The Last of Us Part I Review: Play it again Ellie

If Naughty Dog’s The last of us debuted for the PlayStation 3 almost a decade ago in 2013 to near-universal acclaim. Not only did it wow gamers with its visceral gameplay and narrative, but it went on to become one of the best-selling video games of all time. Frequently cited as one of the best video games of all time, it has evolved into a media franchise that’s virtually guaranteed to succeed, whether it’s crowds of people looking for a simple remastered version or a live one just a year after the original game Gather Action Television Adaptation on HBO.

But as excellent as the original game was, with its remaster adding higher quality graphics and improved touch-ups, it paled in comparison to that of the PlayStation 4 The Last of Us Part II eventually could do. The graphical and narrative powerhouse was a massive step up from its predecessor and almost felt like stepping into an entirely different world. It became the standard for The last of us– but with so many new players jumping on board to see the second part, the original game needed to be treated the same way. It needed parity with the new game to give the project a sense of cohesion.

Maybe that was the thinking behind Naughty Dog’s decision The Last of Us Part I and completely overhaul it in less than 10 years after it was released into the wild. While the remaster did a great job of modernizing the game a bit, the remake reimagines the landscapes, character models, and more The Last of Us Part I stunningly beautiful effect.

While the core game itself remains largely unchanged, it’s safe to say that this new version should be viewed as the definitive way to experience Ellie and Joel’s ballad as they eke out their existence on the brink of humanity’s collapse. This is the way The Last of Us Part I was finally destined to be experienced.

The Last of Us Part I: Travel
Ellie and Joel journey through the apocalyptic landscape of The Last of Us: Part I. This remake of the original game has been lovingly crafted from the ground up.
Interactive entertainment from Sony

The Last of Us Part I Review: history

When it first arrived The Last of Us Part I was settled the same year it took place: 2013. A mutated Cordyceps fungus has almost destroyed all of humanity, with human hosts turning into rabid, zombie-like “infected” first appearing in the United States and spreading to the spread all over the world. Joel and Sarah, a Texas father and daughter, are desperate to escape the burning city while the infected wreak havoc. While Joel and Sarah eventually flee with Joel’s brother Tommy, Sarah is caught in the crossfire.

Twenty years later, humanity has survived – to some extent. Joel has moved to Boston and works with fellow survivors and partner Tess to smuggle goods. In one of his final quests, he teams up with a member of the Fireflies, a rebel militia opposed to the way things are going after the infected took over the world. The Fireflies hire Joel to smuggle a young girl named Ellie to another group of Fireflies in exchange for a large stash of stolen guns. Joel and Tess agree, but soon they learn the truth about Ellie: she’s infected.

The story unfolds as multiple truths are revealed about Ellie, the fireflies, and Joel himself, who has been grieving without his wife and daughter for two decades. His icy exterior slowly melts as he realizes that Ellie has quickly become the daughter he lost so many years ago. As the Walking Deadthe drama focuses more on the characters than the infected, and it makes for an engaging narrative with enough twists and turns that it feels like watching a Hollywood blockbuster.

The Last of Us Part I: Survival
Joel and Ellie make their way through one of the large areas of land in The Last of Us Part I. Many of these areas have been expanded with additional flora, fauna and other eye candy.
Interactive entertainment from Sony

The Last of Us Part I Rating: Gameplay

Joel and Ellie’s journey through the infected-ridden Midwest feels like playing an interactive zombie movie. Much like that feeling of “I’m playing the movie!” Franchises like Uncharted have gained prominence over the years (although gaming has been doing this well for a while), you’re always in the middle of the action.

The Last of Us Part I has always been a third-person action game with lots of gunplay, and whether you’re using shotguns, pistols, bows, or melee fighters, it’s always incredibly visceral, especially when you’re dealing with the cordyceps-infested infected. They come in a variety of forms, and they’ll chop off Joel’s head or instantly cause him to die untimely if you let them.

There’s plenty to use in the environment to hold the infected accountable, including whistles, baseball bats, knives, Molotov cocktails, and more. You can consume edible plants or pills to gain health, and search for crafting materials that can be used at workbenches around the world. Of course, all of this was already present in the game when it first debuted.

What has changed? Combat is more fluid and responsive than before. It’s all more similar The Last of Us Part II true ballet. Whether you’re sneaking up on a Firefly for a stealth kill or taking on a Bloater infected with a wing and a prayer, the remake’s changes feel right. And if you’ve never experienced how the first game felt compared to the second, the original game will have you feeling like you’re reuniting with an old friend.

Sometimes you switch off and play as Ellie too, just like most of the others The Last of Us Part II. Ellie isn’t as big or lumbering as Joel, making her an easier target, especially over varied terrain. Again, for the many players who I suspect are coming into the game for the first time after the sequel, this will feel familiar since you’re usually Ellie or Abby The Last of Us Part II.

In addition, there are a variety of different transitions from one area to the next, more breakable objects to use in combat, and improved AI. All of that matters if you want to embrace the new Permadeath mode, meaning if you get it once killed, that’s it. You can’t come back from that. There’s also a speed mode you can opt for, which encourages you to complete the game in as little time as possible, complete with timers. If you love collectibles, there are plenty of goodies to look for here too.

The Last of Us Part I: Fight
Joel hides behind gear while waiting for his chance to strike. The Last of Us Part I features a wealth of battle scenes.
Interactive entertainment from Sony

The Last of Us Part I Review: Additional content

Oddly enough The Last of Us Part I remains almost entirely in step with the original game in my view. That means there’s not really new content here, but it also means I have some questions about potential content that could have been added after the fact. In a remake, there are always opportunities to add storylines or scenes that had to be cut in the original product. And while I’m curious as to why Naughty Dog decided to forego adding new content, I can understand the trepidation and backlash that can arise when you change a beloved story—even just a tiny bit.

As a result, there’s not much new to mention here. But what is Here are some of the most loving and lavish character makeovers you’ll see in a remake. Characters, like Ellie and Tess in particular, have been aged a bit with more believable models. Joel looks a lot tougher which is a result of 20 years of hard living. But what’s even more interesting is that the environments and familiar spaces you might remember from the original have evolved into more detailed, living, breathing expanses with added trees, new buildings, pastel skies, and captivating green lands. Humanity may be on the brink of extinction, but the world is still beautiful.

In addition to the main game, you also get The Last of Us Part I: Left Behind DLC, which was previously paid content that you would have to purchase separately. It’s also been recreated in the same way as the core story itself and is a great addition to the pack. There are also a number of accessibility options that make this version of the game a recommendation for almost everyone, whether players want to toned down the blood or have bigger subtitles. While there’s a dearth of new content, the availability of this multitude of settings can’t be underestimated – and it may be the only real option for some players to dig into The Last of Us Part I in a way that is familiar with them, which is a great asset to accessibility efforts.

The Last of Us Part I: Judgment
Ellie pets a giraffe found in the wild. The Last of Us Part I is set in an apocalyptic setting, but there are splashes of wildlife and lots of greenery to explore.

The Last of Us Part I: Verdict

The Last of Us Part I doesn’t change the main story and doesn’t reinvent the wheel. However, it updates a modern classic in a way that both new players and veterans alike can agree is absolutely spectacular. Still, the great graphics, improved gameplay, and minor extras might not be enough to convince some players to pay the $70 price tag to relive this game. However, judge the game on its own merits for those looking to gain experience The Last of Us Part I For the first time, this is absolutely the best way to do it.

Result: 9/10

The Last of Us Part I will be released on September 2, 2022 on PlayStation 5. The Last of Us Part I Review: Play it again Ellie

Rick Schindler

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