It has been only a year since the Playstation 3 saw the release of, in my opinion, the finest game available on the seventh generation of home consoles, a game that proved that games can be based around emotional narrative and had me invested in the story of Joel and Ellie as they travelled across a post apocalyptic USA. In that year gaming has changed with the arrival of the Playstation 4 and the extra power that this new console brings, so I come into this game wondering whether this is simply a cheap cash in on a great game or the remastering that the title leads me to believe.
I personally was very excited when Naughty Dog announced that they would be releasing The Last of Us on the PS4 and I was even more pleased when they announced that this release would include the story based DLC, Left Behind, as I didn’t get chance to play this first time round on the old console. Also included is all of the DLC that has been released for the online multiplayer mode on the PS3, so out of the box you are getting the complete version from the last generation of consoles.
The initial difference with this version is the graphical boost that the power of the PS4 gives, there is no denying that this was pushing the limits of what the PS3 was capable of and whilst the PS3 version still looks great the power of the PS4 takes the graphics up to another level and it looks superb. It runs in full 1080p HD and the fps has been turned up to 60. This upgrade I felt made the game far smoother to play, especially in the action sequences when aiming down the sights of a weapon; if you preferred the speed of the older version though you can still lock the frame rate down to 30 like it was on the previous version. Whilst the game has not been reworked from the ground up the tweaks in the visuals make the world much clearer with all text in the background now readable, but it is the lighting and shadows that have been given a big boost that just helps make the experience more immersive.
To show off the gorgeous visuals Naughty Dog has introduced a photo mode, not too dissimilar to what was introduced into Infamous Second Son. You can turn it on in the option menu so that one click of the left thumb stick pauses the game and gives you many options to play with to get the best angle, lighting and filter so that you can show off the light flowing through the background and bouncing off of Joel or Ellie. This mode can really make the game much longer to play as you can constantly be found pausing the game to capture and share many memorable images from the game. This is clearly a feature that is going to be used more and more in the future for PS4 titles, and just a quick look online is proving how popular it is with many wanting to share their pictures.
Looking beyond the improvement in the visuals there has been no change to the gameplay, it is exactly the same as it was on the PS3 and in this case that is no bad thing as I thought that there really is little that can be done to improve how the game plays. The boost to 60 FPS is a tweak that makes it play smoother without changing the whole style of the game. The one downside to the lack of alterations means that the sometimes dodgy AI is still present, and enemies will sometimes still do unthinkable and stupid actions such as running into a wall or just standing there waiting to be shot. It is a real shame that a little time wasn’t taken to just improve the AI so that glitches like these disappear, luckily though they are few and far between and do not distract from the gameplay too much.
With the single player mode being exactly the same as on the PS3 release it remains the brilliant emotional experience it originally was. The Left Behind DLC is a great addition to this game and really does add to the main game, exploring the back story to Ellie and helping clarify just what events shaped Ellie’s character, with the story chopping and changing from the past to the present filling a small gap in the timeline in the main story. It really is a case of more great story writing from Naughty Dog and I am delighted it has been included in the box.
The Last of Us on PS4 has been released at a time when the amount of truly brilliant PS4 games is thin on the ground, although that is set to change with many AAA titles being released in the usually busy run up to Christmas. Sony have used this gap well as there are many people who own a PS4 who did not own the PS3, likely coming across from the Xbox platform, who would not have had the chance to experience this title and I think Sony have made a great decision to give these people the chance to experience this truly superb game.
This was my second time experiencing this game and I have to say it was just as good as it was the first time, the tension in the gameplay is still there and whilst I knew the story I still enjoyed watching the brilliantly acted cut scenes and the superbly scripted dialogue between the characters. I still loved the perfectly balanced stealth based gameplay and I am highly likely to go through this game again, it really is a future classic that everyone should experience at least once and if you’ve played it already on the PS3 then I recommend you play it again on the PS4, it really is that good.
Reviewed on PS4