The Last of Us Remastered, captured by Marty Friedel on PS4 Pro

The Last of Us: Remastered

Published June 22nd, 2020

I know, I’m late to the party. Really late. But better late than never, right?

Early in the PS4’s life, The Last of Us Remastered came out, and I was looking for a new game so picked it up. And just did not enjoy it. I made it to the High School, and just got so frustrated with the entry to the corridor. I just kept dying, and I didn’t understand why. How can you get engaged in a story when you are having so much trouble progressing? I felt like I was missing something; that the game hadn’t told me something. What did I miss? Was I playing on a hard difficulty by mistake? Why did so many people adore this game? I just didn’t get it. So put it aside.

With the hype of The Last of Us Part II piquing my interest, and having The Last of Us: Remastered from PS Plus, I thought I’d give it another go, and restart from the very beginning, on Normal difficulty.

Those sections I really struggled with – like the first encounters in the Outskirts building with the introduction to Runners and Clickers, and down in the subway – seemed basically effortless. The game’s mechanics and their purpose made sense, and it was actually rather enjoyable. Even through the High School corridor, yes I died a couple of times, but none of that frustration from my first attempt years earlier.

Had the game changed? No. But had I matured as a gamer? Yes, definitely. Not every game is a run-and-gun process, and I think I maybe missed the whole “survival” approach to The Last of Us.

I met harder enemies, including the Bloaters, first introduced just after that section that made me quit last time, and made it through unscathed. Well, not really. My health really suffered, I spent ammo and molotovs, but I didn’t die.

I was getting the hang of this.

And, with progress and no frustrations, I got engaged with the story; with Joel’s evolving character; with learning about Ellie; and with the superb voice acting of the pair plus their supporting cast along the way.

As the chapters evolved, so did the tension. From basements to bookstores to lakeside resorts, the game got tense – and kept me hooked. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about sneaking around and clearing an area one-by-one, scavenging desperately for resources to craft useful tools: the brutality and survivalist aspects made you stop and consider every action. And sometimes your attempt failed, but every death was a learning opportunity for next time.

And I wrapped up the story. And absolutely loved the experience. I now “got it”. In 2013, I can appreciate how ground-breaking the visuals would be. In 2020, the AI and some mechanics are starting to show their age (compared to modern games), but the story still sucked me in.

What next? Well, Survivor+ playthrough of course. Now, speaking of tension… yeah made it though that playthrough which absolutely upped the survivalist aspects. With one or two incredibly tough encounters, I still never felt any encounter was particularly unfair. Challenging, brutal, and really focusing on stealth, strategy and at times, patience.

While I’m one trophy away from the Platinum (yep, I’ve started another playthrough where I need to get up to at least the end of Fall), this game has me hooked. And it’s funny, going back for a third time, NG+ on Easy, it is astounding how many resources you get. I’m running around with a full set of resources (and fully crafted), not to mention fully stocked ammo supplies. Really making me scratch my head as to what happened in my 2014 attempt.

I know there is the Grounded difficulty… but think I’ll wrap up the other DLC first, and then get stuck in to The Last of Us Part II. After all, the Collector’s Edition is on its way to me, and I’m so excited for its delivery.

Oh, and if you’re curious, I’m definitely a brick guy.

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