The Last of Us Part 2: Remastered Review
The Last of Us Part 2: Remastered arrives on the PS5 offering a content-rich experience that evolves the sequel introducing new features, modes and more, my full review.
Creating The Last of Us Part II was no small order, it followed up one of the most critically acclaimed games of all-time in The Last of Us and sky-high expectations. The sequel needed to offer something new in a well-worn post-apocalyptic setting. Thankfully, Part II offered a larger, emotionally charged, and visceral experience over its predecessor met with critical acclaim in 2020. It was a divisive masterpiece that sparked intense debates and reactions among fans and critics alike.
"It was a divisive masterpiece that sparked intense debates and reactions among fans and critics alike."
Now, in 2024, the Last of Us Part II Remastered has arrived with more content, upgraded visuals, and new features to take advantage of PlayStation 5 hardware. With only three and a half years since the original release many were unsure if this was the “right time” for a remaster. Personally, I was looking for an excuse to revisit Last of Us Part II and this was great timing, especially after stellar HBO TV series wrapped its first season. Playing through the campaign, exploring all the new content and modes I can confidently say this was the perfect time for more of TLoU2. Whether you are a fan of the original or a newcomer to the series, this is a must-play experience that has a lot to offer. Let's step into Naughty Dog’s dark world and explore at why this Remaster is worth your time.
"Whether you are a fan of the original or a newcomer to the series, this is a must-play experience that has a lot to offer."
The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 5
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure / Survival Horror
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: M for Mature 18+
Masterful storytelling and new commentary
The Last of Us Part II Remastered follows the exact same story beats as the original. You continue to follow Ellie’s journey, a young woman who is immune to the fungal infection that has turned most of humanity into fungal monstrosities. Set five years after the events of the first game, Ellie lives in a remote community in Jackson, Wyoming, with her adoptive father Joel and love interest Dina. Her life is brought into a violent upheaval when a group of mysterious strangers attacks her group. The tragic result sets in motion a path of revenge that takes Ellie on a vengeance-fuelled journey, from Seattle to Santa Barbara. Along the way, she encounters new allies and enemies, moral dilemmas, and discovers the truth behind the events that changed her life forever.
The story of The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a complex and emotional one, that explores themes of trauma, violence, love, and redemption. It is told from multiple perspectives, including that of Abby, a former soldier who has a personal connection to Ellie and Joel. The game does not shy away from showing the brutal consequences of the characters’ actions and challenges the player to empathize with their motivations and choices.
Added context to the campaign
Although the main campaign hasn’t seen major story changes there is added content in the remastered package that sheds more light on things. The first is the Lost Levels, which are playable sequences that were cut from the original release. These short slices are not fully finished, but they offer a glimpse into the development process of the game.
"They are a fascinating addition, that gave me more insight into the game’s creation."
Although they were short, it was still a fascinating look behind scenes with one of the best development houses in the industry. The levels also feature developer commentary that explains the reasons behind the cuts and the changes that were made. They are a fascinating addition, that gave me more insight into the game’s creation.
The Last of Us Part 2 Image Gallery
Campaign director commentary
Along with the Lost Levels players can also now access director commentary throughout the entire campaign. This is mostly featured in cutscenes so if you already played through the game, you could watch the cutscenes together with the commentary for greater cohesiveness. I really enjoyed all of this as it is a rare look at the creative process that goes into AAA titles.
“No Return” is an addictive roguelike survival mode
The Last of Us Part II Remastered is not only a technical upgrade, but also a content-rich one. The game features new modes that add variety and replay value to the game. The largest and most notable is No Return, a roguelike survival mode that puts you in randomized scenarios with different characters, enemies, rewards, and modifiers. You can unlock different playable characters, each with their own abilities and playstyles, such as Ellie, Abby, Lev, Tommy, and Joel.
You can also unlock new outfits and skins for the characters, as well as customize runs with different options and difficulties. The mode is challenging and addictive, as you try to survive against waves of enemies, break into safes, defend against hordes of infected, and escape from relentless hunters.
"The mode is challenging and addictive, as you try to survive against waves of enemies, break into safes, defend against hordes of infected, and escape from relentless hunters."
The mode also features six boss encounters that will test your skills and strategies. No Return is a great way to experience the stealth and combat mechanics of The Last of Us Part II in new and exciting way.
Graphics and performance
When it comes to visuals in the Remastered version it offers incremental improvements over the original 2020 release. On paper the game now features increased texture resolution, greater draw distance, better shadow quality and a higher animation sampling rate. For example, when approaching large vistas or big set pieces, objects and foliage looked a lot sharper. These are hard to spot at first blush, but they are there, and the game looks phenomenal. The Remaster features enhanced graphics, such as native 4K output in Fidelity Mode, 1440p upscaled to 4K in Performance Mode, and Unlocked Framerate option for TVs that support VRR.
Other PS5 specific features the game also supports the DualSense controller, which adds haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to the combat and stealth mechanics. You can feel the tension of the bow, the recoil of the guns, and the heartbeat of the characters as you navigate your surroundings. The game also utilizes the 3D audio feature of the PS5, which creates a more immersive and spatial sound experience. You can hear the enemies and environmental cues from different directions and distances, making you more aware of your surroundings and adding to the tension and suspense.
Become a post-apocalyptic Guitar Hero
Another new mode is Guitar Free Play, which expands on the guitar playing feature from the original game. In this mode, the player can choose from different instruments, such as guitars, banjos, and ukuleles, and play them as different characters in various locations from the game. The player can also use audio FX pedals to add effects to their music, and record and share their songs with others. The mode is a relaxing and creative one, that allows the player to express themselves and enjoy the music of the game.
Final thoughts on The Last of Us Part 2: Remastered
The Last of Us Part II: Remastered is an excellent, content-rich take on an already iconic game. Tailored for both newcomers and seasoned fans alike, this game packed with new modes, features, and refinements that take this masterpiece to all new levels. It's more than just a graphical upgrade; it's a whole new experience that adds depth to the original story and brings additional content for fans to explore. The Lost Levels, although brief, offer fresh insights into the narrative, providing a deeper understanding of the characters and the development processes inside Naughty Dog. The beefy “No Return” rogue lite mode is worth the price of entry alone, not to mention all the other extras packed in like Guitar Free Play mode. With its powerful narrative, excellent visuals, and engaging gameplay, The Last of Us Part II: Remastered is a must-play game for any ardent gamer. Whether you're a fan of the original or a newcomer to the series, The Last of Us Part 2: Remastered is an offering that you shouldn’t pass up.
The Last of Us Part 2: Remastered PROS
+The game has stunning visuals, excellent combat and stealth mechanics
+No Return mode is a fantastic addition that offers plenty of experimenting with gameplay mechanics
+Developer commentary offers new insight into the game’s development
+The Lost Levels, although unfinished, offer another compelling extra piece of content
The Last of Us Part 2: Remastered CONS
-No Return mode doesn’t add anything to the story
-The game has minor pacing problems
-Small visual improvements over the original release
Overall Assessment of The Last of Us Part 2: Remastered
Overall Rating: 37/40 (93%)
A copy of the game was provided by PlayStation for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on multiple social platforms with the handle @dapper_tux via "X", Instagram, Threads, TikTok and join in on the fun!
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