Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? I’m happy to report that Naughty Dog has successfully brought PlayStation 3’s single best game, The Last of Us to PlayStation 4 in the form of The Last of Us: Remastered. It’s as much a masterpiece on PS4 as it is on PS3, and it’s worth your undivided attention whether you’ve played it already or are about to jump in for the first time.
Sure, we may not have really needed a port so quickly, but then again, The Last of Us isn’t just any game. As one of the best games of all-time, the more places it is and the more people that can play it, the better. The biggest change Remastered brings is its frame rate. The original version of The Last of Us pushed the PlayStation 3 to its absolute limits to pull off 30 frames per second at 720p resolution, but the PlayStation 4 runs Remastered at 60 frames per second and 1080p resolution. It’s a jarring change at first, but one that I began to appreciate the more I played.
If you don’t agree, Naughty Dog has included the option to lock the frame rate to the original 30, but it was flipping back and forth that made me really begin to see the contrast. It’s hard to explain how much of a difference the 30 to 60 transition makes until you see it for yourself, the PS3 original frankly looks a bit choppy by comparison.
Doubling the frame rate doesn’t only provide an obvious aesthetic boost; it enhances game play too. The most hardcore competitive shooters on consoles, like the Call of Duty series run at or near 60 frames because it makes the shooting that much more fluid, responsive, and accurate. You’ll see similar effects in The Last of Us: Remastered during gun battles, even if they are few and far between.
The PlayStation 4’s extra horsepower also gives a boost to The Last of Us’ graphical fidelity. Now, I know that’s not necessarily saying a whole lot, considering The Last of Us on PS3 is already the most beautiful game I’ve seen on any console. But somehow, Remastered looks just a bit better. Textures are more detailed, the lighting is enhanced, and everything pops more. The changes aren’t mind altering or even game changing but you can absolutely see the difference. From the moment I started the campaign, I couldn’t help but notice improvements everywhere. Some are far more minor than others, but they’re there, and they make The Last of Us burst with even more life.
You can really soak the beauty in with Remastered’s new “Photo Mode”, which allows you to take control of the camera, alter visual settings like focus and filters, and more to grab the most gorgeous shots possible. It’s not uncommon to encounter stunning sights in The Last of Us like when you first enter environments reclaimed by nature with Joel and Tess near the beginning of the game and now, you can capture those moments for posterity, if you’d like.
Another notable change from PS3 to PS4 is, as you might expect, the controller. Naughty Dog knew the weaknesses of the DualShock 3’s terrible triggers, which explains why aiming and shooting was unconventionally mapped to R1 and L1. DualShock 4’s far superior triggers don’t suffer from a similar problem, so you can map shooting to R2 and L2 if you want, or keep it as it originally was.
For as great as Remastered’s little tweaks and additions are, the true value proposition comes in when you start to talk about DLC. A slew of DLC that had to be purchased separately on PlayStation 3 comes bundled in on PlayStation 4. For instance, Left Behind The Last of Us’ incredible single-player prequel DLC is included, as are a ton of online maps and modes that you’d otherwise have to acquire separately on PS3.