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The Last of Us Part II Remastered (PS5) review: A classic that just got even better

By The Count - 19 Jan 2024
Launch SRP: S$79

The Last of Us Part II Remastered review: A classic that just got even better

Image: Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II Remastered initially seemed like an unnecessary addition to a game that had already made a significant impact upon its release in 2020 for the PlayStation 4 (read our review of the original TLOU here). However, having played this refreshed version over the past couple of weeks, I find myself reconsidering. This isn’t just a mere graphical uplift; it’s a reinvigoration of the original experience, bringing a multitude of layers and nuances that enrich the game far beyond its original scope.

The visual enhancements are immediately apparent – thanks to the power of the PlayStation 5 – with native 4K resolution and improved frame rates offering a more immersive and fluid visual experience. These improvements, while expected in a remaster, set the stage for a more engaging revisit to the hauntingly beautiful and treacherous world of The Last of Us Part II.

But the remastered edition goes beyond mere aesthetics. You can customise characters with various outfits to add a light-hearted element to the game. It’s a fun diversion, allowing players to see their favourite characters in a different light. Seeing Ellie sports a Death Stranding T-shirt, for instance, is a humorous nod to gaming culture, and it’s these small, playful touches that make the remastered edition feel more personalised.

Image: Naughty Dog

Then there’s the guitar mode, which allows you to interactively play guitar using the PlayStation controller’s touchpad. It’s a small add-on feature, but one that resonates deeply with fans of the series (if you know, you know).

For those seeking a more in-depth understanding of the game's development, the remastered edition offers a treasure trove of insights. The inclusion of three previously cut levels is a glimpse into the game design process. Each level, presented in different stages of completion, offers unique scenarios and challenges, and is walked through by the game director Neil Druckmann – and I found his insights offering a prespective to the game’s narrative and design choices. Again, pretty cool stuff if you’re a hardcore fan of the series or a game developer.

Image: Naughty Dog

Perhaps the biggest addition in the Remaster is the No Return mode, a combat-focused roguelike challenge that transforms the game’s approach to combat. This mode requires players to navigate through randomised encounters, unlocking new gear and weapons while trying to survive as long as possible. It’s a stark departure from the narrative-driven main game, focusing solely on combat and survival skills – and can test players’ combat strategy and efficiency.

The variety of challenges in this mode forces players to continuously adapt their strategies. In heist sequences, stealth is key, requiring careful planning and execution. In contrast, wave-based encounters demand agility and acute environmental awareness. This variability not only tests players’ adaptability but also encourages experimentation with different weapons and tactics.

Image: Naughty Dog

Despite its many additions and enhancements, the remastered edition does not lose sight of the original game’s essence. The story remains as compelling and emotionally charged as ever, with the added features serving to complement rather than overshadow the narrative. The game’s portrayal of complex characters and moral dilemmas remains a standout aspect, and the remastered edition only serves to amplify these elements. Even for a four-year-old game, I’m not going to spoil it for you.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a comprehensive and thoughtfully crafted enhancement of the original game. It’s not just a visual upgrade, but a reimagining that has added depth, versatility, and accessibility to the gameplay.

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  • Playability 10
  • Graphics 10
  • Sound 10
  • Addictiveness 9.5
  • Value 10
The Good
Great writing, memorable characters
Fantastic visual detail
Breathtaking in size and scope
Horror moments work incredibly well
Incredibly strong cast
Weapons and upgrades feel great, and enemy AI is suitably challenging on higher difficulties
Fantastic exploration and wide-open environments
Eye-popping amount of accessibility options
The Bad
Will be controversial among fans
Certain open-ended segments could have been more spread out throughout the game
Story pacing is inconsistent
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