Essential: The Lasto f Us: Remastered
Reboots are all the rage, but The Last of Us: Remastered rebuilds an award-winner with care
The gaming tear-jerker has been lovingly upgraded for the PlayStation 4
For a games convention where innovation and novelty have been prized in the past, this year’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles had a distinctly retro feel to it. Sure, there were new titles on display – although most were actually announced last year – but the biggest fanfare was reserved for the dusting off of old favourites.
With many next gen-specific games taking longer than expected to waddle towards the daylight, high-octane newies such as Xbox One’s Sunset Overdrive and PS4’s The Order: 1886 garnered engaged if muted responses. The biggest cheers came, instead, for the repackaging of four last-gen Halo games, a newly polished GTA V, a reboot of 2008’s sandbox sleeper hit Crackdown and the central plinth of the PlayStation party: The Last Of Us: Remastered.
The latter certainly makes sense. Naughty Dog’s PS3 survival horror is the most critically acclaimed title of last year, with over 200 game of the year awards and a BAFTA to its name. Released so close to the PS4’s launch – the
same week Sony revealed the console at last year’s E3, in fact – it would have been a travesty had it not received an upgrade to its younger brother. That it’s been overseen by the original team and is crammed with all the downloadable content is a nice bonus.
The Last of Us had a profound effect on both players and critics alike. Set in a world where a plague’s turned many into cannibalistic, triffid-like monsters, the main draw, unusually for a multimillion-selling game, isn’t the guns or the post-apocalyptic setting – although that does look amazing upscaled. Instead, it’s the relationship that grows between the protagonists, Joel, a jaded smuggler and Ellie, his young teenage charge.
with the original naughty dog team at the helm, this is 24-carat 1080p gold
“When we explained that we had a post-pandemic game that stars a 14-yearold girl, Sony said if that’s what we wanted, they’d support it,” Neil Druckmann, creative director at Naughty Dog, told our sister site CVG. “During development I was waiting for someone to come in and say, ‘You have to cut this, this goes too far.’ But they didn’t. Sony gave us this freedom, and I feel there’s a responsibility on us to make the most of that.”
As Ellie and Joel face the nightmarish world, an almost familial bond grows. It’s this very human relationship in an inhuman world that gives The Last Of Us its most powerful edge. Druckmann says they knew they’d nailed it when they presented the game to test audiences ahead of release.
“For the first time in my career, people cried during the focus test,” he says. “They came up to me at the end and said they’ve never been so attached to a character. That’s when I knew.”
With Ellie and Joel’s faces now in full 1080p, prepare for the emotion to get hi-def. $80,au. playstation.com, out July 30 on PS4
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