The Last of Us Part II Remastered – Review
Follow Genre: Action Game
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PS5
Tested on: PS5

The Last of Us Part II Remastered – Review

Site Score
9.3
Good: Same masterpiece we know and love, Great new content that make a replay worth it
Bad: Some pacing issues with the story
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

When people are talking about what the best game of all time is, The Last of Us is bound to come up. After winning tons of awards when it came out in 2013, the journey of Joel and Ellie through a zombie-infested America has only become more and more popular. Since a ton of new fans got introduced to the franchise in the past two years, thanks to a PS5 remake of the original game and a critically acclaimed TV series, it was only a matter of time before the sequel would get its time in the spotlight once again. And that is what The Last of Us Part II Remastered does, bringing the continuation of Ellie’s story to the PS5 along with a bunch of new extras.

Story

Ellie’s tale of revenge is a pretty well-known one, but we will still keep away from spoilers for the new fans who are on their first journey through this tale of revenge. The Last of Us Part II Remastered picks up five years after the heartbreaking end of the first game. Ellie and Joel are now happily living in the peaceful Jackson where they are a respected part of the community. All of this comes to an end when they encounter a gang of raiders led by the mysterious Abby who seems to have a bone to pick with Joel. Once these raiders, known as the WLF, do some damage and head home, Ellie decides not to leave it at this. This is where her journey to Seattle starts, looking for revenge against the mastermind behind this attack, Abby. But everything is not as easy as it seems, since Ellie and her allies fall into a turf war, accompanied by many infected.

There isn’t a lot we can say about the story that hasn’t been said before. While there are some controversial narrative decisions, The Last of Us Part II Remastered still tells a dark tale of revenge and how far people are willing to go for it. Along come some intriguing twists that put everything that happens into another perspective, delivering some bold themes and story moments that not many other games dare to do. None of this is possible without the amazing characters and writing. The entire cast feels like real people and the dialogue shows that these characters are well rounded. There is one problem with the narrative however and that is the pacing. While getting more bang for your buck is normally a good thing, there are some sections that The Last of Us Part II Remastered tends to drag on a bit. This doesn’t take anything away from the amazing narrative, but we can’t help but feel that the story could have been a few hours shorter to better match the perfect pacing of the first game.

While the remaster adds many gameplay features, there is no additional story content. This is in no way a problem since the story was already a great one aside from the pacing issues. This only shows that the narrative is one worth experiencing a second time since the power of knowledge does make some moments more enjoyable.

Graphics

When people think about a remaster, the most prominent change that comes to mind is a graphical one. While this is certainly the case with older games, there isn’t that big of a difference with The Last of Us Part II Remastered since it’s not even four years old. The thing is that the original release already looked phenomenal and pushed the PS4 to its limits. Beautiful locations are accompanied by great character designs that come to life with some amazing motion capture performances. Watching a cutscene feels like watching a movie thanks to great directing. There are a few graphical upgrades like 4K support and smaller improvements, but nothing that stands out too much.

Sound

The same things we said about the graphical improvements of the game can be said about the sound, as it was already in a league of its own. The soundtrack composed by Gustavo Santaolalla is just as amazing as the first game and helps the emotional scenes hit home. The voice cast consists of a ton of big names, which once again help bring the characters to life with performances that rival the biggest Hollywood actors. And finally, we can’t forget about the horrific sounds the infected of the world make, especially the clicking sound of the Clickers that gets under your skin. A new addition to this remaster is developer commentary, which gives a nice narration about how the game we love came to be.

Gameplay

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is an action game with a heavy focus on story and stealth. Players who have experienced the previous entry in the series will know what they are getting into since the game adopts the same philosophy as other big PlayStation sequels of the past years like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 or God of War Ragnarök: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The sequel takes everything that worked from The Last of Us and builds upon it with new weapons and enemies. Most of this stayed the same from the original release, but the remaster adds a ton of extras and bonus content.

The gameplay of The Last of Us Part II Remastered consists of three big elements that alternate each other: walking sections with story developments, exploration areas where you can find resources, and enemy encounters. These different sections keep the game feeling fresh and also add a sense of steady progression. During the exploration parts of the game, you can find ammo and other items that can be used to craft weapons and support items that are essential to survive the combat encounters. The Last of Us Part II Remastered features some more open locations that reward exploration and tell smaller stories that offer a ton of entertaining side content. The combat encounters on the other hand feel very streamlined in handcrafted arenas. The original game already had a great variety between human enemies and infected which each demanded their own set of tactics, with human encounters often leading to a big shootout and infected requiring a more stealthy approach. The sequel adds even more enemy types and a new human faction that has a balance between these playstyles. Nothing feels as rewarding as a good story section after an intense combat encounter before the cycle repeats itself. All of this feels as good as ever, especially with the optional exploration adding a ton of playtime. The downside of this is that the game is almost double as long as the first one, making some sections drag towards the end of the game.

While the main game isn’t that different from the original release, there are a ton of small and big additions that make The Last of Us Part II Remastered worth revisiting. Players who have completed the game can access a ton of mods and bonuses like costumes and filters that give the game a new look. While most of the costumes are different shirts featuring game logos, some of them are pretty unique and fun to play around with. The mods have a bigger impact on the game, like giving the player unlimited crafting supplies or taking down all enemies with one hit. This makes replaying the game a ton of fun, especially if you want to experience the story again. Gamers who have played the PS4 version before will be happy to hear that saved data can be brought over, giving access to these new features on a second playthrough. Fans of behind-the-scene features will also be happy to hear that developer commentary has been added, along with three unfinished levels that didn’t make it to the final game. These are very interesting to play through to get a glimpse into the process of game development. The last small additions are a guitar free-play mode that lets players experiment with the music gameplay and a speedrun mode that lets players challenge their skills. The game also makes use of the PS5’s special features like haptic feedback to make it an even more immersive experience.

The biggest addition to The Last of Us Part II Remastered is the inclusion of a roguelike game mode called No Return. Here players will face a series of randomized combat encounters, collecting gear along the way and ultimately facing a boss. These encounters have different objectives, like taking out waves of enemies or surviving for a certain amount of time, taking place in a myriad of locations, and featuring different enemy types. After each encounter you are rewarded with resources to buy new equipment, unlock skills, or upgrade your weapons, making the coming challenges more manageable. At the start of each run, you’ll be able to pick a character to play. At the start, you only have access to Elly and Abby, but further characters can be unlocked, each with their unique build. This is where the mode shines, as each playable character feels unique with their own starting weapons and skills. Abby for example heals when dealing melee damage, promoting a more aggressive playstyle, while Yara is more focused on the use of stealth. Progressing through this mode is a ton of fun thanks to challenges that will unlock new characters, items, and mechanics. Thanks to this, the game mode keeps evolving with the introduction of new enemies or gambits that give smaller objectives during an encounter to receive more resources. While you won’t be spending dozens of hours on No Return, it is a great addition that recontextualizes the combat into a more chaotic experience.

Conclusion

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is the definitive way to experience this masterpiece. The story and gameplay are still as amazing as they were when the original initially released, albeit with the same small pacing issues. Even so, the extra content is what will make you stay. The mods and other small changes make the game a joy to replay, and the new No Return mode will keep you hooked for quite some time. All of this makes this an instant recommendation for new players and longtime fans alike, especially since you can get the upgrade for just ten bucks if you own the PS4 version.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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The Last of Us Part II Remastered - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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