The unique The Final of Us first debuted on the PS3 in 2013 and was remastered for the PS4 only a yr later. However right here we’re, lower than a decade from its debut, and the sport is already being remade. The newly christened The Final of Us Half I takes that unique expertise, the one which helped make Naughty Canine one among gaming’s most revered studios, and makes it really feel comfortably at house on the PS5; in truth, the brand new model makes the sport look and play rather a lot like its controversial sequel. In some methods, The Final of Us Half I appears superfluous, given the comparatively younger age of the unique, which continues to be very accessible. It’s not just like the PS4 remaster doesn’t maintain up. However after spending a while with the remake, I’ve to say — it’s additionally one of the simplest ways to expertise this basic.
The fundamentals of the sport stay the identical as all the time. It begins out with Joel’s harrowing introduction to the zombie — sorry, I imply “contaminated” — apocalypse earlier than fast-forwarding 20 years when he’s launched to a younger lady named Ellie and, after a prolonged trek by hell, compelled to make an unattainable alternative. That story, together with the standalone prequel Left Behind, stays intact within the remake. When you performed the unique, there are not any surprises right here. The gameplay, in the meantime, continues to be a mixture of stealth fight, a lot of shootouts, and navigating environmental puzzles with loads of conveniently positioned ladders and wood planks.
However there are vital modifications. The obvious are visible ones. Half I has the sort of graphics you’d count on from a lavish blockbuster within the yr 2022: unbelievable water reflections, disturbingly ugly demise sequences. There’s a digital camera mode so you possibly can actually zoom in on Joel’s face and see the small print of his spectacular beard. The principle characters have been barely redesigned to look extra lifelike, and the added layer of element makes the environments much more enjoyable to discover as you scrounge the ruins for provides, realizing a clicker may come out at any time. As with most PS5 video games, you may also select between two modes, one among which prioritizes a easy body price, one other with an emphasis on visible constancy.
Even in case you don’t care about counting body charges or extra lifelike foliage, lots of the modifications make the expertise really feel far more in step with The Final of Us Half II. Which is to say — not dramatically totally different however a welcome enchancment. The controls and UI have been streamlined barely in order that fight isn’t fairly so clunky, although it’s not precisely easy; there have been nonetheless loads of instances after I fumbled round swapping weapons, and I stored unintentionally triggering the photograph mode in the course of hectic fights. Nevertheless it’s extra manageable than the unique. My essential recommendation is to stay to stealth as a lot as you possibly can, the place issues work significantly better than the busy shootouts.
There are many different modifications, and those that stood out essentially the most to me throughout my playthrough have been: the sooner load instances, which made restarting after a demise practically prompt, one thing I needed to do rather a lot throughout a number of the extra intense sequences; the DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers make utilizing the bow specifically very satisfying, although the haptic vibrations felt fairly commonplace; the 3D audio is so spooky I needed to play with out headphones on as a result of I couldn’t take the horrifying clicking sounds; maybe most important, Half I options a equally sturdy set of accessibility options because the sequel. There’s additionally a brand new speedrunning mode and tougher problem, however I haven’t performed round with these but.
When you didn’t like TLOU within the first place, this remake gained’t change your thoughts. It’s nonetheless ugly and darkish, a mixture of a heart-rending post-apocalyptic story and a generally awkward online game. The core is identical as all the time. What this remake does, although, is easy the transition between the 2 video games within the franchise. Consider it like sanding away (most of) the sport’s tough edges. That may doubtless be essential to those that performed Half II earlier than the unique or the hypothetical brand-new viewers that shall be launched to The Final of Us by HBO’s live-action adaptation subsequent yr or the standalone multiplayer expertise that’s additionally coming. The Final of Us is now a franchise — and inside that framework, a remake so quickly really makes a whole lot of sense.
The Final of Us Half I launches on the PS5 on September 2nd. A PC model can also be within the works.