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  • Writer's pictureCourt Lalonde

Unleashing the Next-Gen Experience: The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered Review


The Last of Us Part 2

When The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered was announced, I was unsure whether it was too soon from its release. The Last of Us Part 2 was only released four years earlier on the PS4 and did receive an upgrade for the PS5. In patch 1.08, The Last of Us Part 2 didn't get a PS5 version but an upgrade to the PS4 version that unlocked the frames from 30 FPS to allow up to 60 FPS. So, I need to ask whether we need a PS5 version of The Last of Us Part 2 and whether this Remastered version adds value to the franchise and your gaming collection. I will answer these questions and more in my review of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered.


When it was announced, they told us the new features that had been added to the game because I genuinely think the game wouldn't be needed if it weren't for these new features. One of the new features is the No Return mode, a roguelike game within The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered. We thoroughly reviewed it here on Three Dads and a Console and truly loved this mode. In No Return, you can pick a character from The Last of Us Part 2 and go on a mission to complete runs. There is no story component to this, and it's all survival to make it to the end at a final boss. During your run, you can purchase upgrades, buy weapons to use on the run, and earn rewards from completing encounters. If you die, you will lose all the upgrades and weapons you purchased and have to start a new run. Any perks or skins you earn from completing challenges in those runs, you do get to keep along with any characters you unlock. You start with only being able to use Abby or Ellie, but as you progress, you can unlock Dina, Lev, Yara, Jessie, Tommy, Mel, Joel, and Manny. Each character has strengths and weaknesses and what items or weapons they start with, so choose your character based on your play style. If you're more of a stealth combat type of player, I would suggest using Lev, Yara, Jessie, or Ellie, as their traits and weapons are more suited for stealth combat.


No Return

Joel and Manny are perfect for the overpowering run-and-gun style combat, and Tommy starts with a sniper rifle, which allows you to take out enemies from a distance. Completing challenges and runs will unlock skins for playing The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered. I found No Return to be addictive and wanted to finish run after run, and when I died, I had no issues starting all over again. They paid homage to the cancelled factions mode because the combat felt similar to that without the multiplayer aspect. If you had purchased The Last of Us Part 2 on PS4 in the past, No Return mode alone makes the $10 upgrade path worth it.



They added a guitar free play mode which allows you to choose from a selection of Ellie, Joel, and even Gustavo, whose likeness is based on Gustavo Santaolla, who is the composer for the music of The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2. You can select which type of guitar you would like to use and even a banjo like we see Gustavo playing in The Last of Us Part 2 in Jackson. They allow you to select your background and some graphics settings to turn off and on, like film grain. They even have an FX pedal section for that music enthusiast. You know much more than I do about tuning a guitar and getting different sounds from it. I played around with it and couldn't compose anything that resembled what you would classify as music. I'm interested in seeing what the player's base comes up with, and I expect some fantastic social media posts of epic guitar jams from this mode.


Guitar

Adding the Lost Levels in The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered gives us a glimpse into game development and what could have been. The three levels are Jackson Party, Seattle Sewers, and The Hunt. You can have director commentary turned on or off, but it adds so much to playing these levels to hear from the game makers. They set the stage by giving you a brief video before each level, letting you know the meaning behind the level and why it didn't make the cut done by Neil Druckmann himself. One of the new features in the game is director commentary, which shines in the Lost Levels, which are all in the pre-alpha stage, but the commentary adds so much to the enjoyment of playing them. I highly recommend you play them with commentary so you can see why choices were made or not made with regard to these levels. Late last year, Neil Druckmann mentioned that some of the content from these Lost Levels could make it into season 2 of The Last of Us on HBO.


lost levels

The commentary adds so much to the game itself, as I found myself jumping to specific missions in the story of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered only to hear from Neil Druckmann, Ashley Johnson, or Troy Baker to understand what was going through their minds or how they came to certain decisions on how the story played out. I want developers to do this more often, much like what they do in the Blu-ray industry, which has an extra feature: the director's commentary. I had it turned on almost the whole time I replayed the game. You can quickly transfer your saved file from the PS4 to pick it up right where you left off if you previously played The Last of Us Part 2 on PS4. Click the link here as we have written up an article giving you step-by-step instructions on how to do that if you have trouble. I'm not going to speak about the story too much in this review, as I feel any mention of it will give away some major plot points to those who have never played it.


For those who have never played The Last of Us Part 2, be paired to be on a roller coaster of emotions as the team over at Naughty Dog creates a fantastic story, which is an experience. The Last of Us Parts 1 and 2 have brought a new dimension to video game storytelling and set a new bar. Video games are no longer considered a fun escape, but now I feel they are taken more seriously by the mainstream. The popularity of The Last of Us on HBO and how much the storytelling moved the audience proves that, and I can't wait for everyone to play The Last of Us Part 2 again or for the first time. I know people who have told me they bought a PS5 because of The Last of Us on HBO and are so excited for the release of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered to see what happens next in the story.


The gameplay and combat are some of the best in gaming, and the heart-pounding action is better than ever. When wearing headphones, you can hear enemies behind you, especially the clickers and where the infected are. The action can sometimes be gory, but it adds to the grounded survival horror of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered. I found the action more intense because of the gambits or perks you get to use in No Return mode and the gunfights to be gorier.


The graphics were upgraded in The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered, giving the players 4K output in Fidelity Mode, 1440p upscale to 4K in Performance Mode, and an unlocked framerate option for TVs that support VRR. They increased the texture resolutions, increased level-of-detail distances, improved shadow quality, and increased the animation sampling rate. The game looks and feels gorgeous, but I still favour playing on Performance Mode. Digital Foundry did a complete breakdown that I highly recommend everyone check out. It goes into much more depth on the graphical changes from the PS4 to the PS5.



If you have never checked out a Digital Foundry tech review before, I highly recommend you check them out because they're the gold standard for graphics comparisons.


They mentioned they improved loading times, but I will say they were still noticeable compared to other first-party PS5 games I have played, but they weren't too long. Nothing compared to what they were on the PS4 that truly felt long at times.


I would be remiss if I didn't mention that, once again, the collector's edition wasn't available in Canada. When The Last of Us Part 1 was remade, the collector edition wasn't available in Canada to purchase. Once again, the W.L.F. edition of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered is unavailable in Canada.


Ultimately, they have only improved on what I felt was a masterpiece in The Last of Us Part 2. The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered is what I think Neil Druckmann intended the game's release to look like when it was released on the PS4. With only a $10 upgrade path, regardless of whether you have a physical or digital copy of the game, they did it right by the consumer here. I do hope we don't see some of the same controversies surrounding the story of the game as we did around its original release. At the beginning of the review, my main focus was do we need a PS5 version of The Last of Us Part 2, and I have to say, after playing all the new game modes and jumping back into the story, my answer is yes. I truly didn't think we did when they announced the game and thought they couldn't add enough value to justify it, but I truly feel Naughty Dog did. The game is still a 9/10 and a must-play on the PS5. As someone who loved playing on the PS4, I think the game looks and feels better playing it on the PS5. I didn't know four years would be enough time between releases, but for some reason, it feels a lot longer for me, and games have evolved so much in that time. The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered feels like a next-gen game, and I highly recommend it.


I hope you found this review informative and answered any questions about The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered; if it wasn't and you have more questions, please let me know in the comments.



-code provided by PlayStation Canada.




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