty Dog's attention to detail. The story is great thanks to the combination of excellent writing and incredible performances from the voice actors. The game focuses on two main characters, Joel (voiced by Troy Baker), a grieving father and Ellie (Ashley Johnson), the young girl he’s escorting across a post-apocalyptic U.S. They must fight zombie-like creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus.

The gameplay is a perfect blend of third-person action and survival horror, with a heavy emphasis on searching for supplies in order to survive your next brutal encounter. This emphasis on foraging encourages you to look everywhere, which in turn allows you to notice all of the details that provide bits of information about the game’s story.

Credit: Naughty Dog

Joel aims at a bloater in the Naughty Dog video game, "The Last of Us: Remastered."

The next pro for the remastered version is that it now runs in 1080p thanks to the power of the PS4. This means that the game has a higher resolution, clearer picture and more realistic lighting. This is especially beneficial in a game with so much care put into visuals and art direction. The 1080p allows you to really appreciate all of the fine detail you might have missed playing the PS3 version.

Another plus is the exclusive commentary. If you enjoyed the story of “The Last Of Us,” listening to the commentary is definitely worth checking out. There is also an 90-minute behind-the-scenes video, which is quite entertaining.

The Cons

The biggest problem with this re-release is its price. For someone like me, who bought the PS3 version new for $59.99 and then got the season pass for the DLC for another 20 bucks, being asked to pay $50 just to get a commentary track and making-of video is a little frustrating.

The only other problem is a minor issue that all HD remakes suffer from. The downside of 1080p's improved clarity is it also makes all of the tiny flaws more noticeable as well. These range from minor clipping issues like characters’ hair bleeding into other parts of the visuals to bits of texture popping as an area loads in for the first time. None of these issues are a big deal, and shouldn't deter you from buying this game.

Video

Last of Us: Remastered

Final Verdict

“The Last of Us: Remastered” should be considered the definitive version of the game, but is only worth the price if you have never played it. For anyone who already own “The Last Of Us” for PS3, you shouldn’t feel it’s necessary to buy this version. I would have had no problems with this new version if they had just implemented an upgrade system that allowed anyone who bought the game for PS3 to upgrade to the PS4 version at a reduced cost. This model is not new and would have been a perfect fit for this new version of “The Last Of Us.”

Naughty Dog isn’t done yet with "The Last of Us." A week after the remastered game’s release on July 29 it made new content available for both the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game, which prompted complaints from some fans. And more DLC is still coming.

If you still want more of "The Last of Us," Sam Raimi is scheduled to turn the game into a feature-length film.

Tony Weidinger is the son of Cinema Junkie's Beth Accomando and serves as her video game consultant — even though he sold the only two games she ever learned to play: "Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters" and "Evil Dead." He is pursuing a degree in game design and games for dozens of hours every week.

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