top of page
  • Writer's pictureGameNChick

The Last Of Us Part II Remastered | REVIEW | PS5

''REMASTERS 3. GAMES 2''

 


Developed: Naughty Dog

Published: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Genre: Survival/Adventure

Release Date: Jan 19th, 2024

Platforms: PS5

Review copy provided by Playstation


The Last Us Part 2 Remastered is a remastered title of the same name and it is developed by Naughty Dog and published by SIE. With Last Of Us getting lots of upgrade treatment lately, Naughty Dog decides it was time to remaster one of their more controversial titles to presumably coincide with the hype around their TV show. But was it a wise decision in remastering this game so quickly? or does the ends justify the means? Only one way to find out, so lets go!


STORY:


Five years after their dangerous journey across the post-pandemic United States, Ellie and Joel have settled down in Jackson, Wyoming. Living amongst a thriving community of survivors has allowed them peace and stability, despite the constant threat of the infected and other, more desperate survivors. When a violent event disrupts that peace, Ellie embarks on a relentless journey to carry out justice and find closure.




''MR ED ADVENTURES''

 

GAMEPLAY:


The Last Of Us Part 2 was one of the most controversial titles of 2020, I don't think there's any debate there. Some arguments are valid and still hold true here in the remastered version, and some are.. well, quite a bit out there that I do not consider valid. The reason why some are not valid for me is when you start bringing up politics in anything, i don't care which side you think is right, you lose all argument with me because this is a GAME, not a political movement. So many creators that I've seen and know have taken the bait and went to bat for either political side and got caught up in all the drama, which does something extremely crucial, it makes them lose sight of what they were doing in the first place, reviewing, critiquing and giving their thoughts on the game in front of them. The moment you start to let your emotions and feelings dictate for you in this field, I feel you've already lost the plot. But that's just be opening on that out of the gate. Even with the debate around The Last Of Us Part 2, when it first launched in 2020, it garnered strong praise from the mainstream media and even sped off at light speed to great sales numbers. However, once people started seeing what was done to the characters in the game, mainly Ellie and Joel, the sales dropped off fairly quickly into a void. Mainly because people felt the story veered too heavily away from what made the first game, that is in my opinion a pretty fantastic game, feel like a totally different universe due to the way the story here is structured, paced and ran and the way the characters now act. Sure you had debates about Abby and how she could get so ripped in an apocalyptic world, but her aside, people genuinely took issue with the way Ellie was set out for revenge with her girlfriend Dina to seek vengeance for the untimely demise of Joel, who was like her father figure. She spends so long seeking revenge, emotionally driven to make things right by her for getting everything taken from her, killing dozens of people and then just going ''ehhh, nah im good, you can live''. Its a mind blowing narrative, but not in any shape or form one that instills intelligence. It would be like if you ordered a Resin figure of your favorite game or property and then it comes broken, you're pissed because you spent so much on it and you want your refund. So what do you do? you track down the company, have a run around with their PR for a week or so, spend hours and days on end trying to get your refund, then when you finally do get a response you want, asking how you would like to receive your refund, you say ''You know what? its ok, you can keep the money, I'm good''. Yeah, it's that ridiculous.


Once again, despite the overwhelming success early on for this title, the exact opposite was felt with the consumer base, with more negative reviews coming than positive ones and ultimately fan voices having the opposite effect than that of the mainstream media's. This was made loudly clear at The Video Game Awards of 2020 when the Players Choice Award, which is the REAL pick for the game of the year every year and not the one industry critics vote on, went to Ghost Of Tsushima, and not Last Of Us Part 2. This was a sign that fans of the series, who adored the first game because of its rich story and captivating characters, were not satisfied with the way they felt their favorite characters and world were borderline disrespected. Now here in 2024, the game is back once again with brand new bells and whistles of incentives to either buy the game new outright or if you already have owned the game on PS4, spend your $10 little caesars money and pay for your upgrade to the PS5 version. Despite the negatives that are focused on, which I am guilty of this as well since the narrative falls flat overall for me - it does not mean that this game is just an overall mess of a game and not worth playing in general, that's not true. Contrary to popular belief of what some games or creators might tell you, yes, there are ACTUAL positives that come alongside the plethora of negatives for this title.. I know, shocking, right?. The main issue here, even with its positives is, if you already played the game back in 2024, is it really worth visiting again, even with new features added? even with enhanced visuals and DualSense support to enchance the experience, elements such as ''Lost Levels'', even with those, is it worth it?. Ehh, honestly yes and no. It's hard for me to outright say yes due to my own personal issues with it and remasters, but I can't outright say no either to people that have never played this game before and this version might be their first time to experience it. So it's a very tight rope to walk no matter how you spin it. Firstly as far as new features, you have ''Lost Levels'', this unveils to you, as a player, three stages that were previously omitted from the original title and though they aren't complete, and are extremely brief, it does offer a decent look into how the development process goes or what the devs were thinking as far as game design in general, which honestly, I'm always into. The first stage you partake in is centered around Ellie getting ready for a party, optional mini games in this sequence can also be found should you seek them out. Other stages include action based scenarios as you play as Ellie hunting boars and Ellie going through the sewers looking for the Ninja Turtles because like Spider-Man did in the movies, THEY STOLE THAT GIRLS PIZZA!


 

''CAMP ANAWANA, WE HOLD YOU IN OUR HEARTS''

 

While the story itself in The Last Of Us Part 2 might underwhelm to a large degree, granted I know people will call it a masterpiece and an emotional journey to go through, which I both agree and disagree with at the same time. I feel people only say this because of their attachment to Joel. With Joel's death, it hits people pretty hard due to the way his character was perfectly done in the original game and how much you can relate to him doing what he did by saving Ellie because at one point he too had lost his daughter and now having had bonded with Ellie herself for so long, he now saw her as his new daughter. This is why we all were sad for his death. But at the same time, that death is a bit cheated and loses its value too. How? well Ellie resents Joel for what he did to the Fireflies and not letting Ellie choose to sacrifice herself for a possible cure for the world. So of course now she hates him, gives him cold shoulder, tries to forgive him, but shes stuck in her own little world the entire time. This makes you more annoyed with her than it does feeling empathy for her, you feel she has a point in being right about being mad about what Joel did, but at the same time, the man who saved and has raised her for last 5 years, she gives no respect to. Which makes you even more sympathetic towards Joel, not Ellie. So when the time comes for Joel to bite the big one, you feel for JOEL and not Ellie herself. The game now wants you to feel emotional for HER, but why should you? she wasn't thinking of his feelings this whole time, she wasnt trying to understand his side of why he did what he did, she was selfish and not willing to give Joel his dues. So now when the game shifts focus to Ellie and her revenge, the overall emotion you SHOULDVE felt, is gone due to her actions towards him earlier in the game. There is no reason to feel sorry for her, only Joel and how he died without his closure with her and thats her fault completely. This is why the story tends to get misconstrued and when you hear ''its such an emotional game'', they're almost always referring to Joel's scene. Whereas in the original game, if people told you those same words, you could be like oh you mean Joel losing his daughter? oh you mean Ellie being kidnapped and nearly killed and having PTSD for awhile, finding peace alongside Joel when they see wild giraffes that shows while the world made me dead for humanity, life still goes on, Joel seeing Ellie as his daughter and risking it all to save her life, etc. You can count on two hands the amount of emotional storytelling there is in the original game, compared to the blase way Last Of Us Part 2 unfolds. This is down to one key factor: Writing. Too much is changed from what you know about the characters, the way they act, their demeanor and the world itself that to me, it feels more like a spin off game in that aspect than a full fledged sequel. However, even though it falls on its face in the narrative aspect, I feel it makes up for it in its gameplay, by a longshot.


With its faults, and there are many, The Last Of Us Part 2 improves greatly on the original games combat, with more stealth based gameplay that allows for new ways to take down foes, whether its in a quiet fashion by sneaking around and using the environment to your advantage for a close ranged kill, snappy and fluid gun play that makes each skirmish feel exhilarating with its moment to moment cover based system, brutal nature of its shooting and fighting mechanics, which goes hand in hand with this titles top tier level design and artwork that immerses you in the environments themselves. It is absolutely fantastic from start to finish with this game. This is the one thing that actually shocked me during my playthrough of the game, the amount of improvement made wasn't what I was expecting, Its like renting a crappy B movie because you need a laugh and know it will be bad, but then you watch something like SLASHERS and in the end, you end up loving it and thinking its great - Yes, that in a nutshell is what I think of the games combat this time around. If you've read my previous review of the first game, you know I had nothing but praise for it there as well, but now that its expanded with new materials, new ways to create weapons and gear, enemy AI moving around the environments to make things harder on you and makes it feel like they're actually thinking of ways to ambush you, its just A+ solid tier that I just can't praise enough. Story or not, this is your TRUE highlight of this package, bar none. This is highlighted even further to what I consider a significant addition to the game in the form of a Roguelike featured called ''No Return''. In this addition to the game, fans like myself of the combat get to experience the gun play and mechanics even further in short and intense sessions that allow you to take on the roles of both Ellie and Joel as you move across stages that were apart of the main games story mode, face human and different infected threats and should you die, well, thats a permadeath, game over buddy. It is a Roguelike after all, so what did ya expect ya big goof? Fret not though. push through and keep playing for even greater rewards and unlockables that gives you even more incentive to keep playing in order to hone your own skills and get better. The more you continue to play it, the more you realize, damn this isn't just a normal one shot mode and thats it, nope, instead it feels like the mode continues to evolve as you partake in it, with introduction of new challenges to take on, new goals to achieve, new features that includes special tasks that give varied rewards, make the overall main stories gameplay even more complex by letting players upgrade equipment and strategize in your hideout and harder boss battles. Usually I get tired of Roguelikes because I play so many of them with my indie coverage, but here, alongside this gameplay, its just an all around great time.


 


''YOU GOT RED ON YOU''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, Last Of Us Part 2 Remastered is an extremely mixed bag. On one hand it gets a lot of it gameplay elements correct with awesome gun play and fluid feeling combat, extremely fun roguelike mode, Guitar Free Play, Speed run options for those who feel brave enough to try and immersive environments thanks to the power of PS5. However, with a duller narrative that leaves you scratching your head, un-relatable characters that don't hold a candle to the writing of the first game, no deep connection to anything in the world this go around.. leaves the experience, just like in 2020, a disappointing trudge. So how do I verdict this? well, like Harry Osborn once said, ''isn't that the question of the day?''. Do I feel this remastered needed to happen this soon? not at all, the game is still fresh in peoples minds, for better or worse. The real reason this thing was even made was to build hype or keep the hype train rolling due to the on going series on HBO Max in relation to the game. But looking at it objectively, for the consumer, is it worth it? again the answer is yes and no. Like I stated in my review for the original Last Of Us game, if you've played the game the first go around, I see no real incentive to drop another $50 to play it again, unless you already own it and want to spend $10 for the Roguelike mode because thats basically what you get with the upgrade to the PS5 version. So if you played in 2020, even with the roguelike mode, I do not see any reason to pick this one up, much like how I felt with the original games remaster, which I enjoy a lot. But, and I mean sir mix a lot Butts, if you have NEVER played Last Of Us Part 2 and this will be the version you play for the first time? then I absolutely will recommend it, that way you will be able to experience the game in its definitive edition for the FIRST TIME. So with all that having been said, both my verdicts are clear, GameNChick says both WAIT and BUY NOW.





If you've played the original



If you've never played the original



 

bottom of page