Good but unnecessary remake

Joel and Ellie are excited about The Last of Us remake.

Screenshot: Naughty Dog / Kotaku

Taylor Swift is hyping up a new album. Politicians exchange barbs ahead of the midterm elections. People debating virtues Last of us. Ah, 2014. How nice to see you again. It’s been a long time.

Of course, today’s conversation is not about the original. The last of us. It’s about a remake. The horror hit from Naughty Dog made a splash when it was released on the PlayStation 3 in 2013 and was remastered for the PlayStation 4 the following year. (It may also be the one most responsible for starting the often teasing “dad games” sub-genre. .) Now the studio is releasing a remake completely redesigned from scratch for the PlayStation 5. It’s out. tomorrow.

called The Last of Us Part Ithis remake is meant to bring the 2013 original to the high graphical benchmark set by its 2020 sequel, The Last of Us Part 2. Visually yes. The Last of Us Part I does exactly that. But that’s all he does. Functionally, this is the same game you played in 2013 and 2014, and if you had a PS5 and had a PS Plus subscription, in 2020, when the first remaster was released for free to players as part of the PS Plus Collection . . What is it like Skyrimonly without Thomas the Tank Engine mods.

I do not lose sight that in a year we will be closer to when Last of us going on than when it first came out. Set in the year 2033, the game features a version of America that has been afflicted by a fungus-like virus that turns everyone into carnivorous monsters. (It’s terrible that the disease based on a very real fungus.) You play as a gruff, bearded dude named Joel and accompany a 14-year-old girl named Ellie, who may have a clue to a cure for a virus, on a treacherous journey across rough terrain. The story, told in four chapters, focuses on the development of their relationship. It’s a journey, an adventure, and a story of redemption (Joel’s own daughter is killed in the prologue set in 2013), all wrapped up in the guise of a high-stakes mission to save the world.

The Last of Us Part I received enthusiastic praise from all over the gaming industry. currently sitting in impressive 89 on review aggregation site Metacritic, making it not only one of the highest rated games of the year, but also one of top rated games in the ps5 library. You don’t have to look far to find critics saying it’s the “best” way to play. Last of us. On the flip side, though, you’ll find people wondering why a game that already looked so damn good needed a remake at all. (Some have gone so far as to falsely advance the unsubstantiated claim that it exists solely as a marketing ploy for an upcoming HBO television adaptation.)

Tess stands in front of a window in The Last of Us remake.

Tess! Tess! Tess!
Screenshot: Naughty Dog / Kotaku

Judging by what I have already played, both sides have points. The Last of Us Part I a technologically impressive but ultimately unnecessary remake. I don’t see how expanding the wrinkles on Joel’s face greatly improves what made the original such an instant classic.

For context, at least for those familiar with the game’s story, I play for about four hours. Last night I completed the levels set in Boston and headed to Bill’s second hideout. I don’t really need to play anymore to know where I am here. I’ve done this before, probably a dozen times.

To be clear, I love this game. I’m right in the middle of a crowd of people who believe Last of us an integral part of the pantheon, a truly transcendent masterpiece. As well as Part I relies on it in a tangible way. There is a truly mind-boggling array of accessibility options not found in the original release, many of which lower the barrier to entry for a game that can be mechanically fraught. Naughty Dog has also taken advantage of the PS5 controller’s enhanced haptics for useful features, such as the ability to vibrate the controller in tandem with the rhythm of the characters’ dialogue. Graphical improvements are obvious, as evidenced by Digital foundryX careful evaluation.

Yes, yes, cool cool cool. I was just playing Last of us (2013/2014).

Joel stands next to a child holding a plush giraffe in The Last of Us Part I.

One piece of news for me: I’ve never noticed this toy before.
Screenshot: Naughty Dog / Kotaku

In fact, there is so much in this same game, from clumsy shooting to a ridiculously powerful brick item to enemies that can look you in the face but can’t register your presence because you’re technically behind a wall. Ellie can walk right into the infected’s line of sight and not activate it, otherwise confused feelings while you hide Joel. It looks like Naughty Dog even kept the same solutions for all of the optional puzzles – an extremely petty quibble that only reinforces the notion that it’s all well-trodden ground. (If you can’t find the code for the hidden safe, you can be sure the solution exists somewhere on Google, published by a diligent manual author nine years ago.) The Last of Us Part 2which is mechanically deeper than its predecessor in every respect, these limitations are pronounced.

The game Part I made me seriously rethink the art of re-release: what games deserve a full re-release? What’s the benchmark for a remake versus just a slick remaster? I know in my head that a remake is essentially a new game created from scratch or close to it, while a remaster is more or less a polished version of an existing game (to put both of those phrases in the broadest possible sense). possible dates). But does the dot com dictionary matter when the only thing you have in your hands is the end result?

To me, The Last of Us Part I It looks like a remake, but it definitely doesn’t. Think: Less Demon Souls or Remake of Final Fantasy VIImore Halo 2 Anniversary. The first two were created from scratch and reinterpreted the source material to varying degrees. The third one was the same car with a shinier coat of paint; prettier, of course, but you could still feel his ten-year-old bones underneath. The Last of Us Part I much closer to the latter, except for the lack of a handy button that allows you to switch between the original visuals and the modernized repaint.

No doubt it’s nice to gawk at the photorealism on display here – to catch the bright light of the midday sun reflecting off the waterlogged surface of Beacon Street, or to see the world-weary submissiveness of a partner who knows their time has come. . Naughty Dog has been betting on hyper-realistic visuals for a long time; Last of usin many of its incarnations, is included in this work.

Joel watches the duck boat washed up on the beach, with the Boston skyline in the background.

Naughty Dog even included ridiculous duck boats from Boston…
Screenshot: Naughty Dog / Kotaku

But the game has never been solely about winning the arms race. It’s always been about storytelling: looking for glimmers of hope in a world that doesn’t have any, and the lengths some people are willing to go to keep their slice of the future, damn everyone else. It’s fraught and messy and hard to handle and interesting in a way that few games were at the time. IN 2013, Last of us was already quite visually stunning and, more importantly, human enough to draw players into the inner lives of his complex characters to evoke a wave of voyeuristic emotion with a subtle expression running across Ellie’s face. It still works now, but only because it worked then.

All calculations behind Part I wrapped in sticky paper price tag. We usually don’t discuss such matters on Kotakubut I think Part I deserves an exception: it’s one of many current-gen games that sets a new $70 baseline from the previous $60 standard. This is no small request for people who are already involved in a relatively expensive hobby. Was I in the same position as PolygonNicole Carpenter, who hasn’t played the game before this yearYes, The Last of Us Part I it’s definitely the way I’d rather play it. From the point of view of someone who has played this game over a dozen times, if I paid $70 here, to be honest, I would probably feel a little burned, like I bought a pair of shoes that I already had. . (Sony provided Kotaku with PS5 code for The Last of Us Part I before tomorrow’s release)

Anyway, let’s do it all over again in ten years when Naughty Dog comes out. The Last of Us Part I Remake Remastered Reloaded– well, if by that time the clickers in real life have not eaten us all.

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